Review: Fujifilm 90mm f2 R LM WR (X Mount)

DSCF1020-EditChris Gampat The Phoblographer AlienSkin Exposure 7 review image sample Agfa APX 25

As Fujifilm’s longest portrait prime lens to the date of publishing this review, the Fujifilm 90mm f2 R LM WR has been the envy of many Fujifilm photographers. At a $949 price point, the lens incorporates weather sealing but oddly enough no image stabilization. Why? We’re not sure–but it’s got lots of other stuff. This lens incorporates seven aperture blades, three extra low dispersion elements, Super EBC lens coatings, and 11 elements in 8 groups. Weighing 1.19lbs, it’s also fairly hefty for a lens designed for a mirrorless camera system.

One thing’s for sure though: if you’re a Fujifilm user, get ready to fall in love all over again.

Pros and Cons

Model: Asta Paredes

Model: Asta Paredes

Pros

  • Superb image quality
  • Weather sealing
  • Great bokeh
  • Very sharp image quality
  • Makes great use of Fujifilm’s Classic Chrome and Astia film renderings
  • Well balanced with both the X Pro 1 and the X-T1
  • Lightweight lens
  • The focusing ring feels really big and beefy.
  • Surprisingly fast and accurate focusing
  • Pretty much no distortion
  • Perhaps the single best portrait lens that Fujifilm has made for the X series camera system–even better than the 56mm f1.2.

Cons

  • Fujifilm’s largest prime lens to date of publishing this review
  • No image stabilization

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm 90mm f2 with the X-T1, X-Pro1 and the Paul C Buff Einstein E640 with a Westcott seven foot umbrella.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing.

Performance
Focal Length 90mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 137 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/2
Minimum: f/16
Camera Mount Type Fujifilm X mount
Format Compatibility APS-C
Angle of View 17.9°
Minimum Focus Distance 1.97′ (60 cm)
Magnification 0.2x
Elements/Groups 11/8
Diaphragm Blades 7, Rounded
Features
Autofocus Yes
Physical
Filter Thread Front:62 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.95 x 4.13″ (75 x 105 mm)
Weight 1.19 lb (540 g)
Packaging Info
Package Weight 2.2 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 9.6 x 6.2 x 4.8″

Ergonomics

Taken from our first impressions

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions product images (6 of 9)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.2

The Fujifilm 90mm f2 is a pretty beefy lens, but more on the long side than anything. Considering the weather sealing and the fact that it’s a longer focal length, its size makes sense. We start our ergonomic tour with the front of the lens. With a 62mm front filter thread, you can attach a standard filter.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions product images (3 of 9)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.2

Move around to the top of the lens and you’ll find the focusing ring and the aperture ring. The body is made of metal all over–and it doesn’t skimp on overall quality.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions product images (9 of 9)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.2

Without the lens hood, it becomes much smaller of a package to work with. With the lens hood, the overall package is quite big. In shooting situations, you’ll want to keep it on to protect the lens.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions product images (5 of 9)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 3.2

During our testing period, we didn’t happen to take it out into the rain. In fact, it has barely rained all summer here in NYC. But we took it around on the streets of New York and on the subway system. At one point the front of the lens banged into a person’s hand as they were walking by and not paying attention. It was completely fine.

Otherwise, the exterior of the lens features a very nice metal build to it and Fujifilm’s beautifully clicky aperture ring. You won’t have any complaints here.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions product images (8 of 9)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.2

After attaching the lens to the camera, you’ll want to point, focus, shoot and enjoy. We very strongly recommend that you use a camera with a viewfinder, otherwise this process just becomes unsteady and annoying without using a tripod. This is because of the lack of image stabilization.

To that end, we also ended up cranking up the ISOs a bit more when shooting to ensure that the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds was followed.

This isn’t a lens for a beginner–the aperture ring may be confusing to them and it’s a very long focal length. When using the lens, be sure to exercise proper stabilization techniques.

Autofocus

Model: Bec Fordyce

Model: Bec Fordyce

In our tests, we decided to put the Fujifilm 90mm f2 on both the X-Pro1 and the X-T1. So how did it do?

Well, we were very impressed. On the X-T1, the camera and lens work very well together to achieve quick focusing. Of course, as the focusing point is made smaller and smaller, it becomes tougher and slower for the two to focus. This is to be expected, but overall the 90mm f2 focuses a heck of a lot faster than we thought it would. It’s surely not at the wide angle lens speeds, but it’s about as fast as the 35mm f1.4 after all the firmware updates have been applied.

