Fujifilm 10-24mm f4 R OIS review
My favorite lens for any camera is the super-wide zoom. I own three super-wide lens, two for my Nikon and this one for my Fuji XT1. When I started to carry the Fuji XT1 around, I missed having the wide zoom so much. I had the Fujifilm XF 18mm prime lens but I disliked using it so I bought this lovely piece of glass to carry around in my camera bag all day.
This lens is not cheap and costs about the same amount of money that a super-wide lens would cost on a DSLR. It is hard to justify so much money on a lens that is not for work though, but I use this focal zoom range so much, so I eventually pulled the trigger and ordered myself a copy of the lens. And over the course of 2015, it has been one of my most used lenses for my Fuji XT1. Just have a look at my metadata for 2015.
This lens is much smaller than my Nikon equivalent lens but the body is constructed of metal and weighs about the same as the Nikon 16-35 f4 lens. It feels solid and heavy, but not beastly heavy like the Tamron 15-30 F2.8. I love the build quality that Fujifilm has in their lens. The lens is a little large compared to the prime lens but it feels well balanced on the Fujifilm XT1 body.
The lens comes with a plastic lens hood and it does it job well. I have no complaints about the lens hood but I do wish it was metal like many of the prime lenses that Fuji usually ships with. But a lens is much more than just its physical appearance, how it shoots is the most important thing.
The Fujifilm 10-24mm f4 R OIS lens has that Fuji magic that almost all their lens have. Simple great optics with punchy colors and sharp as hell. Because I knew this lens would be used very often, I put this lens through the wringer with tests. I shot a lot of scenes with this lens in the one year that I have had it and it has never disappointed me.
This lens has produced some of my favorite images of all time. I use this lens all the time and it never fails to deliver. The OIS is incredible, I can shoot handheld up to one second, the focus is good and fast both in good light and poor light. It does not flair and has very little chromatic aberrations. One of the negatives with shooting with such a wide-angle lens is that you get very little bokeh or out of focus areas with this lens. The lens has a minimum focal distance of 0.24m to objects and with that wide angle of view and the minimum aperture of F4, almost everything is in focus. Shooting objects so close to the camera means you can get some interesting shots but being so wide means that it will distort things a little.
Although the lens is not weather-sealed and I wish it was, I have used it in the rain and snow with no problems so far. The build quality of the lens is excellent and it can take a few bumps with no problems.
The Fujifilm XF 10-24 F4 lens is a constant aperture lens with a minimum aperture of F4. So this is not the fastest super-wide zoom lens on the market but for a normal carry around lens, it is more than acceptable. There are some rumors around saying that this lens is actually an F2.8 lens and that it is stopped down to F4 by software with Fujifilm because the lens is too soft at F2.8. This seems to be true as there are some videos on Youtube with people who have tricked the lens to open the aperture beyond F4 but this really doesn’t concern me or interest me. The lens is sharp in the center at F4, but some of the corners are slightly softer. It is still acceptably sharp in the corners but if you like to pixel peep, then you will notice it. Stop the lens down to F5.6 and the corners sharpen up nicely and the image is sharp from corner to corner. I have shot a lot of landscapes with this lens recently and at F8, you will not find any weaknesses in the image that it produces.
I enjoy shooting into the sun and this lens handles this with no major flaring or washing out of colors. I used to do this with the Nikon as well but I used to get some flaring when shooting directly into the sun. I would say that this lens beats the Nikon 16-35 F4 lens in almost every single category except for focusing in the dark.
Focusing this lens manually is a pain, this lens still uses focus by wire like all of the Fujifilm lenses that I have tested and I absolutely hate this. To me, this is an auto-focus lens only, as manual focus is just too painful to use. The same has to be said about the aperture ring. It is an electronic aperture ring and there are no markings on the aperture ring so you have no idea what aperture setting is until you look into the viewfinder or the back of the LCD screen. The aperture ring is also too loose in my opinion and it is very easy to bump the aperture ring while walking around. This happened to me a few times while this lens and camera were hanging on my hip from a Blackrapid camera strap. This is such a stupid design flaw and it hurts this lens so bad. But that is about the only negatives I can say about this lens. I am really nit-picking to come up with some negatives because overall I think this is a fantastic lens to own and use.
This lens is a stunning lens and when comparing it to its bigger brothers on the Nikon and Tamron side. The Fujifilm 10-24mm f4 R OIS lens is just as sharp as the Nikon 16-35 lens but just a tad softer than the Tamron 15-30 2.8 lens. The OIS is much better than the Nikon system but just a little behind the Tamron lens(Tamron has one of the best Image Stabilizing systems out there. It consistently outperforms all my Nikon lens in this regard).
At the beginning of the 2015 Music season, my Nikon 16-35 F4 lens fell apart on me at a music festival, so it was during this festival that I decided to use my Fujifilm XT1 with the Fujifilm 10-24mm f4 R OIS lens as a replacement to shoot the crowds with. To be honest, as much as I loved this lens, I had mixed results with working with this lens at a professional level and we will go over some of them here.
The auto-focus was great in my daily shooting, but let me down once I started to shoot the crowds at the shows that I was working at, the lens and the Fuji XT1 really struggled in the low light compared to the Nikon DSLR and the Nikon or Tamron lens. I was consistently have missed focus shots, I guess 1 in every 5 photos was in focus. Such a low percentage of focus shots in the pit when shooting is completely unacceptable and I had to eventually go buy the Tamron 15-30 F2,8 lens to replace my Nikon lens. I really liked the idea of shooting with the Fujifilm XT1 with this lens, it weighs less than half my Nikon with its lens attached but the results just were not there. Maybe as the mirror-less cameras improve, this lens might be a viable option, but as it stands in 2016, this is still not good enough for my type of work in photography.
Flaring was really well controlled with this lens. I consistently shot it wide open because of the low light conditions that I generally work with and I never had any problems with flairs at all. Fuji really knows how to design excellent lens.
For shooting in everyday life, this lens is great and is my most used Fujifilm lens. I take it with me everywhere, and it always gives me great results. For work, it is a mixed bag and it forced me to buy a new lens for my Nikons to use. I cannot just blame the lens for that though, the mirrorless system is just not really capable of working well in my type of work. I still love this lens for my daily life and I would not trade it for any of the wide primes that Fuji offers.
If you are serious about your Fuji gear, and this is your main camera system, then this lens is a must-buy lens. It delivers everything that you could want from a lens, it is sharp in the center but the corners are a little soft at F4 but not terrible. The lens has great contrast, focuses fast, and is small enough to carry in any bag.
The lens is a little expensive but it is a great lens and all super wide zooms are expensive, to be honest. I cannot recommend this lens any more strongly than this lens. If I could only take one lens with me on holiday, then this is the lens I would choose.
If you are reading the review now, I am slowly going through all my images in my catalog to replace many of the HDR images in this review. I used to enjoy shooting HDR images during that time because no one else was doing HDR in China, but over the last few years, everyone is shooting HDR in China so I have stopped. Once I have replaced the HDR images, then I will remove this little paragraph. It has been a number of years since I wrote this lens review and I have since taking a lot of landscape shots with this lens on my Fuji XE3 camera and my opinion on this lens remains unchanged. It is a great super-wide-angle zoom lens for the Fujifilm XF camera system but not suitable for shooting low light event photography, but for landscape, travel or street photography, this lens is great and comes highly recommended.
- Image Quality: 5 out of 5
- Focus speed: 4.5 out of 5
- Build quality: 4 out of 5