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Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens Review

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens for Fuji X-series cameras which provides a field of view equivalent to a 27-84mm lens on a 35mm camera.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS
Price : £470
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS

This standard zoom lens for Fuji X-series cameras provides a field of view equivalent to a 27-84mm lens on a 35mm camera and sports Fujifilm's new linear focusing motor and optical image stabilisation, which promises to allow sharp hand-held images to be taken at shutter speeds slower than without the technology.

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Handling and features

Weighing only 310g, this lens is reasonably lightweight. The high quality  construction provides a robust impression. The compact size and light weight make this lens a perfect companion for the Fujifilm X-Pro1 body used for testing.

Focusing is performed internally and the 58mm filter thread does not rotate, making it perfect for use with polarising and graduated filters. A petal shaped hood is supplied, which attaches via a bayonet fitting on the front of the lens, which extends by around an inch at maximum telephoto. The focusing and zoom rings are well damped, making fine adjustments easy to apply.

As with other X-series lenses, a manual aperture ring is provided, although the way it is implemented is different to that found on fixed focal length lenses. Aperture values are not marked on the ring and it can be rotated all the way around. A separate switch for selecting automatic aperture control is provided instead of the 'A' setting being on the aperture ring.

Thanks to the linear focusing motor and improvements to camera firmware, autofocus is quick in good light, only hunting as the light levels become too low. When the lens was first mounted on the X-Pro 1, the camera prompted for a firmware update to be completed. The process for completing this is fairly straightforward, so long as you have a USB card reader to copy the update to a formatted card.

Optical image stabilisation is included on this lens, which promises to allow sharp hand held images to be taken at shutter speeds up to 4 stops slower than would be possible without this feature. With care and allowing a pause for the system to catch up, sharp images are possible around half the time at shutter speeds as low as 1/8sec at 55mm, which is around three stops slower than the usual rule of thumb for shooting hand held allows.

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Performance

At 18mm and maximum aperture, sharpness in the centre of the image area already approaches excellent levels, with clarity towards the edges of the frame approaching very good levels. Stopping down a little results in a dramatic increase in clarity in the centre of the frame down to f/5.6, where sharpness is outstanding in the centre of the frame, and approaches excellent levels of clarity towards the edges of the frame.

Zooming to 35mm results in sharpness reaching excellent levels in the centre at maximum aperture, but clarity only just reaches good levels towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down at this focal length does little to improve sharpness in the centre with clarity towards the edges improving to very good levels by f/8 at the expense of a reduction in clarity in the centre of the frame.

Finally at 55mm, Sharpness in the centre of the frame falls just short of excellent at maximum aperture again, although the clarity towards the edges of the frame has fallen to fairly good levels here. Stopping down improves sharpness across the frame with peak clarity in the centre of the frame being achieved at f/5.6 and at f/11 toward the edges of the frame for this focal length.

Resolution @ 18mm
Resolution @ 18mm
Resolution @ 35mm
Resolution @ 35mm
Resolution @ 55mm
Resolution @ 55mm

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are well enough controlled for a zoom lens with fringing only just exceeding three quarters of a pixel width towards the edges of the frame at f/4 and 35mm. This level of fringing is just getting to the level where you may notice it, so care may need to be taken when shooting scenes containing high contrast.

Chromatic aberration @18mm
Chromatic aberration @18mm
Chromatic aberration @35mm
Chromatic aberration @35mm
Chromatic aberration @50mm
Chromatic aberration @50mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is pretty well controlled. At 18mm the corners are 1.6 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture, and at 55mm the corners are 1.8 stops darker. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the aperture stopped down by two stops from maximum throughout the zoom range.

Just over 0.2% barrel distortion is present throughout the zoom range. Not only is this remarkably consistent performance for a zoom lens, but the level is so low that it will be very difficult to spot.
Flare isn't an issue with this lens and contrast is retained well when shooting into the light, with or without the supplied petal shaped hood.

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS Sample Photos


Value for money

This lens currently retails for around £480, which seems reasonable enough for a premium zoom lens with a brighter than normal f/2.8-4 maximum aperture. Around £100 has been slashed off the price since launch and it seems to have levelled out at this price point. As there are currently no third party manufacturers producing zoom lenses for Fuji X-series cameras, Fujifilm has a monopoly on lenses for the system.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Verdict

Overall, this lens is a solid performer, producing images with excellent sharpness, especially in the centre of the image area. Great build quality and handling characteristics accompany the decent optical performance, which in turn makes the £480 asking price seem quite reasonable.

 
  The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS lens has excellent sharpness in the centre with effective optical stabilisation.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS Pros

Excellent sharpness in the centre throughout the zoom range
Good build quality
Low distortion
Quick to focus
Effective optical stabiliser

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS Cons

Not as sharp towards the edges of the frame
CA levels a little high at 35mm

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS Specifications

ManufacturerFujifilm
General
Lens Mounts
  • Fujifilm X Mount
Lens
Focal Length18mm - 55mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/22
Min Aperturef/2.8 - f/22
Filter Size56mm
35mm equivalent27mm - 84mm
Internal focusingNo
Focusing
Min Focus18cm
StabilisedYes
Construction
BladesNo Data
ElementsNo Data
GroupsNo Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens, Front Lens Cap, Rear Lens Cap, Lens Wrapping Cloth, Lens Hood, Owners Manual
Dimensions
WeightNo Data
HeightNo Data

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Comments


5 Apr 2014 7:13PM
Filter size is in fact 58mm

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18 May 2014 11:39PM
I hope Fuji delivers better samples than your testsample. Compare the right edge with the left edge from the telefoto above right. The left side ist sharp, the right side inferior.

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