When the lens was mounted to the X-Pro1, we encountered similar performance though just a bit slower. If you’re shooting portraits, then it won’t ruin your day or your shoot’s pacing–but we’ve surely seen faster.

To get the best performance, we recommend that you keep the focusing point at a moderate size–not too big not too small. Only switch to the smallest point when you want the absolute best precision from the lens. In most situations though, you won’t be too bothered.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (5 of 13)ISO 4001-420 sec at f - 2.0

In the majority of the shooting situations we were in, we shot with Fujifilm’s Velvia, Astia and Classic Chrome film renditions. Granted, those really only apply to JPEG settings but they also apply to the RAW files if you render the profile for the image in Adobe Lightroom.

What we’ve found is just what we expected: sharp image quality performance, some of the best bokeh from the Fujifilm lineup of lenses and great colors that are very true to the film renditions in some ways.

Sharpness

F11

F11

Proper sharpness with any lens is typically gauged when a flash is added to the scene. And in this case, there is absolutely no exception. As far as we’ve tested, the 90mm f2 is incredibly sharp, in fact, we believe it to be Fujifilm’s sharpest to date. While I’m personally in love with the 35mm f1.4 and the 50-140mm f2.8, this lens is sharper than both. We even believe it to be sharper than the 56mm f1.2.

Bokeh

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos portraits (1 of 11)ISO 4001-250 sec at f - 2.0

f2

Considering that this lens is a 90mm offering and renders a 135mm field of view approximately, it’s bound to have great bokeh, right?

Good news: it does. Then consider the fact that this is an APS-C sensor with a 1.5x crop and you’ve got the field of view and depth of field of a 135mm f3.5 lens when shooting wide open.

This is the best things about the lens to be honest here. Sharpness can always be tweaked in post-production, but it’s tough to change the bokeh of a lens without some sort of rendering from Alien Skin.

The bokeh is creamy as ever here, which makes this an excellent lens for headshots and portraits. In fact, that’s what it was designed for. With all of this said, photographers of all types will love this lens for the bokeh. Professionals will value that they can photograph their clients with a lens wide open and get their perfectly in focus while the enthusiasts will sit there and cuddle with the lens day after day until they can’t do so any more.

Color Rendition

For Fujifilm, color rendition is very dependent on the sensor. In general, this lens seems a bit more muted even with Velvia settings. Perhaps this was because of the fact that it’s designed for portraits. But either way, it’s still not terribly muted like Panasonic’s cameras typically are. If you want more color, you can tweak the settings for the color channels in Lightroom.

Color Fringing

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos portraits (4 of 11)ISO 4001-1000 sec at f - 2.0

In our tests, we found no color fringing that’s worth noting even when we raised the contrast. That’s quite the feat considering some of the company’s wide-angle primes have it.

Extra Image Samples

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (2 of 13)ISO 2001-320 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos portraits (7 of 11)ISO 2001-3800 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos portraits (6 of 11)ISO 4001-600 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos (4 of 6)ISO 2001-1900 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos portraits (5 of 11)ISO 4001-420 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos (5 of 6)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 2.0

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (13 of 13)ISO 2001-900 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (1 of 13)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (3 of 13)ISO 4001-210 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (4 of 13)ISO 4001-750 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (6 of 13)ISO 4001-220 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (7 of 13)ISO 4001-420 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (9 of 13)ISO 64001-110 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions photos (12 of 13)ISO 2001-1500 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos (1 of 6)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 4.0

Conclusions

Likes

  • Very, very sharp
  • Good colors for portraits
  • Weather sealing

Dislikes

  • Pricey

When it comes to pure image quality, it’s tough to beat a Fujifilm X-Trans Sensor and the company’s lenses. But the 90mm f2 is something that many have been dreaming of for a while. Of all the portrait lenses that we’ve tested for the system, it’s by far the best. Yes, there is an f1.2 lens out there, but it can’t compare to the pure image quality that the 90mm f2 renders in the best of situations. You’ll fall in love all over again with the bokeh, sharpness and consistent performance that gives you very little reason to do any sort of editing to the images right out of the camera.

Phoblographer-Star-rating

We rate the Fujifilm 90mm f2 R LM WR at five out of five stars. Want one? Check out the B&H Photo listing for the latest prices.

Recommended Cameras

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 first impressions product images (1 of 9)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.2

X-T1: Fujifilm’s flagship camera is the obvious choice here.

X-T10: The X-T10 has great autofocusing speed and lots of what the X-T1 has at a cheaper price but without the weather sealing.

X Pro 1: The company’s first ILC camera is best set to Astia and shooting. Use it in the studio with high key lighting for the best results.