Fuji Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS Review
Fuji Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS Review
The very first zoom for Fuji X-mount, followed the launch of the system by 8 months. This, of course, came as a bold move for Fuji who had introduces their mirrorless system only with a handful of prime lenses. This made the Fuji Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS
Fuji Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS become the original kit-lens for Fuji mirrorless digital cameras. Like the rest of the system, this turned out to be another unconventional approach.
The focal-range of 18-55mm, equivalent to 27-82mm in a traditional 35mm camera, is exactly the same as almost every kit-lens. While such lenses typically have an F/3.5-5.6 variable maximum aperture, the XF18-55 manages almost an additional stop. Its maximum F/2.8-4 aperture is more common among mid-range third-party lenses sold as upgrades.
Considering that Fuji mirrorless cameras originally relied on lenses having an aperture-ring, the XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS had to provide an intuitive way to control aperture without the luxury of having a constant maximum aperture. Fuji solved this with a novel aperture-ring which has no markings and can rotate indefinitely. Instead of operating like a traditional aperture-ring, this one works like a control-dial. There are soft detents at every 1/3 stop and a toggle to select between manual and automatic aperture.
This 18-55mm lens also happens to be the first stabilized X-mount lens. A typical switch on the lens barrel toggles stabilization. With optical stabilization, the XF18-55mm can compete with its bright-aperture siblings when it comes to usability in low-light. Given its brighter maximum aperture, this lens is larger than the usual kit-lens, yet it is nor uncomfortably large nor heavy.
This zoom lens has a nice high-end finish. It is made mostly of metal, save for the three plastic rings used to control focus, zoom and aperture. The front-most ring is a fly-by-wire focus-ring. It has a reasonable width and a fine ribbed texture which provides sufficient purchase. The ring turns completely smoothly but only control focus when the camera lets it.
A relatively-large mechanical ring operates the zoom smoothly from 18 to 55mm. It is labelled with 4 focal-lengths which almost perfectly correspond to ones Fuji makes as prime lenses: 18, 23, 35 and 55Fuji makes two 56mm F/1.2 lenses, instead of 55mm. The barrel extends by roughly 50% when completely zoomed-in. That portion of the lens is quite light though and so there is no zoom-creep.
The fly-by-wire aperture-ring, which is just a little slimmer than the focus-ring, has extremely soft detents. This unfortunately makes it easy to accidentally change the selected aperture. While this problem is common to all but one Fujinon lens, the XF18-55mm avoids the riskiest issue. Essentially, selecting the next or previous 1/3 aperture-stop is not a tremendous error. The more serious accident is changing the aperture-ring away from automatic. This changes the exposure-mode and will most likely cause severe under-exposure or motion-blur.
Overall, the Fuji XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS delivers a reasonably good performance. As is often the case, it is at its worst towards wide-angle. There, it never renders details perfectly sharp and needs stopping down by 2 F-stops to reach its maximum sharpness. Corners remain visibly soft regardless. Still, by F/5.6, they are completely suitable for mid-size prints.
Around the middle of the zoom, image-quality is notably improved. The center is quite sharp from wide-open and becomes excellent one stop down. Corners start soft but sharpen up quickly this time. At F/5.6, they are already relatively sharp. This performance stays pretty consistent while zooming-in all the way to 55mm. At that point, the center is perfectly sharp wide-open but extreme corners remain visibly softer. Again, stopping down improves corners quickly.
There is a slight amount of vignetting towards wide-angle. Optical distortion and chromatic aberrations also appear negligible. These are impressive results for such a compact lens. Fuji uses anti-ghost and flare-resistant coatings which appear to do their job extremely well on this lens.
The Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8R LM OIS uses an internal linear motor to control focus. Such mote is very precise which is essential for Contrast-Detect AF which requires tiny back and forth movements of lens elements to find the point of maximum contrast. Some new Fuji mirrorless also use Phase-Detect but may fall back to Contrast-Detect, depending on shooting conditions and camera settings.
