A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to get my hands on the Fujifilm XF2X TC WR Teleconverter. Thanks to Fujifilm Hellas I was able to use it extensively for quite some time, and here follows my hands-on review.
Last year I had tested the 1.4X teleconverter, and under intriguing conditions too. I shot a motorsport event, using the XF1.4X TC with the 50-140mm f2.8 and the X-Pro2. My results and verdict were that this extra piece of gear gives the 50-140mm lens a serious versatility advantage, without any compromises at all.
Since then there are several new options: the X-T2 is out (offering –with the grip fitted- a better option for long lenses), and the teleconverters will now work with the 100-400mm lens, as well as the new 80mm macro and upcoming 200mm f2 tele prime.
The 2X version is not too different to the 1.4X, except for size/weight of course. I used it with the X-T2 exclusively, because the grip gives a much better handling experience for long use. There are a lot of similarities with the small brother. First of all, you have to do nothing, except updating any camera/lens firmware if necessary. The converter integrates flawlessly and provides the correct EXIF data. In this case, the 50-140mm becomes a 100-280mm constant f5.6 lens, which brings it into the long telephoto category.
There is no degradation in any aspect of operation or IQ. The AF is as fast and as accurate usual with this lens. Image quality also remains unchanged, and no unpleasant effects (such as flares or chromatic aberrations) are introduced at all.
In short, the XF2X TC, albeit quite costly, is a great value with the 50-140, and instantly multiplies the lens’ potential. It must be awesome with the 100-400mm and the upcoming 200mm f2. The latter will become a 400mm f4 lens of very high quality and I can already see nature and sports Fuji-X photographers get in line to try this combination.
But, this blog always tries to emphasize the practical uses of any gear. So, what is it good for?
Street photography, for once.
OK, OK, just kidding!!
I’ll admit I didn’t resist the urge to use it on the street, but be advised, you will look like a paparazzi. In actual fact, this is what a shop owner in Athens’ Fleamarket jokingly called me! The lens/converter combination works great in this guise though; have a look at the following photo, it is a slight crop from one taken 100-120m away, and you can certainly recognize faces if you try a little. Be advised; legal matters may arise if you choose this path!
On the other hand, one can’t deny the usefulness for certain kinds of photojournalism. It certainly beats having to carry a second, longer lens for the occasional long shot.
Another use I found useful was playing with perspective in cityscape-type shots. You can see one example below, which would be impossible to compose with a shorter focal length.
Even if you have to crop, with the superb resolution of the 24mp Fuji sensors there is seldom a problem. That said, the teleconverter allows you to crop less, thus retaining better detail. Here is one such example: it’s a shot of the Moon during a partial eclipse visible from Greece. This is a small crop of the initial image (you’d need the 100-400mm for something larger) but it is still twice as large as the 50-140mm would provide by itself.
Another great advantage is the ability to effectively focus closer. The minimum focusing distance doesn’t change with the converter. That is important, for example, if you shoot insects and similar critters: the dragonfly below is one such example.
Most people will actually be interested in the XF2X TC for wildlife and/or sports photography. No sports this time, but here is an extensive gallery with lots of animals, taken at the Attica Zoological Park. I should point out that, because of nets, glasses, messes etc, shooting the animals was not always super easy. Also, any “harshness” you may occasionally see in the OOF areas, is from said nets, etc, not from the lens and/or converter.
So there you have it. I hope I presented a good case study of what can be possible with the XF2X TC. If you need it, you probably know it already; it’s a no-brainer if your shooting discipline calls for it. It’s a bonus that there are now several lenses compatible with it, and the price, although not low, is quite reasonable for an official product that works with zero problems. Highly recommended.
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