As photographers, we all like a challenge, so when we was asked if I’d like to attend a FIA World Endurance Championship during Silverstone in Northamptonshire, to try out a new Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens, we jumped during a chance. However, as we step out of a automobile into a low reservoir and peek adult during dim clouds, we think, ‘This isn’t how we envisaged my day starting’.
After donning my cagoule and creation my approach to a press centre, we motionless to accept a conditions for what they are. Today’s assignment is not usually going to be a perfectionist exam for a lens, though also for a Fujifilm X-series cameras in my bag, that we acknowledge I’ve been somewhat distrustful of regulating for motorsport and fast-paced movement in a past. Would this be a day that changes my notice of a speed and response of autofocus on a X-series cameras?
After picking adult my press tabard, we prepared to fire a initial use event of a day by coupling a lens to a front of my Fujifilm X-T1. Although we have an X-Pro2 during a bottom of my bag, we opt for a X-T1 since we find it handles improved with incomparable and heavier lenses, and feels some-more DSLR-like when it’s lifted to a eye with a mainly positioned EVF.
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The initial advantage we spin wakeful of is a weight saving. Compared to my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM that we typically use for motorsport, a lens is 265g lighter. This competence not sound like a outrageous weight saving, though trust me each gram we can save is a reward when you’re lugging pack around a lane all day. One approach Fujifilm has managed to strew weight from a lens is to use high-quality cosmetic in a construction of a barrel, rather than metal. Needless to say, it doesn’t feel utterly as plain as a telephoto wizz with a steel body, and for a cost we would have favourite to see a switches done from steel rather than plastic. These points aside, it’s a attractive lens.
Prior to streamer trackside, we insert my straight battery hold to a X-T1, that improves a change and doing of a lens when it’s trustworthy to such a compress body. we take adult my initial vantage indicate tighten to a pit-lane opening and use a successive few mins to familiarize myself with a position of a switches on a barrel. The lowest of a 3 is used to rivet and invalidate a visible image-stabilisation system. Above it are dual serve switches. The initial appoints primer orifice control around a orifice ring that’s located behind a focal length markings. The orifice ring offers glorious feedback and notches into position when it’s rotated. The switch above boundary a focusing range, with a choice to set it from a smallest concentration stretch (1.75m) to forever or 5m to infinity.
Unlike many telezooms, there’s no MF/AF switch on a barrel. Instead, single, continual and primer concentration modes are tranquil around a physique of a camera. After knocking behind a zoom-lock switch, we insert and secure a cosmetic lens hood, that is vast adequate to forestall raindrops attack a front component and thatch with a calming click.
It’s during this indicate we notice a hood is versed with a possess hood-release symbol and filter-slide window – a latter being a useful underline for those wishing to stagger polarising filters facilely though a need to mislay a hood altogether. Setting a X-T1’s expostulate mode to continuous, AF to continual and a AF mode to zone, I’m all set adult and prepared to use a lens.
The finely grooved rubberised wizz ring is descending easily to hand, and relaxation off a tripod collar allows me to upswing a tiny ascent picture and grasp improved squeeze of a barrel. The wizz operates opposite a 100-400mm focal operation (equivalent to 150-600mm in full-frame terms) in reduction than a entertain turn, and supposing your left palm supports a lens directly underneath it’s probable to extend a lens to full telephoto with a short, pointy turn of a wizz ring. The suit is liquid opposite a endless focal range, nonetheless it requires some earthy bid to change a optics – a outcome of a formidable lens pattern that’s done adult of 21 elements in 14 groups. A discerning peek during a orifice in a viewfinder tells me it closes to f/5 during 200mm and continues to gradually tighten thereafter, doing during f/5.6 between 350mm and 400mm.
My initial try during panning formula in a few confused frames and a speed of a cars is holding time to adjust to. Refining a shiver speed to 1/125sec improves my success rate of pin-sharp shots, and to find out how good a X-T1 and lens can invariably concentration on cars travelling directly towards a camera during over 100mph we immigrate to a faster dilemma on a track. Even with a shiver speed set over 1/1000sec and a smaller executive organisation of 9 AF targets comparison in section AF mode, a theme is proof too discerning for a autofocus to keep up. Inspecting a detonate of 11 frames during 8fps reveals I’m removing one or dual frames neatly in focus. This less-than-ideal rate army me to prefocus on a accurate area of a lane in singular AF before locking a concentration to MF. Firing off another continual detonate during 8fps doesn’t see my success rate improve. It’s time for a rethink.
