Est. 2020

Fujifilm XF 100-400 vs 150-600

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Quick Facts about the Fujifilm XF 150-600mm F5.6-8 LM OIS WR Lens

  • Weight: 3.5lbs/1605 Grams
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Filter Size: 82mm
  • Angle of View: 10.8 to 2.7 Degrees
  • Focusing Distance:  7.9’/2.4m
  • Max Aperture: F5.6-F8
  • Minimum Aperture: F22
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Mount System: Fuji X
  • Price: $1,999
  • Zoom: Internal 
  • Accepts Teleconverters*

Quick Facts about the Fujifilm XF 100-400 F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens 

  • Weight: 3.03 lbs/1375 Grams
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Angle of View: 16.2 to 4.1 Degrees 
  • Focusing Distance: 5.74’/1.75m
  • Max Aperture: F4.5-F5.6
  • Minimum Aperture: F22
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Mount System: Fuji X
  • Price: $1,899.95
  • Zoom: Extension 
  • Accepts Teleconverters*

Why compare the Fujifilm 150-600 vs the 100-400?/Who are these lenses for?

For the longest time, the Fujifilm XF 100-400 was the longest native, telephoto zoom by Fujifiulm for their X-Mount. (If you wanted anything longer, you were forced to look at the Sigma 150-600 and use a Fringer Adapter.)

However, lately Fujifilm has placed a substantial amount of R&D monies within the telephoto category. First, in March of 2021, the grand 70-300 was released. (Met by numerous positive reviews including one by yours truly.) And in June of 2021, Fujifilm officially announced the newest super-telephoto zoom, the 150-600. 

Now, several years of technology and changes have passed since the 100-400’s announcement in January of 2016, but there are (at first glance) numerous similarities between the two lenses.

Both lenses are designed for wildlife, nature, and possibly sport photography. Plus, they cover the 150-400mm focal length, and they are only one-stop away from each other at their apertures. AND there is the price. The 100-400 retails for $1,899, and the 150-600 has a MSRP of $1,999. 

This all being said, I thought there were numerous reasons to compare these two lenses. 

What other telephoto lenses exist within the Fuji-X lineup?

 

So, here’s the skinny on each of these lenses. 

The 55-200 used to be my favorite telephoto lens to recommend to new Fujifilm photographers. Now, that has been replaced by my favorite……

The 70-300. The XF 70-300 is the best XF telephoto lens. It wins in price, weight, and has superb performance throughout the zoom range. The only downside is this lens is not designed for low-light photography. Which is why you need the….

50-140 for low-light. It beats out every other lens on this lens for sharpness. I think it’s overpriced. However, only you can answer whether the price tag is worth it. If you are questioning whether you need it or not, the answer is no. 

Finally, that leaves us with the Fujifilm XC 50-230 F4.5-6.7 MK II. It’s going to struggle, but it’s the only lens on this list that is sub-$400. 

 

Prime Lenses

  • Fujifilm XF 200mm F2

Expensive, heavy, fast, and sharp. This behemoth retails for almost $6,000 new. 

With the aperture of F2, this lens will allow for numerous styles of photography. (But I would love to see some wildlife photos with this lens!)

I firmly believe this lens is the only Fujifilm XF lens that belongs in the red-badge category. The rest of the red-badge (16-55, 8-16, 50-140, and 100-400) lenses are nice. However, compared to other premium options by Canon or Nikon, the Fujifilm system is lacking. 

Dials, Switches, Buttons, Tripod foot, and More

On the 150-600, there are a couple of switches, buttons, dials, etc. that I felt I should mention. They greatly affect the functionality, and with something such as an X-T4, it gives the impression of a full-analog experience. 

The owner’s manual can be found here; however, here is what’s present on this lens

Switches

  • Focus Range Selector (Focus Range Limiter)
  • Aperture Mode Switch
  • Focus Selector 

Buttons

  • One Focus Preset Button
  • 4 Focus Control Buttons

Extras 

  • Shoulder Strap Eyelet
  • Lens Hood
  • Tripod Foot
 

What things are we missing?

  • Marked Aperture Ring 
  • OIS-ON/OFF switch 
 
Meanwhile, on the 100-400, we have…

Switches

  • OIS – ON/OFF 
  • Focus Range Selector (Focus Range Limiter)
  • Aperture Mode Switch

Extras 

  • Lens Hood
  • Tripod Foot
 
 

Build Quality Comparison

This is no competition. The 150-600mm wins the build-quality comparison, handily. This is despite the fact that the 150-600 weighs only .5 pounds more. (The 100-400 weighs 3.03 lbs/1375 Grams; 150-600 weighs 3.5 lbs/1605 grams.)

Let’s first rant about the 100-400. This plastic lens has a very “plastic” feel. (More on this below.) This material might have been used to combat a heavier weight, but it feels very cheap. If I had to guess, it’s made out of the same materials as the 55-200. 

I am also concerned with longevity. I don’t know if it was my borrowed copy, but the zoom ring felt very loose. And because of that, the 100-400 also suffered from a serious case of lens creep. (It does have a zoom-lock for those that are curious.) Also, a side-rant…. The paint makes the lens always look dirty. Fingerprints and sweat will constantly have to be wiped off.)

 

Meanwhile, the 150-600mm, despite being made out of plastic too, has a more “premium” feel. The body feels solid, the zoom is internal, and the only concern that would arise is from dropping this lens. 

If you are looking from a pure aesthetic, the silver-pear finish apparently dissipates heat. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case; however, I received numerous compliments about the 150-600. The black 100-400 was just “meh.”

How far is the FOV? 

Far. They both have a very long reach. 

*150-600mm

*100-400mm

I think it’s impressive that even with the 1.4x teleconverter, the 100-400 is still shorter than the 150-600mm. (With the 100-400 & the 1.4 tele, we have an approximate length of 140-560mm. Full-frame equivalent of 210-840mm.)

Meanwhile… 

The Fujifilm 150-600mm with the 1.4x teleconverter is 210-840mm. This is a full-frame equivalent of 294 – 1260mm. 

The Fujifilm 150-600mm with the 2x teleconverter is 300-1200mm. This is a full-frame equivalent of 420 – 1800mm.

If I am taking photos of flora and fauna, I would greatly prefer the 150-600. It is significantly easier to fill up the full-picture with that lens, and its sharpness allows you to significantly crop.

At which focal length does the aperture change on the Fujifilm 150-600? & 100-400?

150-600

150mm 

185mm 

316mm

539mm

@F5.6 

@F6.4

@F7.1

@F8 

I’m not going to lie, the 150-600 is very difficult to photograph with. At 316mm, I had an aperture of F7.1. If you are well-versed in photography, you will know that there are only a few hours of each day that are bright enough to justify that aperture and a high-enough shutter speed for sharp photos. 

At which focal length does the aperture change on the Fujifilm 100-400?

100-400

*I forgot to test this. However, I consulted with numerous sources. And they all suggested the same thing

100mm 

200mm 

300mm

400mm

@F4.5

@F5.0

@F5.2

@F5.6 

Although it’s only about one-stop faster, that makes a huge difference in your shutter speed. 

Fujfilm 150-600 vs 100-400 Sharpness Test

150-600

100-400

Combined

About the 100-400

  • The lens has its best output between 150-300mm. (Typical of zoom lenses)
  • Noticeable fall-off. If I had to guess, the fall-off severely affected the image quality around 370mm. But the degradation actually started taking place around 350mm.

 

About the 150-600

  • To my eye, the lens’s sharpness peaks at F8, for all focal lengths. 
  • Slight fall-off in sharpness around 500 millimeters. If you bounce between the photos labeled 502mm @F8 and 391.4mm @F8, focus on the line of bubbles above the mortar joint. You will see the reduction in sharpness.
  • I was actually content with the sharpness at all focal lengths, which cannot be said about the 100-400

 

Comparing the lenses 

  • Perhaps on the shorter end (100mm and 150mm respectively), the 100-400 holds a slight edge in regards to sharpness. 
  • If you are doing brick-wall tests at 600mm regularly, please let me know on twitter. I have questions. 
  • I don’t think there is any question. If you need a lens longer than 300mm, your best bet is the 150-600. Pair the 150-600 with the 70-300, and you will have a great telephoto lens combination. 

 

Bokeh Test

To me, the bokeh in the 150-600 is pleasant and natural, and the bokeh on the 100-400 is kind of unnerving between the two. Now, although we can get similar depth-of-field with these apertures (600mm @F8 & 400mm @F5.6), this is not something that you should aspire to utilize. 

Quite frankly, if you are looking for wonderful bokeh for something serious such as wildlife photography, you might consider another ecosystem altogether. 

Bokeh Balls Test

When reviewing the bokeh balls of the 100-400, my first impressions on the back of the LCD screen were mostly positive. 

I didn’t see any cat’s eye or onion ring effects. 

