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Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R Lens Hands On Review

Fuji photographers know that one of the most powerful things about the platform is the incredible quality of the Fuji lenses. Combine a great piece of glass with the powerful sensors inside the X-series cameras and the resulting images are hard to beat.

We’ve just spent a few weeks with the Fuji X-T10 and a number of lenses, provided by our equipment partners at B&H Photo and have been falling in love with the Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R lens. Thanks to our Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R lens hands on time we’ve really gotten to know this lens and now it’s a permanent part of our camera bag.

With a focal length equivalent of 27mm, this lens is classified as being a “wide angle” lens, but I have always considered this range to be the perfect “wide standard” lens. 27mm is just wide enough to create a great landscape shot, but also tight enough to create a great portrait shot.


Fujifilm_16240743_18mm_f_2_0_XF_R_1326258000000_839138Shop on B&H to Support Fuji Mirrorless Pro

View the Fuji 18mm f/2.0 XF R Lens at B&H 

 


Sample images with the Fuji X-T10

Portrait with the Fuji X-T10 and 18mm Lens

 

Sample images with the Fuji X-T10

Sample images with the Fuji X-T10 and 18mm Lens

 

The 18mm is one of three Fuji lenses I’ve been spending a lot of time with recently, the other two being the kit 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 lens that comes with the X-T10 and the 35mm f/1.4. While the 35mm f/1.4 (which will be reviewed separately) creates sharp images with profound focus blur, the 18mm f/2.0 XF R is by far the better “all around” lens.

The small lens weighs just four ounces and is only 1.6″ long, making it one of the smallest X-mount lenses. The seven internal diaphragm blades make for incredible background blur in photos and the lens features Fuji’s control ring for aperture settings, allowing the X-T1 or X-T10 user to dial in their aperture or turn the camera to automatic mode with the twist of a dial.

In fact, the focal length of this lens enables the X-T10 to fulfill my dream of having a nearly-perfect street camera. Thanks to the silent electronic shutter (and nearly silent mechanical shutter) it’s possible to take shots with the X-T10 and the 18mm lens that capture enough of a scene to get a feel for the situation.

I took the X-T10 to a Fourth of July celebration at Campo Beach in Westport Connecticut and was able to capture images of people without shutter noise. The camera is light enough to point and shoot, and the focus fast enough to lock on without needing to look through the viewfinder.

Sample images with the Fuji X-T10

Sample images with the Fuji X-T10

In fact, I was able to perfect a mode of street photography where I carried my son on my shoulders and held the camera at my chest, aiming my body at nearby subjects. Generally I try to avoid street photography where I don’t engage with the subject (the portrait above is my preferred kind of photography, I stopped the subject and talked to him about his great celebratory outfit, and asked if I could photograph him) but I wanted to see if I could photograph action completely unnoticed, and with the 18mm I absolutely could.

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I was also able to jump right into artistic reportage style photography as an impromptu drum line came down the street.

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Back home I turned the lens back onto more familiar subject for some portraits and some close focus work. You’d think that a wide-angle lens would be ill-equipped to handle macro and close focus work, but that’s not the case with the 18mm f/2.0. The Bokeh is incredible at f/2.0 on the APS-C sensor of the X-T10 as well.

 

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I also found the focus speed of the 18mm f/2.0 XF R lens to be exceptional, even faster than the 35mm f/1.4. It allowed me to take fast-action shots that I’d likely have missed with other lenses and coupled with the face-detection of the camera’s AF system, it proved a capable and powerful lens.

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For the Fuji photographer, the $600 Fuji 18mm f/2.0 is one of the best lenses on the market. The versatility of the 27mm (35mm equivalent) focal length is hard to beat. It’s just wide enough to be used in a variety of settings, from landscape to architecture but close enough to be used in portrait work—especially environmental portrait work. The compact size of the lens makes is a perfect companion to the X-T1 and the X-T10 alike, turning both cameras into a go-anwyhere travel solution.

There is surpassingly little edge distortion and vignetting, thanks to the quality of Fuji’s lens design. Most 27mm lenses suffer from a good deal of image artifacts at the edges, but our tests found the lens to really hold up in the corners. Image quality is excellent across the whole lens, and the photos from the lenses are bright and vibrant.

In fact, the 18mm f/2.0 XF R is our recommendation for a must-have lens. There’s nothing to dislike about the lens.

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Specifications

Designed specifically for the Fujifilm X-series of interchangeable lens cameras with APS-C sensors, this Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R Lens is a lightweight, compact wide-angle “pancake” lens equivalent to 27mm in 35mm format. The very fast, bright f/2.0 maximum aperture makes shooting in very low light possible, and provides pleasing bokeh (the out-of-focus portion of a photo) with its 7-blade aperture design. This is a terrific lens for street photography, landscapes, and interiors.

To take advantage of the X-series cameras’ mirrorless design, the rear element of the lens is as close as possible to the sensor, minimizing the back focus distance appreciably. The lens construction includes a metal barrel, Super EBC coating for improved optical performance, and it delivers improved center-to-edge resolution and brightness free from chromatic aberration. The final lens element, positioned as close to the sensor as possible, makes the incidence angle of the light reaching the sensor smaller, and thus reduces vignetting and color shading, while helping to keep the lens’s overall size small. This lens has a maximum magnification of 0.14x, and the aperture ring has 1/3-stop click stops for more precise exposures.

Lightweight wide-angle 27mm (equivalent in 35mm format) “pancake” lens that focuses to 7.08″
Aspheric and ED elements to combat field curvature and chromatic aberration
Very bright f/2.0 maximum aperture for low-light work, interiors, and interiors, with pleasing out-of-focus backgrounds
Magnification of 0.14x

 

Performance
Focal Length 18mm
Comparable APS-C Focal Length: 27 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/2
Minimum: f/16
Camera Mount Type Fujifilm X mount
Format Compatibility DSLR (APS-C Sensor)
Angle of View 76.5°
Minimum Focus Distance 7.09″ (18 cm)
Magnification 0.14x
Elements/Groups 8/7
Diaphragm Blades 7
Features
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread Front:52 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.54 x 1.60″ (64.5 x 40.6 mm)
Weight 4.09 oz (116 g)
Packaging Info
Package Weight 0.9 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 5.6 x 4.3 x 3.8″



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