Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Fujifilm X

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published March 2017


I reckon the Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR has been sitting on my desk for almost two years now. Every time I sneaked into the office, it almost stared at me asking "when?". I have to admit that I always tried to find an excuse but ... eventually ... yes, I finally bowed to the inevitable and did the lab work. As of the time of this review, it is the only "universal" zoom lens in Fujifilm's lineup. Its focal length is equivalent to about "27-206mm" on full format cameras thus it covers everything from moderate wide angle views to medium tele settings. If you do the math, you should come up with a 7.5x zoom ratio. That's quite a bit although the most extreme of these lenses has a whopping 18.75x factor (the Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 VC, a DSLR lens). So there's hope that the "comparatively" moderate zoom range translates to higher quality. And it better should deliver because it's far from being a cheap lens at around 900US$/800EUR. Just as a reference - the Pentax SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR (what a name ...) costs almost HALF that amount!

The build quality of the Fujinon is good albeit not great. The lens body is made of a combination of metal and high quality plastic parts. It extends when zooming towards the long end of the range but the inner lens tube remains pretty tight. The focus ring operates smoothly. Fujifilm didn't even forget to implement weather sealing which makes sense given the fact that such lenses are mostly used for travel photography. Sounds good, right ? So what's wrong? The zoom mechanism. It's feels stiff, uneven and the friction increases substantially beyond 100mm (I tested two samples). I'd go so far to state that this is a bit of a spoiler. Typical for all Fujinon "R" ("ring") lenses, there's a dedicated aperture ring with distinctive, albeit unmarked f-stops.

The lens uses a linear AF motor combined with inner focusing - resulting in fast and silent AF operations. Manual focusing works "by wire" thus by triggering the AF motor. Manual focusing isn't super-precise but it's liveable (and who uses manual focusing with such lenses anyway?). Fujifilm emphasizes that the optical image stabilizer (OIS) has a potential of up to 5 f-stops. That may be true in lab conditions but it feels more like 3-4 f-stops in real world conditions. Still - that's better than average and certainly a nice feature in such a slow speed lens.

Equiv. focal length"27-206mm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperture"f/5.2-f/8.4" (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction16 elements in 12 groups (4x aspherical & 2x AD elements)
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.6m (max. magnification 1:3.7)
Filter size67mm
Hoodpetal-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other featuresOptical Image Stabilizer, weather-sealing

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