Latest Update: February 2017
Body: Take Your Pick
This is kit is about covering your bases. Your camera choice should suit your preferences, and I would say after 2015, 2017 will be the year it’s most difficult to make a bad decision when it comes to Fuji bodies. Here’s a brief rundown of the bodies I would say are up for consideration.
Fujifilm X-T2→ Now that we have X-Trans III in an X-T body, it’s the body I recommend most people buy if there budget allows.
Fujifilm X-Pro2→ Never a bad option, but its OVF is wasted on two of the key lenses in this kit. If it’s what you already have and you like it, stick with it. The EVF, while smaller, works great.
Fujifilm X-T20 → For those who don’t need weather sealing, the X-T20 is impossible to ignore. Same image quality as the cameras listed above, 4K video, and a ridiculously small package, with a touchscreen.
Fujifilm X-T1→ For those who don’t need the megapixel might of X-Trans III, or the reduced blackout and added frame rate of the X-T2, the X-T1 is still a hugely capable body offers a vertical grip option, tilt screen, and a fantastic EVF. It’s priced to sell too, with kit packages always costing what an X-T2 body only costs. And it’s in stock.
No X-E2S?→ Nope. Unless you really want a rangefinder style body and don’t want the added pixel count or cost that comes with an X-Pro2, the X-E is a body style I would pass on for all these kits until the X-E3 arrives. If history is anything to go by, we might see something towards the end of the year, but I wouldn’t count on it. It isn’t a bad buy, far from it and it’s priced to sell. If you don’t mind a DSLR style though, the X-T20 is easily worth the $200 premium.
Ultra Wide to Wide Angle: Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F/4→
This lens can’t be beat when it comes to going wide. It covers an excellent range, and has excellent image quality to match throughout, with the possible exception of its max reach, 24mm. The only other issue I have with this lens is its lack of weather sealing, which is addressed below.
Nifty 50-ish: Fuji XF 35mm F2 WR WR→
Since writing my XF 35mm F1.4 vs. XF 35mm F2 WR article, I’ve come to like the smaller weather sealed variant even more. At $200 less, this lens could also get you closer to an upgraded body, if that’s something you’ve got your eye on.
The Fuji XF 35mm F1.4→ is still fantastic. Every time I put that lens on I realize my memory has sold it short. I mentioned in my X100 Converters vs. Primes article if you have an interchangeable X-Series camera, you’re nuts if you don’t have the XF 35mm F1.4. Well now you’re nuts if you don’t have one or the other. I can’t help but nudge my readers towards the F2 for it’s weather sealing, faster autofocus, and lower price.
Telephoto: Fuji 50-140mm f/2.8→
Two years running, the XF 50-140mm F2.8 WR is is still my workhorse. It’s also the lens I turn to when I’m going to shoot and need some reach. It and either of the MCEX Macro Extension Tubes→ are all I use for my studio and product images. This lens had supplanted the XF 56mm F1.2→ for just about everything. If you reallylove your OVF, you might still consider the XF 56mm F1.2, which works pretty great with the OVF. The zoom doesn’t much beyond its wide end. The zoom is just so much more versatile, and gets you a much broader focal range, which is the key point of this kit.
It certainly could be. This covers an huge range with excellent optics, and if you were to stop now, this would definitely be a sensible kit choice. As mentioned though, the one area image quality might be hurting is in around the 35mm equivalent mark. I might add an X100F→ (or T if you can find it cheap→) for some 35mm, second-body goodness. Especially for those X-T owners who really like 35mm for their street photography and want an OVF. The nice thing about going F is you won’t have to worry about bringing a second set of batteries with you anymore. This might be my favourite new feature of the X100F.
Ultimate Prime Kit
If you’re looking to max out your prime quality, you could do a lot worse than this kit.
This is always essentially been the kit that I aspire to carry. I’ve said before, there’s something about Fuji bodies that just seem to beg for primes. These are cameras for the joy of photography, the sort of camera you want to have with you, and for many of us, the cameras we ditched larger DSLRs with chunky, heavy zooms to use instead. Lenses like the XF 16-55mm F2.8 WR and XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR have their place. The former is optically great, but they’re just so large, it makes them hard to recommend, especially the latter.1
In years past, I tried to keep this kit to three lenses, but a couple new releases from Fuji has resulted in me adding a four-lens kit into the mix.
