As soon as I heard about the release of this lens I knew I wanted to purchase it. When I was shooting Nikon the lens I used the most was the 24-120 f/4. It was the perfect walk around, travel lens. I actually used it to shoot and entire wedding and it worked great! This week I had been checking various websites and my local camera stores to no avail as I knew it was going to be released by the end of this month, July. Opening the box I was greeted with the same Fuji quality as my other lenses. The zoom is smooth, the aperture ring feels perfect and the lens has a nice weight to it. I believe it weighs between the 56 1.2 lens and the 10-24 f/4 lens with the 10-24 f/4 being the heaviest. This is a lens I could easily walk around with all day. The range of 18-135 is a very wide range. Here are two pics, the first being taken at 18mm and the second at 135. Quite a difference!………
Sorry I’m late, but my dayjob is getting very demanding lately, as it does every June and July (hey, I’m not complaining at all!). After three months of intensive (to my standards) use, I’m now ready to tell my final opinion on the Fujifilm X-T1. And I’ll do it the usual way, in the form of a list of what I like and what I don’t. Ready? Go. ……
Sadly, this review starts on a slightly negative note…. The first weather resistant lens released from FUJIFILM is a canon, when zoomed all the way to 135mm the lens becomes surprisingly front heavy and is sadly a little ugly, no matter which X series camera body it was slapped on (XPRO1, XM1 and XT1). Also, the lens feels and looks very plastic. Unlike the prime lens lineup with all metal exterior shells, this one is made from a smooth engineered plastic, which does come across as a little cheap. The weather sealing suggests this lens is intended for the adventure enthusiast, however in our opinion, a plastic exterior does not portray rugged durability. On paper the focal length 18mm (wide) to 135mm (telephoto) looks like great value, and it is probably fair to say this lens is going to be popular for travel photographers. Although a little vulgar, it is more affordable than stocking a range of primes to get the equivalent coverage……..
About a week ago Fuji’s new telephoto zoom lens found its way to me. I had little opportunity to photograph with it, but at least I was able to record a number of test images. As always, I have made a comparison with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III to see how close the Fuji comes to a full-frame camera. Mechanically the lens makes a good, solid feel. The housing is made of a mixture of (few) metal parts and (mostly) plastic. All controls and also the mix of materials are virtually identical to the well known standard zoom. Two switches are used to activate the image stabilizer and auto iris. Three adjustment rings allow the setting of aperture, focal length and focus point. The aperture ring snaps as tight as the one in the standard zoom and the 35mm lens. It runs better than the somewhat loose ring of 14mm wide angle. The zoom ring is quite stiff. At least the lens doesn’t extract by itself when directed to the ground or sky. Speaking of ground: When the (switched off) lens is tilted from horizontal direction downwards, one can hear a distinct clicking sound. Probably a loose part of the image stabilizer. When switched on, the noise does not occur. Not so great is the lens hood. At least in my lens, this monstrous piece of plastic fits very tight into the socket. I have a downright fear to break it when turning…….
I like the Fuji system so much that I have also acquired the two fixed focal lenses XF 35 mm and XF 14 mm. Below are my practical impressions and resolution chart measurements of both lenses. Again, I made a comparison with Canon cameras. In addition to the EOS 5D Mark III also the EOS 600D has been used, which has a similar sensor (18 Megapixel APS-C) as the Fuji X-E1 (16 Megapixel APS-C). For the first time, a much larger test chart was used to achieve a better image scale especially for testing the wide-angle lenses. With APS-C sensor, the scale now about 1:30 and with the full-frame sensor it is about 1:20. I found that especially the full-frame lenses benefit from the smaller magnification and show partially higher resolutions and less chromatic aberrations as in my earlier tests. Therefore, new test shots of all lenses were made under the same conditions. As always the cameras were carefully aligned on a tripod and triggered by self-timer to avoid vibration (the EOS 5D Mark III with an additional mirror prerelease)……..