Linear motors are very quiet which is crucial while recording video, even with Manual-Focus, since the focus-ring is fly-by-wire. Focus speed is highly dependent on the camera. With a fast camera, such as the Fuji X-T1 reviewed here, this lens keeps up nicely.
The Fuji Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS
Fuji Fujinon XF18-55mm F/2.8-4R LM OIS is a unique offering and one of the few X-mount zooms which can be considered a walk-around lens. This particular model distinguishes itself by a brighter-than-usual aperture while being moderately compact. There are two competing model. One is the larger and weatherproof XF18-135mm F/3.5-5.6R LM OIS WR which obviously trades aperture-range for focal-range. More importantly, it fails to match the image-quality of the XF18-55mm. The other option is the entry-level Fuji Fujinon XC16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 OIS
Fuji Fujinon XC16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 OIS that features the same dim maximum-aperture as the XF18-135mm. However, it offers an ultra-wide-angle reach in a 50% lighter body without aperture-ring.
Neocamera Blog is a medium for expressing ideas related to digital cameras and photography. Read about digital cameras in the context of technology, media, art and the world. Latest posts links:
DxO ViewPoint 3 Review
Review of DxO ViewPoint 3. Perspective, distortion and horizon correction software.
Nikon D5 XQD Review
Nikon flagship professional DSLR with 20 megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor. All-new 153-point Phase-Detect AF sensitive to -4 EV. ISO 50 to unprecedented 3,276,800! 12 FPS Drive for 200 JPEGs or 180 RAW. First Nikon DSLR with 4K Ultra HD video.
Olympus Professional Lens Roundup
Roundup of Olympus Professional and Premium lenses: M.Zuiko 7-14mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12mm F/2, M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Review
Olympus second generation base OM-D with an anti-alias-filter-free 16 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor mounted on a 5-axis in-body stabilization system. Speedy 8.5 FPS drive, full HD @ 60 FPS and a wealth of features in a compact and lightweight body. Offers a 2.4 MP 0.45" EVF with 0.62X magnification and 100% coverage, plus dual control-dials and a highly customizable interface.
Fuji X-Pro2 Review
Fuji flagship XF-mount mirrorless with 24 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor. 273-Point AF with 169 Phase-Detect points. 8 FPS Drive, 1080p video. Dual control-dials, direct dials and a hybrid viewfinder in a weather-sealed freezeproof body.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Review
The only premium travel-zoom! 20 megapixels 1" high-speed CMOS sensor paired with a stabilized 25-250mm F/2.8-5.9 optical zoom. 50 FPS Drive, 4K Ultra-HD video, 1/16000-60s Hybrid Shutter, Post-Shot Focus, 4K Live-Cropping, Time-Lapse Video and more. Dual control-dials plus a built-in EVF with Eye-Start sensor.
Canon EOS Rebel T6s Review
Newly designed Rebel with dual control-dials and top status LCD. 24 MP APS-C sensor, Hybrid AF III with 19 all-cross points and on-sensor Phase-Detect AF. 5 FPS Drive and full 1080p HD video capture.
Canon Powershot G3 X Review
Ultra-zoom with a 25X optical zoom lens and large 20 MP 1" CMOS sensor in a weather-sealed body with dual control-dials, a lens ring and efficient controls. Captures full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS with internal or external stereo sound.
Best Digital Cameras of 2015
The best new digital cameras of 2015. Plus, find out which ones of 2014 still lead their category. Compact, Premium Cameras, Ultra-Zooms, Mirrorless and DSLR are all covered.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review
16 megapixels Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless. 2.4 MP 0.5" EVF with Eye-Start sensor plus dual control-dials. 4K Ultra-HD video, 8 FPS continuous-drive, hybrid shutter with 1/16000-60s shutter-speeds, ISO 100-25600 and Contrast-Detect DFD autofocus system sensitive to -4 EV.