Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R
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Lab Test Results
June 11, 2012
by Andrew Alexander
Early in 2012 Fuji released the X-Pro 1 system, with three prime lenses: the 35mm ƒ/1.4, the 60mm ƒ/2.4 Macro, and the subject of this review, the 18mm ƒ/2.
As the X-Pro 1 uses an APS-C sensor with a 1.5x ''crop factor'', the 18mm lens offers an equivalent field of view of 27mm, offering a good wide-angle perspective. The lens ships with a metal hood, takes 52mm filters and is available now for around $600.
The 18mm ƒ/2 R is capable of very sharp images, but the lens never achieves tack-sharp, corner-to-corner sharpness; there is always some level of corner softness. When used wide open at ƒ/2 there is some significant corner softness, but in the central part of the image we do note excellent results. Stopping down to just ƒ/2.8 offers a significant improvement: central sharpness is excellent, and corner softness is dramatically improved. Stopping down further to ƒ/4 and smaller doesn't actually offer any further improvement to corner sharpness. Diffraction limiting appears to set in at ƒ/8, but there's no appreciable loss of image sharpness until ƒ/16.
Results for chromatic aberration were very good; there's hardly any chromatic aberration to speak of, and it only becomes noticeable when the lens is stopped down to ƒ/16 or ƒ/22. When present, it will show as magenta fringing on areas of high contrast.
There is always some light corner shading when using this lens, with corners being a half-stop darker at ƒ/2, going to a third-stop darker at any other aperture.
Results for distortion were surprisingly low for the wide-angle 18mm ƒ/2 R; there is a slight amount of barrel distortion (+0.25%) in the extreme corners.
The Fuji 18mm ƒ/2 R focus very quickly with an electrical motor housed in the lens. The lens focuses from infinity to close-focus in less than a second: it's fast, and locks on to your target easily. The front element does not rotate, making life that little bit easier for polarizer users.
The 18mm ƒ/2 R only offers a magnification rating of 0.14x, making this less than ideal for macro work; its minimum close-focusing distance is 18cm (around 7 inches).
Build Quality and Handling
The Fuji XF 18mm ƒ/2 R is a well-built lens, harkening back to the days of metal rangefinder cameras. It's small and it is quite light (just 116 grams, or just over 4 oz), textured in a satin black finish.
There are two rings for this lens: a focusing ring, and an aperture ring, something of a rarity in modern digital cameras. The aperture ring sits closer to the lens body, around 3/8'' wide, with click-stops between aperture settings. We found the aperture ring a bit looser than we would like, which means if you like the be able to move quickly between settings, you'll be happy with this action.
The focusing ring is about 3/8'' wide, made of polycarbonate with deep grooves that offer excellent tactile feel. The X-Pro camera concept uses a fly-by-wire in its lens focusing method, so the focusing ring is not actually directly connected to the lens elements in a mechanical way. Rather, turning the focusing ring moves the elements electronically. In practice this means the focusing ring will turn forever in either direction, and you'll have to rely on the readouts to know if you have reached minimum or maximum focus. There is a slight amount of lens extension when the lens is focused.
There are no distance scales or depth-of-field information on the lens, but the X-Pro 1 offers a distance scale on its LCD or viewfinder readout.
The 18mm ƒ/2 R lens hood is made of metal, and can only be described as a circular hood with its sides squished in. It does not reverse for storage on the lens, and attaches with a standard bayonet mount. The hood is 3/4'' long, adding only 1/2'' of length to the lens when attached.
It's also worth noting that the lens comes with two front caps, one for the lens and one for the lens hood, since they are different shapes.
Currently, there are no third-party lenses offered in the Fuji XF mount. However, there are several lens adapters which allow non-Fuji lenses to be mounted on the X-Pro 1. Fuji's own M-mount adapter allows Leica M, Carl Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses to be used, and some comparable focal lengths would be found in the Carl Zeiss Distagon T*15mm F2.8 ZM or Distagon T*18mm F4 ZM, and the Voigtlander L Super Wide-Heliar 15mm F4.5 Aspherical.
There's not much more to say that the test results don't already show: very good performance, even when used wide open, and excellent performance when stopped down just a little. If you're an X-Pro 1 user, this is another lens that definitely deserves a place in your bag.
