The Fujinon XF 18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS is Fujifilm’s first zoom lens for the X-mount; it’s also Fujifilm’s first optically-stabilized lens. While 18-55mm is a common range for APS-C kit lenses, the variable aperture of ƒ/2.8-4 is uncommonly bright. The X-mount lens will only mount to Fujifilm digital SLR cameras with sub-frame (APS-C) sensors. Thus, for this particular lens, it will exhibit an effective focal length of 27-84mm. This lens isn’t a ”constant” lens, in that as you increase the focal length, both the minimum and maximum aperture increases.
The lens is available now with a petal-shaped lens hood, takes 58mm filters, and retails for around $700.
The Fujinon 18-55mm lens is surprisingly sharp, and seems to be calibrated for its best performance in its wider apertures. Used wide open, the lens performs very well (there are very sharp images to be had at 35mm and its widest setting there, ƒ/3.6). If there’s any doubt about which focal length to choose – 35mm is it, as the lens is consistently sharp from ƒ/3.6 through to ƒ/11.
Other apertures are a bit more variable. At the wider end, 24mm is very good when used wide open; stop down to ƒ/4 and it’s great all the way through to ƒ/11. 18mm and 55mm are a bit more variable: performance is still very good, just not quite as great as we note at 24mm and 35mm.
Diffraction limiting begins to set it at ƒ/16, with a slight impact on overall image sharpness, and ƒ/22 shows moderately soft results.
While our test results show some significant impact with regard to chromatic aberration, looking at the sample images, I would be hard pressed to describe it. If it’s anywhere, it would be in the extreme corners.
There is only a slight amount of corner shading for the 18-55mm Fujinon, and that is at the 18mm setting: even then, the extreme corners are only a quarter-stop darker than the center. This is very close to negligible.
Distortion results are surprisingly good for a kit zoom lens, suggesting that there is a bit of correction going on under the hood with the X-E1. At the wide end, there is only slight barrel distortion (+0.3%), and even less pincushion distortion at 55mm (-0.1%). There is a nice point of parity at 28mm, where there is essentially no distortion.
The Fujinon 18-55mm uses an electrical autofocus system, which is very fast. The design is fly-by-wire, so there is no direct connection between the focusing ring and the autofocus system: autofocus results are very quick, and near-silent. Attached 58mm filters will not rotate.
The 18-55mm kit lens isn’t great for macro, offering just 0.08x magnification at 18mm, and 0.15x magnification at 55mm. The minimum close-focusing distance is a foot at 18mm, and 18 inches at 55mm.
Build Quality and Handling
The Fuji XF 18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS is a well-built lens, harkening back to the days of metal rangefinder cameras. It’s small and it isn’t all that heavy (just under 12 oz), textured in a satin black finish. The lens features optical image stabilization, which is activated or deactivated with a dedicated ”OIS” switch.
Fujifilm has done very well with this lens, making it more than ”just” a kit lens, and perhaps justifying its comparatively hefty price tag. Given that the lens is available in a kit with Fuji X-mount camera bodies, this isn’t necessarily a factor: but if you’re a prime lens shooter looking for something a bit more convenient, you probably won’t be disappointed with the 18-55mm.
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