Friday, June 22, 2012

Fuji Accelerating Lens Development

Fuji is apparently amping up its lens design in response to the huge success of the Fuji X Pro 1. The rumored lenses generally sound excellent, especially the rumored 14mm lens. As far as I know, that would be the widest-angle prime APS-C lens available. Canon's 10-22mm and Nikon's 10-24mm are available but are zooms, and neither of them are terribly impressive. A max-aperture of f/1.4 is possible, but this is doubtful. Currently, Nikon's 14mm FX prime is only f/2.8 and costs nearly two grand, and Canon's equivalent lens is $2,400! The APS-C sensor size will allow for smaller, and thus cheaper optics — as evidenced by the Pentax 14mm f/2.8 which costs $950 — but they would need Jesus designing and building their lenses to get a 14mm f/1.4 lens for a reasonable price.

The second piece of big news is the likelihood of a zoom lens. It obviously wouldn't be an extreme zoom, and would instead by a walkaround lens of 18-72mm with a constant f/4.0 aperture. The constant f/4.0 is a disappointment for such a conservative focal length, especially considering that Fuji will likely want at least a grand for the lens. f/3.5 would have been desirable considering that both Nikon and Canon have kit zooms that drop to f/3.5 and higher-end APS-C zooms that are f/2.8 constant. I doubt that this zoom will sell very well.

Further down the line brings more zooms, all, curiously, with an f/4.0 constant aperture. The 72-200mm sounds interesting, and the constant f/4.0 would be competitive, but I seriously doubt that it's going to very good. I also seriously doubt the successful implementation of the quasi-RF ergonomics with a 200mm lens. The 28mm pancake sounds exciting and will join Canon's new 40mm f/2.8 pancake in the long-belated chase of the exceptional Panasonic 20mm. The 23mm f/2.0 is just a 35mm equivalent that should have been available at or near the launch. 2013 is rather late.

Other than that, the X Pro 1 lens selection will be essentially complete for general applications after only eighteen months on the market. That is an exceptional achievement for a company that, until recently, had been reduced to even less than an also-ran. Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. We must wait to see how the lenses actually perform. But here's hoping.

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