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Hands on with the Fujifilm X-T50 and XF16-50mm f/2.8-4.8

Posted on May 16, 2024

Pete Townshend takes Fujifilm’s latest X Series additions for a spin. Find out how the new X-T50 camera and XF16-50mm kit lens fare

Fujifilm has announced the latest camera and lens in the X Series and we were lucky enough to have an advanced try. We took the setup with us on a day at Port Lympne to admire both the stunning architecture and the amazing array of animals.

X-T50 Camera

Before we get into it, here’s a bit of background on both, starting with the camera. The X-T50 is set to squeeze in between the existing X-T30 II entry-level camera and the flagship X-T model, the X-T5. It is priced at £1,299 for the body only and £1,649 in a kit with the XF16-50mm lens.

As such, it is a bit of an amalgamation of the two, but the easiest way to describe it is that on the inside it’s essentially an X-T5 minus a few luxuries like weather resistance and dual card slots.

What you do get is the latest 40MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor and X-Processor 5, seven-stop IBIS, 6.2K/30p video and AI-based AF that can detect and track a range of subjects.

Fujifilm X-T50 and XF16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 | Image: Fujifilm

On the outside, the camera enjoys the usual retro look of an X-T camera, but with some subtle adjustments. The body is more rounded on the top corners and this translates to the handgrip, which is a little more accentuated to provide extra comfort.

One of the most notable new features is an external Film Simulation dial, which sits on the top plate and replaces the drive dial that is found on the X-T30 II. This dial offers easy access to the 20 Film Simulation modes that are included in the camera.

For those that don’t know, Film Simulations are Fujifilm’s unique in-camera ‘looks’, designed to digitally emulate analogue film stocks.

Fujifilm X-T50 and XF16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 | Image: Fujifilm

XF16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 lens

The XF16-50 is priced at £699 and is set to replace the current XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens. The main reason for this is futureproofing against the increasing resolution of the X-Trans sensors.

Therefore, a particular focus has been placed on the lens’s resolving power, which is achieved through 11 elements in nine groups, including three aspherical lenses and three ED lenses.

There are a few other big things to note on this lens when compared to the XF18-55mm. Let’s start with the positives. The lens offers an extra 2mm of width and has an internal zoom mechanism, so it stays the same physical length throughout the zoom range. It is also weather resistant and 70g lighter, weighing in at 240g.

All this plays well into the optic’s intended use as an everyday carry or travel lens.

On the downside, you lose 5mm and half a stop of aperture at the telephoto end. You also lose the OIS that is present on the XF18-55mm. A good trade off? Let’s find out.

Taken with X-T50 and XF16-50mm | 16mm vs. 50mm

First test

As a zoo, safari park and stately home, Port Lympne made a great all-round destination to test this camera and lens.

First things first, this is a good-looking camera. It comes in black, silver and charcoal and all have their own appeal.

It’s small and light in hand which made for a comfortable day’s walking around the zoo and gardens with the XF16-50 attached. It did feel a little less manageable with the XF70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 attached – even with the newly designed grip – so you may want to consider a handgrip accessory if you plan to use larger lenses.

The XF16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 has all the usual XF features, with focus ring, aperture ring and auto aperture switch. It’s a neat little lens – a fact made all the more noticeable with its internal zoom mechanism– which makes it a joy to carry.

Autofocus was fast and accurate for the most part. When combined with the X-T50’s AI subject detection, there were no major issues in finding and tracking the various animals.

I did experience a few more misses in the more challenging low-light conditions at sunset, but on the whole it was an impressive performance.

The extra width afforded by the additional 2mm at the wide end really came into its own when photographing the architecture and views with no noticeable distortion and good clarity.

Taken with Fujifilm X-T50 and XF16-50mm f/2.8-4.8

A key feature of the X-T50 is the inclusion of a Film Simulation dial on the top plate. This takes the place of the drive dial and lets users instantly select from a number of Film Simulations without using the menu system.

Is the dial for me? Probably not, but it does tell us a lot about the camera’s positioning.

You’ll love it if you’re an everyday shooter who wants good-looking photos fast, a Fujifilm afficionado who wants a fun camera to take to family gatherings, or possibly a film photographer who loves the filmic looks and the analogue dials.

Taken with Fujifilm X-T50 and XF16-50mm f/2.8-4.8

Conclusion

Overall, this camera and lens make a winning combination. The X-T50 offers some excellent features that you would normally find in a much higher spec camera.

With the new 40MP sensor, upgraded AF and IBIS, the XF16-50mm’s loss of image stabilisation and speed at the telephoto end is acceptable. The lens’s optical performance is great, and the internal zoom makes this kit extremely portable.

The only hurdle for the X-T50 could be its positioning. When its body-only price of £1,299 and kit price of £1,649 is compared to that of its siblings in the X Series range, is the X-T50 at risk of finding itself a little lost?

Keep an eye out for PN’s more detailed Big Test of the X-T50. In the meantime, learn more about the X-T50 and XF16-50mm f/2.8-4 at the Fujifilm website.

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