There’s no shortage of variety when it comes to XF lens filter thread sizes. With this graphic, I hope to make things easier when putting together a selection of lenses, for those who make extensive use of filters. It also includes optical stabilization details, weather sealedness, and Nano GI Coating information.
Scroll down for analysis and lens-buying strategies.
Fortunately, all four of Fuji’s non-kit zooms1 fall within just two filter thread sizes. However, it would have been pretty great if Fuji could have made the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 with a 72mm filter thread to go along with the XF 50-140mm f/2.8. Likewise if the XF 16mm f/1.4 and XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 came with a 62mm thread or were even bumped up to 72mm so they too could hang with the XF 10-24mm f/4 and XF 50-140mm f/2.8.
As it happens, the 4 lenses with 62mm filter threads could make a reasonably well rounded kit, but one could easily forgo the zoom for to create a variation of the Ultimate Prime Kit, and having one set of filters fit all 3 lenses. 62mm is definitely where it’s at when it comes to primes and filters. The unfortunate thing is those who want to go a little wider are left with the choice of buying a second set of filters, or stepping up all 3 of those primes.
The XF 14mm f/2.8 could also be added and stepped up from 58mm, which isn’t too bad.
72mm stepped up to 77mm
Of all the step-up scenarios, this one seems the most palatable as leaving a step-up ring on the XF 10-24mm f/4 and XF 50-140mm f/2.8 is far less offensive than on a prime you might be trying to keep compact. One set of the typically standard 77mm filters and a couple step-up rings can cover the XF 10-24mm f/4, XF 16-55mm f/2.8, and XF 50-140mm f/2.8, and XF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 for the pinnacle of zoom coverage.
72mm OnlyIf weather sealing isn’t imperative, an alternative would be to forego the XF 16-55mm f/2.8, and just carry the XF 10-24mm f/4 and XF 50-140mm f/2.8 for a two zoom, one set of filters strategy. This would be my recommendation if only that XF 10-24mm f/4 were weather sealed.
58mm stepped up to 62mm
The XF 14mm f/2.8 and XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 were two of the first three X-Mount lenses I owned, with the third being the XF 35mm f/1.4. I was pleased at the time to have a set of 58mm filters cover off the two lenses I had any intention of using for landscapes and long exposures at the time. Sadly they are the last in the line of 58mm threads to date, and ending your range at 55mm on the telephoto end might not cut it, so one option might be to step both up to 62mm in order to pair them either the XF 90mm f/2 WR, or XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 OIS.
My opinion on which filtes to buy has changed slightly since writing my Long Exposure Photography Tips piece. For those looking to step-up to the standard 77mm thread size, I recommend going with Breakthrough Photography’s X3 Neutral Density filters.→ The X3 matters so don’t ignore it. The issue I have with B+W filters is the strong colour cast they exhibit. It can be easily addressed with a custom white balance setting, but Breakthrough Photography’s X3 filters have almost no colour cast to speak of. BP filters are relatively new to the market, and ain’t cheap,1 but they are the filter of choice for the photographer who makes no compromises.
What About Square Filters?
There is a case to be made for something like Lee’s Seven5 filter kit.→ It comes at a price, but offers added flexibility in stacking filters, easy rotation of neutral grads, and alleviates vignetting that can be caused by circular filter rings.
Cokin makes a more affordable option,→ but as this post illustrates, the compactness of a camera like the X100 vanishes with the addition of either of these systems. That, for me, makes them a nonstarter, especially for an X100 body. I mean, just look at how wonderfully small that kit it is. When it comes to something like an X-T1 with XF 16-55mm f/2.8 WR, I’d be less concerned with adding bulk.
This sort of thing might sound like a minor detail to some, but these small annoyances can have a cumulatively big impact on shooting enjoyment. I’m a very big proponent of optimizing things as much as possible, even casual hobbies, to make them as effortless, and therefore fun, as possible.
- They’re actually slightly more expensive than even B+W’s MRC filters, but I have no problem paying $10 more if it means not having to fuss with custom white balance. The problem lies with smaller filter sizes. Even Breakthrough Photography’s diminutive 49mm filters, suitable for X100’s are well north of $100. In this case, perhaps just a single coating will suffice.↩