Since the beginning of the Fujifilm X Mount line of cameras and lenses, one lens seems to dominate when it comes to the most disliked, perhaps even hated Fuji X lens: the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro. The general consensus on this lens seems to be one of two things: it’s too damn slow to focus, or the 1:2 macro isn’t really useful for macro. So what is this lens really supposed to be? A telephoto, portrait, or macro lens? It’s actually a little of everything, which is actually why I think it’s so great and so underrated. Back when there weren’t that many Fujifilm X lenses in existence, the XF 60mm lens seemed to have been built to fulfill several roles. This jack-of-all-trades, master of none approach really appeals to me, and I have been a happy user of the XF 60mm macro.
Before we move on, let’s talk about the AF speed issue. Yes, it is slow. Yes, it can hunt and miss focus. The firmware updates have improved the AF speed of this lens, especially on newer bodies, but the it is still no match for newer Fuji lenses. That being said, if you know the limits of this lens and set your expectations and usage accordingly, this lens will help you produce stellar images!
The Fujinon XF 60mm macro is a SHARP lens with beautiful rendering! I own several Fujinon lenses including the well-regarded 35mm f/2 WR and the 16-55 f/2.8 pro zoom, among others. While these lenses are sharp, as most Fujinons are, the 60mm seems to have an extra bit of sharpness and pop to it’s files. I’ve also tried numerous other X-mount lenses and despite it’s relative age, the 60mm still remains in the top of the list for sharpness. Couple that with it’s close focusing ability and you have a killer combination, especially for the following applications:
1. The Fujinon XF 60mm macro is great for food photography. This is my go-to lens when shooting food. I love food photography and I cook and photograph my dishes regularly. A majority of the shots on my food Instagram account have been shot with the 60mm macro. The angle of view is perfect for single dishes and the close focusing is very helpful. And did I mention this lens is super sharp?
2. The XF 60mm macro is great for details, products, and still life. This lens comes along to every wedding I photograph. It is my go-to lens for ring shots and details. I also love this lens for product photography (really useful for selling stuff, blogging, etc). Again, the close focusing and sharpness is amazing. The only problem is having to clone out dust particles, since the lens picks up every bit of it in sharp detail.
3. The XF 60mm macro is great for studio portraits and headshots. The 90mm equivalent focal length is just perfect for this application. The compression is flattering for subjects and the small size of the lens is not intimidating at all (just don’t use that huge honking hood). It just gets out of your way and helps you focus on interacting and getting the most from your subject. For shallow depth of field portraits, the bokeh is very pleasing and I have used it for engagement sessions. It works fine as long as the focusing situation is not too challenging (such as harsh backlighting). But it really shines for studios and other controlled environments.
4. The XF 60mm macro is great for landscapes and travel. Aside from the ultra-wide vistas typically associated with landscape photography, sometimes you need to focus into to the scene to highlight certain aspects of the landscape. The sharpness and low distortion of the 60mm macro helps it to do telephoto landscapes well. And after you’re done shooting that landscape, this lens will have no trouble switching to a detailed closeup shot of flowers or textures. Moreover, the compact size and light weight of this lens makes it very easy to travel with.
As you may have noticed with the points I brought up above, this lens is excellent for slower shooting situations where you have control over the lighting and don’t need to move around too much. If you are looking for a very fast run and gun lens, then look elsewhere. If you are a hard core macro shooter, then this lens might not be the right choice either due to the fairly limited built-in macro capability. I’ve heard of the Fuji extension tubes, but I have no experience with those. I’m not a macro photographer, so I’ll leave that topic to the experts.
That’s not to say that you can’t compensate for the technical limitations with practice. I have successfully used this lens for street photography and even some events. But it can hunt and miss focus pretty badly when the lighting situation is tricky, and that can be quite frustrating.
That being said, I highly recommend this lens for people who need a well-built, compact and sharp mid-telephoto lens for slow, controlled shooting situations. I think this lens is a great choice if you are a studio, food, product, still life, or a travel/landscape shooter. Moreover, this lens can be had quite cheaply on the second hand market and even some great brand-new deals on eBay. Interested in one? Get yours here. It will help me out at no additional cost to you (thank you!).
To wrap things up, here are some more sample images from the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens: