This is a first for me and for this blog. A small review of the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4R OIS
I really don’t plan on making this a habit since there are tons of other sites out there that does it so much better than I would ever do. However I feel that I can contribute with something to people who, like me, has the X-Pro1 with primes but want to add the zoom lens for added photographic flexibillity.
This is NOT a scientific review at all. This is just my impressions, and some insight into what it means in terms of my creativity photography wise. I will off course be posting samples as I go along.
Look and feel
There’s no doubt about it, this lens is gorgeous.
Well built, solid feeling, and just the right amount of torque in the switches and focus rings. It has just the right heft to its weight, and fits the X-Pro1 build perfectly.
The aperture ring is without markings, and has a nice slight click to it. There are two switches on the lens, one for the Optical Image Stabilizer and one for Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority.
The included lens hood is a pedal type plastic hood. Not as great as the metal ones included with the primes, but there are nice third party ones available dead-cheap on ebay.
The lens has a nice chrome ring between the manual focus ring and zoom ring, makes it look really good, and exclusive. This is sold as a kit lens with the X-E1, but in no way does it feel like a cheap kit lens. It really feels like a well crafted piece of equipment.
This is where it gets interesting. As a guy who is solely into prime lenses because of their ability to deliver uncompromised sharpness in a given range and their usual faster aperture, a zoom lens has never really been on my shopping list for camera systems. One thing I do like about the zoom is the added flexibility and portability. So with this is mind I read numerous reviews from “real-world-usage” to “pixel peeping” on this lens. All seemed to agree that the lens is a very good, and very sharp zoom lens.
I really agree on the sharpness. Fuji has made a great lens which is dead sharp at the centre, and only minimal fall-off towards the edges. I don’t see much vignetting either, I actually tend to add my own in post-processing when needed, since there really is none.
In regards to the auto focus, this lens is MUCH faster at focussing than the XF 35mm f/1.4 prime lens. Focus snap is almost instant at 18mm, and still fast at 55mm. This all due to the linear focus engine that Fuji put in this lens. Very welcome addition when shooting street shots, and you want to catch that exact moment. This really is one of the strong points of this lens.
Optical image stabilisation (OIS). The OIS on this lens is nothing short of superb. I can actually handhold this lens a 1/1 sec. and get no motion blur at all. This is really great. It does NOT compensate for a faster aperture when photographing moving subjects, but it really does make a difference in those indoor, late night, low light shots.
A great example of the OIS efficiency is the shot to the left of my wife and kids.
It was shot at night in near darkness. I was on my own bike riding along while taking the shot handheld at 1/17 sec, f/2.8, 18mm. Damn near instant focus lock on my wifes face, and an amazing lack of motion blur. IMPRESSIVE!
The lens looks really great on the X-Pro1. Even better than on the X-E1 in my opinion. The balance in weight and size is simply better.
Using the OVF with the lens isn’t really recommended, but it is doable. Using the EVF is the way it’s meant to be used.
I really think fuji has a problem with its auto ISO setting on the X-Pro1. This lens is stuck at 1/30 sec shutter when using auto ISO in low light settings. This is due to Fuji’s algorithm of prioritizing lower ISO numbers prior to shutter speeds. At 18mm it’s ok, but at 55mm it’s unusable. They NEED to fix the auto ISO, so the user can set a minimum shutter speed. It’s in the x100/x100s so WHATS KEEPING THEM!!
The aperture of f/2.8-4 is really usable even in low light coupled with the X-Pro1’s amazing ISO capabilities. You get great shots in almost any condition, without having to rely on flash.
Below I have gathered some images with all kinds of different settings to show of the versatile nature of this lens. I really do think that this lens produces GREAT images in all sorts of environments.
ISO 6400 – 55mm – f/4.0 – 1/125 sec
ISO 1250 – 18mm – f/2.8 – 1/125 sec
ISO 400 – 55mm – f/4.0 – 1/2000 sec
ISO 400 – 42.5mm – f/4.0 – 1/680 sec
ISO 400 – 18mm – f/2.8 – 1/640 sec
ISO 400 – 55mm – f/4.0 – 1/160 sec
ISO 500 – 18mm – f/2.8 – 1/30 sec
ISO 400 – 55mm – f/4.0 – 1/45 sec
ISO 400 – 34.3mm – f/3.6 – 1/35 sec
ISO 400 – 55mm – f/4.0 – 1/80 sec
ISO 400 – 18mm – f/3.2 – 1/240 sec
ISO 400 – 18.8mm – f/3.2 – 1/1.100 sec
ISO 400 – 19.6mm – f/5.6 – 1/950 sec
ISO 2000 – 55mm – f/4.0 – 1/30 sec
ISO 400 – 55mm – f/4.0 – 1/70 sec
The Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4R OIS is a great allround performer. As a kit lens, it’s one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. As a stand alone zoom lens it’s up there among the best of the normal range zooms IMHO. It would be perfect if it had a set aperture at about f/2.8.
It’s very reasonably priced, and you get a lot of lens for your savings. If you, like me, is considering the prime XF 18mm f/2.0, I would instead recommend that you buy the 18-55mm since it delivers on par image quality, it’s faster at focussing, and you get some added flexibility.
This lens is really great for street photography. The good fast AF coupled with one of the best OIS’s I’ve ever used makes it joy to use. The images it produces are sharp throughout the range and delivers great “pop”.
This is a great addition to my X-series system.