Fujifilm XF23mm weather proof

Given the fact that you’re reading an article about the best Fujifilm lenses to buy in 2023, my guess is that you’ll need no introduction to Fujifilm and their hugely popular line of X-Mount APS-C mirrorless cameras. 

You will likely also know that Fujifilm’s X-Mount cameras can make for incredibly lightweight and practical travel companions since the vast majority of X-Mount bodies weigh in at less than 0.5kg (or 1.1 lbs). Couple that with the fact that their APS-C sensors are able to produce professional-level image quality while simultaneously keeping the size and weight of its lenses to a minimum, and you have one incredibly capable yet nimble photography set-up to take with you on the road.

But when you have a strong and well-established line of interchangeable lens cameras, there necessarily follows a series of difficult decisions when it comes to choosing the lenses to which you’ll dedicate your limited luggage space. In this post, our aim is to make this decision as easy as possible, ensuring that you can get all of the shots you want without needing a separate check-in bag or a second job to financially support your lens collection. 

What to look out for when investing in a second-hand lens

Just before we jump into what, in our opinion, are the best Fujifilm X-Mount lenses on the market in 2023, let’s quickly touch on the best ways to ensure that your investment is worthwhile and that you get a good quality lens.

When buying a new lens, you’re likely to get the best deals on listings you see online. The downside of buying online is that you don’t get to inspect and test the lens before paying for it. No-one likes to wait around for a new lens to arrive, only to find that it’s got scratches, dust of fog on any of its glass components.

With the exception of the odd 35mm film camera I’ve picked up in a charity shop, I have only ever bought camera equipment from one of two sources: MPB and eBay.

For me, MPB is always the first place I check. Their camera bodies, lenses and equipment are all checked by professionals and all imperfections and flaws are detailed on their listings. MPB include a 6 month warranty as standard so even if a fault is not immediately apparent, you can rest assured that you’re covered.

I then refer to eBay for anything I can’t find on MPB. This is mainly for film cameras or for older digital cameras that are not listed on MPB. While there is, of course, a bit more risk involved in buying from a privare seller on eBay, there are measures in place to ensure that you get your money back if the product is not as advertised. This process can just take a little longer than that on MPB, especially if the seller disagrees or is reluctant to offer a refund.

Each of the lenses on this list are likely to be available on MPB.com. I would recommend to check out both to compare the available listings.

Affiliate disclosure: While we do receive a small kick-back from any sales or leads obtained through our article, this has never and will never affect any of the content posted on our site. At Roamer Photography, we only recommend products that we have used extensively and would pay for ourselves, so while our affiliate links do help us out, these products are never included in our content for the sole purpose of generating income.

The best all-in-one camera lens for travel photography

Being a travel photography blog, it wouldn’t make much sense to start with anything other than the best Fujifilm lens for travel photography. A travel photography lens should be capable, compact yet versatile and, if possible, durable.

If you’re on a budget and you want a single do-it-all lens, look no further than Fujifilm’s kit lens: the Fujinon XF18-55mm f.2.8-4 R LM OIS.

XF18-55mm<br />

You may now be questioning why someone would actually recommend buying a kit lens as anything other than a kit lens. With any manufacturer other than Fujifilm, you would have a point. 

Affectionately referred to as the ‘king of the kit lenses’, the XF18-55mm is an immensely versatile standard zoom lens in a relatively inexpensive, exceedingly portable and surprisingly durable package. If I was on a limited budget with limited bag space, I wouldn’t think twice about travelling with the XF18-55mm as my only Fujifilm lens. 

The fact that you can read various reviews online comparing the XF18-55mm with the much larger and more expensive Fujinon ‘red badge’ XF16-55mm, and that these reviews don’t overwhelmingly argue in favour of the latter, is a testament to just how good a lens this is. While we’re by no means denying that the XF16-55mm is the better lens overall, if you’re on a budget and want to travel light, the XF18-55mm is the way to go.