The new Fuji XF23mmF1.4 R with a focal length of 35 mm (equivalent full frame format) and a field of view of 63° comes closest to the visual sensitivity of the human eye of all Fuji lenses. This universal focal length enjoys great popularity among many photographers. That’s why the popular Fuji X100S and almost all smartphones carry a similar focal length. In addition, the XF23 comes with a sensational aperture of f/1.4, promising wonderful compositions of sharpness and depth of field. Therefore, many fans have waited for this Fuji lens for a long time and created a great publicity hype. The price, that Fujifilm calls for the XF23, currently (end of 2013) sets a new record at 900 €. The wider XF14mmF2.8 R comes slightly lower at 800 €. All other Fuji lenses are around 400-650 €. The question arises whether this price is justified for the XF23. As a basis for my comparison I have used Fuji’s standard zoom (XF18-55mmF2.8 -4 R LM OIS, 620 € street price) and the XF35mmF1.4 R (550 € street price ). The latter also comes with a maximum aperture of f/1.4……….
Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Verdict:
It would be churlish to compare the sharpness delivered by this lens to Fujifilm’s prime lenses, as they don’t have as many compromises to deal with. Even so, as far as superzoom lenses go, this optic delivers sharp, contrasty images and tons of convenience, thanks to the 7.1x zoom range, optical stabiliser and weather resistance. Those looking for a walk-around lens for their Fuji X-series camera should still be smitten with this lens, even if it is a touch expensive when compared to similar offerings from other camera manufacturers.
Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Pros:
- Decent sharpness
- Robust build
- Retro design with manual aperture ring
- Low CA
- Low distortion
- Weather resistant construction
Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Cons:
- Possibly a touch expensive when compared to similar lenses from other camera manufacturers
- Falloff in performance towards the edges of the frame at either end of the zoom range
These days my zoom range is the “general purpose” 24-70mm (Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro), not too wide and not too long but more or less suitable for a wide range of subjects. In my 35mm days that was the Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L. I shot for about a year with that as my only zoom lens and when I needed something wider I would rent or borrow the EF16-35 F2.8L. Both of these lenses were useful but had issues with focus accuracy and sharpness. I hear-tell Canon has released a new version of the 16-35 (it’s now a 16-35mm F4 with image stabilisation). I’ve personally used the latest version of the 24-70mm F2.8L MKII (awesome but expensive!). If you want to make images with a little something special then you need to go wider than that general purpose zoom. You need a wide angle prime lens or a wide angle zoom. I’ve previously used the excellent XF 14mm F2.8 but stuck at one focal length in that range can be limiting sometimes. I was particularly interested in the XF10-24mm Fuji lens because of an upcoming assignment which will require me to take a series of wide angle shots and combine various elements into one composite image……
I have now had the Fuji X-T1 since February of this year. I have traveled to Dubai, Morocco, Cuba, and numerous places through the US with the XT and the new 10-24mm f4, 56mm 1.2, and 27mm 2.8 pancake lenses. I’ve shot street, portraits, personal work, and paid work with this camera and these lenses. Fuji sent the camera and lenses to me and then I picked up a second body because these are now my small camera work horses. I no longer own a single piece of DSLR gear. I shoot my PhaseOne on some jobs and I shoot Fuji’s for the rest. I do not foresee going back to DSLR’s any time soon. What can I say about Fuji cameras that I haven’t said before? They have soul. They are sharp. They are a joy to work with. They are conversation starters on set. They are small. They are quiet. They are a constant companion. I never said any thing like this about my Nikon or Canon gear. Not even my Phase One. The only reason I love my Phase is because of the image quality it produces. Otherwise, the Phase One camera body is a piece of crap and I hate it. It’s an old Mamiya 645 body with a few tweaks and a new badge slapped on the front. It’s a crap camera really. Oh how I hope and wish and pray and desire for the day Fuji gets back in the medium format game. I have begged and pleaded with them to make an X series medium format game changer. PLEASE!!! …….
I wanted an ultra wide lens since I bought my little Fuji X-E1, the kit lens was a good lens overall, and while for street photography it’s definitely a great lens, for landscapes 18mm (equivalent to a 27mm on a 35mm) are not enough to me, I always felt like it was too long for me. So three weeks ago I decided to sell it in favour of a new ultra wide lens from the Korean manifacturer Samyang (or Rokinon in the States, Walimex somewhere else), the 12mm f/2 NCS CS. I generally read thousands of review before buying a lens, but in this case I couldn’t find much as this lens came out on the market just a few months ago, but the few reviews I found were all very positive, and I often read good things about Samyang lenses, so I decided to give it a try……..