Updated: Jul 8, 2022
Whether you are already shooting with Fujifilm or you are thinking about it for your new kit, some help may be needed when choosing your landscape lenses. In this article, you will find some useful information about the best Fujifilm lenses for landscape photography based on field experience.
Fujifilm has managed to provide landscape photographers with a wide range of focal lengths while maximizing weight and size without compromising on quality. If you happened to wonder which lens should you choose, this article will probably help you find your way.
Before this, I would remind the reader that I am a hiker, consequently my kit needs to be light and compact but still provide good quality.
I am also using the Fujifilm XT-3 at the time I am writing this article.
I will present the three following lenses and their alternatives in this article:
the Fujifilm 10-24mm f4.0
the Fujifilm 18-55mm f2.8-4
the Fujifilm 55-200mm f4.5-5.6
With this, my entire kit camera + lenses weighs about 1.8kg. Add to this a tripod, batteries and a couple of filters, and I am hovering 4kg which is great when backpacking
For more understanding of Fujifilm lenses line up, you can refer to their X Mount Lens Roadmap.
Verdict on the overall kit
Let’s talk about each of these lenses now.
Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f4.0
If I had one lens to choose when I go to shoot landscapes, that would be the XF 10-24mm. This is by far my most used lens due to its wide angle and great image quality. Although it is not weather resistant, it is still quite resistant; I have used it under light rain or snow and it still works perfectly. The zoom provides some flexibility when composing, which may help save some time in post-processing. The lens is rather light and compact with 410g on the scale, which makes it easy to carry around. I appreciate that the lens has a fixed aperture at f4, although a slightly wider aperture would be nicer for night photography. Third party makers offer good quality lenses with wide aperture so this is not an immediate concern (e.g. Samyang, Laowa, etc.). The OIS works very well for me as I am able to shoot at 1/6-1/8 of a second without noticeable major movement but, I would not shoot with longer exposure as significant blur would show up. Finally, one thing that can annoy some is the significant barrel distortion. I personally like it. It remains proper to wide angle zooms, but this can be easily fixed during post-processing, although it allows for some nice effects when used properly.
Fujifilm released in November 2020 the Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4.0 WR. Image quality appears to be the same, but the weather resistance is a big pro that make this lens even more attractive.
XF 8-16mm f2.8 Red Badge Zoom: an alternative to this lens would be the XF 8-16mm f2.8 which wider and weather resistant but is bulky and very expensive. However, it is expected to have a better image quality. If weight and money are not an issue then this can be the lens to go for. Other brands like Samyang or Laowa also offer wide angle lenses but the absence of autofocus does not make them a good option for day photography in my opinion.
Examples of pictures captured with the XF 10-24mm
Fujifilm 18-55mm f2.8-4.0
I got the 18-55mm when I purchased my XT-3. Before that, I only owned the 10-24mm and the 55-200mm, but always felt that something was missing in between. Since it is a kit lens, you get it at a fraction of the original cost when purchased with a camera, so it was the opportunity to finally get my hands on it.
To be frank, this is not my most used lens. I use it when I want to isolate a subject which is at distance where it would look too small with the 10-24mm and/or would be too big for the 55-200mm (check the pictures below), which is not so frequent. And because of this little use, I am extremely happy that it only weighs 310g, and small with a diameter of 65mm and is 70mm wide. I can easily pack it in my bag and put it in my pocket for easy access when shooting. From a quality perspective, both build and image quality are really good, and I am always surprised when I read poor comments about this lens. It opens at f2.8 which I find useful if I want to do some night photography or photograph people in some occasion. In my opinion, it is a good all-rounder lens to own and will not break the bank.
XF 16-55 f2.8 Red Badge Zoom: at the time this article is being written, the best alternative is the XF 16-55mm f2.8 which has a fixed aperture and is weather resistant but is bulky (really, it is big!) and cost about twice as much. I had the opportunity to try it and I really thought it was too big and heavy for a limited image quality gain which would not justify to add it to my current set at this point in time.
XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6: this is a cheaper alternative and this may be a good thing only if you are really short on budget. I had this lens when I bought my first Fujifilm, camera (the XT-10) to avoid spending an additional 100 bucks, and I really regretted my choice afterwards. I would not recommend going for this lens as you may be disappointed and miss the Fuji experience.
Tamron 17-70mm f2.8: This would be the closest focal length to this lens. It is also directly competing with the XF 16-55mm f2.8. I could not try this lens, but it appears to be a quite versatile lens. However, the price is not much different than the XF 16-55mm which is considered as a zoom lens with prime like quality. The only reason I see to purchase this lens is if you own an XF 70-300mm and you would need to cover the 55 to 70mm range. But even then, I would rather consider the all in one Tamron 18-300mm (described below)
Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3: since Fuji has opened its X-mount to other brands, few lenses have been released such as this Tamron. I did not have the luck to try this specific lens, but the least I can say is that it is a very attractive one, especially for travel photographers caring about space and weight while traveling. Changing lenses can be cumbersome and having an all-in-one lens is, in my opinion, very valuable. The lens is just 620grs and has an impressive reach of 300mm on APS-C (450mm 35mm equivalent). Image quality has been reported to be very good, with overall good features when it comes to autofocusing. It even includes weather resistance, which is a great deal if you're shooting in harsh conditions. The main flaws include a limited stabilization performance in video, especially at longer focal, and a loss of details towards the edges of the photograph. Feel free to look at this video from Pal2tech for an in-depth review.
Examples of pictures captured with the XF 18-55mm
Fujifilm 55-200mm f4.5-5.6
If you do landscape photography, that’s the one lens to own on top of the XF 10-24mm, and is one of the best Fujifilm lenses for landscape photography. I use this lens to isolate subject like mountains peaks or to give more importance to my subject in their environment where they would look too small with the 10-24mm or the 18-55mm.
I do not use this lens too frequently to be honest, but when I need it I am so glad to have it around.
Once again, Fujifilm did great with this lens in terms of weight and size relative to competitors. Although it is still quite heavy and large, this what you would expect for such a lens. A smaller and lighter lens would raise some question in terms of built and image quality.
The lens provides pin sharp images which is the one of the most important thing and here Fujifilm does not fail. This lens is not weather resistant, but who cares. Have you ever tried to take long focal shots when it is rainy? Well, most of these shots would most probably not stay too long in your library.
In addition, the price is very affordable for such a lens, so if you don’t have one yet, get it and trust me it won’t disappoint you.
XF 70-300 F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR: released in March 2021, this lens would be a very good alternative to the 55-200mm for those looking to get a lot of reach in a compact lens that offers weather resistance and OIS. At 580gr and a price tag of 799$ (more or less equivalent in other major currencies), this lens is very attractive. In addition, as opposed to the 55-200mm, it is compatible with Fuji's teleconverters 1.4x and 2.0x, making a perfect travel companion for those loving shooting wildlife while carrying minimum weight. If I were on the market today for such a lens, this would probably be my first choice, given its amazing properties.
Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3: as described in the previous section, this lens is versatile with some few compromises. Feel free to look at this video from Pal2tech for an in-depth review.
XF 50-140mm f2.8 Red Badge Zoom: as for the two previous lens, you could go for the XF “red label” XF 50-140mm f2.8. The lens has a fixed aperture and yes it is weather resistant BUT its focal range is shorter at 140mm vs 200mm, it is super heavy at 955g vs 580g for the 55-200mm and last but not least, it costs about 2.5 to 3 times as much as the 55-200mm. I find the cons overcoming the pros in this case, so once again, if budget and weight are not a constraint then go for it but keep also in mind that you would have a shorter focal.
Examples of pictures captured with the XF 55-200mm
I consider the kit I own as a very good combinations. However, with a bit more experience of long term travels and with the Fuji's offer expanding, I would most probably have a different today if starting from scratch.
While looking at Fujifilm and other brands' lineup, it is very difficult not to have a very good and affordable kit today.
I hope that this article helped you to figure what lens would you like to choose. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.
About the Author
Rémi Bergougnoux is a French travel and landscape photographer based in Zurich, Switzerland. His most influential destinations include Latin America, where he spent about a year, Namibia, Iceland, Lofoten and certainly many others.
Aside from photography, hiking, cooking, enjoying good wines and socializing are his main hobbies.