Review: Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (Fujifilm X Mount)

Compare the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens to anything else on the APS-C camera market, and you’ll find pretty much no sort of equivalent product. It’s weather sealed, has optical image stabilization, doesn’t change its aperture very much throughout the range, and is built incredibly well. Then tag onto it the fact that it’s made by Fujifilm–one of the best lens makers of all time. Keep moving forward, and consider the fact that you’re putting this glass in front of the company’s excellent X Trans Sensors; designed by Fujifilm but manufactured by Sony. If you’re a sports, photojournalism, wildlife photographer or professional creeper then this lens may indeed by an option that you’ll want to consider.

Announced quite a while back, the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR may also be the company’s most expensive lens. But if you need something like this, it’s worth every penny.

Editor’s Note: Because there is truly nothing like this on the market at the moment in the mirrorless camera world’s APS-C offerings, we shall refrain from adding in the Comparison and Rating evaluations for each sections.

Pros and Cons

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (5 of 34)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 5.0

Pros

  • Not as heavy as you’d think
  • Weather sealing
  • Feels great in the hand
  • Sharp output
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Aperture doesn’t change all that much, but even so you’d probably want to shoot at a higher ISO setting during the daytime
  • Fast autofocus performance on both the X Pro 2 and the X Pro 1

Cons

  • Though I completely understand why, some folks may be miffed at the fact that the OVF isn’t practical with a lens like this
  • Holding it vertically is tough
  • Zooming in and out moves the scene that you’re viewing due to the motion involved with tuning the zoom ring. A push/pull design would have been nicer

Gear Used

The Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens was tested with the Fujifilm X Pro 2 and the X Pro 1.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from our announcement post

The FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR will be available in February 2016 for USD $1,899.95 and CAD $2,149.99.

  • Uses 21 elements in 14 groups, and 5 extra-low dispersion elements and 1 super extra low dispersion elements
    • Rounded 9 blade aperture
    • 1/3 EV (15 steps)
    • Water-repellent fluorine coating
  • Weather-sealed with 13 water and dust resistant seals at 12 points
  • Included lens hood features a sliding window for accessing a polarizing filter and locking mechanism
  • Compatible with XF1.4X TC WR teleconverter (140-560mm F6.3-8 or 213-853mm in 35mm equivalent)
  • Compatible with optional lens plate (MLP-75XF) and optional ARCA SWISS tripods

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (2 of 10)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

The Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens is pretty serious as far as Fujifilm’s lenses go. There’s quite a bit going on here and you can tell just from the ergonomic build that it is surely designed to do some serious work. What you’ll see dominating the lens is the giant zoom ring in the middle with textured surfaces to make gripping it better. In front of that is the small focusing ring.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (10 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

Behind both of these rings is the very small aperture ring/variable control ring setting. Additionally, as you can see the lens becomes an overall smaller package without the lens hood attached.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (5 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

Move towards the front of the lens and what you’ll find is the giant front element. The lens hood has a little door for you to make adjusting a circular polarizer easier if you happen to attach one.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (6 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

Considering the fact that this lens has a very large zoom range, it will not have a depth of field preview scale; and we can’t really expect one here.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (7 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

When the lens is zoomed all the way in, it extends by around 2/3rds of its otherwise compacted size. Just keep this in mind if you’ve got people closely around you.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (9 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

On the side of the lens, you’ll find the only controls: OIS, aperture, focusing range, etc. In addition to this, you’ll also spot the tripod collar.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (3 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

The lens overall feels incredibly solid in the hand. My major issue comes with zooming in and out while shooting handheld. The turning motion of the lens requires you to pretty much need a tripod. A push/pull zoom feature would have been so much better here.

Yup, it can totally handle the rain.

A video posted by The Phoblographer (@phoblographer) on

Where the Fujifilm 100-400mm lens really starts to shine is out in the rain. We shot with the lens out in the rain and it had no issues at all when it comes to handling the elements. Of course, this is when paired with the X Pro 2; be sure to use it with a weather sealed camera of some sort. Indeed, it’s more than good enough for professional use.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (8 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

Unless you’re an experienced Fujifilm user, this lens may be tough to use partially because of the way that the aperture system is implemented. It is controlled around the lens. The apertures will also need to be displayed in the viewfinder or LCD screen.

