It seems like ever since the first Fujifilm X-mount camera was launched, the X-Pro1, we can’t help but admire the progress Japanese manufacturer has been making. And it is not just the release of well thought-through line-up of cameras Fujifilm’s relentless attempts to improve models with firmware updates. Not just the pleasing design or quality of lenses. It is also what they have in store for us in the upcoming year. Fujifilm has just updated its X-mount lens roadmap for 2014 (and the start of 2015). And it looks bloody brilliant.
If the new roadmap is to be trusted (and it should be given that the latest XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens is right on time), in a year the X-mount Fujinon lens line-up should consist of at least 17 lenses not counting those developed by other manufacturers for the system. And those are not re-releases, oh no. You won’t see three different super zooms. Just the one, XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R OIS. Genuinely different lenses, then. Mighty impressive for a compact camera system that will be barely three years old by that time. But then, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Instead, here is a closer look at the list of contenders. Mind you, specifications might still change, yet this list should give you a pretty good idea of what Fuji’s got in store:
1) Fixed Focal Length Lens
2012 and 2013 were the years of mostly prime Fujinon lenses as the manufacturer focused its efforts on providing a versatile range of compact, high quality optics. The fact that there is only one prime lens planned for the second half of 2014 shows that Fujifilm has not forgotten zoom lens users, too, and seeks to target as many audiences as it can.
So, the single prime lens. Specifications are unclear at this point, but Fujifilm defines it as a high speed wide angle lens. Rather mysterious, you say? Not at all. Of course, this is just me guessing, but given that there are now 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.2 full-frame equivalent Fujinon prime lenses, I feel quite confident in saying that, as far as fast aperture wide angle lenses go, only a 24mm f/1.4 equivalent is missing. Don’t take my word for it, we will have to wait a while longer before it is certain. That said, a 16mm f/1.4 lens would be very welcome and a serious blow to other compact camera systems should they not provide a comparable optic by that time.
2) Variable Focal Length Lenses
- XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R OIS – the first of the new batch of lenses to greet us this year, there is nothing all that spectacular about this super-zoom, at least on paper. Interestingly, it is designated as an XF lens and not the lower-end XC type. It is now known that the lens will be sealed against dust and moisture.
- XF 16-55 f/2.8 R OIS – as thus far predicted by Fujifilm, this high-speed standard zoom lens will follow the previously mentioned super-zoom shortly after. When used, it will act similarly to how a 24-85mm lens would on a full-frame camera and will be designed as an alternative to 24-70mm class lenses. As you can see from the specifications, it will most likely target professional photographers and, assuming it will perform on the level we expect Fujinon lenses to, might just lure a few more DSLR users to embrace Fujifilm X system as the main one. Looking at the lens line-up, that certainly seems to be one of Fuji’s goals! It is now known that the lens will be sealed against dust and moisture.
- XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R OIS – as a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is an ever-present companion to a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, this constant aperture zoom lens is a natural sibling to the aforementioned XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens with basically the same target audience (professionals). It will surely be among the biggest and heaviest Fujinon X-mount lenses. The full-frame equivalent focal length is 75-210mm. If you are primarily a zoom lens users, this lens coupled to the upcoming XF 16-55mm f/2.8 and the already-current XF 10-24mm f/4 lens should help you cover more or less any situation except for when you might need a longer focal length (wildlife photography) or a macro lens. It is now known that the lens will be sealed against dust and moisture.
- Super Telephoto Zoom Lens – I mentioned wildlife photography? Well, perhaps Fujifilm has something in store for those who need more reach than 210mm full-frame equivalent. It is hard to say what sort of lens this will be, so we will just have to wait and see. Expect it to be officially announced January next year.