Fujifilm Prime Versus Zoom Lenses – The Sequel

Continuing on with my series of blogs for the Fuji X Aus site. The key to these blogs will be all about gathering the thoughts, opinions, insights, skills, workflows and tips directly from members of the Fuji X Aus Facebook group. These blogs will be about some of those key photography questions that we see discussed in the group on a fairly regular basis.  And in return it is my hope that these blogs will give back to the greater community a wealth of information. The members are approached by myself for a short interview to gain a little insight into who they, what they shoot and why they use Fujifilm X Series products.

Hopefully you have been following along with our blog series as we have already covered some great topics and spoken to some truly amazing and inspirational photographers. Members of the Fuji X Aus group just like you and I. This blog is actually part two of a blog I wrote a few weeks ago where we talked a group of photographers about why they use Fujifilm X Series zooms versus prime lenses. You can check out part one by clicking here. Whilst there appears to be no exact science or superstitions behind a persons choice for a lens there have proven to be some pretty compelling reasons why some of just seem to prefer a zoom lens and some of just prefer a prime lens. 

But being a man of science I wanted a larger sample of photographers to see if there is something more to people’s lens choice. So today I present to you another five members of the Fuji X Aus community who took part in my interviews to get to the heart of the matter. 

Jane Sheers

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks for the opportunity to be part of the blog Greg.  

I live on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Its lodged in between Sydney and Newcastle and for those who don’t know this place, it is a seascape photographers paradise. When I first saw photos taken by Ken Duncan I thought to myself “those colours aren’t real” but I have to say having lived here for some 14 years, yes they are.

My interest in photography began when I was about 18. I asked a Japanese friend if she could get me a camera when she went home to Japan and was presented with Pentax ME super. That was it. I never developed as a photographer though as I could ‘see’ the image I just couldn’t get it: it would be under or overexposed or not focused or something. Eventually I jumped over the digital. The instant feedback digital offered meant I get instant feedback and take the image 100 times if needed to get what I wanted. Then came Photoshop and Lightroom. I’ve gone from a Panasonic bridge camera to the Nikon D80 to the Sony Nex 5, Nex 7 (loved that camera but it was Sony) and then settled on Fujifilm. Now I shoot with the Fujifilm X-T2 and have newly added the Fujifilm X100F to collection.

I work full time in a hospital so my photography is one of the things I love to do to wind down from a busy day or week. I wish I had more time to create more images but that is just the way it is. I would struggle to say what my preferred genre is. I can tell it is not portraits (unless it is my cats or dog), sports, wedding, commercial photography and I really struggle with macro (but that is because it is so hard). This leaves me with seascapes, landscapes, travel and street all of which I love for different reasons. I also love long exposures. I do have to say that I’m getting very tired of sunrises even though I still go and shoot them. I think I do it more for the joy of being outside in the morning than the actual image. In each of the genresI do shoot, I like to create a simple minimalist image. I once had a photo described by the judges in the SMH Big Picture travel competition as “beautifully sparse”. I have tried to hold up to that as I feel it a good description for my favourite images.

As far as you are concerned, are you more of a prime or a zoom shooter?

Tough question. I’m inclined to say zoom shooter as this is what I use most often when I’m out shooting. I use the Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 on one body and tend to have the Fujifilm XF100-400mmF2.8 or the Fujifilm XF50-140mmF4.5-5.6 on the other. I think that zooms just work better for me out in the wilds. I often laugh when the prime shooters talk about “zooming with your feet” but that might mean a drop down a rock ledge into the cauldron below or backing off a cliff.  The one thing they never talk about is how zooming with your feet totally changes the perspective and the scene that caught your attention initially just might not happen when you move closer/further away.  

Having said that I do also shoot with primes. I shoot astro with the Fujifilm XF14mmF2.8 and last night used the Fujifilm XF23mmF1.4. On my recent trip overseas I only shot with primes. Primes have the advantage of being lighter and smaller. There is also a tendency to be less lazy with a prime too. They do challenge you more, and produce some mighty fine images. So I think I will sit on the fence about being a prime or zoom shooter and just say “it depends”.

Which is your favourite Fujifilm lens and why would you recommend this to another Fujifilm shooter? 

Oh boy, another really tough one. I use the Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 more than any other lens as it is such a good all round work horse but that doesn’t mean it is my favourite. Favourite? (she says sighing trying to decide). I think I would have to say I have three favourites but two of them don’t get used anywhere near as much as they should. Those two would be the Fujifilm XF56mmF1.2 and the Fujifilm XF90mmF2. The images from these two are just delicious. Divinely delicious. How many times do we hear that from those who use these lenses. I don’t know why I don’t use them more. I really do adore them so heartfelt favourites.

So I think I will say my favourite ‘working’ lens is actually the Fujifilm XF100–400mmF4.5-5.6. I say this not because of its image quality (which is really good), not because it is a light pocketable lens (ha ha) but it is my favourite as it offers me opportunities I have only dreamed off before it was released. I like being able to pick out details in a scene. I like taking bird photos and as a result I take it out in my kayak. I love the challenge of trying to catch a great wave. And even better, it works so well with the Fujifilm XF1.4X TC. 

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

Instagram: @janesheers



the turn and the wave

Francis Gorrez

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Born in the Philippines in the 60’s,  spent part of my childhood in  the Solomon Islands then back to the Philippines to study and work  before moving to Arlington VA for a couple of years and finally settling in Sydney where I have lived for the last 22 years with my wife and 2 children.

I started shooting in the 80’s on a Ricoh KR10 and my sisters Nikon F2. I stopped doing it for a while till 2004 when I picked up my first digital slr and have been shooting ever since. Photography is primarily a hobby though I do shoot professionally once in while so I can justify buying the latest toy :).

