XF 55-200 vs XF 50-140 2.8


So I’ve been using the XF 55-200mm to great efffect for the last 9 months or so. I’ve taken it all around the world and put it through its paces and been generally very happy with it. It has faced hikes through the rain, freezing temperatures, the dust of East African plains, and has held up well throughout.

Despite all of this, I’m finding myself drawn to the 50-140mm 2.8. I don’t mind the extra weight, and I would love to be able to shoot some astro zoomed shots. I work in some places where celestial alignments with architecture are a key part of the story, and the capacity to have some compression in my shot while still seeing objects like the Pleiades would be sweet. I also want a zoom lens with better bokeh and subject isolation for portraits (I currently shoot almost all of my portraiture with the 35mm 1.4), so I’m curious about how much of an improvement I’d see there.

My big hesitation comes in losing that 60mm of reach. I took the 55-200mm on safari and was super impressed with its reach. While if I were to return to Africa I would certainly spring for the 100-400mm, I’m worried I may miss some shots I’d otherwise get in the meantime if I switch. I’ve considered grabbing the 2x teleconverter to remedy this, does anyone have any experience with this combo as compared to the 55-200?

I suppose my main question is this: how much of an image quality improvement could I expect, especially for portraiture? And how much am I likely to miss that reach? Is it a worthwhile tradeoff, for those who have used both?

Thanks, here are some samples of the shot’s I’ve taken with the 55-200 to give an idea of how I like to shoot (you’ll notice there is no astro here, because it just isn’t fast enough to shoot astro competently).


Wow !! In love with your elephant and lion dining shots !!


Thanks @nz-photo! Any experience with these zooms in the past?


Oh no I’m actually shooting mainly with my primes
23mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4 and although Samyang ultrawide 12mm f2.
so I can’t help you sorry.

Regarding zoom lenses i only use my manual old Nikon ai-s
85mm f2 and 105mm f2.5 or a nice little inexpensive 75-150mm f3.5
Can’t get that much sharpness of course but not that bad and with beautiful soft ‘bokeh’ in the back.
That makes me think I have to check the 75-150mm with my new x-t20 to see if it’s fine or not…

Still amazed with the elephant photo you got there !!
Have a nice day.


I love the 55-200mm but still dreaming of the 100-400mm everyday ^^
By looking back in the past, with this lens I’m mostly shooting between 125mm and 200mm, which make the 55-100 range not very accurate to me…
Also when checking on photography platform what is shot using the 55-200mm you will see that the 55-100mm range is not really exploited…


Got the 55-200 too. I just found the 50-140 too large (same for the 16-55, that I ended up selling and replacing with the 18-55 while accepting some loss of IQ).

From all the reviews and sharpness tests I’ve read so far, the 50-140 is sharper, but just like with the 16-55 vs 18-55, I don’t think it’s proportional to the additional cost and size.

The bokeh on the 55-200 is actually pretty darn good for a “slow” lens.

I also do astro, and while I have used the 55-200 @ 200mm with a tracker to obtain acceptable results, I would also look at other options like the Rokinon 135mm f2 or maybe adapting a Canon 200mm f2.8L using a speedbooster.

For wildlife and landscape I honestly think the extra reach was enough to give me pause and skip the 50-140.

Hope that helps.


Oh, also, the teleconverters do not work with the 55-200, just with the 50-140 and the 100-400. Using it with the 55-200 was my initial plan too haha.


Yeah not having the possibility to use a teleconverter is a big cons of the 55-200. At least for sports photographers.


I have being shooting street with 55-200 B&W and love this lens I also use my favor 35mm f1.4


you could use fuji extension tube 11mm is a though?