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Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Lens Review

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens with the Fujifilm X-Pro1.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R
Price : £550
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R
Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R

This lens is one of three introduced with Fujifilm's X-Pro1 interchangeable lens digital camera. It offers an angle of view equivalent to a 27mm lens on a 35mm camera, a bright maximum aperture of f/2 and costs around £550.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Handling and features

Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R rear
Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R Rear

Although this 18mm lens from Fuji is extremely light weight, at only 116g, is feels very solidly put together. A combination of metal and high quality plastics have been used in the construction of the lens barrel and the mount is made of metal. The high quality build and retro styling compliments the Fuji X-Pro1 perfectly.

Although focusing isn't performed internally, the lens only extends by a few millimetres at closest focus and the 52mm filter thread does not rotate, making it perfect for use with polarising and graduated filters. A rectangular hood attaches to the bayonet around the front of the lens and there is space inside for one filter. The narrow focusing ring is well damped, making fine adjustments easy to apply.

Fujifilm X-Pro 1 With 18mm Lens
Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R Mounted

In keeping with the retro styling of the X-Pro1, this 18mm optic has a manual aperture ring for selecting your desired aperture in a more traditional way. This aperture ring has each full stop marked, but has click stops for each intermediate 1/3 stop setting, and an 'A' setting for automatic operation. The aperture ring only requires a light touch to move through the aperture range, which is great for making quick adjustments, but also means it can be quite easy to accidentally change the aperture setting, especially when changing lenses.

At normal distances and in good light the lens focus reasonably quickly but focusing speeds slow considerably at close distances and in poor light. A minimum focus distance of only 18cm is ideal for getting in close to your subject to exploit the distortions a wide angle lens produces, or for shooting in claustrophobic environments.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Performance

Sharpness in the central portion of the image area at maximum aperture is good, but the clarity towards the edges is only fair. As depth of field is reasonably shallow at this bright aperture, the sharpness in the central portion is generally more important.

Stopping down improves sharpness across the frame, but especially in the centre, which reaches excellent levels by f/2.8 and outstanding levels by f/5.6. Clarity towards the edges of the frame never really keeps up with the very high sharpness in the centre, only reaching good levels of sharpness by f/5.6. Peak quality across the frame is achieved between f/5.6 and f/8.

Resolution @ 18mm
Resolution @ 18mm
 

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 can be quite prevalent towards the edges of the frame, with fringing exceeding 0.7 pixel widths at f/2. This may show along high contrast edges near the edge of the frame, especially on close inspection.

Chromatic Aberration @ 18mm
Chromatic Aberration @ 18mm
 

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 edges of the frame is well controlled for a wide aperture lens. At f/2 the corners of the frame are only 0.959 stops darker than the centre of the image area. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond.

As you may expect from a prime lens, distortion is well controlled. Imatest only detected 0.471% barrel distortion, which will be quite difficult to spot in day-to-day picture taking. If absolutely straight lines are paramount, the low level of distortion is relatively easy to correct in image editing software, as the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame.

Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R Sample Photos


Even with the rectangular hood in place, this 18mm lens can be quite prone to flare when shooting into the light. Luckily contrast levels remain good across the rest of the image when this does occur.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Verdict

Many photographers will love the straightforward, traditional design, which makes changing the aperture setting very direct. The build quality is what you might expect from a prime lens with a £550 price tag, even considering the very low weight.

Optically this lens is capable of delivering superb clarity in the central portion of the frame when stopped down a little. It is a shame that sharpness levels drop off towards the edges of the frame, and doubly so that this optic suffers from noticeable chromatic fringing towards the edges of the frame.

Even with this lens' imperfections, it is a pleasure to use, so long as its weaknesses are taken into consideration.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Pros

Excellent sharpness in the centre, especially when stopped down
Excellent build
Very Lightweight
Traditional design

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Cons

Susceptible to flare
CA levels towards the edges of the frame
Sharpness falls off slightly towards edges of the frame

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R Specifications

ManufacturerFujifilm
General
Lens Mounts
  • Fujifilm X Mount
Lens
Focal Length18mm
Angle of View76.5
Max Aperturef/2 - f/16
Min Aperturef/2 - f/16
Filter Size52mm
35mm equivalent27mm
Internal focusingNo
Focusing
Min Focus18cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades7
Elements8
Groups7
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens, Front Lens Cap, Rear Lens Cap, Lens Wrapping Cloth, Lens Hood, Owners Manual
Dimensions
Weight116g
Height40.6mm

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