REVIEW: The New Fujinon 2x Converter

Yesterday Fujifilm launched the latest edition to the Fujinon XF lens line up, the XF 2X TC WR teleconverter for use with the XF50-140mm f2.8 and XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 zoom lenses.  In April I was invited by Fujifilm to test the new converter and here are my thoughts on this new lens.

Before I go into details I need to be upfront about something.  I've never been a fan of 2x converters because the optical quality of the lens is usually affected to a large degree.  

I did have a 1.4x and 2x converter for my lenses when I was shooting with Nikon. While the 1.4x converter was regularly attached to my long f2.8 lenses, the 2x converter was probably used about three times in the 18 years I used Nikkor lenses.  I didn't like the results when using the converter so tended to not use it.

Anyway back to the X-Series!  The 1.4x Fujinon converter was launched in 2015 and I have been a fan of this diminutive lens attachment on both the 50-140mm and 100-400mm.  The optical quality of either lens when using the 1.4x isn't affected and the AF performance is similarly unaffected.  So I was very interested to see if Fujifilm could pull off a similar trick with the 2x converter.

Comparing the Fujinon Converters
The physical size of the 2x is double that of the 1.4x, which is to be expected but it isn't overly large when fitted between the camera and lens.  Like the 1,4x converter, the front part of the 2x converter fits inside the rear of the lens and this is the reason this converter can only be used on the 50-140mm f2.8 and 100-400mm f4.5/5.6 zoom lenses at present.  

When fitted to the 50-140mm, the focal length changes to 100-280mm with a constant f5.6 aperture, that's an equivalent 150mm-420mm in full frame terms.

The 100-400mm f4.5/5.6 becomes a 200mm-800mm f9/11 and that's an equivalent of 300mm-1200mm in full frame terms.  Now that sounds really impressive for anyone owning or contemplating buying the 100-400mm but if you are thinking of buying this converter please continue to read as there are a few things you need to be aware of with regards to performance.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/280s @ f13 iso400 - 280mm
XF50-140mm + 2x converter fitted to the X-Pro2
This combination is really impressive.  There is a very slight fall off in image quality when the lens is used wide open, but the results speak for themselves.  

The AF performance on the 50-140mm with the converter fitted is also excellent.  It does hesitate more when the subject is shot against a busy background or when there is less contrast in the scene, but in the right conditions I could follow focus fast moving cars or birds in flight using the X-Pro2.  

The 420mm equivalent focal length does bring things a lot closer for wildlife and sports photography. 

I can highly recommend anyone owning, or thinking of buying, a XF50-140mm f2.8 to buy the 1.4x and 2x converters to give a great combination of focal lengths in a small package of one lens and two converters.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 + 2x converter - 1/1900s @ f11 iso1600 - 800mm

XF100-400mm + 2x converter fitted to the X-Pro2
Now this is where things get tricky.  I have to be honest and say that while I have been able to get some great images from the combination of the 100-400mm zoom with the 2x fitted I have also encountered some issues while shooting sport and wildlife.  

Now I get paid for my images and I have to be confident that the equipment I am using is going to produce the level of quality that my clients expect.   With 2x converter fitted to the 50-140mm I have that confidence, but with the converter on the 100-400mm I am less so.  

BUT I have had some great results! Just look at the images on this blog. So it is not that the 2x on the 100-400mm produces poor quality images, it has a lot to do with the focal length you are using, the distance to the subject and also the ability to handhold (even with OIS) a lens with a focal length of 800mm.

The XF100-400mm is a great lens and regular readers of this blog will know I have been shooting sport and wildlife with it since November last year, with excellent results.  Adding the 1.4x converter doesn't affect the performance of the lens or camera but there is a difference when the 2x is added.   

A focal length of 800mm / 1200mm equivalent sounds great on paper but in reality there are some issues that buyers need to be aware of.  With an extremely long focal length comes the possibility of distortion when shooting distant subjects, which usually manifests itself as heat haze in the final image.  The image appears to be out of focus when you zoom right in but it is atmospheric distortion that causes the issues, not the lack of sharpness in the equipment. 

