The benefits of a compact set-up
Part of the joy of using my X-Pro2 is how I can pack very light and have a compact set-up without renouncing to very fast aperture and great optical quality. The F/2 (or F/2.8) weather resistant compact lenses line are a delight to use, make your camera look great and don’t add a burden in terms of weight and balance. As great as these lenses are I sometimes wish they where quite a bit faster. Modern digital sensors are able to capture all the subtle varieties of low light scenes. I think as “modern times” photographers we all like to use faster lenses in order to avoid pushing our ISO too much.
The physical constraints
I’m by no means an optics specialist, but what I understand is that you can’t have it all. Very fast lens + autofocus = BIG. With the release of the latest and greatest Fujinon 50mm F/1.0 we have a good example at what is technically possible to achieve these days when you want a very fast and capable autofocus lens. The obvious trade-out is, of course, size. As great as this lens might be, the hard fact is that is a huge chunk of glass that I don’t see myself login around attached to my X-pro2 or even my x-t30. I understand there’s a market for this kind of lens and that it is more suitable attached to an Xt-4 or Xt-3 (for portrait shooting for example). Even the great 16mm F/1.4 is too heavy and bulky for me. I think Fuji understands this, that’s why you have a F/2.8 version of this lens and a F/2 one of the 50mm.
A market opportunity
The new Chinese lens companies like 7Artisans, Kamlan, Rokinon, Neewer, Pergear, Meike and the likes have understood this and seized the opportunity to rule in this nonetheless niche market. People like TTArtisans are even making lenses for the Leica M mount system that are getting a lot of attention and praise. When I see the excellent know-how of Fuji with optics, with such fantastic lenses as the 16mm F/1.4, the 23mm and 35mm F/1.4, to name a few of them that I’ve had the opportunity to shoot, I can’t help to dream that Fuji would offer such options in their lenses line. Another advantage we could have is that even if this lenses where manual, Fuji would make them with the appropriate connectors so we wouldn’t loose the EXIF information about aperture when using them.
Is it even realistic ?
As I said, I’m no specialist in the matter, I would love to have some feedback about this from inside Fuji, maybe they thought about it but discarded it as too expensive to develop and no profitable enough. Maybe the cost and selling price of such lenses would be too expensive. I don’ t either know if it really would be possible to make optically good enough such small lenses. I don’t even know if there would be enough Fuji shooters out there that would be interested in buying them provided that they are not ridiculously expensive. I sure would. Would you ?