Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 OIS Lens

Posted in art, Fuji, Jason Gray, photography, Review, zoom lens by Jason Gray on March 28, 2020

Several years ago, I decided to convert from zoom lenses to prime lenses. This was a pivot designed to benefit my creativity (prime lenses encourage you to move around, which lends to new perspectives, and they simplify compositional decisions), and to give my work a more cohesive “look”. Since making that decision, I’ve never really looked back, and couldn’t imagine lugging heavy 2.8 zooms around anymore. However, when I converted from Nikon to Fuji, I recognized that I needed a focal length longer than 50mm, that could fill the shoes (mostly) of my old Nikkor 105mm. I considered the Fuji 90mm f/2, but this 55-200mm was on sale, fast enough for my occasional use, and offered more reach than I had previously. I took a chance, and boy, am I happy that I did!

The lenses I review are measured in terms of their performance in three categories: Specialist, Utility or Passion. As always, I am not a technical reviewer, so this won’t be charts and tests driven, just real world experiences.        



  1. Specialty Rating (pro quality/top IQ/special purpose): 7

The top specialty lenses are impeccable. They deliver maximum image quality (loads of sharpness, great contrast, minimum distortion and excellent color reproduction), are lightning fast, and are specialists’ tools- i.e. wedding photographers, architectural or other commercial photographers, etc.

As a specialist tool, the Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 OIS lens checks a lot of boxes. Though it is a variable aperture lens, I tend to think of it like a 70-200mm f/4. The major weaknesses of that classic lens are true for this one too: many are not weather sealed and the aperture is a bit slow for indoor or low light work. In this case, you can add to that with this lens that the zoom is not internal and that image quality is not perfect throughout the range (you get the typical weakening of IQ at the extremes of the zoom range).

That said, I have been nothing but impressed with this lens. Optics are quite good, and certainly good enough for client work, zoom creep is virtually non-existent, the OIS is outstanding, and the its performance in lowlight (focus acquisition, detail rendering, etc.) is impressive (see the image further down this post). In fact, the only reason why this lens doesn’t score higher here is a lack of constant aperture and overall speed, but for what it is, I don’t think you could find a better option out there.

2. Utility Rating (versatility for multiple applications): 10

Utility lenses are the optical equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife, they cut, they saw, they open cans, but they’re often clunky and inefficient when compared to tools dedicated to those tasks. These (usually) zoom lenses are generalists’ tools; their purpose is utility and convenience for the enthusiast.

As a utility lens, this zoom can’t be beat. The focal range is useful for portraits, wildlife, landscapes, events and so much more. Combine that with the fact that this lens can be had for well under $1,000, is super lightweight and relatively compact for this range, is faster than virtually all of its peers in this class, and features excellent OIS, I simply can’t imagine a better utility lens out there at the moment- this is a premium quality product dressed up as a pedestrian kit lens.

This is a lens that I almost always travel with and that comes along for almost all of my client shoots. I don’t always use it, but when I need to, it never lets me down.

3. Passion Rating (does the lens inspire your photography?): 7

Passion lenses are ones that you form an emotional attachment to.  These lenses can be zooms or primes, slow or fast, cheap or expensive.  These lenses make photography fun. They get out of your way (or in some cases, get in your way), and let you think about composition and subject.

You know, this boils down to the fact that I just don’t feel that passionate about using zooms. That said, I often think about this lens as both a 55mm and a 200mm f/4 prime, and tend to approach scenes with that in mind. It certainly is not an unpleasant zoom to use, though I do wish the zoom action were internal.


Full Name: Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
Max/Min. Aperture: 3.5 to 4.8/22
Diaphragm Blades: 7 rounded
Lens Configuration: 14 Elements in 10 Groups
Filter Size: 62 mm
Magnification Ratio: .18x
Focuses Beyond: 3.5′ (approx.)

Durability: The lens is metal and feels solid.


I can’t remember a time when I have been more pleasantly surprised by a purchase than with this lens. The 55-200mm punches well about its weight class.

So just how does the Fuji XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 OIS lens perform? Check out the images below to see for yourself.



The above image was shot handheld at 1/30 at ISO 6400; how’s that for OIS performance!?










Gear used for product shots:

Fuji X-E3

Fuji 35mm f/2 WR lens

2 Responses

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  1. […] Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 […]

  2. […] Rokinon 12mm f/2, Fuji 16mm f/2.8 WR, Fuji 23mm f/2 WR, Fuji 35mm f/2 WR, Fuji 50mm f/2 WR and Fuji 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 OIS). I will occasionally swap out the 55-200mm for the Viltrox 85mm 1.8 if portraits are a focus or I […]

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