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Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Review

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Review  - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new zoom from Fujifilm, the XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR X-Mount lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
Price : £750
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Fujifilm XF 18 135mm F3 5 5 6 R LM OIS WR Lens (2)

This 7.5x super-zoom lens for Fujifilm X-series interchangeable lens cameras provides a field of view equivalent to a 27-206mm lens on a 35mm camera, optical stabilisation and costs around £750. This lens also sports a weather resistant construction. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Handling and Features

Fujifilm XF 18 135mm F3 5 5 6 R LM OIS WR Lens (8)
The combination of metal and high quality plastics used in the construction of this lens, has resulted in robust build, without adding too much to the weight of the lens. At 490g it is lighter than you might expect for a lens that feels as solidly put together as this. As a result, it complements the Fujifilm X-Pro1 used for testing perfectly.

Focusing is performed internally, so the filter thread does not rotate during operation. As a result, the 67mm filter thread does not rotate, making it perfect for use with polarising and graduated filters. A petal-shaped hood attaches to the bayonet around the front of the lens. The manual focusing ring is smooth to operate and well damped, making fine adjustments a pleasure to apply.

Fujifilm XF 18 135mm F3 5 5 6 R LM OIS WR Lens (1)

As is the case with Fuji's other X-series optics, this lens has a manual aperture ring for selecting your desired setting in a more traditional way. The aperture ring has no values marked on it, so the screen needs to be referred to find the aperture setting. The aperture ring provides control in third stop intervals and only requires a light touch to move through the aperture range. This is great for making quick adjustments. Auto focus is quick and precise, with little hunting for focus.

The optical stabiliser this lens is equipped with promises to allow sharp hand-held photos to be taken at shutter speeds up to five stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would dictate possible. So long as plenty of time is given for the image stabiliser to settle, sharp hand-held shots are possible around half the time at 1/8sec, which is between four and five stops slower than might be considered safe without the system.

Fujifilm XF 18 135mm F3 5 5 6 R LM OIS WR Lens (9)

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Performance

At 18mm, sharpness is already excellent in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture and the clarity achieved towards the edges of the frame falls just short of good levels. Stopping down improves performance in the centre further, but the clarity towards the edges never really seems to catch up at this focal length.

Zooming to 55mm results in performance evening out across the frame. At maximum aperture, sharpness is very good in the centre and good towards the edges of the frame. Peak performance is realised between f/5.6 and f/8 at this focal length, where sharpness levels approach excellent levels across the frame.

Finally, at 135mm, sharpness in the centre of the frame is still high at maximum aperture, although performance towards the edges of the frame fall to fairly good levels. Stopping down to f/8 increases sharpness in the centre to outstanding levels and good levels towards the edges of the frame.

MTF@18mm
MTF@18mm
MTF@55mm
MTF@55mm
MTF@135mm
MTF@135mm

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 controlled for a lens of this type, with fringing only just exceeding a pixel width at 135mm and f/5.6. This low level of CA shouldn't cause any issues, even in harsh crops from the edges of the frame, or in large reproductions.

CA@18mm
CA@18mm
CA@55mm
CA@55mm
CA@135mm
CA@135mm

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 typical for a lens of this type. At 18mm the corners are 1.7 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture and at 135mm the corners are only 0.9 stops darker. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/8 or beyond throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is very well controlled for a lens with a high zoom ratio. Imatest was able to detect 1.56% barrel distortion at 18mm and 2.27% barrel at 135mm. Automatic correction of distortion in camera is very good, and this information can be read by many popular raw image converters, which should mean that distortion is rarely noticeable in practice.

With, or without, the petal-shaped hood attached, this lens is quite resistant to flare, coping well with shooting into the light, and with good control of flare.

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Sample Photos

Value For Money

This 18-135mm lens from Fuji costs around £750, which is quite expensive given alternatives available for other camera systems.

There are currently no comparable lenses available for Fuji X-series cameras as currently, Fujifilm have a monopoly on lenses for their own lens mount. The closest equivalent available for other camera systems is Sony's 18-105mm f/4 OSS lens, which sports a slightly shorter zoom range, and a constant f/4 maximum aperture and costs only £450.

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Verdict

It would be churlish to compare the sharpness delivered by this lens to Fujifilm's prime lenses, as they don't have as many compromises to deal with. Even so, as far as superzoom lenses go, this optic delivers sharp, contrasty images and tons of convenience, thanks to the 7.1x zoom range, optical stabiliser and weather resistance. Those looking for a walk-around lens for their Fuji X-series camera should still be smitten with this lens, even if it is a touch expensive when compared to similar offerings from other camera manufacturers.

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Pros

Decent sharpness
Robust build
Lightweight
Retro design with manual aperture ring
Low CA
Low distortion
Weather resistant construction

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Cons

Possibly a touch expensive when compared to similar lenses from other camera manufacturers
Falloff in performance towards the edges of the frame at either end of the zoom range

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Fujifilm XF 18-135mm delivers sharp contrasty images and tons of convenience with a 7.1x optical zoom range, optical stabilisation and weather resistance.


Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Specifications

ManufacturerFujifilm
General
Lens Mounts
  • Fujifilm X Mount
Lens
Focal Length18mm - 135mm
Angle of ViewNo Data
Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/5.6
Min ApertureNo Data
Filter Size67mm
35mm equivalent27mm - 206mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus45cm
StabilisedYes
Construction
Blades7
Elements16
Groups12
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight490g
Height97.8mm

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    Comments


    3 Sep 2014 12:37PM
    I'd be interested to see how this compares with the Pentax 18-135, which I use a lot on my K3. The Pentax version does not have OIS of course but which, given it's focal range, does a decent job.

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