Using the Best Zoom Lenses for the Fujifilm XH2s


There are a decent number of zoom lenses for the Fujifilm XH2s and XH2. But some are just more innovative and useful than others. Currently, a lot of those come from Tamron. We’re sure that, over the next few years, you’re going to start seeing two specific Tamron lenses appear as lenses of choice used by photography award winners aroundd the world. Indeed, Tamron just does things that are totally different.

Gear Used

Why These are Perfect for the Fujifilm XH2s and XH2

Photographers picking up the Fujifilm XH2s and XH2 are bound to want zoom lenses. After all, this is a camera series designed primarily for those kinds of lenses. Gone are the retro aesthetics ingrained in the X-series’ identity for a decade. Instead, they’re emracing the more DSLR style of cameras that folks love for work. With that said, the zoom lenses need to be incredibly versatile. And that’s where these Tamron lenses come in.

The Tamron 17-70mm f2.8 Di III-A VC RXD lens is the near equivalent of a 24-120mm f2.8 lens. Decades ago, Tamron made something like that for DSLRs. But now, it’s returned for APC-C mirrorless cameras. It’s one thing to have a 24-70mm lens, but a 24-120mm with a fast f2.8 aperture is a whole other thing. In real life use, it proves super useful especially for situations requiring high ISOs. Thankfully, Fujifilm has never had a problem embracing image noise due to how X Trans Sensors and Film simulations work. That’s to say that this Tamron lens will shine on that XH2S sensor.

Then there’s the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD, which we wrote about a while back. It’s an excellent travel zoom for vacation. However, it’s also an incredible lens to use for birding and wildlife photography. Seriously, the versatility it gives photographers may mean it never leaves your camera.

Finally, the Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is a lightweight and fairly compact lens that lets you photograph wildlife for a really long time. Combined with the weather resistance, ample controls, image stability, and Fujifilm’s film simulations, you’ll have photos similar to the ones from vintage magazines.

Using the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD

We’ve used the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD for things like being a tourist. But with the new Fujifilm XH2s, it’s much more capable. This camera has AI autofocus built in that lets it take advantage of things like bird and animal autofocus detection. So we photographed birds duking it out over bird seed on the balcony, which is one of our most difficult tests for autofocus.

To make the most of this with the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III lens, we recommend the following settings:

  • Pre-Shot ES: With this setting, the Fujifilm XH2s captures a bunch of photos when the camera is half-pressed, but it doesn’t save them just yet. If you fully press the shutter down, then it stores those images along with the ones that you’re currently shooting. Use a fast and really good SD or CFExpress A card for this (Phoblographer members get them at a discount when they purchase a subscription).
  • Electronic Shutter: This way you can capture the fastest frames.
  • 40fps: The incredibly fast burst rate will mean it’s tough to miss a shot with the right settings dialed in.
  • Exposure Preview turned off: The Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III and the Fujifilm XH2s will autofocus best together when you turn off the exposure preview.
  • Subject Detection for Bird or Animal: An obvious need for this situation.
  • AF-C: Continuous autofocus is the best way to make sure you get the most in-focus photos when photographing fast-moving action.
  • Tracking or Wide zone set to the center: With the Tamron 18-300mm, try using the tracking point in the center and recomposing the scene. Otherwise, use the wide-area, set it to the center, and the camera will recognize the subjects and work to keep them in focus.
  • Classic Chrome or Velvia Film Simulation: Because, why not?

Using this setup, the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III should be able to capture a bunch of frames of the animals you’re photographing. On the longer end, the Tamron lens renders a 450mm field of view. At 40fps, it will also be very difficult to miss a shot when combined with pre-shot ES. Tamron makes this possible by also providing a workable range that photographers will be quite happy with in order to be effective.

Of course, it’s also just a great zoom lens for whatever you may want to shoot.

Using the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD

We used the Tamron 17-70mm f2.8 Di III-A VC RXD for both portraiture and candid shooting. We were surprised at how fantastic it was on the Fujifilm XH2s and XH2! Be sure your camera’s firmware is totally up to date to ensure it’s working perfectly fine. Then dial in these settings.

  • Single frame: You don’t need to do continuous shooting for this kind of work if you’re able to time things.
  • Exposure Preview turned off: The Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD and the Fujifilm XH2s will autofocus best together when you turn off the exposure preview. (For the record, this is regardless of any camera or lens combination in the world.) If the scene is too dark, then the camera just won’t be able to focus.
  • Face Detection with Eye Auto: this helps the camera and lens focus on a face.
  • AF-C: Continuous autofocus is the best way to make sure you get the most in-focus photos when photographing fast-moving action.
  • Tracking or Wide zone set to the center: With this lens, try using the tracking point in the center and recomposing the scene. Otherwise, use the wide-area, set it to the center, and the camera will recognize the subjects and work to keep them in focus.
  • Alternatively, AF-S: Single AF mode also works just great in pretty much every situation. And if you use this mode, you can set the Fujifilm XH2s to select the entire area of ​​the frame to focus on.
  • Astia or Classic Negative: They’re some of our favorite film simulations.

The trick here is to make sure the camera and lens can find faces in a scene. Then you just need to point, focus, and shoot. The Fujifilm XH2s is extremely quick with the Tamron lens. In fact, we didn’t miss a single shot when testing it over a full weekend. Can you believe it?

Use these tips, and in no time you’ll be making photos with the Fujifilm XH2s that everyone is going to love.

The Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD for Wildlife

Here’s how we’re using the Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC for wildlife photography. With the XH2, it’s quite spectacular.

  • Pre-Shot ES: With this setting, the Fujifilm XH2 captures a bunch of photos when the camera is half-pressed, but it doesn’t save them just yet. If you fully press the shutter down, then it stores those images along with the ones that you’re currently shooting. Use a fast and really good SD or CFExpress A card for this. (Phoblographer members get them at a discount when they purchase a subscription.)
  • Electronic Shutter: This way you can capture the fastest frames. Mind you, the camera will still give you rolling shutter, so be careful.
  • 15fps: You’re getting a lot of 40MP photos this way. I sometimes even opt for 10 frames a second.
  • Exposure Preview turned off in Aperture priority: The Tamron lens and the Fujifilm XH2s will autofocus best when you turn off the exposure preview. Alternatively, you could have it on, but make sure that your subject is well exposed for the camera to see it. The XH2 doesn’t have as great autofocus, so give it all the advantages you can.
  • ISO 3200 to 12,800: You’ll need it for the faster shutter speeds required to capture this kind of stuff.
  • Subject Detection for Bird or Animal: This is an obvious need for this situation, but you could instead use AF-S mode if the animal isn’t moving around a lot.
  • AF-C: Continuous autofocus is the best way to make sure you get the most in-focus photos when photographing fast-moving action. There’s a customization setting within the camera menu that can help in most situations.
  • Tracking set to the center: With the Tamron 150-500mm lens, try using the tracking point in the center and recomposing the scene. With the XH2 especially, this is a great way to shoot.
  • Classic Chrome: This is key to get those vintage-style images we’re going for.

We’re editing our photos in Capture One. Because the company works together with Fujifilm to render their RAW files, you’ll get better photos this way. Wildlife photographers finally have a great zoom option with Fujifilm for photographing creatures of all sorts. And more importantly, the options are weather-resistant and deliver great image quality.

This piece is presented in partnership with TAMRON. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this post already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few key gems to you.





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