As far as I’m aware, there are only two ‘bodycap’ lenses available – one for the Olympus OM-D series, and this one for the Fujifilm X series. I saw Kai from Digital Rev have a go on the Olympus one, and it looked pretty awful – lots of vignetting, very soft etc, so I didn’t hold out much hope for the Fuji version. As an abashed fan boy, I just wanted one…sadly, these ‘lenses’ are currently only available in Japan, but it can be ordered easily from online auction sites. As its fairly cheap, there is no duty to pay if you’re in the U.K so I went ahead and ordered from Japan and sat tight for two weeks.
And here it is on the XE-2:
As far as look and feel, its pretty much what you would expect…its thinner than a pancake lens, and is made of plastic. Lightweight, and despite people making a huge fuss regarding its Japanese manufacture (seriously, does anyone really care these days?) its does not feel like a quality item. But I didn’t expect it to – I expected it to feel like a chunkier body cap, which it does.
I promised a few facebookers on the one of the Fujifilm pages that I would show them something, so today it was. I felt the urge to go to Brixton, one of the best parts of London for street shooters, and rather bravely decided to take it with me. I took my 35mm prime as well, just in case, but it turned out I didn’t need. I’ll be honest here, it was terrific fun to use…
As a side note, the lens has built in ‘soft’ and ‘star’ filters – selected by a rotator on the side. I never tried those. I doubt I will, actually – not my bag.
Every shot was shot in square JPEG format, using the mono ‘red’ simulation in camera. The reason? RAW seemed a bit daft for this type of toy lens, and I had a little challenge with my girl (a fantastic photographer) that we would both shoot with this format today. We like to limit ourselves from time to time with this type of project. Its good fun, and encourages you to think a little bit more about composition. Although she didn’t have the ‘plastic fantastic’ I had…
In addition, I used my X-Pro for this challenge (the JPEGS are better, less waxy, than the XE-2) and an ISO fixed at 3200. That’s high, but this lens is fixed at F8, and I was shooting in many different conditions on this late January day. I didn’t want any shake if I could help it, and high ISO looks awesome and filmic on the X-Pro…so here goes:
Final thoughts? Yeah, I had a great time actually. I’d be lying if I said this lens was pin sharp with great depth and resolution – its got none of that. These images need post, and even with the red filter preset, I was still doing a lot of tweaks in Lightroom. It needs a touch of contrast added, some clarity and some black deepening. But that takes seconds, no biggie. What I DID enjoy was the liberating feeling of not having to worry about settings. Everything from 1m was sharp. I couldn’t set aperture, or shutter speed, AF is not available – so all I had to think about was composition. It was REALLY quick to use in that sense, and made shooting from the hip a worry free process.
Should you get one? Depends what sort of shooter you are – I’m a fan boy, like to shoot street, I don’t prioritise pin sharp focus (for me, the moment is more important) and always like to challenge myself. And the results ARE good, when you consider how cheap this lens is…
If you’re not the above – skip this one. If you are, give it a whirl.
Its great fun. Seriously.