However, when examining these pictures in post-production past F4.5, I noticed something…

 the bokeh balls aren’t round. 

And they NEVER round out. 

Sure, some of that could be due to the complex optical design of the lens. 

However, the hexagonal shape bokeh bothered me. 

But now let’s compare this to the 150-600. 

In all honestly, at F5.6, the bokeh balls suffered from a large amount of cat’s eye in the corner…. and it was only by F11 that the bokeh balls developed that hexagonal shape. 
 
On the bright-side, this lens did not have any onion-ring effect. 

Autofocus Comparison Test

These photos were shot at 15 FPS with the mechanical shutter, and I was very much limited by the buffer with my UHS-I Micro-SD card.

Also, the camera settings were face-detect on.

However, I was able to hit every photograph despite a moving subject. I also photographed a impromptu kickball game, and when I was able to keep the camera lens steady (next time, I take a tripod), I was able to hit about 90% of the photos. 

Now, let’s talk about video autofocus in tracking. 

  • Any Eye
  • Tracking Sensitivity +2
  • Autofocus Speed +3

From a video-perspective, both lenses are quite good. 

However, I don’t think I would rely on either of them for their video capability. 

Focusing Distance and Macro Performance 

For the 100-400, the focusing distance is 5.74 feet/1.75 meters, and the maximum magnification ratio is .19x, 

The 150-600 has a focusing distance of 7.9 feet (2.4 Meters), and the maximum magnification ratio is .24x.

Neither are going to produce ideal results for macro-photography. However, the ability to get a 600mm focal length with an F8 aperture, and a relatively close focusing distance of 7.9 feet creates a small advantage for the 150-600. Plus, you cannot forget about the natural bokeh.

OIS Test

With the 150-600, Fujifilm suggests that the OIS offers up to 5 stops of stabilization. While I often think claims about stabilization are exaggerated, the 150-600 comes close. 

If you watch the poor sample video above closely, you can see how stable the footage is despite being a long focal length. It almost likes I am moving the lens on a tripod, but it was hand-held. 

Sure, the 100-400 is usable for most photographers and videographers. (Just avoid the digital stabilization for warped corners.) But it just felt like a bit less. (Please note: the 100-400 is also supposedly rated for up to 5 stops.)

Starburst/Sunburst 

Pick something wider for sunstars. 

Why should I pick the 100-400 over the 150-600?

  • Potentially Cheaper (If you buy used)

Once in a while, Fujifilm will run rebates and other specials. For the past couple of years, it seems like the Fujifilm XF 100-400 has been on the list almost every year. If you knock a few hundred dollars off with the rebate, and then you purchased used, a copy *might be available for $1,300. That’s when this lens becomes a compelling option, since the 150-600 is so new that the used market is bare. 

  • Low-Light

Sadly, the 150-600 is just extremely in low-light. A tripod will help out in 95% of those issues, but it’s just one more thing to carry. 
 
  • Not as “niche”
 
The people who need the 150-600 know they need it. And quite honestly, the 100-400 is way less difficult to master. There are less buttons, and it’s an easier focal length. 

Why should I pick the 150-600 over the 100-400?

  • Reach

Look, there is no doubt in my mind. At some points when I was testing the 150-600, it felt like a cheat code. 

  • Price/Quality

I think the 150-600 certainly has a premium feel for $2,000. It’s enough to turn heads, and the quality certainly made me do a double take in both the field and post-production. 

Plus, I think the 150-600 is built better. 

My Final Ratings 

Fujifilm XF 150-600mm F5.6-8 LM OIS WR Lens

Price: 4/5
 
Do I wish it was $200 cheaper? Yes, absolutely. However, it is good enough for $2,000. 

Reliability: 4/5

The points are lost mainly due to low-light. It can be worked around with by using a tripod, however, 

Functionality: 5/5

One of the largest FOV changes in a camera lens that I have ever seen. 

Style: 5/5

Looks good. Looks Expensive. 

Total: 18/20 or 90%

Fujifilm XF 100-400 F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Price: 2/5
It’s too expensive, hands down. The 150-600 is built out of plastic as well, and feels more deserving of the red badge name. 
  

Reliability: 3.5/5

It’s mostly reliable as long as you don’t need to take photos of brick walls at 400mm AND birds don’t fly within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of you. 

Functionality: 3.5/5

Yeah, it wins back some points here. The 100-400 is a good focal length. 

Style: 4/5

-1 point for always showing fingerprints. 

Total: 13/20 or 65%.

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