Batad with XF18-55mm
Iloilo City with XF18-55mm

That being said, if your budget is a bit larger and you’re not as concerned with travelling light, there remain options other than the XF16-55mm. I would personally opt for the Fujinon XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. 

The XF18-135mm reaches far further than the XF16-55mm, comes with full weather sealing so you don’t need to shield it from the elements, and it still comes up smaller and lighter than the XF16-55mm.

This is truly a do-it-all lens that doesn’t seem to slack off in any discernible way. Coupled with a weather-proof X-Mount body, this is a lens that could accompany you on the most treacherous of hikes or even the famous Holi festival in India. Only you wouldn’t need to bring a £3000 dive housing to protect your precious mirrorless camera; just take your weatherproof lens and give it a thorough rinse under a tap afterwards.

 

If these sound like something you’re in the market for, take a look at some second-hand copies of the Fujinon XF18-55mm and the Fujinon 18-135mm here. You can also take a look at MPB listings for these lenses here.

The best all-around Fujifilm prime lens

 

If you’re primarily a prime lens shooter, look no further than the Fujinon XF23mm f/2 R WR.

The XF23mm was my very first Fuji lens and, to this day, I still regret selling it. The only reason I sold it, for reference, is that I personally prefer the versatility of a zoom lens, meaning that I purchased an XF10-24mm which had the XF23mm’s focal length covered. 

Some of the main reasons I miss it, however, are its weather sealing, its extremely compact size and weight and its obscenely fast and accurate autofocus. It made my XT-2 feel more like a non-rangefinder version of the X100V. With this lens attached, you could barely even feel the weight of the camera in your backpack, which I must admit, gave me a scare on more than one occasion. 

The XF23mm weighs just 180g and with its fairly wide maximum aperture of f/2, it’s also a reasonably capable astrophotography lens. That being said, most people, myself included, prefer a wider focal length for astrophotography. But more on that later.

Take a look at some second-hand models of the Fujinon 23mm f/2 on MPB or on eBay.

Fujifilm XF23mm weather proof

The best Fujifilm lens for street photography

 

Now onto street photography, another genre extremely popular amongst travel photographers. Street photographers need a medium focal length lens with fast and accurate autofocus, and ideally this lens should also be compact. You won’t get many candid shots if you’re shooting with an absolute behemoth of a lens like the XF18-120mm.

While Fujifilm shooters have a seemingly ever-expanding variety of lenses to choose from when it comes to street photography, there is one that stands out in my mind. 

The Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR.

Fujifilm XF35mm f/2

Like the XF23mm, it’s a relatively inexpensive lens with full weather sealing and extremely fast and accurate autofocus. Being just over ⅓ of the size of the aforementioned XF18-120mm, it’s small enough to go almost undetected, particularly if you’re shooting at waist level.

Like the XF23mm f/2, the XF35mm f/2 also has a larger, heavier brother with a wider maximum aperture of f/1.2. Like the XF23mm f/1.4 R, however, this comes in a much larger, heavier and costlier package which, on top of all of this, lacks the weather proofing of its smaller f/2 sibling.

Take a look at the most recent prices for the XF35mm f/2 R WR on MPB or on eBay.

The best Fujifilm lens for landscape photography

 

Another sub-genre of travel photography popular with travellers is, of course, landscape photography. If you’re an avid hiker, this section of the article is likely what you’re here for.

For landscape photography, the best lens is the Fujinon XF10-24mm f/4 R OIS

I believe in this recommendation so much that the XF10-24mm is one of the three lenses I currently own, and it’s probably the lens I would have the hardest time parting with.

Baguio with XF18-55mm
XF10-24mm side profile

The 10mm to 24mm focal length is perfect for shooting wide landscapes and the ability to zoom is invaluable, particularly if you’re in an environment or on a trail where simply moving closer to your scene isn’t an option. 

This lens is so popular amongst travel photographers that professional photographers such as Andy Mumford, a well-known and respected Fujifilm X-photographer and YouTuber, swear by it. In fact, he has said that this is the lens that he most often recommends to Fuji photographers wanting to try their hand at capturing landscapes

It should be noted that Fujifilm no longer sells this lens since their release of the more expensive Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS WR. This lens, as the name suggests, is almost identical to the original XF10-24mm, the only difference being the “WR”, signifying the addition of full weather sealing.

Banaue

If you have the funds and you plan to use your lens in the most treacherous of environmental conditions, then it is well worth the upgrade. That being said, I have taken the XF10-24mm on numerous hikes in drizzle and light rain and it has never had any issues to speak of. 

Take a look at the current prices for the XF 10-24mm f/4 on MPB and on eBay.

 

The best telephoto lens for Fujifilm X-Mount cameras

 

Now onto the second of the three Fuji lenses I currently own. 

While telephoto zoom lenses aren’t the most popular travel photography lenses around, understandable given to their large size, I think they’re a very useful tool to have in your arsenal. This is not just due to the fact that you can zoom in further than you can with standard zoom lenses, but due to the creative freedom you have when you can use lens compression.

Lens compression 1
Lens compression 2

Lens compression allows you you to bring the background closer to the foreground, creating an image that you simply couldn’t recreate with a lens with a shorter focal length, regardless of how close to your subject you move.Note how the boy in the images above is roughly the same size, yet the waterfall is significantly larger in the second image.

Lens compression is particularly useful when shooting mountain ranges or waterfalls for example; what may seem relatively small and unimpressive with a wide-angle lens will be completely transformed by a telephoto zoom lens. 

My telephoto lens of choice is the Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS.

See what the current prices for the XF55-200mm are on MPB and on eBay.

Sigiriya 12mm
Sigiriya 200mm

The images above were taken from the same spot on Pidurangala in Sri Lanka. The first was taken using a 12mm lens, while the second was taken using the Fujinon XF55-200mm at full stretch. Shots like the second are why I personally believe the XF55-200mm deserves a spot in any camera bag. While it isn’t my most used lens, it’s certainly a nice option to have in your (hopefully roomy) back pocket.

While it isn’t small, it certainly isn’t a very large or heavy lens by telephoto standards. This means it provides all of the flexibility and capability of a good telephoto lens without weighing you down too much. 

The XF55-200mm, as the ‘OIS’ in its name suggests, comes equipped with optical image stabilization which will allow you to take hand-held shots at much slower shutter speeds, without those shots being completely ruined by motion blur. Using this lens with optical image stabilization enabled (using a physical dial on the side of the lens), I have been able to take sharp, handheld images at a shutter speed as low as 1/8 of a second.

 

The best Fujifilm lens for portraits

 

Some of the most striking and powerful travel photography pictures come in the form of portraits. These images can tell a story in a way that is difficult to replicate.

In my opinion, when it comes to portrait photography using one of Fujifilm’s mirrorless X-Mount cameras, there is one clear winner: the Fujinon XF56mm f/1.2 R WR.

Fujinon XF56mm f/1.2
Fujinon XF56mm f/1.2 side profile

While this isn’t the smallest or lightest prime lens out there, its extremely sharp image quality really is second to none, as is its lightning-fast maximum aperture of f/1.2 which allows you to capture images with buttery-smooth bokeh and incredible low light performance when shot wide open. 

And on top of all of that, it’s fully weather sealed, meaning you won’t need to carefully cradle it under your rain jacket under the slightest drizzle either. If you need a portrait lens in your travel photography arsenal, the XF56mm f/1.2 is a true no-brainer.

Take a look at the current prices for the XF56mm f/1.2 WR on MPB and eBay.

The best astrophotography lens for Fujifilm X-Mount

 

As you may have guessed from all of the other recommendations on this post thus far, Fujifilm has designed and created some absolutely incredible lenses for their X-Mount cameras. In fact, speaking to many Fuji photographers will show you just how many of them moved to an APS-C Fujifilm set-up from their full-frame Canons or Nikons, solely because of the lenses that are available. 

