I know, I know. I got into Fuji X-system to save my back from lugging all that heavy DSLR gear. And now I got this pretty big and heavy baby. So how? First, let me say that I am not collecting gear like that. I stay true to my goal from the beginning of the year to buy new gear only when I can sell something else I do not use any more. Officially, I only have Fuji gear now. I sold my medium format Mamiya 645Super, Panasonic GH4, two Nikon DSLRs, and all the lenses but one which will go soon anyway as I already have a buyer for it. Even though this zoom is not a cheap lens, I did not spend more money on it than I was able to make from sales. It's all good.
So question is why did I buy this biggie. There are many photographers out there who enjoy being on the wide side when it comes to lens choices. There is nothing wrong with that but I am not part of that group. I do like to use telephoto lens. I do like the look and the compression it gives. For certain situation the longer lens is a better choice I am planning a trip to Mongolia. While doing my research I realized that longer focal length might be actually quite useful in country with this vast open spaces and long distances. The longest focal length I have is XF 56mm. I wanted something longer. Of course there are few cheaper and smaller options in Fuji lens lineup so why go for heaviest and most expensive one? First of all I wanted weather sealing. While traveling, I am often in the elements and weather sealing gives me that extra peace of mind while shooting. XF 18-135mm is weather sealed option but I don't really like the floating aperture and this is also a super zoom and certain compromises have to be made while designing and constructing such a lens. While optical quality of this lens is superb for what it is, it cannot match XF 50-140mm no matter how you look at it. XF 55-200mm has longer reach, it is smaller and lighter but it also features floating aperture and it is not weather sealed. Last contender was a prime lens, the new XF 90mm F2 R. It is smaller, faster, it is sharp and all together quite remarkable lens. I was tempted. I had a chance to try it out and boy, I loved it. But I am not primarily portrait photographer and versatility of XF 50-140mm won. All metal construction, internal focusing, aperture of 2.8 across the focal range, weather sealing and great OIS were all the winning reasons. The drawbacks? Definitely the size and weight of this lens. I compared it to Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 D lens that I owned and Fuji version was only tad smaller and lighter. It is of course much lighter than current full frame models of the same lens from Canikon.
So there you have it. There goes the "traveling light" part. I know this is going to be the biggest and heaviest piece of Fuji gear I will ever own. I do not shoot wildlife and sports so this is a pretty safe bet. This lens will not go with me on every single trip. I will consider carefully if the lens would get good use so I am not overly concerned. Anyway, I am pretty excited. Mongolian trip is less than 2 months away. Please come back for samples from this trip and the lens as well.