Est. 2020

Fujifilm XF 30mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review

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Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Macro

  • Weight: 6.9 oz/195 Grams 
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Filter Size: 43mm (I recommend purchasing an after-market lens cap. Don’t purchase the Sensei. Purchase the Canon E-43.)
  • Angle of View: 50.7 Degrees
  • Focusing Distance:  3.9″/10cm
  • Max Aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: F22
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Mount System: Fuji X
  • Price: $599
  • Maximum Magnification: 1x
  • Macro Reproduction Ratio: 1:1 at .1 meters. / 1:5 at .22 meters.

Table of Contents

Who is the Fuji 30mm F2.8 for?

Whenever I read on Fuji Rumors that Fujifilm would be releasing another mid-range prime around the 50mm (Full-frame equivalent), I was honestly quite annoyed. 

After all, I see an enormous gap within the super wide-angle primes, a medium telephoto (70mm APS-C; 105mmFF), and even the telephoto primes. 

Additionally, 30mm is not exactly a macro-specific focal length. Because this lens is actually a bit wider than other recent macro lenses (besides the Canon RF 35mm F1.8), you always have a lot more in your environmental background. 

But despite me wanting to rant, this lens is not actually not a bad lens for the cost. There is slight color fringing, the sharpness is good-enough, and the distortion is minimized. 

This lens is designed for the casual shooter, who occasionally wants to experiment with macro-style photography. Although it’s usable, professional photographers will probably want to look at the 80mm, as being able to step-back from your subject and still achieve the 1:1 macro-reproduction is handy. Plus, the 80mm F2.8 has OIS. 

What other XF lenses cover the 30mm (APS-C)/ 45(FF) equivalent?

Thankfully, there is no exact XF lens that measures out to 30mm (45mm Full-Frame). However, there are numerous other prime and zoom lenses within this series that are only 5 millimeters or so away from this lens. 

So many lenses exist, I am starting to think that Fujifilm might be becoming a bit too obsessed with these mid-range primes. 

Primes 

  • Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8

The Fujifilm 27mm is Fujifilm’s standard pancake lens. It recently had a refresh with weather resistance and an aperture ring. 

Probably the better optics amongst all of Fujifilm’s lenses, this lens is excellent. The build quality is superb, the autofocus is plenty fast, and it’s not too much more expensive than the 30mm F2.8, actually. 

  • Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4
The Fujifilm 35mm F1.4 was one of Fujifilm’s first prime lenses, and it was released in 2011 along with the X-Pro 1 and some other lenses. The autofocus certainly hunts and the sharpness is not the best in the corners. However, this and the 16mm F1.4 are amongst the legendary lenses within the X-Mount. You will repeatedly hear that this lens has character. 
 
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm F2

Almost every camera eco-system has a budget nifty-fifty, and this is the XF premium version. 

  • Fujifilm XC 35mm F2
Interestingly, the XC 35mm F2 is the same optical formula of the XF 35mm F2. However, it lacks the aperture ring and weather-sealing. It’s the other nifty-fifty. 
 
 
Zooms
 
  • Fujifilm XF 18-55 F2.8-F4.0
 

The standard kit lens. A used copy can be purchased for around $300.

What are the other XF Macro Lenses?

Additionally, I would be amiss if I failed to mention the two other XF lenses that specialize in macro-style photography besides the 30mm F2.8. 

  • Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4
This is the one XF maco lens that causes angst amongst XF photographers. After all, the maximum magnification is only 1:2, there is a minimum focusing distance of 10.5 inches (About 27cm), and its autofocus is pretty slow.
 
However, it was one of Fujifilm’s first lenses, too. It was released in 2011 along with the aforementioned 35mm F1.4 
 
  • Fujifilm XF 80mm F2.8
 

The Fujifilm 80mm F2.8’s is the other lens for the XF ecosystem. Like the 30mm F2.8, it does have a 1:1 maximum reproduction ratio. AND it does have a closer minimum focusing distance at 9.84 inches. The OIS means you will be less reliant on a tripod, plus you don’t have to get as close to this lens to the subject. 

How to Use a Macro Lens

Although you can achieve a shallow depth of field with F2.8, in order to fully utilize the full macro capabilities of this lens, you are going to have to get close. (About .10 meter or 3.9 inches.)

To take a macro photo with this lens. 

  1. Place your camera on a tripod. 
  2. Place your subject in front of you. 
  3. Use the manual focus option on your camera. (The autofocus points are too large for the point you will want to be in focus.)
  4. Focus Peep (Zoom in) and make sure you are actually in focus. 
  5. Take the picture
 
Now, just because you are really close to the subject, does not mean that you will actually want to use the minimum aperture. (Depth of field = Aperture + Focusing Distance) Because sometimes, your depth of field is so shallow that half of your subject is actually out of focus. 

Additionally, there is actually not a huge difference between F2.8 and F5 depth of field with something this close. 

Macro Performance and Reproduction Ratio

Here is the Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 manual exposure chart, and then I have something to say. 

In order to achieve the 1:1 macro, this lens is very difficult to use, about .10 meter or 3.9 inches. And the closer you get to the subject, the more likely there will be shadows or other abnormalities within the photo. Therefore, be very careful with your composition. 

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Aperture Changes -- 30mm Owner's Manual
From the Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Owner's Guide

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 vs 80mm F2.8

30mm

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Aperture Changes -- 30mm Owner's Manual
From the Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Owner's Guide

80mm

Fujifilm 80mm F2.8 Owners Guide
From the Fujifilm 80mm F2.8 Owner's Guide

Although the 30mm F2.8 actually has a lower effective F-Stop to achieve the 1:1, (The 30mm has an effective aperture of 3.2; while the 80mm has an effective aperture of F4.) I think the 80mm might be a bit better. 

This is mainly because that 1:1 reproduction ratio is at a minimum focusing distance of .25 meters. (9.84 inches)

The 80mm F2.8 allows you to back up over 4 inches further away than the 30mm, and with the focal length, it produces the same if not similar levels of depth of field. (I know it’s not exact.)

Color Fringing 

*Please note: You can click on these photos, and they will expand to a full-sized image. 

For this 30mm F2.8, I did see some slight color fringing at F2.8. It may not be noticeable to most people, but if you click on the photos, you will see that at F2.8 there is some purple and green fringing. (These photos were shot RAW, and processed very minimally in Capture One.) At F4, I did feel like most of the color fringing on the 30mm was gone. 

However, it is a disappointment in the fact I have to be careful with this lens wide-open, Considering that the very thing that this lens is supposed to do is produce good bokeh and allow me to get really close to the subject, this is one of the palces the lens falls flat. 

Focusing Distance & Depth of Field

The minimum focusing distance is the same as the maximum reproduction ratio .10 meters/3.9 inches. 

And the camera is always able to find something to focus on. Let’s take, for example, the coffee mug above. I was literally leaning the camera onto the mug. 

Wow, that was a long but necessary introduction. So, let’s continue on to the best Fujifilm camera bodies to pair this lens with. 

If you are concerned about size ratio (body to lens), realistically any of the Fujifilm XT bodies work pair well with this lens. 

However, if you are thinking about attributes of this lens (macro capabilities), there are two things that matter. 

  1. A Good EVF

Whenever you focus-peek in the viewfinder or back LCD screen, you will need a good EVF. 

  1. IBIS

No offense to the X-T30 or older generations, but you will need the IBIS as this lens lacks OIS. The IBIS will keep micro-jitters at bay and help you keep your subject in focus. 

For this review, I tested the 30mm F2.8 on the X-T4, and the camera body saved numerous pictures. 

So, the current Fujifilm cameras that have IBIS and a somewhat good EVF are the X-H2, X-H2s, X-T4, X-S10, and the X-T5.(X-H1)

Dials, Switches, Buttons, and More

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Macro Reviewjpg

The only button on this lens is the aperture lock. If you engage the aperture lock, you can customize a dial within the settings, and use that dial or button to change the aperture. 

Personally, I have the front command dial set-up to change the aperture. 

Build Quality Review

Whenever you hold the 30mm F2.8, you certainly are not going to be as impressed. Some of the other lenses (the 18-120, 33mm F1.4, and the 56mm F1.2 WR) are built to a higher standard. However, this lens is waterproof and could handle most scenarios. If I had to compare it to a pre-existing lens, it would the 50mm F2. 

The aperture ring clicks nicely, and it does have a hard-stop or clicking feeling. 

Finally, let’s talk about the front lens element. 

The front lens element is the most unique front lens element I have ever seen, as it actually is extremely small compared to the lens diameter. However, you most definitely will need to purchase a UV filter for this lens. 

As you can see in the photo, I took the lens filter off, was trying to achieve the 1:1 magnification, and somehow bumped into the subject. 

A 43mm UV filter will cost about $20, and they are much cheaper than the new lenses.

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Brick Wall Sharpness Test

For this lens, the minimum aperture is F2.8, and the maximum aperture is F22. However, I found the sharpness to be mostly excellent all the way through the aperture-range, and to my eye, I did not notice any major change in sharpness in the center or corners. 

If I had to be extremely picky, you started to notice slight degradation due to diffraction starting around F11. 

Bokeh Performance 

With this lens, the closer you get to the subject, the more bokeh or out-of-focus background you will have. 

Bokeh = Focusing Distance + Aperture

Fujifilm 30mm @ F2.8 - Bokeh
Fujifilm 30mm @ F2.8 - Bokeh

With this lens, there is absolutely no reason the bokeh should be bad, if you use it really close to your subject. 

Bokeh Balls Review

The bokeh balls on the 30mm F2.8 left a lot to be desired, especially considering that you will have less than 1 full stop of good, round bokeh balls. (And the corners will not be round at F2.8)

So, from what I saw in the photos above. 

