The Right Tool for the Job…….

1 month, 2 weeks ago 17
Posted in: Uncategorized

I promised Fujifilm that I would put together and exhaustive study on what I
would recommend for various kinds of photography assignments, activities or trips.
Why me?  Well I have been a working pro for over fifty years, so first, personal experience!   During that time I have been a newspaper photojournalist, magazine photojournalist, medical photographer, sports photographer, wedding photographer, portrait photographer, aviation photographer, nature photographer, close-up photographer, landscape photographer, photography presenter, writer, and pilot.   I spent 43 years using Nikon gear, the last 11 years of my regular working life as the Nikon Professional Services Pro Tech Rep for Nikon in the southern U.S., Kentucky to Key West to New Orleans was my territory!
I spent a lot of those 11 years helping countless other pros pick the gear that would help them do their job and they were even more diverse than I have been!!!! In 2012 I switched to Fujifilm gear and later was named an X-Photographer.  In addition to all of that I am a certified equipment hound, and have spent many a day reading sand studying about all kinds of gear.
What I will attempt to do is make a list of different kinds of photography and the 4 lens system I would recommend for that activity.  In some cases I might suggest
a 5 lens system but will try to keep it to jut 4, less to carry less and confusion when reaching in the bag.
First this is what I own and can choose from when putting together these systems.  I say that not to brag about what I own, just to let you know I know this gear well so my choices are based on experience, not just a vague opinion. I hope you find this helpful!
Bodies:  Fujifilm X-T3, X-H1, X-Pro 3, and a X100V.
Rokinon 8mm Fisheye f 2.8 
Fujifilm 10-24 f 4
Fujifilm 14mm f 2.8
Fujifilm 16mm f 1.4
Fujifilm 16mm f 2.8
Fujifilm 23mm f 1.4
Fujifilm 35mm f 2
Fujifilm 50mm f 2
Fujifilm 18-55 f 2.8/4
Fujifilm 16-80 f 4
Fujifilm 60mm Macro 2.5
Fujifilm 80mm Macro f 2.8
Fujifilm 90mm f 2
Nikon 200mm Micro Nikkor f 4 IF-ED
Fujifilm 50-140 f 2.8
Fujifilm 100-400 f 4.5/5.6
Fujifilm 1.4 X Tele-converter
Fujifilm 2 X Tele-converter
Nature Photography:
To cover the wide end I would select the 10-24.  It covers 15mm to 36mm!
It’s very sharp and very convenient.
For the mid range the 16-80 f 4   The “do everything zoom ” 24mm to 120mm coverage.
For the long lens area the 100-400, (150-600 equivalent) is extremely sharp and covers a great range, plus has very effective image stabilization.
For doing close-up work the 80mm Macro f 2.8.  Equiv. 120mm f 2.8 add a 1.4 converter and it is a 180mm f 4!!!!

Wedding Photography:

For the wide end I like the 16mm f 1.4
For groups and environmental portraits the 23mm f 1.4
For mid range the 16-80 f 4
For the portraits, either the 56mm f 1.2 or for more versatility the 50-140 f 2.8
Either would work, the 50-140 obviously covers more range!

The Wildlife Photographer’s bag:
The 16-80mm f 4 for mid to wide work.  
The 80mm macro with 1.4 Tele-converter.  
The 200 f 2 with 1.4 matched tele-converter for 300 f 2 and 450 f 2.8 equivalent focal lengths.
For long telephoto work the 100-400.

Close-up Photography:
For wide work the 16mm f 1.4 is my choice because of it’s incredible close focusing ability.
For mid range the 16-80 f 4  (focuses very close) is very sharp and has image stabilization.
The 80mm Macro f 2.8 lens is the prime tool here, add the 1.4 converter and automatic extension tubes and you can do almost any level of magnification.
The 100-400 with a Canon 500D diopter can let you make close-ups but from great distances from the subject, like poisonous reptiles, a good time for working distance!!!!!

Americana Photography:
For the wide end I like the 16mm f 1.4
For mid range the 16-80 f 4  (focuses very close) is very sharp and has image stabilization.
For mid range the 16-80 f 4
For the portraits, either the 56mm f 1.2 or for more versatility the 50-140 f 2.8
Either would work, the 50-140 obviously covers more range!
Portrait, family & pet photography:
Wide, the very versatile 23mm f 1.4 is the ticket.
Once again the fastest zoom for mid-range work the 16-55 f 2.8 lens.
For portraits either the 56mm f 1.2 or the 90mm f 2 depending on the working distance you and your subjects are most comfortable with. For pets the 90mm give more working distance.
Finally the most versatile telephoto the 50-140 f 2.8.
The Classic Photojournalist bag:
The 16mm f 1.4 for wide work. 
Sharp, Close focusing and well built, a key for this rough and tumble world of photojournalism.
The 23mm f 1.4 for people.  
The 16-55 f 2.8 to cover the mid range.
For telephoto work the 50-140 f 2.8 is the ticket here.
The Sports Shooter:  Football, Soccer, Baseball, Golf
·      Note:  While auto-focus and frame rate are great in the Fujifilm system the lack of more fast long glass is a slight issue here, but hard core sports is still possible!
Wide to Mid-range work falls to the 16-55 f 2.8.
The 50-140 f 2.8 is the starting point, workhorse sports shooters lens.
The full range long lens is the 100-400 (150-600 equivalent)
The speed long lens is the 200mm f 2 with the 1.4 converter giving a 300mm f 2
and 450mm f 2.8 equivalent.
Travel Photography (When weight and bulk is a key issue):
The wide angle zoom to cover it all is the 10-24 f 4  for less weight the 16mm f 2.8 is killer for this system.
The mid range zoom is he 18-55 f 2.8 – 4
For portraits the 50mm f 2 is compact, tack sharp and easy to carry!
To cover the long end it’s hard to beat the 55-200 f 3.5-4.8

