Yes, you read the title right. Normally when you think landscapes, you think wide angle. I was the same until a few weeks ago, when I decided to try out the Fujifilm XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR for my trip to the English coast.
Best. Decision. Ever.
I’ve used a good amount of lenses in the last year or so; prime, telephoto and super wide angles alike (Fujifilm, Nikon and Samyang) and my favourite of them all is the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8. It just feels right in your hand and the images from it are nothing short of stellar. I can honestly say that I have not used a better lens. However, during this trip, I found myself using the XF100-400mm more than the XF16-55mm; This telephoto lens opened up a whole new level of enthusiasm that I didn’t know existed. In this article, I’ve put together the things that made my experience with this lens enjoyable. Hope you find them useful.
Though the features mentioned are specific to Fujifilm’s XF100-400mm, the following three principles apply to any telephoto lens. So, even if you are a non-Fujifilm shooter, read on.
While wide angle lenses include more in a frame, which allows to crop out what you don’t need in post, a telephoto lens does the opposite – it makes you think before you frame a shot because more often than not you cannot crop out anything – so you need to have just the right things in a frame that make your image. This, I believe, contributes abundantly towards the joy of creating. I walked so much trying to get things in frame or to get the perspective I wanted. Maybe this is what ‘thinking on your feet’ looks like (wink wink).
The following images were taken at Durdle Door, Wareham. There are plenty of pictures of this place with the entire beach and the hills behind in the frame or the Door with the steps leading up to it etc., But having a telephoto lens allowed me to try out some interesting compositions and truly show the sense of scale.
You might have already seen or heard the word ‘compression’ thrown around in relation to photography. This is a type of perspective distortion that occurs when using a telephoto lens; The distance between your subject and the background or foreground would appear relatively small. This effect is something you wouldn’t achieve in a wide angle lens and the perspectives produced are simply stunning. Here is an example:
Here’s another, shot at Land’s end, Cornwall. Though the ship and the lighthouse look relatively closer, they were at least a mile away from each other!
A decluttered, tight framing with the advantage of compression (which means a small areas of simple background would fill your image thus creating the entire focus on a single subject) make a great combination for minimalistic images. I love minimalistic images as it is a beautiful style to convey stories or emotions. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do so! This has a powerful principle at its premise: ‘keeping it simple’. Here are a couple of examples shot using Fujifilm XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR:
With all that said, it would not be half as much fun if the lens is not a good one, and boy was it good.
Here is what I loved about the Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 LM OIS WR:
- It is sharp, end to end
- Colour fringing is next to non-existent
- Easy to handle
- Optical Image Stabilisation works a treat (many times I shot with 1/30s or even 1/15s which resulted in razor sharp images)
- It has got a barrel lock which comes in handy
- Weather sealing helps when shooting in less than optimal conditions
- I see a lot of people say that a battery grip is a must if you’re using this lens. I don’t agree with that as I used this lens with my X-T2 without the grip and found no discomfort whatsoever
To sum up, would I recommend this lens? – The answer is an emphatic, unequivocal YES!
If you have any questions or suggestions or any other reason why YOU think telephoto lenses are a must for landscape shooters, please let me know in the comments.
Sathya was born and raised in India. He currently resides in east London.
His passion is for Landscape and Travel photography. He enjoys shooting portraits, events, street and the occasional wedding. He has worked with brands including Fujifilm, Zeiss Camera Lenses, and Virgin Trains and with some of the well reviewed restaurants and Riads in Morocco. He has some projects planned for the next year, including Croatia, India and Svalbard. Follow him on social media to be up-to-date.