Body: Fujifilm X-T2→ and/or Fujifilm X-Pro2→
Either way, you’re not going to want any compromises here. You’re buying ultimate primes, you want ultimate image quality, and that means the most megapixels and best ISO. I love both of these cameras, and bring both on trips. They have very specific uses for me.
Wide Angle: Fuji XF 16mm F1.4 WR→
The last year hasn't seen much action in the wide angle category outside of the XF 23mm F2 WR,→ but that’s not wide enough to take the wide angle slot. In my Wide Angle Primes comparison, I concluded that if you’re going to have one wide angle prime, the XF 16mm F1.4 WR is the one to get. Weather sealing, two more stops of light gathering, sharp as all get-out, and insanely close focus make it the prime to beat in the wide angle category. This lens will be mounted on an X-T2, and will be part of both the three and four lens kit.
This is where things get tricky as we have two new options to consider that thankfully don’t add weather compromises.
Three-Lens; Classic Nifty 50-ish: XF 35mm F2 WR→
In my case, this lens will stay affixed to the X-Pro2. If I could only have one camera and lens with me, this would be it. I love this little lens. Fast, small, light, weather sealed, and optically great. It’s also Fuji’s build-quality benchmark going forward. No wonder the XF 23mm F2 WR and XF 50mm F2 WR look so similar.
Note: This kit has not yet been fully tested. I will update this piece once it has.
In the earliest iterations of this kit, I recommended the XF 23mm F1.4.→ It’s a spectacular lens, but I rarely reached for it over the X100S/T. Now there is also a weather sealed option,2 the XF 23mm F2 WR.→ If you really want 35mm without getting into another body, Fuji has you very well covered.
The trouble with 23mm is it leaves a big gap between it and the 90, which would be a tough lens to omit. Thankfully, Fuji’s second 2017 release, the XF 50mm F2 WR,→ fills that gap neatly. Why the 50 over something like the XF 56mm F1.2→ or even the XF 60mm F2.4 Macro→? Size, weight, and weather sealing. I wouldn’t necessarily trade either of these options in for the XF 50mm F2 WR, but we’re building from scratch here.
Telephoto Portrait: Fuji 90mm F2 WR →
I’ve been promising more about this lens and still intend to get more written. This lens is optically superb, and with more reach than the XF 56mm f/1.2, I feel it rounds these kits out better.
Both of these kits offer a broad focal length coverage, excellent optics, and are 100% weather sealed. If you want to get it done right the first time, these are the kits to get. Which one you choose will depend on your shooting preferences, how tolerant you are if lens changes, how much you want to carry. If I had to pick one, it would be the 3-lens variant. 16 and 90 switching off the X-T2, 35 on the X-Pro2. Perfect.
The Compact Prime+ Kit, AKA, the F2WR Kit
While the Ultimate Prime Kit above isn’t outrageously priced relative to a comparable DSLR prime kit, you could do very well with less money, and find yourself with a kit that’s smaller and lighter to boot.
NOTE: This kit has been completely overhauled. I thought long and hard about keeping my old Compact Prime Kit and adding an F2WR, but they were becoming much to similar and I’d like to limit the minor variances where possible. And so, I give you the new “Compact Prime Kit+
Body: Fuji X-T20→
You’d be forgiven if you opted for just about any other body, especially a weather sealed option to go along with these lenses, but if we’re talking compact, the X-T20 is where it’s at.
Wide angle: XF 23mm F2 WR→
A tough choice here between this lens and the old pick, the XF 18mm F2,→ but a choice had to be made and the newer construction quality and style, weather sealing, and pace of autofocus won the day.
Nifty 50-ish: XF 35mm F2 WR →
We’re going all F2WR here so there’s only one option, the XF 35mm F2 WR. The original 35 has been called a “gem” many times, and for good reason. It’s small, light, crazy sharp and produces exceptional bokeh. For those wanting to go a little smaller, swifter, and are willing to sacrifice a stop of light gathering, the new XF 35mm f/2 WR makes yet another appearance on this page. Its weather sealing won’t help you much on an X-T20, but it future-proofs you for a possible upgrade at least.