  • @F2.8
    • Center
    • At F2.8, the 30mm has nice, round center bokeh balls. I did not see any major soap bubble effect. 
    • Corner
    • Sadly, the corner bokeh balls suffered from cat’s eye, which is pretty common in almost every Fujifilm lens. The cat’s eye starts around the 1/3 of the frame. 
  • @F3.2
    • Center
    • To me, F3.2 is really the last time you can rely on the bokeh balls. If you zoom in, you will start to see the beginning of the outlining of the aperture blades. However, this is not as apparent if you don’t zoom in. 
  • @F3.6
    • Sadly, this is where you will start to see a very apparent 9-sided nonagon. 

If you were purchasing this lens strictly for macro-photography, this is one category that should cause hesitation before you purchase. 

Photo Autofocus Performance 

It was exceptionally difficult to use this camera lens’s photo autofocus, as I felt like the technology used in this lens was just too far behind the current linear motors that Fujifilm uses. 

The 30mm would hunt sometimes, and never quite latch on to the subject you wanted to. (It surely does not help that the unique focal length means that there was always something behind the subject.)

To avoid this, I ended up using manual focus for about 90% of the photos you see in this page. 

Video Autofocus Performance 

While checking the autofocus box during the recording of this, the 30mm F2.8 and the X-T4 combo was a disappointment. (AF Speed +3; Tracking Sensitivity +2, Any Eye) The small square was not latched onto my face, and it certainly was concerning. (That’s why you will hear me mutter towards the end of the video.)

However, after reviewing the autofocus in post-production, it seems like the lens/camera combination did actually latch and track my face. 

Now, there are numerous reviews out there that claim the typical jargon. “The Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 has excellent autofocus, and it’s fast, snappy, quick, etc. etc.”

But it seemed to do an “okay” job. Not as snappy as the 33mm F1.4, but good-enough for people that are not moving too much. 

Distortion Test

Reviewing this lens, it’s clear that it has a slight form of distortion. However, it’s nothing major and most people won’t realize it. The JPEG version was corrected. 

Vignetting

The 30mm F2.8 does have some sort of vignetting in the corners, too. I was able to negate this in post-production, but I think vignetting is very clear in the Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 – pre photo. 

This is actually going to happen, as the lighting changes throughout the background, too, in this photo. 

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Starburst Effect (Sunstars)

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Macro - F5.6
Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 Macro - F5.6

My time with this lens was filled with overcast days (#thanks winter), but I found that the 30mm F2.8 started to have an interesting starburst effect with Christmas lights. 

The starburst effect started around F5, but it became most apparent around F5.6. 

Sample Photos

Pros of the 30mm F2.8

Good-Enough Sharpness

Here’s something interesting. I was actually never disappointed with this lens’s sharpness. 

Environmental Macro Photography

Environmental Macro-Photography is one of the most difficult forms of photography, and practicing with this lens will allow you to re-examine composition, lighting, and dead-space in your photos. 

Let’s take, for example, this flower…..

or this line of coffee beans. 

Fujifilm 30mm F2.8 @F2.8 Coffee Beans

It’s a fun style, but you also have to think about how the subjects in the background will render. 

This lens will make you a better photographer. (After you spend 500 hours with it.)

Price/Quality Ratio

At $599 MSRP, I think that this lens is a reasonable cost.

I certainly believe that used copies of this lens will be floating around soon, as people may not understand how to use it. (And the price is not horrendous.)

And if you can purchase a used copy for about $500, you will be very satisfied. 

Cons of the 30mm F2.8

Too Close to Subject to Utilize the macro 1:1

This is more of a note, but with the 30mm, be very, very careful about trying to use the 30mm’s macro capabilities. 

I know 1:1 is great, but this is my final reminder that the focusing distance for this is only .1 meter. Depending on where your light source is, you could accidentally make the image with weird shadows. 

Plus, there is some vignetting that you already have to think about, too. 

Autofocus Seems Behind

The technology in this lens is already behind, and I have a feeling it will continue to get worse and worse. 

Final Notes

To me, this is much more of a standard, sharp lens than strictly a macro-esque lens. 

Now, the best lens in this category is assuredly the 33mm F1.4. (And it’s a lens that I love very much.)

And instead of purchasing this lens, you could purchase the XC 35mm F2 AND the 80mm F2.8 for a few hundred dollars more. (used)

However, it’s up to you. 

My Rating 

Price: 4.5/5
 
Look it’s not a bad price. But there are other options in the cheaper and more expensive markets. 
 

Reliability: 4/5

This lens is missing points for a couple of reasons. 


    1. The Bokeh Balls are not the Best. (-.5 Point)
    2. Loses .5 point for the autofocus. (You should probably using manual focus, anyway.)
 

However, it’s reliable in the aspect of build quality and weather-resistance. 

Functionality: 4/5

  • It’s a highly functional lens that doubles as a fun, macro lens.
  • Loses 1 entire point as you lose the 1:1 too soon. (At .11 meters, the reproduction ratio is already 1:1.5; At .10 meters, it is 1:1.)
 

Style :5/5

It’s kind of funny looking, but the paint is high-quality. The metal body is solid. Looks cool on the small, X-TXX line. (X-T40, etc.)

Total: 18.5/20 or 87.5%

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