Articles rarely fall short of superlatives when a Fujifilm lens shows its filter thread. For several months the Fujifilm XF 90mm F2 R LM WR came with its share of speculation and rumors. "Wait and you'll see" is typically the background noise which spread on the internet. Actually the pictures taken by Fujifilm Ambassador Fred Boehli were already making me drool weeks before I could get a chance to test the lens. He even warned me: "Don't touch the lens or you might suffer from serious GAS*". I'm not going to waste your time further, no need to dither; this 90mm is Fujifilm's best lens in their lineup. End of discussion. If you already own it you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, get one now.
Obviously everyone won't need such a fixed lens but for those of you who are searching for the best option to capture portraits, stop looking around! This 137mm full frame equivalent and its crazy sharpness will certainly please to wedding photographers as well. If you felt the 56mm was too short, you now have the perfect alternative.
Like all other Fujifilm lenses, the XF90mm F2 R LM WR is extremely well built, all metal, with smooth rings. Also it is weather resistant (Seven distinct weather seals) and comes with a new Quad Linear Motor autofocus system. Combined with the latest X-T1 firmware (v.4) I found it hard to miss a shot. For some, the only downside will be its weight (540 grams) and size. If you thought the XF 16-55mm F2.8 WR was already too big you've just been served.
Thanks to Fujifim France I was able to play with this marvel for ten days. I could test it in several environments (studio, outdoors, low light, ...) including for street photography (I know; it is not the ideal lens for street photography).
So, how did it perform? Well, I think the pictures below speak for themselves. Some have been edited, some weren't (you'll find the EXIF information for each of them). Let me tell you this, from f/2 to f/11 the lens is a dream to work with.
The XF16mm was already an amazing lens but it didn't manage to drive out my XF 16-55mm zoom. The 90mm knocked me out after a few test shots. My banker will pout but he'll understand. I hope....
*Gear Acquisition Syndrome
Portrait - outdoors with one flash
The picture below was taken from a balcony with one flash on the side (f/2, ISO 200, 1/180s). I used the provia setting. Then I exported the picture from Lightroom to Photoshop with the same profile in order to convert it to black and white and to crop it. I didn't tweak the sharpness. You can access the high def JPG files via the links:
Like all my files the pictures are not free to use nor to distribute on third party websites.
Portrait - indoors with one flash
The picture below was taken indoors. The background was a white wall (f/5, ISO 200, 1/180s). The color version on the right is the RAW file converted to JPG with the Provia profile. Nothing else was tweaked apart from its size in order to publish it. The version on the left is a black and white conversion, re-cropped in Photoshop.
The XF90mm will probably be rarely used for street photography. Although you never know. The focal length allows you to capture scenes without being seen. I managed to take a few pictures in Paris next to the Arc de Triomphe around 7pm. All the pictures below were shot at f/2. The first four ones at ISO 200. The last two at ISO 640 and ISO 2500 respectively. The edit was done in Lightroom using TotallyRad! Replichrome presets. Finally I exported them in JPG (width = 2500 pixels).
Portrait - Studio by Julien Apruzzese
While I had the XF90mm I paid a visit to Julien Apruzzese. If you don't know him and his amazing work now is the right time. Thanks to Julien I learned a huge amount of information on studio portrait photography. I thought I could take ok'ish pictures but got my a.... kicked. One does need such a kick once in a while. I got mine in July 2015 !
We used the 90mm to shoot my portrait (that's what happens when you want to mess with another photographer). You'll find below the final version, edited and retouched by Julien. The settings were f/5.6, 200 ISO and 1/180s. As you can see the original sharpness of the 90mm is getting even crazier once edited properly. I'll let you count the beard hairs...