I try not to attach myself to any particular genre though I seem to gravitate to people and street photography for the most part.

As far as you are concerned, are you more of a prime or a zoom shooter?

Almost exclusively prime lenses.

Why do you think you prefer that style of lens more?

 I like simple and prime lenses are exactly that… simple… With prime lenses you work with a fixed set of parameters which i think (at least for me) sets the environment towards developing a more creative mindset. I’ve never been much of a technical photographer so lessening the variables l have to deal with allows me to concentrate on the creative aspect of our craft.

Which is your favourite Fujifilm lens and why would you recommend this to another Fujifilm shooter?

Thats a hard one to answer as I love them all equally :).

Photography is just another way to tell a story and each lens gives you a different perspective – the story is still the same but the perspective changes depending on which lens you use.

If I can only recommend one lens then it would probably be the Fujifilm XF50mmF2. On the street, it allows you to be close enough to the action and at the same time far enough not to be invading someone elses space. It holds its own for portraits and I’ve even used it for landscapes. It is sharp and focuses quickly… what more can you ask for?

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

You can find me on instagram as www.instagram.com/francisgorrez


Emma Gardener

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Emma, I’m a photographer from the very picturesque Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.  I’ve been dabbling in photography for approximately ten years now but have decided to go pro in the last couple of years…with a little business debuting a little later this year, so currently in between hobby and part time business.  My favourite genre is pet photography, I love it!  For me it’s incredibly rewarding, challenging and fun!

As far as you are concerned, are you more of a prime or a zoom shooter?

I’m definitely a prime shooter, I need my kit to be light!  But I may venture in to using the Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 for versatility more than anything.

Why do you think you prefer that style of lens more?

I find primes, for me, are easier to use, much lighter, I get better results from them (I think?) and of course, they just look right on my Fujifilm X-T2!

Which is your favourite Fujifilm lens and why would you recommend this to another Fujifilm shooter?   

Okay, I have two I would recommend.  The first being the Fujifilm XF35mmF2, it’s just quick, super light and small, renders fabulous images…it just does the job beautifully every time.  And then there is the XF56mm F1.2 non APD.  Yes, it’s slower and heavier than the XF35mm f2, but my goodness, that bokeh…it’s irresistible!  I find this a brilliant portrait lens be it indoors or out, I used it the other day to capture a horse and it’s owner and it kept up the whole time and gave such lovely results.  These two lenses spend the most time on my camera and for good reason.

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

My business name is E83 Photography and can be found at e83photo.com and Facebook and Instagram too.

Fuji Alice Pic

Nandagopal Rajagopal

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Nandagopal, friends call me Nanda. I’m from a small state called Kerala at the Southern part of India. I’m a Software Tester by profession. After coming to Australia in January 2016, we call Geelong our home.

I can’t remember  when I first held a camera, but I’m pretty sure the first camera I shot with was a Fujifilm rangefinder film camera. I still remember the silver coloured Fuji! Photography is serious hobby for me, I try to learn as much as I can. I’ve not yet seriously thought about making money from it, but friends are noticing my improvement and have starting asking whether I could take their photos. Obviously I’m not planning to charge them for that, I enjoy taking photos and don’t want to miss an opportunity in doing so!

If I remember correctly, I first started this hobby when I was 20; when my brother in law gifted me his Canon point and shoot. In 2010 I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D3100) to photograph my son’s childhood. But when he started running around, it became hard to take care of both and I just kept it untouched for nearly 2 years. Then sold it later. Then again in August last year, I wanted to return to photography, so started searching around for used gear and found a Fujifilm XT-1 at a good price. Bought an Fujifilm XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 with it, and the rest is… Falling in love with Fuji… 🙂 I wanted to keep my kit small and the search for mirrorless options ended up with the XT-1.

I’ve not really stuck to any particular genre. I like to landscapes, nature shots, parades, classical indian dance etc. I want to get into street photography and am waiting for the Fujifilm X100F to arrive!

As far as you are concerned, are you more of a prime or a zoom shooter?

I’ve not really paid attention to the prime vs zoom debate. But as we speak, I think most of my photos from the Fujifilm were shot with the Fujifilm XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 and the Fujifilm XF10-24mmF4. I’ve only recently started investing in the primes – have a Fujifilm XF35mmF2 and the Fujifilm XF16mmF1.4. I think I’m slowly growing into primes and the desire to invest in the X100F also comes from that. I might take the bold decision to leave my XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 at home when I travel to India next week!

Why do you think you prefer that style of lens more?

The reason to shoot more with primes came from an understanding that primes could bring the best out of you as a photographer. You are limited to the constraints of that particular focal length and it could make you improvise, something we may not do with the zooms.

Which is your favourite Fujifilm lens and why would you recommend this to another Fujifilm shooter?

I’ve started using the XF16mmF1.4 only last week and it is already my favourite from the fuji line up. It has got unbelievable potential. Close focussing capability, the clutch manual focus is an absolute treat and the images it produce are beautiful. It is pricey, but it is the best from Fuji and you get what you pay for.. may be even more!

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

I’m an Instagram guy these days. You can find my photos @nandagopalr

Malmsbury Viaduct_FujiX Meetup

And that concludes the second edition of the Fuji X Aus member interviews about Prime Versus Zoom lenses. There is no magical insight or reason for choosing one over the other after all. But I am sure you will agree that these guys take some incredible images with the lens of their choice. I hope that this gives you an insight into what people shoot with. I want to personally thank all the members of this community who have been keeping up with the blogs we have been posting. And of course I would like to thanks Jane, Francis, Emma and Nanda for taking the time to be a part of this blog. Stay tuned for more and happy shooting. 


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