Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro: Dual Excellence

 
Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro

Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro

Neha Mutreja tests the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro lens to see if this portrait-macro lens does justice to the excellent sensor of the X-Pro 1.

Two months ago, my colleague kept raving about the X-Pro1 and the quality of the Fuji mirrorless system, and so, I was curious to experience for myself. So when I started testing the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro lens, I decided to use the lens in every possible shooting situation and take it through some rigourous testing.

Features
Specially designed for the X-Pro 1’s APSC sensor, this is a short telephoto lens. It gives a field of view that is similar to a 90mm lens (in 35mm parlance). While the name may suggest so, one must remember that it is not a 1:1 true macro lens. Instead, it has a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2. For a macro lens (or even a half-macro lens), an aperture of f/2.4 is quite fast, and is beaten only by the Carl Zeiss 100mm f/2 half-macro lens.

The lens is constructed using 10 elements in 8 groups. One of these includes a glass-moulded aspherical lens to prevent field curvature, while another element is an Extra-low Dispersion optic.

Handling
The 60mm f/2.4 is superbly built. It has an aluminium-alloy barrel, making it sturdy and good to use. Just like the other XF lenses, the construction has a unique retro-styled aperture ring. This comes handy while shooting on field, as I could change the values in 1/3EV increments to the minimum aperture of f/22 very easily, purely by feel.

The front element of the lens is recessed deep into the barrel and it comes out while focusing. The focusing ring on the lens turns through a full circle, but is well made and is easy to use and adjust. It is covered by a lens cap, which seems a little flimsy.

The quality of the lens hood must be appreciated. It is sturdy and quite effective in terms of preventing flare.

The X-Pro 1 limits you to only use the EVF or LCD while shooting close-ups and macros with this lens. This is due to the amount of parallax at close-up distances. The quality of the EVF ensures that this is not a major worry, as I found it easy to confirm manual focus while shooting.

Performance
Since the 60mm f/2.4 works as both a macro and a portrait lens, testing this lens was even more fun. I travelled across the city, in trains and on the streets, in search of some interesting faces. At the same time, I visited several nature parks to shoot the tinier creatures around me.

The autofocus of the Fujifilm XPro 1 is not blazingly fast, so do not expect this to be a lens that can help you get candid portraits of fast-moving subjects. But then, if you know your way around the camera’s AF system, you can get past this limitation. In the Macro mode, though, focusing tends to get tricked. The lens spends quite a bit of time hunting while shooting at closeup distances. The fly-by-wire manual focusing is not ideal and it takes a bit of time to fine tune critical focus, but one can get used to it.

The quality of the lens is simply superb. It is sharpest at f/5.6, but I was pleased to see that the centre-to-edge definition is excellent, even at the extreme ends of the aperture range. So, whether you want to shoot a pleasing portrait at f/2.4 or a macro photograph at f/22, the quality always matches up.

Flare is well controlled, but there are traces of purple fringing. Bokeh is extremely pleasing, but the amount of light falloff at the widest aperture is a little high.

Conclusion
It is commendable to see that the Fujinon optics seem to be doing full justice to the X-Pro 1’s sensor. At a price of Rs. 41,999, it is actually cheaper than similar portraitmacro lenses of other systems.

Interestingly, one must say that the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, as a camera, is not optimised for macro photography. But if you already own an X-Pro 1, there is no real alternative to the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro.

While this is not a lifesize macro lens, the centre-to-edge sharpness is great. Exposure: 1/70sec at f/8 (ISO 1000). Photograph/Neha Mutreja

While this is not a lifesize macro lens, the centre-to-edge sharpness is great. Exposure: 1/70sec at f/8 (ISO 1000). Photograph/Neha Mutreja

Final Ratings
Features
Fast aperture, 1:1 macro
15/20

Performance
Brilliant sharpness across the aperture range, good control over flare
32/35

Build Quality
Metal mount, extremely rugged
23/25

Ergonomics
Excellent aperture ring, can only use EVF
12/15

Warranty & Support
Two-year warranty, limited number of service facilities
3/5

OVERALL: 85%
Value For Money: 3/5

Who should buy it?
Portraitists who wish to experiment with close-up photographs as well.

Why?
This portrait-macro lens does full justice to the camera’s sensor. The quality of bokeh and wide-open quality work well for the portraitist too.

Tags: August 2012, f/2.4, Fujifilm, Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro, Lens review, Macro Lens, Neha Mutreja, x pro 1