Every now and again, a camera manufacturer makes a truly special lens, a holy grail lens, one that becomes in time - folklore. It isn’t a lens you use everyday, but whenever you do you realise that it’s something special. I’ve had the Fuji XF90mm for 18 months now, and I believe that it’s one of those lenses. It’s not the sharpest Fuji Prime I own (though it is close), it’s not the most flexible (due to the focal length) and it certainly isn’t the cheapest (typical UK street prices around £750), but it is special, very very special.
Straight out the box, it was unlike any other Fuji prime I have owned, big and heavy (in Mirrorless APS-C terms!), and it rattles when not in use on the camera body (due to the moveable magnets in the focussing system). The AF is fast and locks on quickly, the only time focus hunts is when you are trying to focus shorter than the minimum working distance. It will function as a macro lens and makes a good substitute for the XF60mm, but you need to add the MCEX-11 and 16 Extension Tubes. The Manual Focus works well, and the focus ring has a nice level of resistance. The lens is well built and offers weather sealing as well. With a 62mm filter ring size it offers compatibility with the other ‘premium’ Fuji primes.
At 90mm on a crop sensor, it matches the full frame focal length of 135mm, giving you that classic mid-length telephoto look and perspective, generating sharp images with a soft blurred background.
It’s the Image Quality, and the XF90mm delivers that in spades. It’s not just the sharpness or the out of focus bokeh, but the colour rendition, it just isn’t like any other Fuji prime. Bold colours just pop out at you, and the bokeh is blurred beautifully. Wide open at F2 it is just a joy to use, the shallow depth of field rendered beautifully, whilst the in-focus area is razor sharp. At smaller apertures it still delivers amazing images.
As a portrait lens it is just spectacular, but generally I’m not a portrait shooter, I tend to shoot other stuff! Old slate quarries, building details, inanimate objects, and when the X-T2 was launched I spent a day shooting motorsport (again not something I often do, the XF90mm did not disappoint). It’s quite simply a stunning lens, I often feel privileged to own it, and if I could only have two XF primes, my bag would contain the XF23mm F1.4 and the XF90mm.
and finally a portrait, taken by my 16 year old son, using an X-E2 wide open at F2 - 'Dad'