Medium telephoto, portrait: XF 50mm F2 WR→
For a little more reach, we’ll add the latest from Fuji, the XF 50mm F2 WR. It’s a little longer than the 23 which is a little larger than the 35, but all are smaller and lighter than the faster versions. Like 35mm, the medium telephoto was an area Fuji was missing a weather sealed option. With the addition of the XF 50mm F2 WR, we’ve covered from 16-90mm, or 24-135mm in 35mm equivalence.
This is a really small 3-prime kit, but there’s one more “FRWR.” The XF 90mm F2 WR might weigh about the same as all three of the other lenses here, but hey, it’s an “F2WR.”
The (Invincible) Landscaper
Landscapers, long exposure nuts, and tripod huggers (of which I am one) have slightly different needs then the casual shooter, and all but the most hardcore of street photogs.
Body: 2 × Fujifilm X-T2 →
Invincibility and zoom lenses call for the tanky EVF monster that is the X-T2. Rain nor cold nor dust will stand in your way, and the tilt screen will let you’ll capture any angle with ease. This might be the biggest no-brainer on the page, unless you have a lot more money.
Wide to Medium Telephoto: Fuji 16-55mm F2.8 WR→
It may be big, it maybe be heavy, but worrying about your gear in even a light drizzle sucks, and it’s still way smaller than its DSLR counterparts. If I was going on a landscape photography mission and could only take one body and one lens, this would be the lens.
Telephoto: Fuji XF 50-140mm F2.8 WR→
More weather sealed goodness. This and the 16-55mm f/2.8 will cover a huge focal range.
This only thing missing from this kit is the ultra-wide end. We can only hope that newly announced ultra-wide zoom will be weather sealed. I will be stunned if it isn’t.
Add a second X-T2 body and a VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip→ or two for a no-lens-changing, all 2.8, all weather sealed, dual-wielding, hex-battery, tilt-screening combo. You might even be forgiven for having one of those crazy dual camera vest/strap things. Probably. Not really.
The Street Shooter
Street photographers are a special breed. Just about any camera can be used for street photography from DSLRs for the paparazzi wannabe, to an iPhone for the covert Instagramer. Fuji cameras tend to have a special place in the hearts of street photographers.
Body: Fujifilm X-Pro2→
It’s tough not to recommend a body with a range-finder-style OVF. Being able to see areas outside your frame really helps a lot with capturing the definitive instant. That’s how it goes, isn’t it?
One exception could be those who prefer to do their street shooting at night. If you need the absolute fastest EVF refresh rate, you might look at an X-T2 with “Boost Mode” turned on.
Zone Focusing: Fuji XF 14mm F2.8→ or XF 16mm F1.4 WR→ or XF 23mm F1.4→
There really is no bad choice in lens for street shooting, but for the zone focuser, a XF 14mm F2.8, XF 16mm F1.4 WR, and XF 23mm F1.4 are all exceptional choices for their engraved depth of field markings. Yes, the other lenses give you depth of field calculations on the LCD, but there’s something about having a quick glance down to check your focal range without looking at the LCD or into the viewfinder that can’t be beat. Shame we don’t have anything longer with the push-pull clutch focus ring. Maybe one day.
For the auto-focuser, take your pick. The lenses above work great, but many will opt for the XF 23mm F2 WR→ for its classic 35mm framing. The Fuji XF 35mm F1.4→ or XF 35mm F2 WR→ are nice options for shooting from a little further away and my preferred focal length.
Wildlife (and Sports)
A new entry for 2017, I feel like I can make some decent recommendations now that I have some real life experience.
Body: 2 × Fujifilm X-T2→
Another category I’d recommend a dual X-T2 configuration. The last thing you are going to want to do is change lenses out on Safari (or capturing key moments in sports). If I could do my Safari all over again, I would have two X-T2s, each with a VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip→
Either of the weather sealed TC WR teleconverters→ will extend reach even further, but be warned, the XF2.0X does come with a an optical penalty.
