Edit: I should make it very clear that I consider lenses from both systems to be exceptional optically. Which is why I do not talk about it below.
I have wrote about Fuji X system many times in the past. I also owned an X100s for some time. Fujifilm has many things that appeal to me, especially the famed Fuji Colour and the more control over depth of field compared to my current micro four third kits.
The reason I have not switch to Fuji X system in the past has to do mainly with 3 things:
- Size and weight – Particularly for the zoom lenses
- Completeness of lens system – Things look a lot different 2 years ago
- Autofocus – Speed / Tracking / Face & Eye Detection
- Flash system
Issue number 2 has completely disappear, with Fuji now having a pretty complete system. The only down point might be lack of 3rd party lenses. But Fuji’s lineup makes it difficult for anyone to enter successfully.
Issue number 3, Autofocus, is less of an issue now. While a camera like the X-T1 or X-Pro2 still does not acquire focus with contrast detection as quickly as a top-end Olympus or Panasonic body, it is usable for my needs.
So, in this post I want to investigate issue number 1, size and weight of Fuji lenses versus their micro four thirds counterparts.
I am not including every lenses from both systems, but the ones that I am interested in. These are most of the prime lenses and the premium zoom lenses.
The first thing I noticed was that Fuji’s are certainly heavier, but not by a whole lot in many categories. The 2nd thing that jumped out was the difference in weight of the f/2.8 zoom lenses.
Standard Zoom and Tele Zoom – I am showing Panasonic’s f/2.8 zooms instead of the Olympus’s PRO zooms because I own both the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 and carry them together all the time, so they are my reference points. To me, the 2 Panasonics are true embodiment of micro four thirds idea. Small, lightweight, and great performing lenses. The combined weight of the 2 Panasonics is 665 gram, while the Fuji duo weights in at 1,650 gram. (2.5 times)
The Fuji XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 “kit lens” does perform very well, and if one settles for that instead of the XF 16-55/2.8 the equation becomes a bit more balanced.
35mm-eq – The XF 23/1.4 got rave reviews, but the PanaLeica 15/1.7 is no slouch and wins on performance-per-weight. (If you area reading this and thinks the Fuji is 3 times better then, good for you.)
Nifty Fifty and Premium 50mm-eq – This is a focal length Fuji is doing exceptionally well. The XF 35/2 is only 45 gram heavier than the Lumix 25/1.7. And the more premium XF 35/1.4 is in fact lighter than the PanaLeica 25/1.4.
Short Tele – For the favorite 85mm-eq focal length, both systems have their own gems. The XF 56/1.2 is not light, but the PanaLeica Nocticron 42.5/1.2 is one of the heaviest micro four third lens and they are almost equal in weight.
But micro four third has another gem in the m.Zuiko 45/1.8 which weight less than one third of either of the more premium lenses. If you want to go very small on MFT, you have the option.
Long Tele and Super Zoom – I used to own both the m.Zuiko 75/1.8 and Lumix 14-140 f/3.5-5.6 but sold them both. While the Fuji counterparts weight quite a bit more, they are not very important in my consideration because these types of lenses don’t suit my shooting style.
So Fuji compares well on weight on a few category, and MFT still retain healthy weight advantage in a few category. How about current price?
I use B&H price at the end of March 2016 to compare. And, again, advantages go both way depending on lens category.
Being out in the market for longer, and being smaller and using less raw materials, some micro four third lenses can be had for quite a bit less than the Fuji counterparts. However, for the premium lenses the Fujis are not much more expensive at all. And the ludicrous list price of the Nocticron can even fetch two of the XF 56/1.2!
Of course, the law of physics still stand, so size and weight are not going to be the selling point for Fuji when compared to MFT. But I think they have done very, very well within the design constraint. And each of the XF lenses produce quite stunning results.
Will I make the switch?
I am quite tempted at this point. The main sticking point (besides lack of good flash units) is the f/2.8 zoom lenses. If only I can afford to keep just the Lumix 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 and one body, then switch everything else to Fuji.