Launched at the same time as the X-A5 hybrid, the Fujinon Super EBC XC 15-45mm f / 3.5-5.6 OIS PZ is the brand’s first electric zoom and will therefore be particularly useful for video recordings. Equivalent to a 23-69 mm in 24×36, it retracts when the device is off and then measures just over 4 cm.
Made from 10 lenses in 9 groups, including 3 aspheric and 2 ED glass lenses, the Fujinon Super EBC XC 15-45mm f / 3.5-5.6 zoom lens is relatively compact when folded, as it measures only 44 mm in length for a diameter of 62 mm. It accepts circular filters with a diameter of 52 mm.
Third model of the XC range (corresponding to entry-level lenses), this 15-45 mm offers only a sliding aperture of f / 3.5 at wide-angle and f / 5.6 at telephoto but offers an integrated stabilization to compensate for this lower brightness by the use of lower freehand speeds, provided that the subject is fixed obviously.
It is equipped with a 7-slice circular diaphragm and a silent step-by-step autopilot. Above all, a motor is dedicated to the deployment of the zoom so that we can achieve smooth and smooth zoom in or out effects in video recording. Its minimum focusing distance is 13 cm at wide-angle and 35 cm at telephoto. At wide-angle, it offers a maximum magnification of 0.24x.
The Fujinon Super EBC XC 15-45mm f / 3.5-5.6 OIS PZ is for the moment proposed only in kit, associated with X-A5 or X-T100 (with which it is valued at 100 €), but when it was announced, Fujifilm talked about marketing it alone for € 299.
The Fujinon Super EBC XC 15-45mm f / 3.5-5.6 OIS PZ does not take advantage of the high-end manufacturing of XF lenses and this is the first observation that we make when we are used to use – we think in particular XF 50 mm f / 2 R WR which we said good of our test. Nevertheless, this XC 15-45 mm has beautiful finishes and precise machining. The most striking thing at first contact is its low weight of only 135 grams; it does not cause any imbalance once associated with a device even compact and lightweight as the X-A5.
If the zoom is only 44mm when folded, the lens will automatically expand as soon as the camera is turned on, increasing to 65mm wide-angle and 62mm telephoto.
Its barrel accommodates two adjusting rings, without any inscription to specify their use. It must be said that if you are in autofocus mode on the device, both will have the same function: activate the zoom. The closest to the camera and the widest (1 cm) operates a progressive and fluid zooming. As for the second, it can be used to quickly switch from wide-angle to telephoto via a dozen intermediate levels, but its use has not convinced us. Especially, the two rings being very close to each other, we have regularly operated one in place of the other. We also regret not being able to position the camera on a given focal length except the two extremes (15 and 45 mm).
The motorized zoom is appreciable in video. Its speed, which can be easily adjusted according to the amplitude of the rotation, is neither too fast nor too slow and its operation is perfectly fluid. However, he would have been better at being a little quieter. Inscriptions indicating the direction of the wide-angle and telephoto lens would also have been significant to avoid pilot errors. On the other hand, the front ring is too fluid. When used to achieve the focus in manual mode, it will use the distance indications on the screen to know its position and the absence of stop is quite troublesome.
The lens comes without a sun visor and does not have a mounting mechanism to accommodate one. The front lens is however set back from the lens, it is not too problematic. We also had no complaints about the appearance of flare.
The concept of dive is quite delicate to treat. This can be likened to the “sharpness” or “precision” that is observed in an image. It can be very different from one lens to another, from one focal point to another and from one openness to another. It can also vary between the center and the edges of the image. It is customary to say that the nose is optimal in the center and the average openings (f / 8 or f / 11, for example).
We tested the lens with the accompanying Fujifilm X-A5 kit. Its 24-megapixel APS-C sensor generates images of 6,000 x 4,000 px. Each pixel therefore measures 3.7 μm side. The Fujinon Super EBC XC 15-45mm f / 3.5-5.6 OIS PZ will also be marketed as a kit with the X-T100 announced last week, and should give broadly similar results since both devices share the same sensor.
From the outset, a first observation is needed: the sharpness in the center of the image is high at all focal lengths, from the full opening. No need to close the diaphragm to enjoy a better dive in the center, which is good news considering the modest opening of this zoom. But this remark is only valid if you focus on your subject, because the corners and sides do not benefit from the same rendering.
At 15 mm, the results are quite bad on the sides and it is necessary to wait for the opening f / 8 so that the objective is more homogeneous. A phenomenon that the images of our test scene below, at the bottom of this article, highlight.
The more one progresses in focus and the more the objective is homogeneous; beyond 31 mm, the results can even be qualified as good. At the bottom of zoom, we will only be careful not to close beyond f / 16, from which point diffraction greatly reduces the resolution of the lens.
The power zoom Fujinon Super EBC XC 15-45 mm f / 3.5-5.6 OIS PZ accompanies including kit Fujifilm X-A5. If this objective is practical in video recording – which we could unfortunately see that it was not the specialty of the X-A5 – its electric zooming did not convince us in the photo where we often lost time to us. serve. But it’s a matter of taste and practice, that maybe you do not share with us. Regarding its intrinsic qualities, this zoom fulfills its mission by proposing a strong sting in the center from the full opening, the absence of any distortion and effective stabilization that will make it a very good companion to start in photography with a hybrid input of range. More demanding users will prefer a brighter model of the XF range, but it will also be much more expensive.