On the first few occasions of using this lens, I had to look worryingly over my shoulder every now and again because the quality of this lens, for the price it retails for, is simply a steal. I was sure I was sold the lens at an incorrect price and I was being hunted down by the camera store manager who had since put out flyers of my mug allover town. Fortunately, I escaped a run-in with law enforcement, as it turns out, I did pay the correct price. 

I won't delve too much into the technical elements of the lenses as my purpose is to give you an opinion from a real world user perspective.  The images from this lens are nice and sharp, have a lovely contrast to them and overall there's a nice tonality to everything.  Everything you would not expect from a lens in this price category.  From my real world use, I find it's a very capable lens suitable for street photography and just about anything really bar macro work.  From my time with it so far, I've found it to be plenty sharp, easy to carry around on an X-Pro2 body and focuses fast and accurately.

For your hard earned money, Fuji are giving you a premium feeling (built from metal) weather resistant, fast focusing lens in a lightweight and compact package.  You'll find an aperture ring, which is solid and has in between clicks to help guide you through the range and a nicely dampened focusing ring.  There is a nice unexpected weight to the lens, like picking up a small unassuming Switch watch which adds to the overall feel of quality.

There is a plastic lens hood provided in the box, which does the job but is a feeling akin to Bentley providing your new continental with wheels made out of play dough.  The metal lens hood (sold separately) compliments the lens beautifully and I often wonder why they don't just include it with the lens and mark the price up a fraction.  It's kind of like providing a puzzle and selling the missing piece separately.  

There is a lovely contrast to the images you get straight from the camera.  It's plenty sharp at f2, ever so slightly sharper as you progress to f2.8 and relatively the same from f4 as you progress through the range sharpening up at the corners slightly.  I mostly use it wide open at F2 with zone focusing and rarely does it miss focus.  Yes, it's sharp and fast but putting that aside, it's the rendering that makes this lens special, just like its f1.4 stable mate, there is something magical in the results. The focal length + the rendering of images + the fujifilm colour palettes, all add to a spectacular lens which at the current price (and better if you're buying used) is nothing short of spectacular.  






Never did I imagine that such a tiny piece of metal could offer such a huge improvement to the overall handling of the X-Pro2.  I was dumbfounded.  This isn't just a thumb-grip.  It is (drumroll) THE one thumb-grip to rule them all.

Sliding this into the X-Pro2 felt like I was putting salt into my tea instead of sugar.  Something didn't feel right about adding an accessory onto the extremely well built and polished X-Pro2 that wasn't made by Fuji (i'm all about brand harmony).  In some ways, I felt like I was violating the X-Pro2 and I was expecting the Fuji police to break down my door moments later.  There was a knock on the door actually, but to my relief,  it was only the postman doing his rounds and he really didn't care what I was violating.

Lensmate are, in the scope of things, a very small set up.   An American company and as I understand it, it's run effectively by a small team of rocket scientists.  The 'size of the company' in relation to the 'quality of product' ratio however, is off the charts.  Yes, we are still talking about a small metal thumb-grip thing.  It is perfectly machined by metal artisans in the USA and the fit and finish of the product is so good that you would be mistaken for thinking this was an official Fuji product.  It has some rubber grip in two places which helps the connection to the camera and the other, acts as a bumper so your precious X-Pro2 doesn't get scratched.  There is also a hinge, so that you can bend the grip back to access your dial should you need to.

At the time of writing it's only available from the USA.  Fortunately, they offered international shipping, which was not astronomically priced, arrived very promptly and packaged very neatly.  There will be some import fees though, so bear that in mind.

I have an appreciation for well designed and manufactured products, where the designers have put some thought about the customer's needs/expectations and also back it up with good QC.  Lensmate, i'm glad to say, are one of those companies that have this philosophy in mind.

Check out their range of products including shutter releases and the like: