When I first switched to Fujifilm in 2015, it didn’t take long for me to hear that the 60mm f/2.4 macro (one of the original three X lenses produced by Fuji) wasn’t worth my money. Given that I didn’t really know much about the Fuji ecosystem at the time, I believed the hype. Or in this case, the lack thereof.
For over five years, I avoided the 60mm, even though its small, compact size and portrait worthy focal length were attractive to me. (If you didn’t know, gear size is probably number one on my list of importance – due to an injury to my wrist some 20 years ago). YouTubers nay-say’d the lens so I chose another medium telephoto instead – the 56mm f/1.2.
Now, the 56mm f/1.2 is an incredible lens. But, it is also significantly larger and heavier. At the time, having never used or even held the 60mm, I didn’t have a viable comparison, but now that I’ve owned both, I can say that I would choose the 60mm. In the year or so that I owned it, the 56mm never went anywhere with me. Its size and weight meant that it only got pulled out occasionally. It was a thousand dollar lens that just sat in my camera bag at home. Which is why I sold it.
The 60mm lens came to me by mistake. I purchased a mint condition X-T1 with just over 500 shutter clicks and the seller inadvertently sent the 60mm lens with it – because she forgot to detach it from the camera body before she put it into a camera bag and mailed it my way. I contacted her about it and asked if she wanted me to send it back, but her response was just to enjoy it.
Were it not for this happy accident, I never would’ve purchased the 60mm for myself because I had completely bought into the misnomer that it was no good. And yet, I have come to really love this underrated lens! First of all, its tack sharp. Easily one of the sharpest lenses I’ve owned. Secondly, it’s quite tiny for its focal length which makes it a breeze to carry around. Yes, the 50mm f/2 has a wider aperture and is about the same size, but it doesn’t really offer you a comparable reach.
And then there are the macro capabilities. It’s not a true 1:1 ratio, but it’s close and certainly good enough for anything I shoot. I love being able to get up close without distortion. Fuji makes other close focusing lenses, like the 16mm f/1.4 for example, but the wider focal length means you aren’t getting that nice compression and subject separation. Your other macro lens option is the 80mm f/2.8 – again, significantly larger and frankly, significantly more expensive as well.
The 60mm f/2.4 macro is also perfectly usable in low light situations. When it comes to shooting in darker environments, I think we all gravitate toward those 1.2 and 1.4 apertures. However, Fuji’s ISO capabilities are really good and shooting at 3200 or even 6400 produces a completely usable image in my opinion. Even on my X-T1, a camera model that was released in 2014! So, I find the maximum 2.4 aperture to be plenty wide for darker environments.
The 60mm f/2.4 macro from Fujifilm is, in my opinion, a top contender for hobbyist photographers who don’t want to sacrifice quality but can’t justify the cost of the 56mm or 80mm options. Or simply for someone who is going for the smallest, most compact kit possible. I fall into both of those categories.
*All images made with the Fujifilm X-T1 and 60mm f/2.4 macro.