Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R (Fujifilm) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2012
The mirrorless market is red-hot at the moment and the stakes are correspondingly high. Mirco-Four-Thirds did a jump-start in late 2008 and it is certainly the most successful system at the moment - hunted by Sony NEX. Fuji is almost dangerously late in this game but it seems as if they are betting their fortunes on the very high end of the market with a spice of retromania. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 tries to offer the benefits of the mainstream while offering exclusivity similar to Leica. The market will decide whether this is no-man's land or a successful niche.
In our first Fuji review we will cover the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R - one of the three initial lenses for the X-mount. Following a Fuji tradition these lenses are called "Fujinon" XF. This may be news to some but Fuji is actually a long time player in the system camera market but they were mostly active in the large- and medium format league and their Fujinon lenses earned quite a reputation till the decline of the film business - maybe google for "Fuji GX" if you are interested.
Anyway, the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R is a so-called pancake lens - it's just about 4cm long and weights only 116g. In full format terms it is a standard wide-angle lens. An equivalent focal length of "27mm" is not so hot nowadays but it is certainly generic enough to be suitable for a couple of applications such as landscape or street photography. It is a surprisingly fast lens so it has some decent capabilities to achieve a quite shallow depth-of-field when using short focus distances.
The build quality of the Fujinon is very good thanks to a tightly assembled metal body based on a metal mount - even the supplied lens hood is made of metal. The lens extends a tiny bit during focusing operations but the front element does not rotate. The focus ring operates smoothly. Typical for all Fujinon lenses, there's a dedicated aperture ring with distinctive 1/3 steps. If you move it from A (=Automatic) to a specific f-stop the camera will turn automatically into aperture priority or manual mode (depending on the settings of the shutter speed dial).
The lens has an internal micro motor which produces a bit of noise during AF operations. The AF speed is good but it's nothing to rave about - especially compared to current Micro-Four-Thirds standards. AF object tracking isn't really advisable - at least based on the X-Pro1. The AF accuracy is very good though. Manual focusing works "by wire" thus by triggering the AF motor. A focus distance guidance is provided in the camera viewfinder/on the LCD - this works quite nicely.
|Equiv. focal length (full format)||27mm|
|Equiv. max. aperture (full format)||"f/2.8" (depth-of-field)|
|Optical construction||8 elements in 7 groups inc. 2x aspherical element|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (circular)|
|min. focus distance||0.18m (max. magnification 1:7.1)|
|Hood||square-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied|