REVIEW: Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS Lens
If someone were to mention Fuji X-series zoom lenses, you wouldn’t be wrong to automatically start thinking at the longer range of focal lengths. Their XF 50-140mm and XF 100-400mm are some of the sharpest and most versatile mirrorless zooms around and they're very popular lenses in the Fuji lineup. The XC 50-230mm and XF 55-200mm also pack quite the punch. But at the completely different end of the spectrum, Fuji also focused some of their design prowess on creating a wide angle zoom to cover everything from landscapes to architecture to street photography. So how does this wide angle zoom, the XF 10-24mm f/4 OIS, hold up in usage?
If you’re used to working with Fuji primes, you’ll probably immediately notice the heft of this zoom lens. Coming in at just shy of one pound, it definitely has some weight to it, but nothing nearly as noticeable as the long-range Fuji zooms. The 10-24mm also flares out quite a bit with a front filter thread of about 72mm. The weight is mostly due to the sheer amount of glass that comprises its respectable 10-24mm reach (equivalent to roughly 15-36mm full frame).
The aperture ring has good resistance (not too tight but also not too loose so as to move around in your camera bag) and the manual focus ring is smooth as well. Even though this is a zoom lens with a constant f/4 aperture, there aren’t any markings on the aperture ring but your f-stop is clearly displayed on the EVF at all times. The zoom ring itself is satisfying large and easy to grip with smooth feedback all along the zoom range. Surprisingly, this lens is not weather sealed despite the zoom range being all internal with no telescoping barrel (as seen in the aforementioned 50-230mm and 55-200mm lenses).
Having used the Rokinon 12mm f/2 on the Fuji system before, I was accustomed to an ultra wide angle, or so I thought. The widest angle on the 10-24mm is extremely wide! So wide, in fact, that if you angle any of your shots at 10mm slightly off axis (not lined up with the horizon) you’ll definitely see some distortion in the shot. Having said that, it’s incredible how this lens can really open up a closed space or show you the enormity of the great outdoors. Anyone interested in architecture or landscapes naturally gravitates toward this range of focal lengths and this is one lens in the Fuji system that definitely speaks to that kind of photographer.
I’ve seen a lot of stunning landscape photographs shot with the 14mm and 16mm primes on the Fuji system, but when you start getting into 18mm and up I start to think that you’re getting into a good range for street photography as well. I took to the streets of Dallas with the 10-24mm just to give that mentality a go, but ultimately I found the size of the lens to be rather conspicuous and the ultra wide angle just too wide for that kind of shooting. In the midst of trying to shoot street photography I found myself focusing on the amazing view that the ultra wide angle gave me within the tight confines of the city streets. So in essence, much of my “street” outing turned into architectural shooting instead.
I didn’t get the opportunity to shoot many landscape shots with this lens, which is unfortunate because it’s obviously designed for that use. Through my research, I found that most filter systems will work with this lens, but if you shoot a lot of wide landscapes or long exposures you might want to bump up to 12mm just to make sure you don’t get any vignetting.
At such wide focal lengths, focus isn’t usually an issue and I found that to be the case with the 10-24mm. Autofocus was quick and accurate and the zoom ring transitions effortlessly from 10mm to 24mm. There are two things that tripped me up a bit in relation to the performance of the lens, though.
The first one is speed. At f/4, it’s definitely not something that I would consider a “fast” lens. Even though a lot of my street shooting is f/8 and most landscapes are probably anywhere from f/5.6 to f/16, the speed becomes an issue in lower light. OIS helps a lot in this case, and I understand that anything more than f/4 may have resulted in an even larger lens, but in twilight or evening hours the shutter speeds decrease and the ISO increases rather quickly. If you shoot this lens indoors, perhaps for realty or architectural purposes, you’ll probably want to lock the camera and 10-24mm off with a tripod if the lighting is low. When it comes to bokeh or out of focus areas, there’s a pleasing amount and definitely some noticeable separation but again, it’s not going to be as apparent or pleasing as some of the faster Fuji lenses.
The other performance oversight in my opinion is the lack of weather sealing. Again, I know this would have made the lens more expensive in the long run but we’re looking at a focal length range that was obviously intended for landscape shooters. And guess what? Mother nature can be cruel. If you want to get a rainy or misty landscape and you want to shoot with the 10-24mm zoom because you want that versatility, you’re going to have to put in the extra effort to keep your lens protected even though your body may be weather sealed. We’ve got stabilization built in to counter the f/4 aperture, but no weather sealing to counter the elements that users of this lens will most likely see.
The 10-24mm f/4 is one of the most versatile and widest Fuji lenses offered for the X-mount. As such, it’s on the upper range of their pricing scale at about $999 USD. You can frequently find it at a lower price via used channels, and occasionally Fuji themselves offer the lens on sale for as low as $799. Sales like this usually come about two or three times per year, so keep an eye out if you’re in the market and don’t want to pay full price.
Conclusions: Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4 OIS Lens
- Amazing versatility with a focal range that goes from extremely wide to “normal” wide angle.
- OIS built in which definitely helps when light is low.
- Solid Fuji construction and great feel to the focus, zoom and aperture rings
- Lack of weather sealing. This is so much of an oversight that I’ve even seen cries for a mark II version of this lens to address the issue.
- While not the biggest in the Fuji lineup, the 72mm filter thread might cause you to invest in another filter ring or new filter kit (especially if you’re used to shooting the Fuji primes with filter threads from 52mm to 67mm)
If you want the ultimate wide angle view that captures a breathtaking amount of scenery in one frame, there’s really no other lens that can deliver the result that the 10-24mm f/4 can. Software will fix most distortions if they creep into your files and if something catches your eye you can easily transition to a 35mm equivalent field of view to capture a closer shot. Albeit a bit pricey at full retail, you can easily find the 10-24mm f/4 at a discount used and in excellent condition nowadays.
When it comes to size and versatility, there’s little competition at the wide range and I think it’s safe to say the 10-24mm f/4 dominates here. At least, that is, until the weather sealed mark II version is announced…