Long lens love affair - Fuji X-T1 and the 55-200

Andy Gallacher is an International TV correspondent

Jalousie slums, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. 200mm at f/4.8 on the XT-1

3.5 - 4.8

It was those numbers that initially put me off buying the Fuji XF 55-200 lens. I'd worked a lot with the Canon 70-200 MkII previously and with a constant f/2.8 aperture surely this lighter and much cheaper Fuji couldn't compare? The purchase was made back when I still had the X-Pro1 and a trip to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador was booked. In the end it was the 55-200 that made it a memorable visit. The lens, which felt a little awkward on the X-Pro1, stayed on the camera for almost the entire time and constantly surprised me with its razor sharp images and creamy bokeh.   

Albatross, Galapagos Islands. 200mm at f/5.6 on the X-Pro1


But it's when I paired the lens with the X-T1 that it really began to shine. I'd already been impressed with the image stabilization on the 55-200 but combine that with the new Fuji's constant focus and 8fps and it makes for a compelling combination. I got to test that out when I recently filmed a feature on the Angola Prison rodeo in Louisiana. I was 'placed' in the press box at the back of the stadium and told not to move by the slightly over zealous press officers from the prison but there are moments I just didn't want to miss and I didn't. Despite being stuck in the nosebleed section I managed to grab some key shots, most taken at the long end of the lens, and the hit rate was impressive. I'm really beginning to think this is one of the most underrated lenses in the Fuji lineup.

Angola Prison rodeo. 121.8mm at f/8.0 on the X-T1

Convict pinball. 134.5mm at f/5.0


It's also a piece of kit that doesn't take up too much room or look too intrusive, an important factor for me given some of the places I end up in. It's not a lens that screams 'expensive' and it certainly isn't a back breaker. But the Fuji 55-200 certainly is well made and more importantly has produced some lovely images on both the X-Pro1 and X-T1. 

Surf Haiti - a project teaching kids to surf in Jacmel, Haiti.

Haiti's southern coast. 200mm at f/7.1 on the X-T1

Port-Au-Prince slum. 55mm at f/10 on the X-T1