I first became interested in the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 lens when I had an idea for a specific photo series which came to mind as I was travelling around my home city: Manchester. There’s a lot of history here but there’s also been a great deal of new architecture built in the last 10 or 15 years. For a few months, I imagined a series of images where I could get closer to the architecture that was catching my eye everyday around the city. I wanted to explore the relationships between the old and the new, whilst examining the styles and materials of the recent developments more closely and the XF100-400mm was the definitely the lens to do this. Not only was I interested to see how a lens typically used for sports and wildlife photography could work in a city; but I was excited about the new perspective it could gave me on buildings that I pass on a daily basis.
The two shots below are from a building I see every day out of my window, the Beetham Tower. I hadn’t previously been able to get this optically close to its upper reaches. It is officially the tallest building in the city and this lens allowed me to photograph the highest point of it with very little perspective distortion. Not only is this a technical point to make, but it meant I could shoot with a lot of sky in the composition, too, which creates a lovely colour relationship with the architecture and gives a nice element of negative space in the frame.
The lens allows you to get so close in that you can start to visually abstract buildings into their basic forms and shapes. It was a joy to play with pattern, colour and texture when shooting architecture because of the longer focal length. Often when shooting architecture I am looking for visually interesting lines, light, shadow and geometry. The XF100-400mm is a great lens for finding these elements and creating really interesting crops of much larger scenes.
The image of the man on the bridge was taken more discretely and was actually shot from over 200 metres away. I like the way he silhouettes against the evening summer sky in the same way that the dark frame of the bridge does; his legs even matching the angles of the structure.
I was generally shooting at apertures between f7.1 and f14. Higher apertures to create sharp images of large expanses of architecture like the Beetham tower (below, right) and lower ones to create a softer foreground to draw the eye to the building in the background (below, left).
If you shoot wildlife or sports as well, then it could be a great investment. The lens is sharp and a joy to use. It allowed me to get perspectives on the buildings around me that would have only otherwise been possible by drone or helicopter – and that in itself is so impressive.
More from Felix Mooneeram
More about FUJIFILM XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6
High performance all weather zoom lens with 5.0-stop image stabilization function that allow hand-held shots even at super-telephoto range.
Super telephoto zoom lens covers the range of 152–609mm (35mm format equivalent). To minimize the colour aberration, a typical problem for a telephoto lens, the optical construction comprises 21 elements in 14 groups with 5 ED Lens and 1 super ED Lens. The lens achieves highest image quality in its class. The lens supports the photographer to shoot super-telephoto images hand-held with the 5.0-stop optical image stabilization, quiet high-speed autofocus driven by the linear motor, and compact and lightweight design weighing less than 1.4kg. In addition to the weather & dust resistant, and -10°C low-temperature operation construction, the front element is applied with water and dirt repellent coating to make the lens even tougher.