This makes it hard to find third-party lenses that I would recommend over Fujifilm’s own lenses. That is, for every genre other than astrophotography.

For astrophotography, I would have to recommend the lens that I own specifically for this purpose: the Samyang 12mm f/2.

Samyang 12mm astro
Samyang 12mm f/2 astro

The images above were taken on the island of Negros Occidental in the Philippines using my Fujifilm X-T2 and the Samyang 12mm f/2 with a 20 second exposure. I was quite happy with the results, although it is worth making sure that during those 20 seconds, noone walks through your frame as can be seen on the second image.

You may also see this lens marketed under the brand name Rokinon. They are identical models; Rokinon is merely the name under which Samyang lenses are marketed in the Americas.

As the Samyang 12mm f/2 is a manual focus lens, it’s limited in some ways, but astrophotography is not one of those ways as you will only ever use the maximum focus distance. That being said, the 12mm is very easy to recommend due to its compact size, wide focal length, sharp image quality and, of course, its extremely low price. I picked up a spotless version of this lens for just £130 (approximately 160 USD) on eBay. 

That’s not to say that the Samyang 12mm f/2 is a slouch when it’s used to shoot in daylight. As long as you’re shooting something that doesn’t require fast and accurate auto-focus (or any autofocus for that matter), the Samyang 12mm can still hold its own in many well lit situations.

If you’re into astro-photography, or if you’re just looking for an inexpensive ultra-wide angle lens and you don’t need auto-focus, you don’t need to look any further than the Samyang 12mm f/2.

Have a look at what prices the Samyang/Rokinon 12mm f/2 is listed at currently on MPB and eBay.

Silent beach tangalle

Fujifilm lenses for those on a budget

 

While each of the lenses on this list is absolutely fantastic in their own right, there’s no getting around the fact that each of them, with the possible exception of the Samyang 12mm f/2, is quite the investment. The fact that photography, and especially travel photography, is an expensive hobby is almost impossible to circumvent, but if you’re on a budget – don’t worry. You can get yourself a perfectly capable lens without needing to dip into next month’s food budget.

If your budget puts the lenses on this list out of reach, it’s best to buy second-hand and to buy from a third-party manufacturer.

You can find some incredible deals on second-hand, third-party lenses from the likes of Samyang, Meike and Sigma. These manufacturers produce counterparts to almost every lens mentioned in this article and these will be more than enough for 90% of hobbyist travel photographers out there.

Furthermore, another great way to save money is to buy from Fujifilm’s entry-level lens collection – while the premium lenses listed in this article begin their model names with ‘XF’, Fujifilm’s entry-level lenses begin with ‘XC’. 

I should clarify that when I say entry-level, I’m by no means suggesting that any of these lenses are terrible or will deliver sub-par results. Fuji’s XC lenses are merely built inexpensively relative to their XF counterparts.

This might mean that they are built using plastic as opposed to metal components, and most of the Fujifilm lenses carrying the XC prefix also omit an aperture dial which every Fujifilm XF lens includes. If like me, you prefer physical aperture controls that you don’t need to delve into the menus to adjust, this is something to keep in mind. After all, physical SLR-esque exposure controls are what attract many to the Fujifilm system to begin with.

Have a look at some Fuji XC lenses here.

Fujinon budget XC lens

Conclusion

 

And there we have it: the best Fujifilm X-Mount lenses for travel photographers in 2023. While this list may well change as Fujifilm, as well as other third-party manufacturers release more options for Fujifilm  X-Mount users, we can wholeheartedly recommend any of the lenses on this list. 

If you’ve taken the plunge on a new lens and you have a few extra pounds to spare, it may be a good idea to invest in some lens filters, whether that is to protect your new glass or to achieve a desired effect. If you’d like to find out more about the types of lens filters available, feel free to take a look at our complete guide to lens filters.

If there is a lens that you think should be included here, or if there is any piece of camera equipment that you would like us to take a look at and review, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.

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