Fujifilm XF 18mm R Review
The Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 lens is a fast wide-angle prime released by Fuji in 2012. This tiny lens might not be small enough to be called a pancake lens but it is still tiny, weighing only 4.2 oz./118g and offers a 28mm field of view on a Fujifilm camera body. The lens has a metal body and comes with a square metal hood, just like the 35mm f1.4 lens.
What’s in the box
The packaging is nice and typical for Fujifilm. A step up compared to other manufacturers.
The all-metal body feels great in the hand and the metal lens hood makes the lens look really good. I wish Fujifilm had continued with the square lens hoods with their other lens.
The lens mounted on the camera looks and feels good, and without the lens hood on, it is nice and compact.
The Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 lens is a fast wide-angle prime lens with an equivalent field of view of 28mm. The lens has a metal body and is really well built, much better than my modern Nikon lens. The autofocus on the lens is quick in good light, much faster than the Fujifilm 35mm 1.4 or the Fujifilm XF 27mm 2.8 prime lens that I own. The lens has a close focus distance of 18 cm, which means that you can get some interesting shots with this wide-angle lens and the large aperture means that you can still get some background separation or bokeh in your image.
As much as I love the build quality and autofocus of this lens, it has a lot of weaknesses and this is most likely my least favorite Fujifilm lens that I own. There are two major problems with this lens in my opinion. The first major problem is the chromatic aberrations. The lens has more chromatic aberrations than any other lens that I have ever owned. Zoom into any shot that you have taken and will be guaranteed to find some nasty purple fringing in your image. You can fix this in post but it is annoying to correct this in every image that you take. The second biggest problem that I have with the lens is the sharpness. The lens is not very sharp when shot wide open at F2 and even when you stop the lens down, it does not sharpen up a lot when compared to other Fujifilm xf lens. This is the softest lens that I currently have from Fujifilm.
For me, this is one of the most important aspects of a lens. Most Fujifilm lens that I have shot with, have a great rendering. They are sharp, have great color, and the images they produce are stellar. I always felt that when I was shooting with the Fujifilm glass, that the glass was never holding me back, and it would give me the results that I wanted or even exceed what I was expecting. But things are not so good with the Fujifilm 18mm F2. When I look at the images that come out of the Fujifilm XT1, the images don’t have that creamy goodness that many of there other lens has. The image always leaves me feeling like the rendering is a little soft, cold, and unpleasant. It is not bad, but just not as good as the other lens that I have used from Fujifilm. Coupled with the chromatic aberrations, this means that I never have confidence that I nailed the shot. When I use this lens, I am always chimping and checking the results on the back of the LCD screen on the camera and this pulls you out of the shooting experience. A photographer needs to have confidence with his gear and concentrate on the image he wants to capture, the lens should get out of the way and allow that process to happen, but when your main concern is the lens and how it will affect the image that you are trying to capture, then that particular lens is a bad lens in my opinion.
This is a difficult lens to write a conclusion to. On the one hand, I really like the construction, look, and feel of this lens, but the image quality is just not as good as the other Fujifilm lens. I don’t think it is a terrible lens, but I do feel that Fujifilm has a much better lens to offer. Personally, I think that if you are looking for a small prime lens for your camera, then the Fujifilm 27mm F2.8 pancake lens is a much better option than this lens. If you are looking for a wide prime, then the Fujifilm 16mm is a much better choice. As for me, now that I have finished writing this review, I have taken the lens off my camera for the last time and I will not use the lens again. I would sell the lens, to be honest, but here in China, lenses have no resale value, so I will simply pack the lens away and maybe when I return to the west one day, I will sell it there. I bought the 27mm 2.8 lens to replace this lens and I am so much happier and comfortable using that lens. So to sum up this conclusion, I simply cannot recommend this lens to anyone unless they can pick it up for dirt cheap. There are much better options out there.
- Image Quality: 2 out of 5
- Focus speed: 4 out of 5
- Build quality: 4.5 out of 5