Fujifilm XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR Review
The Fujifilm XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR is a compact and lightweight, weather-resistant, super-telephoto zoom lens for Fuji's X-series mirrorless camera range.
The Fuji 70-300mm lens offers an effective focal range range similar to that of a 107-457mm lens in a 35mm full-frame system, which can be extended to 214-914mm using the optional XF 2x TC WR teleconverter (it's also compatible with the 1.4x teleconverter), albeit with 2 stops of light loss.
It has an optical construction with 17 elements arranged in 12 groups including 1 aspherical to control distortion and spherical aberrations and 2 ED lens elements to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations.
Other highlights of the Fujifilm 70-300mm lens include a Linear Autofocus Motor which enables quiet and high-speed auto focusing, a weather-sealed lens body that protects against dust and moisture, nine rounded aperture blades for a smooth circular bokeh, a 1/3EV-step aperture ring, a minimum working distance of 0.83m and 0.33x maximum magnification for the entire zoom range, and 5.5-stops of optical image stabilisation.
The Fujinon XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR has a suggested retail price of £729 / $799 in the UK and USA respectively.
Ease of Use
The Fujifilm XF 70-300mm is a remarkably compact and lightweight telephoto lens given the focal range that it offers, weighing just 580g / 1.27lbs and measuring 132.5mm in length when set to 70mm.
It proved to be a very good match for the X-S10 that we tested it with, which is one of the smaller X-series camera bodies.
Note that the length of the lens does change as you zoom out, reaching 20.5cm at the 300mm focal length.
When the large lens hood is also fitted, this does make the XF 70-300mm look rather more conspicuous than when it's set to 70mm without the hood.
The overall build quality is good rather than excellent, with the lens barrel made of high-grade plastics to help keep the weight down, rather than being made from metal.
The Fuji 70-300mm F4-5.6 lens is very usefully weather-sealed to help protect it against dust and moisture - Fujifilm claim that you can safely use it down to -10 degrees Celsius / 14°F.
The zoom ring is generously wide and has a ridged, rubberised grip band, whilst the focus ring is much narrower and covered in the same material.
Both the zoom and the focus rings are smooth in action without being loose. The focus ring doesn't have any “hard stops” at either end of the focus range, making it more difficult to set the focus point to infinity.
Zoom creep is not an issue, but there is a Zoom Lock switch available if you do experience it which locks the lens barrel at the 70mm focal length. The lock can be disengaged eitherby rotating the zoom ring or switching the position of the lock.
The Fujifilm XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens has a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps, although unlike some of Fuji's other variable-aperture zoom lenses, this one is unmarked.
The aperture ring is nicely damped though and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting. There's also an Auto setting available if you'd rather set the aperture via the camera body.
The Fuji 70-300mm has a built-in OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser) equivalent to 5.5 stops, but there's no dedicated OIS switch on the lens barrel so you have to dive into the camera's menu system to turn it on and off.
The focus limiter switch on the side of the lens barrel enables you to set the focusing range to either the full range of 0.83m to infinity, or from 5m to infinity.
There is no tripod mount supplied with the Fujifilm XF 70-300mm and no threaded hole on the bottom either to allow for direct mounting of a tripod or lens strap system.
Most people will be able to successfully hand-hold such a light lens, and there's also the effective OIS system to help with static subjects, but it's a shame not to have at least the option of being able to fit a tripod mount.
In terms of accessories, the Fujifilm 70-300mm lens ships with a large plastic circular hood and the usual cloth bag that Fuji supply with most of their lenses. It has a non-rotating 67mm filter thread.
The Fujifilm 70-300mm lens has an internal focusing (IF) system with a very quiet linear AF motor.
In practice, we found the auto-focus to be satisfyingly fast and almost silent, although it's slower and does have a tendency to hunt a little in low-light.
Thanks to the IF mechanism the front of the lens does not rotate on focus, which is very good news for anyone looking to use the lens in conjunction with a polariser or graduated neutral density filter.
At the 70mm focal length the angle of view is 22.9 degrees.
At the 300mm focal length the angle of view is 5.4 degrees.
Usually seen as purple or blue fringes along high-contrast edges in a photograph, chromatic aberrations can be a problem for some lenses.
With the Fujifilm 70-300mm lens, however, it is well-controlled, only really occurring in really high-contrast images and mostly at the edges of the frame.
When shooting at the maximum apertures, you can see some slight vignetting at both 70mm and 300mm.
It’s not hugely noticeable when shooting normal subjects, but you can see it when photographing a white wall.
Throughout the focal lengths, the problem almost completely disappears if you close down the aperture by a couple of stops.
There is very little pincushion distortion evident throughout the entire 70-300mm focal length range.
The Fujifilm 70-300mm is capable of producing quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/22.
The lens is susceptible to flare when shooting directly into the sun, though, even with the lens hood that is supplied in the box fitted.
The Fujifilm 70-300mm is not really a macro lens, but the close-focus point is a useful 83cm from the film/sensor plane throughout the entire zoom range, and Fujifilm quotes a very respectable maximum reproduction ratio of 0.33x, again at all focal lengths.
The following examples illustrate how close you can get to the subject with the lens set to 300mm to aid magnification.
Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.
One of the reasons to buy a telephoto zoom lens is to be able to isolate the subject from the background, and the Fuji 70-300mm has an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades for a fairly pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights.
Below you'll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.
In order to show you how sharp the Fujifilm XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.