Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 macro review – Closer to completion

Sometimes you just experience something that exceeds all your expectations in every possible aspect. The new Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM WR OIS Macro is exactly one of those experiences. I still can’t believe just how good and versatile this lens is. This is so much more than just a lens for shooting macro.

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X-T2 – XF80mm f/2.8

I’ve gotten quite used to the great quality of X series lenses, and during the past couple of years, the added weather sealing and fast AF is making these lenses great tools for the working photographer. The range of lenses is also quite complete, but the macro photographers have had to make due with the XF60mm f/2.4 and extension tubes if they wanted to achieve true 1:1 magnification type macro shots.
With the XF80mm f/2.8 Fujifilm adresses the macro photographers, but they also included all the knowledge of the past 3 years of designing the great X-series lenses into this lens. You can even use the tele converters with this lens, to further enhance its functionality.
Image Quality is nothing less than superb, it has fast autofocus when shooting sports, portraits and general photography, it has weather sealing for ultimate outdoor shooting comfort, and it has a true 1:1 macro function. It even has optical image stabilisation!
I’m not kidding when I say that this lens might be the best lens that Fujifilm has yet made for the X-series system!

Technical stuff

The lens itself is built as a 16 element in 12 groups construction. Within this load of elements there are 3 Low dispersion elements, one “super low dispersion” element (It has something to do with minimising aberrations, but why it’s “super” I don’t know 😛 ), one aspherical element and a floating focus system.

The XF 80mm f/2.8 focuses in two groups. The front focus group and rear focus group. The focus group in use is dependent on distance from subject. Hence you also have a focus limiter switch on the barrel. You can focus full range, from 0,25 – 0,5m and from 0,5m – infinity. The focus groups are held in place and move relative to each other using small ceramic balls in a slide. This ensures that they always focus without any focus shift. Fujifilm also include optical image stabilisation which I found fantastic for added stability when shooting freehand closeups and portraits where I had to dial down the aperture for added DOF.

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X-Pro2 – XF80mm f/2.8 + TC-1.4x

The focus is really fast and precise thanks to linear focus motors. These motors are also used in the 90mm f/2, 50-140mm f/2.8 and the likes, so if you have tried these lenses you know what to expect.
I used this lens for motorsports, kids soccer and street photography. And the autofocus never ever failed. It just locked on no matter what I did!
The linear motor is great for the larger type lenses, and as you can probably guess just by looking at all the crazy stuff included in this lens, it’s not exactly the smallest lens in the Fujifilm line up.

Size and build

The XF 80mm f/2.8 prototype lens was already shown back at photokina in 2016, and the size and build have not been altered much. Hence it it quite large. It’s 13cm long and 8cm in diameter, and it weighs approx 750g.
If compared with the XF90mm f/2 which is 7,5cm in diameter and 10,5 cm long you get a good idea of its size. I definitely found this lens to balance best on the XT2 with the battery grip in place. For the smaller X-series cameras this lens will seem rather large. It is what it is. I would have loved for it to be smaller, but look at the technical specs above, cross reference that with general physics, and you’ll know why this thing can’t be made any smaller. So if you want smaller macro in the X-series, you already have the XF60mm which is quite small.

Build of the lens is great. It’s built in metal, has metal mount, physical aperture ring and smooth focusing ring. In build quality  its closest lens-sibling is the XF50-140mm f/2.8, and if the XF80mm f/2.8 was a zoom lens it would surely have the red label of the other pro-series Fujinon lenses. The aperture clicks in 3rd stop increments from f/2.8 to f/22. It has a 9 rounded blades aperture diaphragm.

Image Quality

Disclaimer. The lens I used for testing was an early prototype lens, and image quality might not be final, but unless Fujifilm has a contract with the image-quality-gods there isn’t really any more magic that can be sprinkled onto the lens. So IQ is probably final. 

