The Fujifilm XF 80mm F / 2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens is nothing short of optical perfection. It produces razor sharp images (a situational negative I cover below) and the focusing mechanism is stellar. With only a few minor drawbacks - price and weight - this is an outstanding lens.
Who is this lens for? People interested in or into product, close-up, and general macro photography. Not one of those people? You should probably pass and stop reading this review. The rest of you might want to start saving now. The price is a steep $1,200; not exactly a casual purchase.
The results from this lens aren't casual though; every last detail is revealed in crisp detail with great color and contrast. You'll see the fine veins present in leaves, individual hairs are rendered clearly, and textured surfaces look touchable. The flip side is that this lens will expose every last crappy shot you take.
Auto focus is quick with limiter settings to prevent excessive hunting (you will find it still happens from time to time). For those very close shots you will most likely prefer to use manual focus with focus peaking. If you decide to stay in auto I find using focus bracketing with this lens is a pleasure (check this out if you want to learn more about focus bracketing). With 5-stops of image stabilization you'll be able to take incredible hand-held shots without a tripod. All of this adds up to a perfect lens.
But not quite. $1,200 is a hard pill to swallow. And this lens is the antithesis to the normal Fujifilm lightweight lens lineup. It’s big without a lens hood and massive with it on. It also "clunks" when not powered on. The brilliant focusing mechanism doesn't lock in place when shut off and allows the internal elements to slide around. The Fuji lens designers probably knew what they were doing...probably. You are warned.
Now some of you may be thinking like I did, that this lens would also be great for portraiture. With a 122mm equivalence it hits the head shot sweet spot. Here’s the rub: it may be too sharp. I’m not kidding when I say you can pick out the individual pores in the person's skin with this lens. It’s cool (it really is though), but less so when you have to soften all your images in post.
And while autofocus is great, it’s not fantastic; don’t expect to nail candids or action with consistency. I hear the XF 90mm (which is incredible from all accounts) would be the preferred option there.
Need a second opinion? Denae & Andrew do an excellent review on YouTube.
In the end, the Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens hands you performance proportionate to its price. For studio work (product and “slow” portraiture) this would be a great choice. Outdoor macro shooting is great with OIS and weather sealing, but be prepared to end the day with a sore wrist! If you're willing to take the time and practice with it, the rewards are truly outstanding.
See below for some sample photos: