Fujinon 15-50mm Lens Review: First Impressions
Want to convert a low cost 1080p network camera into a raging pixel monster with the optical power and image quality to scare off the best integrated camera systems on the planet? All you need is a thoughtful angle of view and about 130 bucks.
In this review, we’re going to partner Fujinon’s 15-50mm F1.5 varifocal 1/2.7-inch MP lens with an entry-level full-body network camera and see whether there’s any improvement in operational performance. When it comes to specifications, the Fujinon 15-50 is IR-corrected for low-light cameras and features DC-iris and CS-mount. This is not a large, heavy lens but packs in 3.3x telephoto and incorporates Fujinon’s Aspherical Technology – low-dispersion glass with a high-reflective index. Thanks to quality glass and good coatings on multiple elements, the Fujinon 15-50 offers sharper images with less internal reflection, better contrast and colour rendition, and overall higher optical performance. At least that’s what it says on the tin.
Here’s the wide view with the Ricom fitted to the Axis M1125
In our earlier test with this Axis M1125 camera we ran the kit Ricom lens at 3mm to view the district and then 5mm to view the lane. In the wider angle views I could see the skyline of the city but detail was smudgy and there was considerable chromatic aberration throughout the scene. Today, as soon as I place and adjust the camera’s angle of view I get a big surprise. The Fujinon 15-50mm lens has turned this affordable little network camera into a video surveillance weapon.
Crop of image from Ricom at full wide – note the presence of CA’s and wide angle softness
Now, let’s take a look at the Fujinon on the same compact Axis M1125 1080p network camera.
Starting at 15mm and then grabbing a couple of images at 50mm, we have extreme detail of chimney pots and branches at 35-40m along with excellent detail of World Square at 1000m. It’s the best image stream of these parts of our district view we’ve ever had.
This camera and lens combination also gives the best view of Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower we’ve had at nearly 2000m, as well as the best view of the Memocorp building at close to 1000m. Flaring? No, Ghosting? No. Chromatic aberrations? No. Distortion? No. And on a grey and glary afternoon colour rendition remains high.
Here’s the Fujinon, first at 15mm and then at 50mm – note lack of CAs, lack of distortion and strong depth of field. And check the bitrate on this little Axis M1125 at full frame and full resolution – wow!
Something I was on the lookout for with this lens was reduced depth of field at the long end and it’s true that if the lens is focused on objects close up at a focal length of 50mm there’s background blur. But when the camera is set close to infinity viewing objects 15m or more away, depth of field yawns out behind your subject, seemingly forever.