In the beginning…
The Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 OIS Lens was the third lens I picked up for my Fuji X-T1. It was a bit of an oddball choice, as I tend to prefer sharp, fast primes, but I also enjoy the perspective an extreme wide angle lens can bring.
I shot if for a weekend, trying to capture my daughter at play. My first impressions weren’t that great. It is much larger than the 23mm or 56mm, so it was a bit cumbersome to use. I managed to get one good shot I like of my daughter playing on a trampoline. I grabbed it low, from the edge of the trampoline, so I really appreciated the tilting screen on the X-T1. The downside is it was hard to see in sunlight.
I was about ready to sell it at this point. It wasn’t syncing with my shooting style. Rather than sell it, I parked it in my bag for a bit, and soldiered on with the 23mm and 56mm.
Fast forward a few months, and I started to get interested in HDR Photography based on the awesome work of Trey Ratcliff. I found shooting landscapes in Texas to be fairly boring due to the hot, flat light. I decided to give HDR a try, so I dug the 10-24mm back out of the bag and headed out for adventure.
To cut to the chase, I was blown away with what I got shooting a combination of the 10-24mm lens and HDR. Both handheld and on a tripod, the lens proved to be sharp and versatile. This was my first real HDR shot of a cool tavern up in the Shops at Legacy area of Plano, Texas. I shot it from a really low angle and had to time the traffic, as it was a busy Thursday evening.
This is a shot of one of the new office towers up in the same area. Like the picture above, this was shot handheld. Both were processed in Photomatix Pro, which is an incredible piece of software for HDR photography.
I also wanted to try it out for nature work, so slung the X-T1 with 10-24mm over one shoulder, and my portly Gitzo tripod over the other, and headed out to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. The weight of the camera + lens combo was negligible, even on a hot Texas evening. I had to hunt a bit for a good spot, but ended up setting up the tripod by one of the creeks and grabbed this shot.
The lens flare in the center was my addition, as I wanted to do something with that hot spot.
The Story Now
With HDR, the 10-24mm has gone from the oddball lens in my bag to one of my favorites. If you want the wide perspective, there isn’t a better option. The images are very sharp, and even though it is much larger than the 56mm, it is still a small, discrete setup to be carrying around.
Zoom on the lens is tight, and it is all internal, so the lens doesn’t move in-and-out when slung over a shoulder. I have only shot with the OIS, and it performed really well when shooting handheld in the evening.
The only major flaw is Fuji opted for an aperture ring like the 18-55mm kit lens. It has no aperture markings on the barrel and spins endlessly in either direction. Given this is a thousand-dollar, fixed-aperture lens, I consider this a pretty big failing on Fuji’s part. This means you have to look through the viewfinder or rear screen to see what the aperture is set at. This also completely breaks the feel of the X-T1. The ring has very light detentes, so I learned the hard way it is way too easy to knock out of place.
So should you buy it? As a general addition to the kit, it is hard to justify the cost. You really need to be in to architectural or landscape photography. For a general walk-about lens, the 23mm f/1.4 kills it on size. And the 23mm lens has a real aperture ring with markings, so you know your settings at a glance. But if you’re into HDR, this lens, mounted on an X-T1, is best thing since sliced bread.