Which is the best Fujifilm telephoto zoom lens? That’s just become a much more difficult question to answer with the recent introduction of the XF 70-300mm.
There are now four excellent telephoto zoom lenses to choose from for Fuji X-series camera owners, ranging from the 55-200mm up to the 100-400mm, with the 70-300mm positioned between them in terms of size and price.
We’ve also included the shorter 50-140mm because it’s the only constant aperture zoom for Fuji cameras, and because you can also fit a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter to extend its range and make it more comparable to the others.
Fujifilm XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR
This is the newest member of the XF lens range – so new that it’s only just gone on sale – but as we discovered in our in-depth review, it’s the best all round telephoto zoom lens for Fuji X cameras.
Optically sharp at almost every aperture and focal length, yet compact and light enough to carry around all day, in all conditions thanks to being fully weather-proof, there really isn’t too much to complain about.
The fact that you can pair it with the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters is the icing on an already rich proverbial cake – fitting the 2x tc extends the reach to a whopping 914mm in 35mm full-frame terms, albeit with a slow maximum aperture of f/11.
The only things that we don’t like are the lack of tripod-mount compatibility and the merely good rather than excellent build quality.
Otherwise the 70-300mm certainly hits the sweet-spot behind between the cheaper, more casual 55-200mm and the more expensive, professional 100-400mm.
“Overall, the new Fuji 70-300mm more than fits the bill as a lightweight, compact super-telephoto zoom lens that delivers excellent images at almost every setting, all at a price that won’t break the bank.”
Read our Fujifilm 70-300mm Review
Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
This is the oldest lens in the list, making its debut way back in 2013, and the first Fuji telephoto zoom is starting to show its age when compared to the other contenders.
The XF 55-200mm is the smallest and cheapest telephoto zoom lens for Fuji cameras, but it’s also optically the worst (although by no means terrible), and the AF speed is slower than the other three lenses.
One key consideration is that this is the only lens that doesn’t work with Fuji’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, so you can’t extend the focal range like you can with the others.
It’s main rival is the new XF 70-300mm, which is only a little heavier and bigger than the 55-200mm despite offering a longer maximum zoom, weather-sealing and better image quality.
As the 70-300mm only costs a couple of hundred extra dollars/pounds, we’d definitely recommend choosing that one over the 55-200mm, unless you can find a second-hand bargain as owners sell-up to switch to the 70-300mm.
“As the first telephoto zoom for the fledgling XF system, the new Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS is a solid rather than spectacular performer, offering an appealing combination of good image quality, excellent construction and handling, and fair value for money.”
Read our Fujifilm 55-200mm Review
Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
The XF 100-400mm is the Daddy of the Fuji telephoto zoom line-up – this is the one to go for if you want the best image quality, best build quality, best auto-focusing, biggest zoom range, teleconverter and tripod compatibility, and the most features.
It’ll cost you a lot more than the 70-300mm, though, both in terms of price and weight – in fact, you can basically double both of those values for the 70-300mm to calculate them for the 100-400mm.
Unless you’re a pro wildlife photographer making their living from relying on dependable equipment like this, we’d recommend the much lighter and cheaper XF 70-300mm for most users.
You don’t get the same excellent build quality as the 100-400mm and there’s no way to mount it on a tripod, but it’s still fully weather-proof, also compatible with the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, and crucially optically excellent throughout the aperture and zoom ranges, whilst being much easier to carry around all day long.
“The Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens offers outstanding image quality, excellent construction and weather-proofing, quick, quiet and reliable auto-focusing, and very effective image stabilisation, not to mention the longest focal length of any XF lens.”
Read our Fujifilm 100-400mm Review
Fujifilm XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR
The shortest lens in this lens may not offer the same telephoto reach out-of-the-box, but is still worth considering for two key reasons.
It’s the only lens to offer a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, which better still is available throughout the entire focal range.
It’s also fully compatible with the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, which if fitted turns the 50-140mm into a 70-196mm f/4 and 100-280mm f/5.6 lens respectively, the latter being very close to the new 70-300mm in terms of both range and maximum aperture.
As you’d expect from a pro-level 70-200mm equivalent lens, the 50-140mm excels in almost every department, and is therefore well worth considering as both a standard telephoto zoom and also a super-zoom thanks to its tele-converter compatibility.
“The Fujifilm XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR is very much a professional work-horse of a telephoto lens, offering stellar image quality, excellent construction and weather-proofing, quick, quiet and reliable auto-focusing, and very effective image stabilisation.”
Read our Fujifilm 50-140mm Review
That concludes our round-up of the best Fujifilm telephoto zooms. All fours lenses are quite different from each other and therefore equally suited in their own ways to different users, but if we had to recommend just one of them, it would definitely be the XF 70-300mm.
What do you think – which one would you choose and why? Let us know in the Comments section below…