Disclaimer II: I’m an official X-photographer. My views are most likely as biased as they come. This being said, I’m an open and honest guy and I speak my opinions. Whether you believe my views of this lens or not, at least you get to see some images from Denmark 😛 

This is what it’s all about, right? Image Quality! I know I say this in most of my reviews, but it’s because it really rings quite true.
The Fujinon lens image quality is straight up amazing!
They have a very solid track record when it comes to creating fantastic lenses for the X-series. In my opinion they have only made a few sub-par lenses.

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X-T2 – XF80mm f/2.8

The XF80mm f/2.8 is at the very top of the line in image quality for the X-series. When shooting and looking at my files there have been times when I thought it was a GFX image, when in reality it was an X series image.
When looking at image quality within the X-series system, I always hold the XF 90mm f/2 as a benchmark lens. The 90mm is simply the best lens in the system. But it is also lacking in some key areas. It has no OIS, and it has a somewhat slower focus than some of the other lenses.
If you look at the complete package that the XF80mm f/2.8 entails, it is already way ahead of the XF90mm in specs. But how about with the image quality?
No, the bokeh of the XF80mm is not as well controlled as on the XF90mm in the corners. You will have some cat eye / swirly effects wide open, but the bokeh is much smoother with the XF80mm than with the 90mm.

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X-T2 – XF80mm f/2.8

The transition from focus to out of focus areas is just gorgeous. Nice and fluid. It looks great when doing portraits. And speaking of portraits, if you’re worried that you won’t get a narrow DOF when shooting this lens, just remember that you can get much much closer to your subject, so when doing a headshot you can easily blur everything but the eyes and nose. I really found this lens great for doing portraits.

Sharpness is incredible. Simply unbelievable. I definitely think it’s the sharpest lens for the X-series. I don’t know what the charts say, and I don’t really care. From shooting this lens extensively I can tell you that it’s so very, very sharp. It doesn’t matter if you’re focusing at minimum focus distance, at infinity or anywhere in between. This. Lens. Is. So. Sharp!

(did I mention how sharp this lens is? 😛 )

Macro

Even though I’m not a macro shooter (at all!) I think it’s probably best if I talk a little bit about the lens in this context. For macro shooting your minimum focusing distance is 25cm. You can attach either the TC-2x or TC-1.4x tele converter to get extra reach (at the cost of f-stops) – You can also use the MCEX-11 or MCEX-16 extension tubes for even closer focusing.
At these distances the DOF is so narrow that I often had to shoot at f/11. At these apertures the OIS is heaven sent for keeping the ISO and shutter speed down while avoiding shaky images. I would LOVE for Fujifilm to include a focus stacking function like Olympus has in some of their cameras!

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X-T2 – XF80mm f/2.8
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100% crop – X-T2 – XF80mm f/2.8

The fast and precise focus engine is quite handy when trying to capture live insects in the field, and I got waaaaaaay more keepers with the XF80mm f/2.8 than I usually get with my XF60mm f/2.4.

Apart from insects and flowers, I often use a macro lens for detail shots of the cameras when I do packshots and editorials for Fujifilm-X.com. In this setting, the fast and precise focus is heaven sent.

Closing arguments

The XF80mm f/2.8 R WR LM OIS Macro is in my opinion the best lens Fujifilm has ever made for the X-series. It’s sharp, it has great bokeh, it has OIS, it has fast autofocus, it has focus limiter and it does 1:1 macro. This lens has it all, and as a result it is very very versatile! The only downside is the physical size, but that simply can not be avoided with all these functions included in a mid-range telephoto lens!

Samples

All the samples below have been postprocessed to some extent. If you want straight out of camera jpeg samples, there are other sites out there for that. With the samples I tried to show how versatile this lens is, so make sure to view the images in the gallery and click them for full size. The quality of this lens is staggering.

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45 thoughts on “Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 macro review – Closer to completion

  1. Wow, I am really surprised by this lens. While I am disappointed by the X-E3 this lens does make a good job to lighten up my mood. This could be a good lens for negative scanning as well. Always hoped for a really sharp 1:1 macro for this use case. Maybe I have to first buy this lens and upgrade my X-E2 a bit later.

  2. Jonas, thank you so much for this review. I am surprised that the 80mm can compete with the 90mm in the portrait department. It looks like another XF winner. Amazing photos as always!

  3. you said —- ” 90mm has a somewhat slower focus than some of the other lenses.”
    Not so, the 90mm with quad linear motors is the FASTEST lens fuji has, i own all of them.

    *hugs.

    1. Well, I compare it to the smaller faster primes. Its not at all as fast as the 23mm and 35mm f/2. It’s about par with the 50-140mm imo – But don’t get me wrong. The 90mm is NO slouch when it comes to AF

    2. Ken,
      Yes, I certainly agree that the XF90 is one speedy AF lens! Since I shoot landscapes and small products, I didn’t get the 90 for its fast focus abilities, but rather, from all the reviews I’ve read saying how incredibly sharp it is! And it has proven to be my sharpest XF lens, sharper than the XF60 Macro, which previous to my acquisition of the XF90, was my “product photography” lens of choice. Now, with this new XF80mm (true) 1:1 Macro, and Jonas’ stellar review of it, I look forward to seeing more image comparisons between it and, say, the XF90 and the XF60. Thanks!

      1. As someone that uses the 90mm f2 for a lot of candid shots of moving children I can honestly say it focuses fast enough to get more keepers than not. I’m always impressed by how sharp I can get shots of tricky moving subjects. If this lens is even better; the 90mm is probably my favorite lens, this is going to be incredibly difficult to pretend I don’t want. Haha, I need to stay away from your site come review time Jonas. Fantastic write up and shots to accompany as always sir.

  4. Jonas, after having read you review of shooting GFX with Rokkor lenses I couldn’t resist and bought Minolta 58mm 1.2 and it’s fantastic, so how you can compare these two providing that I’m ok with manual focus?

  5. Ah yes, Jonas, thank you for the great preview of the XF80mm f/2.8 Macro! You have the 90, which has been my absolute sharpest lens I’ve ever used in 35 years in photography. You say this 80mm is “sharp”. But compared to the 90, which is sharper? (If it’s only “as sharp” as the 90, that would be great for folks deciding between the two lenses, but frankly, I would only be interested if it was measurably sharper!)

    1. Hey Steve.

      If only I could give a precise measure between the two, but I can’t. The sharpness of the 90 is amazing, and so is the sharpness of the 80mm. The benefit of the 80mm is that its just so damn sharp even really close up. If you only do headshots/portraits you could easily stick to your 90mm.
      I just find myself often having to crank up the XF90mm to 1/500th sec shutter speed to really bring out perfect sharpness in available light conditions.
      With the OIS in the 80mm I can shots as low as 1/30th and still get razor sharp images. So I feel that its the combination of things in the 80mm that gives it the advantage over the 90mm.
      So like this:
      sharpness: 80mm
      bokeh: 90mm (unless you get in close with the 80mm, then it’s almost a tie)
      versatility in usage: 80mm

      With that in mind I would definitely god with the 80mm if I needed a lens in this range. If I already owned the 90mm, and was happy with it, then maybe I wouldn’t

      1. Excellent, Jonas…that makes sense!
        Just FYI, I do landscape and small product photography, and shoot 99% of the time on a solid tripod, so neither bokeh nor OIS interest me much. However, the 1:1 Macro capability (and of course, sharpness at both close-up and infinity) most certainly do interest me! The other point of interest is how Fuji was able to maintain optimum sharpness with the inclusion of OIS? (I thought I had read something about the reason why OIS wasn’t incorporated in lenses like the awesome XF16-55 was that it could impact image sharpness! And now it shows up in this Macro lens.)
        Anyway, if further testing confirms the sharpness of the 80, I’m interested! Thank you sir.

  6. I might have to sell my 90mm for this 80mm. I wasn’t sure it was going to be too fast being it’s a macro. But from your reviews seems it’s an excellent replacement for the 90mm. 2.8 with OIS….amazing.

  7. Jonas, like many others I’d love some more commentary from you on this vs. the 90 as a portrait lens. . . the 90 is about as optically perfect a lens as I’ve ever owned. Sharp, perfect bokeh, etc. The samples I’ve seen comparing the two over on https://ivanjoshualoh.com/2017/09/07/xf80-vs-xf90/ show pretty clearly an advantage in bokeh for the 90, but perhaps this was not your experience? I’ll admit that OIS for this one is a huge benefit.

      1. I totally agree with your comments for OIS.
        However when we get the new XT2s? with in body OIS, my 90mm
        will be even more fantastic than it is at the moment. I too have to shoot at 1/500
        for critically sharp images, with OIS, 1/30 could be the standard, wow!

  8. the bokeh of the XF80mm is not as well controlled as on the XF90mm in the corners. You will have some cat eye / swirly effects wide open.

    a firmware can fix that problem?

    1. Unfortunately not .
      If you look at the MTF curves, the 80 mm is sharper in the corners than the 90 mm but has more astigmatism (the meridional and saggital curves are separated)

  9. Are we remiss in not mentioning the price and weight? It’s 750g, which is about the weight of an Olympus camera and their 60mm f/2.8 macro combined. And price? Canon’s respected 100mm macro is at 800, while this is pegged at 200? Why?

  10. Hey Jonas,

    Thanks for the wonderful introduction to this lens and the terrific photos that you have provided!

    The forthcoming XT-2S will come with IBIS in 2018.

    Assuming this is correct and that in lens image stabilization is no longer a selling point for the 80mm, which lens do you choose as your only lens at this focal length, the 90mm F2 or the 80mm Macro?

    With the 90mm you lose 25% of the size and weight, gain an extra stop of light, have better specular bokeh balls (less cat eye) and save $200…however you lose the true macro capability and close focus of the 80mm and the versatility of adding a teleconverter…

    All things considered, which lens would you choose as your all around lens at this focal length (assuming that we have IBIS in the near future)?

    Cheers!

  11. I have been waiting for a 1to1 macro lens from Fuji since early 2015 when I traded most of my Canon gear in for Fuji,I was told at the time by Fuji that such a lens would be available shortly, I even have a 2015 Fuji Catalogue showing such a lens grayed out with a comment””, as I do a lot of macro I got fed up with waiting and repurchased a Canon 100mm f2-8 macro lens with same specification as the new Fuji and also recently was able to try the new Sigma 105 f2.8 with again a marginal better spec than the Fujji as far as i am concerned both the competitors give biting sharp images , in a recent review in Practical photography of all 100 mm macro lenses on the market the Sigma came out top. I am pleased to know at long last Fuji have produced their lens and that it is so good .
    The Negative side is surely the price £ 1249-00 I can buy two Canon lenses for this price and the Sigma is almost a third of the price of the Fuji, and according to the table in PF both are marginally smaller and lighter, I intended to trade my Canon in when the Fuji arrived , I am not so sure now!
    ,

  12. My problem is this, here in the UK the 80mm is £500 more than the 90mm and just £70 less than a
    50-140. Will the price sway people to plump for the cheaper yet fantastic 90 or pay a bit more for the versatility of the 50-140? Will the lens price only appeal to macro shooters?

  13. Hi Jonas, have you tested the lens with X-Pro2? I only have 35mm F2 with my X-Pro2 and I’m thinking which lens would be best for 2nd lens. Would you recommend the 80mm F2 for 2nd lens? My only goal in photography is to have fun.

    1. Jere, May I recommend the Awesome XF16-55 f/2.8 LM R WR Zoom as your second lens? It is fast (both in optical “speed” and AF speed), built solid, weather-sealed, and superbly sharp within the entire zoom range! IMHO, it would be MUCH more versatile (“fun”!) than the new 80, as it’s more of a workhorse lens, suitable for a wide range of photography, i.e., landscapes, portrait, wedding, product, nature, fashion, to name a few. Check out the reviews of this lens. Have “fun”!

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