Of course, photographers who like the optical viewfinder of the X Pro 2 and X Pro 1 will need to forego it when using this lens.

Autofocus

Something that really amazed me is the fact that the lens focuses incredibly fast with the X Pro 2. Tracking focusing as a subject is moving towards the camera can be tough but if they’re going across the scene, it doesn’t do such a bad job.

The autofocus when attached to the X Pro 1 only lags behind by a bit overall, and the tracking is far worse.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (28 of 34)ISO 4001-240 sec at f - 6.4

If you’re paying the price that this lens commands, you’re going to expect some very high quality. Indeed, the lens delivers. You’ll get the best bokeh from any APS-C lens out there, no chromatic aberration that’s visible, excellent colors thanks in part to the X Trans sensor, and super sharp images.

Granted, all of this is delivered in ideal conditions when you can stabilize and hold the camera to deliver blur free images. Take for example the image above and how blurry some areas are due to movement.

Bokeh

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (27 of 34)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 5.6

On both the wide and telephoto end of this superzoom telephoto lens, you’ll get great bokeh at the right distance from your subject. It’s really, really lovely and I seriously recommend it for wildlife photographers.

Chromatic Aberration

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (21 of 34)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 5.6

As far as I can tell from the images I shot, it’s tough to find any sort of chromatic aberration. If you add contrast to your images later on, you’re bound to find it. But otherwise, there is nothing to complain about here.

Color Rendition

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (25 of 34)ISO 2001-170 sec at f - 5.6

Fujifilm has the excellent ability to be able to emulate the look of their films with color profiles. If you shoot in Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, or anything you want, you’ll get gorgeous colors. Fujifilm by far has the best color rendition of anyone on the market and these lenses only continue to do better justice to the cameras.

Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (31 of 34)ISO 16001-240 sec at f - 4.8

I honestly never found a major reason to need to stop the lens down beyond what it does at the current zoom range. It’s sharp–very sharp actually. It’s one of Fujifilm’s sharpest lenses only behind the 90mm f2 offering that they have.

Extra Image Samples

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (32 of 34)ISO 16001-60 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (34 of 34)ISO 16001-100 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (33 of 34)ISO 16001-105 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (30 of 34)ISO 16001-25 sec at f - 4.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (29 of 34)ISO 16001-3000 sec at f - 5.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (26 of 34)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (24 of 34)ISO 2001-2900 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (23 of 34)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (22 of 34)ISO 2001-300 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (20 of 34)ISO 2001-750 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (19 of 34)ISO 2001-350 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (18 of 34)ISO 2001-300 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (17 of 34)ISO 2001-850 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (16 of 34)ISO 2001-220 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (15 of 34)ISO 2001-680 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (14 of 34)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (13 of 34)ISO 2001-350 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (12 of 34)ISO 2001-420 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (11 of 34)ISO 2001-210 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (10 of 34)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (9 of 34)ISO 2001-600 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (8 of 34)ISO 2001-450 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (7 of 34)ISO 2001-900 sec at f - 5.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (6 of 34)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (4 of 34)ISO 2001-950 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (3 of 34)ISO 2001-1500 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (2 of 34)ISO 2001-420 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6mm LM OIS R WR lens review sample photos (1 of 34)ISO 16001-4 sec at f - 4.5

Conclusions

Likes

  • Incredible image quality
  • Wonderful bokeh
  • Fairly compact
  • OIS

Dislikes

  • Despite OIS, you still need to crank your ISO setting up
  • Push/pull zoom feature would be nice

The-Phoblographer-Editor's-Choice-Award-Logo

When you consider the fact that there really is nothing quite like the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens on the market, you get a greater reason to want to give it an Editor’s Choice award. But then you look at the image quality it can deliver, add in weather sealing, and you’ve got a serious winner. With great autofocus, a compact size and image stabilization, you’re getting quite the package overall.

My complaint though has to do with lenses like this in general where you need to turn the ring to zoom in and out. A push/pull system would be much better here.

Phoblographer-Star-rating

Either way, the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens wins the Editor’s Choice award and five out of five stars.