So, there you have it, just my opinion, but I think a good working starting point for assembling gear kits for various kinds of photography, please feel free to chime in if you have suggested changes, please share them!


the pilgrim


17 Responses

  1. Jorge says:

    Hey Bill,

    I had lost the link to your site a couple of years ago now. But, I re-found you. Thank you for being a Fuji guy. I too vary my travel gear based on where I’m going, and HOW I’m getting there. For a 3 week trek through the jungles of Costa Rica: 16-55 2.8 & the 55-200 were key on my X-T2. For 2 weeks I Iceland: My X-H1 with the 16-55 glued to it, and the XT2 with the 50-140. My three weeks in the SouthWest? 18-55, 50-140, 12mm Zeiss and 35mm 1.4.
    Now that I also own the GFX50R system with several lenses it will be even harder to choose what to take as far as the X gear, but the 50R will be the primary – Oh, let’s us not forget the drones and the accessories that go with that. Anyway: God Bless and stay safe

  2. admin says:

    Working on it my friend! Thanks for re-joning our family!

  3. Donna says:

    Great info! Thanks, Bill! Sadly, the B&H web site says the Canon 500D filter at the 77mm size for the 100-400mm lens has been discontinued.

    • admin says:

      Thye are getting hard to find, but you can shop around and locate one, try eBay or Amazon.

      • Doug says:

        Bill: Believe it or not, the Nikon 6T (62mm) is very serviceable on the 100-400 with a step-down ring. Also works OK on the 50-140 and would, I’m sure, be a great match for the 55-200. I used to use the 6T on the old 75-300 Nikon to great effect.

        • admin says:

          I know it is a great fit on the 55-200, the 5T as well, and I imagine it will work on the 100-400 and 50-140 since t hey both only use the central part of the optics at the long end of zoom rnage. The 5T and 6T are very hard to find but well worth buying if you can ever locate one! I was sad to hear the Canon 500D is now discontinued, quality diopters are getting hard to locate!!!!

        • I’d go with the Canon 500D 77mm on that one (though I have 5T and 6T)

          • If you can’t find the Canon (and prices have shot up) then I would highly recommend the Marumi Achromatics. I use them on my 18-135. Had one sent here from London and bought the other in Holland.

  4. Ron Pinkenburg says:

    you might also try Arlington Camera and Competitive Camera in the DFW metroplex.
    Both are good retailer. I’ve also had some luck with KEH – the used camera store. Good people.

  5. Jerry Reece says:

    Donna, I have one that I could part with if Bill will give you my email address or give me yours.
    I live in the Dallas, Texas area.
    Jerry Reece

  6. Jerry Reece says:

    Bill, Are you going to be up-dating your Fujifilm X-Series Guide ebook to include the X-T3/X-T4?

  7. Richard Browne says:

    So no more 18-135 for you, eh? When I first purchased Fuji gear (in 2014), it was to take a trip to London, England. I got the X-T1 with the 18-55 kit lens, the 14mm 2.8, and the 55-200. It was a very light kit and it covered everything I needed for travel photography (and the quality was, of course, superb). Now I would substitute the X-T3 and I might opt for more weight with the 16-55, but otherwise that combo would still work great for a lightweight travel photography kit. I’d probably add the X-T30 with either the 18-55 or the 18-135 as my back-up body.

    • admin says:

      I gave my 18-135 to my sister-in-law with a XT-1 to hopefully get her hooked! The 16-8o0 was my replacement!

      • This may sound weird but while the 18-135 isn’t the greatest lens in the world in terms of optical quality it’s good enough to be my everyday lens. I keep it on an XT-20 body even though I have an X-E3 and X-T30. It just works and is so versatile. I have two Marumi closeup lenses (like the 5T or Canon 500D), several polarizers (including Singh-Ray) and a bunch of cable releases. While I have another 18-135 and newer bodies the old X-T20 and repaired 18-135 just keep on ticking so why tamper with success? I use the newer bodies for the 10-24, 16-80 and 90mm macro and my 100-400 goes well with the X-T2. For most of my travel work it’s literally the X-T20 and 18-135 in my carryon bag with a Siri tripod and ballhead. Fancy? No. Works? Heck yeah.

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