Fujifilm announces super-fast XF 18mm f/1.4 R WR wide-angle prime lens
posted Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 1:00 AM EDT
Fujifilm today announced a new addition to its already-expansive X Series lens lineup in the form of the super-bright, wide-angle XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens. The new optic, Fuji's 39th X Series lens, provides a 27mm-equivalent field of view in 35mm terms for a classic, near-24mm wide-angle angle perspective. The lens adds to Fuji's versatile range of f/1.4 primes sliding between the wider XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and narrower XF 23mm f/1.4 R lenses. Fujifilm already offers another 18mm prime lens, the pancake-style XF 18mm f/2 R prime. However, for those looking for better performance in low-light situations, or who need weather-sealed construction, the faster XF 18mm f/1.4 lens is the solution.
The 27mm-eq. wide-angle perspective of the new XF 18mm f/1.4 lens makes it a versatile option for a wide range of subject matter, from landscapes and astrophotography to street photography and even portraiture or general-use photography. The bright f/1.4 aperture makes it a great choice for low-light shooting. For portraits, the fast maximum aperture offers smooth bokeh and nice subject isolation.
As expected, this brighter f/1.4 lens is larger and heavier than its pancake-shaped XF 18mm f/2 R sibling, but the new XF 18mm f/1.4 lens is still surprisingly lightweight and portable considering how bright the aperture can get. Measuring at 2.98in (7.56cm) in length and weighing just 0.81lbs. (370g), the new XF 18mm f/1.4 lens is nearly the same size and weight as the earlier XF 16mm f/1.4 lens. The lens's diameter is fairly narrow as well, utilizing a 62mm screw-on filter thread size.
Further, the lens barrel is constructed entirely out of metal, and the lens features robust weather-sealing throughout, as the "WR" name designation suggests. The XF 18mm f/1.4 lens has eight total weather-resistant sealing locations, including a fairly hefty-looking rubber gasket around the lens mount. The lens is designed to withstand dust and moisture as well as temperatures as low as 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) when used together with a similarly weather-resistance camera body, such as the X-T4 or X-Pro3.
In terms of additional exterior or physical features, the XF 18mm f/1.4 lens, like other Fujinon lenses with the "R" badging, includes a dedicated manual aperture control ring. The lens's aperture range spans f/1.4 to f/16, and the control ring on the lens is marked with full-stop aperture settings with light mechanical detents at third-stop increments. There is also an "Auto" setting on the aperture ring for use when shooting in Auto modes, Program Auto mode or other situations where you want automatically-controlled apertures. The Auto setting position is locked in that it requires the unlock button to be pressed to turn the ring into and out of the Auto position. Beyond the aperture ring and unlock button, the XF 18mm f/1.4 lens is fairly sparse when it comes to other external features, except for the large, nearly 1-inch-wide focusing ring and bayonet-mounted petal-shaped lens hood.
Optically, the XF 18mm f/1.4 is comprised of 15 total elements situated into nine groups, which is a rather impressive amount of glass for such a small lens. The lens includes three aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion (ED) element to help combat chromatic aberration and comatic aberration, the latter of which is a key factor for excellent astrophotography results. The focusing group is comprised of six total elements that move as one unit, which Fujifilm states helps minimize aberration changes at different focusing distances and helps maintain a consistent level of image sharpness throughout the lens' focusing range.
Speaking of focusing, the XF 18mm f/1.4 lens is an internally focusing lens, and the AF system is driving by a linear motor drive in order to provide fast, accurate and nearly-silent focusing operation. According to Fujifilm, the lens' autofocusing system can acquire focus in around 0.04 seconds, as the focusing group only needs to move about 0.1in (2.5mm) to achieve the lens' full focusing range. Despite the lens's wide-angle design, the 18mm f/1.4 lens can focus quite close to the subject, making it a decent option for close-up wide-angle photography. The lens is capable of focusing on subjects that are just 4.33in (11cm) away from the front element, or about 7.87in (20cm) from the sensor surface, and offers a maximum magnification factor of 0.15x.
Pricing & Availability
The Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens is scheduled to go on sale in late May 2021 with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $999 USD and $1,275 CDN. While the ships with a petal-shaped lens hood, an additional (and optional) rectangular lens hood made from aluminum -- the LX-HF18 -- is also being developed. This rectangular lens hood accessory is designed to better ward against lens flare and ghosting. The LX-HF18 lens hood is also going on sale in May 2021 for a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $69 USD ($80 CDN).
(Ed. Note: We were sent a pre-production copy of the lens. However, we were instructed to not to publish downloadable images taken with the lens at this time.)