As you know, I mainly shoot street- and portrait photography. In street photography, I normally have no trouble getting close to people; nevertheless, there are days I have a hard time doing so. I think it's day-depended. In a previous blog post, I wrote about my seeing tool, the X100F. This camera comes with a fixed 35 mm equivalent lens; as a consequence, I am stuck with this focal length and have to get close to people for my kind of street photography. When I had one of "these" days, I often wished for something shorter than 35 mm, let's say a 50 mm lens in order to keep a little more distance to my subject. Sure, the X100F offers a digital tele converter, when you switch into jpg mode, you can set it to 50 mm or 75 mm. The X100F will give you an upscaled 24 mp image. The digital tele converter is a cool feature and before missing a shot, I'll rather use it. However, this comes with a few downsides as you will only have a jpg file and therefore limited post processing capabilities.
Fortunately, FujiFilm offers two conversion lenses for the X100 lineup, namely the wide conversion lens "WCL X100", which transforms the native lens into a 28 mm focal length and, on the other hand, the tele conversion lens "TCL X100", which gives you a 50 mm focal length (I do not own the WCL as I am not a 28 mm shooter). When FujiFilm announced the X100F, they also introduced the TCL-II and WCL-II. They are optically not different to they version I counterparts, FujiFilm only added magnets into the newest versions so that the camera automatically recognizes when you attach one of these conversion lenses. Before that, you had to dive into the menu system and "tell" the camera which conversion lens is attached to the camera.
I got a good deal for the version II of the tele conversion lens. This blog post is a summary of experiences I've made with the TCL X100II in street- and portrait photography. I am not a pixel peeper, so if you are looking for a technical review, you should stop reading now.
OK, let's dive right into this. I will talk briefly about the downsides of this conversion lens.
Firstly, as you have already seen in the first picture of this review, the TCL is really big; on the other hand, it's really light, it only adds around 180 g to your camera. The downside to this is, that the X100 becomes front heavy with this lens attached. When you carry the camera all day, you will definitely feel the additional weight. So for shooting the streets with the TCL X100, a thumb grip is a must in my opinion, as thumb grip will give you much better ergonomics in this case.
Secondly, another downside of this lens is that it intrudes into the optical view finder due to it's relatively big thread of 67 mm. Shooting with the EVF is a major relief in my opinion.
The above images were shot in broad day light, I noticed no autofocus hunting nor any sluggish behavior of the camera. Furthermore, the image quality did not suffer at all- I cannot really tell a difference to the shots of the native X100 lens. However, I noticed some hunting of the autofocus when shooting in low light. This is something you should be aware of. It takes a little practice to get used to it. Recently, I shot a baptism in a church in ultra low light and I did not run into any trouble.
I also used this lens for shooting portraits. The 50 mm focal length enables me to get closer to my subjects without having to worry about introducing some distortion when doing the same with the native 35 mm lens. The "softness" when shooting wide open at f2 is still apparent; however, as I've written in my X100F review, this "softness" fits into my shooting style and to me, it's rather a feature than a drawback.
To me, the original attraction of the X100 series was its compact size due to its fixed 35 mm lens. You only have to be aware of the additional size and weight when shooting the streets as you will lose the X100s' inconspicuousness and lightweight with the conversion lens attached. However, if you only own a X100 series camera and want to shoot shoot with a "native" 50 mm lens without having to buy another camera, this little conversion lens is quite handy. I can definitely recommend it.