Telephoto: Fuji XF 50-140mm F2.8 WR→
Depending on what kind of Safari you go on (or how close you are to the sidelines) the XF 50-140mm F2.8 WR could see a ton of use. On the other hand, you could quickly find yourself racked out to 140mm and wanting to reach further.
The XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8→ is a lighter weight alternative with more reach, but it is optically inferior, slower to focus, and lacks weather and dust sealing. If this is a lens you already own, and don’t mind dust infiltrating it, by all means, but I would definitely not buy this lens for this purpose.
Super Telephoto: XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 WR→
Outside of conversion, we are currently left with just one option to reach beyond 200mm. If you have an upcoming trip, it’s almost a must-have lens for capturing wildlife.
If your trip is after sometime around late 2018, you might hold off buying the Super Zoom and instead put the money towards the Telephoto Prime Lens. As it currently sits on the roadmap, it’s a little close to the 200mm mark for my liking—I was really hoping for something at 300—but either way, I think there is little doubt that prime will be optically superior to the Super Zoom in every way. Until then, if you can rent the Super Zoom for a decent price, do that.
Camera and Lens: The X100→
Last, but most certainly not least in the X Series is the X100. It has been conspicuously absent throughout these kit recommendations for this very reason. If weather resistance isn’t something you are concerned about, an X100 or two could be the only camera(s) you need for any of these kits.
It’s that versatile.
A dual X100F or X100T make a fantastic kit. Leave an L-plate attached to one for tripod shooting and keep the other as a street shooter and daily carry.
It’s compact, disarming size, and quick focusing (S, T and especially the F) make it a phenomenal street photography camera. You’ll want to avoid using an S or T as a second/backup to the X100F unless you don’t mind carrying a second set of batteries and chargers around with you.
With it’s built-in 3-stop ND filter, and the addition of a 10-stop ND filter (which is relatively cheap due to its size, and adorable) you can cut the light reaching your sensor by thirteen stops with a single piece of glass. This should put the X100 high on the list for long exposure photographers who can’t get enough silky water.
That built-in ND filter along with it’s leaf shutter allows some incredible flexibility with flash photography too.
Then there are the converters. While they are not as strong optically as their prime counterparts, they’re strong enough, a better user experience with the MII versions and the X100F, and fun to shoot with.
The romantic notion of having a single camera with a fixed focal length is also compelling. In time, you’ll be able to “see” your images before you bring the camera to your eye or put your tripod down.
The Fuji X70→
There is the small matter of the X70. Some of my readers have a keen eye on this camera with street photography in mind. I like the X70 quite a bit, but it’s isn’t quite enough to be a single-camera solution for me like the X100 could be.
For those who want the ultimate in optic fidelity at any focal length, look no further. Remarkably, this list hasn’t seen any change since the last iteration.
Body: Take your pick.
This kit is about optics, the sharpest of the sharp. It’s not a kit I’d recommend in its entirety, it’s simply the best Fuji has to offer.
Wide Angle: Fuji XF 14mm F2.8→
You can’t go wrong with the XF 14mm F2.8 (review). It’s sharp, focuses quick, offers minimal distortion, and has engraved depth of field markings.
Wide Angle: Fuji XF 16mm F1.4 WR→
Fuji have given us a lot of choice on the wide angle front so far, but despite what you may have read elsewhere, 2mm can make a big difference on the wide end. You want wide, sharp, and fast? You want the XF 16mm F1.4 WR.
Classic 35mm/Environmental Portrait: Fuji XF 23mm F1.4→
This lens is incredible. It’s sharp, it’s fast, it produces great bokeh, and the handling is outstanding. The X100 covers the same 35mm equivalent, but it’s optically inferior. Zone focusers will appreciate the XF 23mm F1.4 for its engraved depth of field markings.
Nifty 50-ish: Fuji XF 35mm F1.4→
The original’s time to shine. Overall, it does have slightly superior optics in my testing, and that extra stop of light gathering gets you an extra stop more bokeh. It’s not the lens I’d chose, but for the pixel peepers, and I don’t use that term as a pejorative, this is the way to 50mm optical excellence.
Medium Telephoto/Portrait: Fuji XF 56mm F1.2 APD→
The non-APD variant of this lens quickly supplanted the XF 60mm F2.4 Macro for my medium telephoto work that doesn’t need to be real close. It adds sharpness, subtracts a lot of flare, and offers vastly superior background separation thanks to that fast F1.2 aperture, relegating the XF 60mm F2.4 Macro for those who want to get closer or travel lighter. Not this kit though, this is such a no holds barred, take no prisoners sort of kit, I’m even going APD on you. I compared the original to the APD, and while I wouldn’t recommend it for most, it’s optically equal, and renders bokeh that much more creamy. If you love your bokeh, go for the APD gusto.
Telephoto Portrait: Fuji XF 90mm F2 WR→
Fuji’s latest release not only deserves to be in this kit, it’s the impetus for the kit’s existence. Indeed, the XF 90mm F2 WR just might be Fuji’s most optically perfect lens yet. So what if 135mm in 35mm equivalence happens to be one of the easiest focal length to perfect?3
What? No Zooms?
Two of the Red Badge zooms might have a place here, but honestly, the odds aren’t good for the XF 16-55mm F2.8 WR. Preliminary testing is showing that without Fuji’s in-camera magic, it can’t keep pace with the primes. The XF 50-140mm F2.8 WR would have been in here in a second before the XF 90mm F2 WR arrived, but we’ll have to see how it holds up against one of Fuji’s best.
Fine Art, High Fashion, Commercial Kit
This is all I’ll say about the GFX→ for now. The people who need medium format for their fine art landscapes, high fashion or commercial shoots already know who they are and have their orders placed. This is not a camera for everyone, or most or even many. It may be downright inexpensive for medium format, but it’s still almost 4 times the cost of an X-T2, which is the ideal camera for the overwhelming majority of my readers.
My (Indespensible) Kit
I suppose the only kit left worth mentioning is my kit.It’s what I call my “Indespensible Kit,” the items I’d have if Fuji vs. Fuji wasn’t a thing. Ironically, is not one of the kits listed above. What would I choose if I could only have a selection of 3 lenses? Easy:
The first two should be pretty obvious if you read any of this article, and I’d swap the XF 90mm F2 WR from my Ultimate Prime kit out for the zoom to make my studio work easier. If I didn’t have a 77mm lens, I would have bought one set of Breakthrough Photography→ 72mm filters with a 67-72mm step-up ring. I opted for the 77mm with a 72-77mm step-up ring to cover all my bases.
A VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip→ stays on my X-T2 for easy portrait composing, extended battery life, and higher performance in “Boost Mode.”
I do, in fact, use Fuji’s accessory hoods, the LH-XF35-2→ for the XF 35mm F2 WR, and the LH-XF16→ for the XF 16mm F1.4 WR. The hood that came in the box for the former is a somewhat ridiculous plastic ring, and the hood that came with the latter is enormous (albeit lighter). For the record, I do keep the hood for the XF 50-140mm F2.8 WR with me as well, but the kit looks cooler without that hood on.
I still use and love the Artisan & Artist Braided Silk Strap→ on my X-Pro2. It’s not cheap, but it’S going to be with me for a long time. On the X-T2, I use a Luma Labs Loop 3.→ The replacement strap I received from them has not frayed at all like the first one.
And finally, I keep a Match Technical Bop-O-L on all Fuji cameras that have a threaded shutter release, which thankfully, is all the cameras I use regularly now.
I reduced my support to just one setup, a Really Right Stuff TQC-14 Series 1 Carbon Fibre Tripod→ and BH-30 Ballhead,→ which pairs perfectly with X Series cameras. If I somehow manage to scrape together the funds for a GFX Kit, I have a feeling it will warrant and beefier support system.
After extensive testing and even more real-world shooting, these are Fuji vs. Fuji’s kit recommendations for 2017.
For the curious:
- How anyone could include the XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR in a top ten list is beyond me. ↩︎
- I’m early in my XF 23mm F2 WR testing, but I suspect it will do to the XF 23mm F1.4 what the XF 35mm F2 WR did to the XF 35mm F1.4 for everyone, with the exception of zone focusers. ↩︎
- In my last version of this, I said: “I just might have something up my sleeve to determine that one way or the other. Let’s see if I get around to be before this kit gets its next annual update. I did not. :-/ ↩