Introduction

If there’s what thing Fuji likes it’s variety in filter thread sizes. With this graphic, I hope to make things easier to put together a selection of lenses, for those who make extensive use of filters. It also includes whether or not a lens has optical image stabilization (OIS), weather sealedness, and special coating details.

Scroll down for recommended filter strategies.

Strategies

Just one size, 62mm, has more than two lenses. With the release of the XF 50mm F/2 WR, we have now hit double-digit filter thread sizes in Fuji’s X series lens lineup. Two of those sizes, 46mm and 49mm host just a single lens (or fixed lens camera in the case of the X100.

43mm Weather Sealed

Lovers of weather sealed primes can cover 35mm and 50mm equivalence with just one set of 43mm filters. This doesn’t give you much of a focal length spread, but it could be a nice weather sealed dual camera set-up.

It is a serious bummer that Fuji’s engineers couldn’t figure out a way to get the XF 50mm F/2 WR in a 43mm filter thread. That would have made the F2WR trio such a no-brainer set of primes to buy, however, there’s an reasonable affordable way to change that.

Step-up to 46mm

43 to 46mm step up rings→ are a thing, and you can even get one in silver→ if you happen to swing that way on your lens finish. For anyone considering something like my Compact Prime Kit, I might grab a couple of those step-up rings, plus a couple more 46mm lens caps→ to keep things nice and consistent. This works out especially well for me as my favourite make of filters, Breakthrough Photography, starts at 46mm.→

That strategy will only work if you don’t mind giving up on the LH-XF35-2 Accessory lens hood→ for both the XF 23mm F/2 WR and XF 35mm F/2 WR. It’s a really nice hood and I had intended to buy a second one for my XF 23mm F/2 WR, but my step-up strategy above is looking more practical.

62mm

Five lenses are now plotted on the 62mm section of the chart, and choosing 3 or 4 of those lenses could make a reasonably well rounded kit. I would likely forgo the zoom for to create a variation of my 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.

A quick note about step-up/stepdown rings

Manufacturers and resellers use both “step-up” and “stepdown,” and sometimes use “stepdown,” when the ring is in fact stepping up the filter size. Adding to the confusion rings that “step down” to a smaller filter size do exist. To be sure, check the item description for confirmation that it allows for your desired filter size to be used on your desire lens. For instance“Allows you to attach a 62mm filter to a lens with a 58mm front thread.”

72mm stepped up to 77mm

Of all the step-up scenarios, this one seems the most palatable as leaving a step-up ring on a larger zoom lens 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 XF10-24mm F4, XF16-55mm F2.8 WR, XF50-140mm F2.8 WR, and XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 WR for the pinnacle of zoom coverage. Personally, I’d likely leave out the XF10-24mm F4 as suggested in my Invincible Landscaper kit to avoid overlap, and maintain weather resistance.1 Can’t wait for the XF 8-16mm F/2.8 WR, and if the early mock-up are accurate, it looks like filters won’t be in issue there.

One thing to note for the XF 50-140mm F/2.8 WR is that while it is possible to add a 72-77mm step-up ring with the hood attached, you must take care not to screw it on too tight otherwise you risk not being able to get the ring or the hood off without breaking it.

58mm stepped up to 62mm

The XF14mm F2.8 and XF18-55mm F2.8-4 were actually two of the first three X-Mount lenses I owned, the third being the XF35mm F1.4. I was pleased to have a set of 58mm filters cover off the lenses I intended to use for landscapes and long exposures at the time. Sadly, they are the first and last lenses released by Fuji with a 58mm filter thread, and ending your range at 55mm on the telephoto end might not cut it. One option might be to step both up to 62mm in order to pair them with either the XF 80mm F/2.8 Macro WR OIS, XF 90mm F/2 WR, or XF 55-200mm F/3.5-4.8.

Everything stepped up to 77mm

This ended up being my own course of action. On my last big trip for which I brought a huge amount of gear, I opted for a single set of 77mm filters plus a 67 to 77mm step up ring for the XF16mm F1.4 WR and a 72 - 77mm step up ring for the XF10-24mm F4 and XF50-140mm F2.8 WR. I didn’t love having to attach and detach step-up rings that thwarted my ability to use a hood, but I was trying to cut down how much I was bringing, and how much I was spending on new filters.

I have since purchased one of Fuji’s new 77mm lens caps,→not one of the older “X Series” ones→ which are inferior—and left a Breakthrough Photography 72mm to 77mm step-up ring on my XF 16mm F/1.4 WR. I would do the same for my XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS, but given how seldom it is used, and XF 8-16mm F/2.8 WR is on its way, I think I’ll hold off.

Which Filters

My opinion on which filters 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 X4 Neutral Density filters.→ The biggest issue I have with B+W filters is the strong colour cast they exhibit. It can be addressed with a custom white balance setting, but Breakthrough Photography’s X4 filters have almost no colour cast to speak of. Breakthrough filters are newer to the market, and ain’t cheap,1 but they are the filter of choice for the photographer who makes no compromises.

They also make a huge variety of step-up rings that are wonderfully knurled for easy attaching, and detaching.

The one issue I had with Breakthrough is their smallest neutral density filter size was 49mm, which is fine for the X100 owners out there. Fortunately they seems to have driven their filter size down even further, and 46mm is now an option. If you prefer to keep your F2 primes as small as possible, there’s a B+W filter.→

A reduction of 13 stops doesn’t get much more compact than this.

A reduction of 13 stops doesn’t get much more compact than this.

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.

Conclusion

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.

  1. If only I could follow my own advice. I ended up bringing the XF10-24mm F4 on my last trip, and only captured a handful of frames with it. On the other hand, of the 12 selects captured with that lens, ¾ of them were shot at wide than anything else I had with me, so it’s a good thing I had it with me after all.

    Man, I really wish Fuji had of made that lens weather sealed.

  2. 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. ↩︎