As we open my bag to find a lens cloth, we peek down during a X-Pro2. Would this be a answer to my focusing woes? It turns out that substituting a X-T1 for a X-Pro2 was a best preference we done all day. After environment a X-Pro2 to continual focus, a concentration operation of a lens to 5m-infinity and environment adult a executive organisation of 9 AF targets in section AF mode, we clap out another detonate to constraint cars travelling directly towards a camera. This time, we fire 12 frames during 8fps. A discerning magnified investigation on a shade reveals during slightest 6 are pointy and serviceable – a most improved success rate. I’ll acknowledge a lens isn’t doing as good with a X-Pro2, though for currently during slightest this is a concede I’m prepared to make.
In between races, we download my shots and check them closely on my MacBook. It doesn’t take prolonged before we realize a picture peculiarity constructed by a lens is excellent. Sharpness from 100-300mm, even during a lens’s widest aperture, is substantial opposite a frame. Towards a telephoto finish of a zoom, some signs of softening were remarkable during f/5.6, with diffraction also softening a glorious fact over f/11. Vignetting is rubbed unusually right by a focal range, and a same can be pronounced about chromatic aberrations, that were absent from all images on a day and successive exam images we prisoner in brighter conditions a integrate of days later.
In a afternoon, we spend a substantial volume of time contrast a lens with Fujifilm’s 1.4x teleconverter (£329), that effectively translates a lens into a 210-840mm telephoto wizz in 35mm-equivalent terms. The additional length enables me to fill a support firmly with my theme for larger visible impact, though what with a converter shortening a limit orifice of a lens to f/6.3-8 we have small choice though to pull a X-Pro’s attraction adult to ISO 3,200 or over to grasp a discerning adequate shiver speed to solidify a cars in their tracks. we also find that a autofocus speed stays sprightly with a 1.4x converter attached.
The OIS shortening in a lens name indicates it is versed an visible image-stabilisation system. This is tranquil around a OIS switch on a tub underneath a focus-limit and manual-aperture control switches. However, distinct some telezooms that yield some-more than one mode to safeguard conscious panning and sloping isn’t mistaken for camera shake, there’s no second mode on this lens – it’s set to possibly on or off.
The image-stabilisation complement is effective to 5 stops, and in between sharpened we had a possibility to locate adult with Fujifilm’s motorsport ambassador, Dirk Bogaerts, who uses a OIS complement for each shot he takes, including panning shots. Dirk also recommends gripping a IS mode set to continual from a camera’s menu, that constantly stabilises a lens all a time OIS is switched on. Extending a wizz to 400mm and carrying out a exam in between races reliable a IS system’s effectiveness. we was means to fire pointy shots during as delayed as 1/30sec handheld. Pulling behind to 100mm and repeating a same exam suggested it’s probable to grasp pointy shots during a slower 1/8sec shiver speed, though we need a solid hand.
After a full day’s testing, we can contend a XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is a lens that fulfils a ardour of those who’ve been watchful patiently for a longer wizz in Fujifilm’s choice of XF lenses. It doesn’t have a steel build we typically design to see from a wizz of a pedigree, though as we discovered, this plays a critical purpose in gripping it as light as possible. It’s a lens that can be carried over a shoulder for prolonged durations though discomfort, and a image-stabilisation complement is so effective that it doesn’t always need a use of a monopod or tripod.
I went a whole day ancillary a lens in a palm of my left palm and didn’t find myself job on my monopod once. The lens’s continue insurgency and fluorine coatings give we a certainty we need to use it though any form of protection, and it continued to work though error after a drenching and many determined showers.
My revisit to Silverstone incited out to be a perfectionist workout, not usually for a lens though also for my dual Fujifilm X-series cameras. The lens rubbed well and looked a partial joined to a X-T1, though swapping to a X-Pro2 was a branch indicate of a day – a glorious response and correctness of a autofocus complement increasing a series of pointy shots we was means to constraint in discerning succession. If Fujifilm can mix a X-T1’s doing with a reckless AF opening of a X-Pro2, afterwards wildlife, movement and sports shooters will have a ideal partner for a XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.