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R User Reviews
8 out of 10 points and recommended by coma (22 reviews)small, "special"-bad-
It's construction is good and so is it's size. But it's probably the worst Fuji lens when it comes to image quality.reviewed December 7th, 2015 (purchased for $400)
Corners are soft even stopped down and the lens suffers form field curvature.
Not much to add here - for about 200 bucks it's ok as a pancake - but personally I prefer the 16mm and 23mm
followup: since I had the chance to test this lens again and I have to withdraw some of my complains. The new version was sharper than the first example, especially around f/5.6 and f/8. It had some CAs but those are expected from a pancake. Furthermore the build quality seems to have improved too. Aperture ring felt a lot stiffer.
Still wouldn't say it's an outstanding lens and 16 and 23mm are better, but for it's size and price I will change my vote to recommended!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Klicko Orange (3 reviews)size, price, quick focus and smooth bokehsoft corners, color fringing
The strange collectiblereviewed August 5th, 2015
A review of Fujifilm XF 18mm f2 R
Considered by many as as the bottom dweller in Fujifilm's hierarchy of lenses, the Fujifilm XF 18mm f2 R has some of tricks up its sleeves that make it worthy to be in your bag. Here are some of them:
1. Being the smallest 18mm ever made in itself makes the lens collectible. And since it is so diminutive it hardly occupies space in your bag. Being unobtrusive it makes the camera you mount it on less conspicuous.
2. Having an aperture of f/2 it serves up some tasty bokeh, something quite strange or at least unusual for a wide angle lens.
3. It focuses quickly and accurately, something that can't be said of all Fuji lenses.
4. It is currently the most affordable Fuji wide angle prime lens.
On the downside it never gets sharp at the corners even if you step down to the smaller apertures. There is some noticeable color fringing in back lit and/or high contrast areas in the corners of the frame. And if you use third party editing software, a heavy distortion that is kept under control by Fuji firmwares, will show up.
This makes the lens not ideal for architecture photography and big reunion pictures as the subjects on the sides end up soft or even unidentifiable. The flip side to this is that it is the perfect tool for street photography. And with its yummy bokeh is great for environmental portraits as it provides some nice separation between main subject, background and foreground. This also good for travel pictures where in you want to isolate a historical marker from the rest of the frame.
Yep, great stuff can leap out of small packages.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by PeteD (12 reviews)it's small and it's fast. Image quality is good.some ca
This lens seems to get a bit of negative press.reviewed December 7th, 2012 (purchased for $650)
Yes the image quality is only very good if not stellar. Some CA and the corners don't reach the levels of the centre. And yes the 35 f1.4 is optically better but given the 18f2 is small and fast it's a lens that sits on my xe1 a fair amount.
compared to the 35 f1.4 the 18 f2's autofocus is fairly snappy and reliable.
The lens hood works but is a pain to store.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by andre_ (31 reviews)AF, bokehdefinition at f2, CA (but easily corrected in LR)
This 18mm is surprising for its out of focus quality, especially in the background.reviewed August 8th, 2012 (purchased for $500)
The foreground is ok, for a wideangle.
The lens has a quite large amount of CA in the highlight's borders, but Lightroom is very effective to correct it.
Another drawback is the non-perfect planarity of the field. It becames evident below f4, apertures often used in order to take the best from the bokeh.
In one word, I don't think this 18mm is the best lens for landscapes.
It works surprisingly well for the street photography, indeed.
The AF is fast and precise, and the plasticity of the images helps a lot to focus the attention on the subject.
And despite the relatively low definition at the corners, it invites to shoot at large apertures.
An unusual feeling for a wide lens.
It's also very good for portraits, taken from a couple of meters or less. The geometrical distortion is extremely low.
The shadows and highlights are not so contrasted, and this lens takes the best from the X-Pro1 sensor, as well as the 35mm.
Colour rendition is neutral.
I use this lens alongside the 35/1.4, and I think I don't need anything else for the street photography.
Together the X-Pro1, these two lenses make a perfect and light gear.
For everything else... there's the DSLR.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Powerdoc (7 reviews)very good IQ at avery aperture at the center.Purple fringing, the corners are never as good as the center
It's not a landscape lens, at least, if you want to print at A2 or larger.reviewed June 8th, 2012 (purchased for $500)
It's a very good lens for street photography.
It's the fastest AF lens in the current FX line.
The bokey is very nice, and it's very sharp at the center even wide open.