In some of the shots I have put below the subject was fairly close, less than 30 metres, and the image quality is great.  Anything at over 100 metres there is always going to be the possibility of external factors affecting the quality of the final image. 

AF performance is similarly affected. With an aperture range of f9 to f11 the performance will drop off and while I was able to follow focus cars at Silverstone the hit rate of acceptably sharp images did fall below what I would expect to get when shooting trackside.  

Expectations need to be managed for people looking for advice on buying this 2x converter for a 100-400mm lens.  I would be doing Fujifilm and the readers of this blog a huge disservice if I said this 2x converter was 100% perfect and people went out and bought it, only to come across the issues I have described above.  

Don't get me wrong, this 2x converter is a quality product, the best 2x converter I have ever used in fact, and on the 50-140mm f2.8 produces quality images.  It is still very good on the 100-400mm but there are limitations. 

For me I will happily continue to use the 2x on the 50-140mm.  On the 100-400mm I prefer to fit the 1.4x converter and then crop the image accordingly in post production to give the same field of view.

So if you currently own, or are thinking of buying, the 100-400mm and you are considering adding the 2x converter to the purchase, ask yourself a simple question.  Do I need to shoot at 800mm (1200mm equivalent)?  Even without the converters 400mm is 600mm equivalent.  Add the 1.4x converter and that takes it out to 560mm / 840mm equivalent and this is more than adequate for most situations for sport and wildlife photography.  

I highly recommend buying the 2x for the 50-140mm.  For the 100-400mm the 1.4x is a 'no brainer' but the 2x has to be a considered purchase.  It is capable of the high quality performance Fujifilm are renowned for but be aware of the limitations when shooting at the long end of the zoom range with distant subjects.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Fujinon Teleconverter XF 2X TC WR.  Check out the sample image on the page, you may recognise the image of the gannet in flight.

A selection of images using the 2x converter on the XF50-140mm f2.8

Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/140s @ f14 iso400 - 280mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/320s @ f6.4 iso3200 - 120mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/1400s @ f6.4 iso3200 - 170mm 
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/680s @ f5.6 iso400 - 280mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/300s @ f5.6 iso400 - 250mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/1500s @ f5.6 iso400 - 280mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/420s @ f9 iso400 - 280mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter - 1/1500s @ f6.4 iso400 - 280mm

A selection of images using the 2x converter on the XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 + 2x converter - 1/550s @ f11 iso1600 - 800mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 + 2x converter - 1/300s @ f11 iso800 - 800mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 + 2x converter - 1/450s @ f10  iso200 - 350mm 
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 + 2x converter - 1/400s @ f11 iso200 - 800mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 + 2x converter - 1/680s @ f11 iso800 - 800mm
Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 + 2x converter - 1/500s @ f11 iso800 - 800mm
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Jeff Carter is an Official Fujifilm X Photographer and was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador in June 2015. In 2016 he worked with the company on the launches of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 in Tokyo and the Fujifilm X-T2 in Paris in July 2016.  You can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

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  1. I appreciate your honest reviews, it was a big reason I bought the 100-400, and Ive already put in for the 2xtc as well, I'm hoping that fuji gives me a professional telephoto prime. we shall see. Thanks again.

    1. My pleasure and thank you for commenting :)

    2. would you recommend this for low light outdoor concerts?
      i do have the 50-140mm and the X-H1 body but I dont think i could get good images at 5.6

  2. I've ordered both converters with the 100-400 and looking at the quality of your picture of the Linnet the 2x looks perfectly usable which is quite remarkable on a zoom lens of this focal length but understand your caution on fully endorsing this combination.

    1. George - I can get excellent images on the 100-400mm with the 2x but I have no confidence in the combination if I used it for a paying job. Enjoy your 100-400mm when get get it, it is a fabulous lens.


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