Fujfilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS

Like the title says, I just got the Fujfilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS. In my blogpost from Thailand, I said I regretted not having a zoom lens for my X-Pro1 on that trip. So, now I just bought the Fujfilm 18-55mm zoom. This post is not a professional review of this lens, just my personal experiences with it after two days of shooting.

Wide open shot (f/4) at 55mm:
Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @55mm, ISO 200, f/4, 1/2400sec. OOC JPEG Astia film simulation.


Specifications:

(Source: Fujfilm.com )
- Focal lenght 18mm - 55mm (27mm - 84mm  35mm equivalent).
- Max aperture f/2.8 - 4
- Min aperture f/22
- Filter size 58mm
- Image stabilization: 4 stops
- Aperture control 1/3EV stop size
- Focus range normal: 0.6m - infinity (whole zoom position)
                       macro: 
                                   wide: 30cm - 10m
                                  telephoto: 40cm - 10m
- Max magnification 0.15x
- Weight 310g

First impression:

First impression - this does not feel like a kit lens at all! It's very well built, it feels solid! I've been using this lens now for two days and done a few shots. It weighs 310g and it feels pretty balanced when  mounted on my Fujifilm X-pro1.

The good:

- Build quality.
- Fast autofocus.
- The zoom ring is very firm, it doesn't accidently slip or move to a different focal lenght unless you want it to. The focal lenghts at 18, 23, 35 and 55 mm are numbered which  makes it easier to have mental picture of your framing without looking through the viewfinder.
- Overall picture quality - But I haven't done any real pixel peeping or comparisons to my other XF lenses so far (XF18mm and XF35mm).
- Unlike the XF 35mm f/1.4R it's easy to remove the lens cap with the lens hood still on

The not so good:

- Sharpness at 55mm at f/4 and f/5.6. But this I have to check more into before making any final judgements. It seems to sharpen up nicely at f/8 at the longest focal lenght.

The zoom in use:

Well, this will take some time getting used to! First off, having a zoom felt confusing now. I've been limited to just one focal lenght at the time, either the 23mm of the X100s or the 35mm with the X-Pro1 for so long now, that having the ability to zoom felt confusing! It opened up for more kind of shots for sure, but I felt I couldn't make use of that. Yet. Also, not having the aperture numbers printed on the lens, and the same aperture for the whole zoom range, felt very strange. It slowed me down actually. I'm so used to just take a quick look down at my camera and see my settings and change them on the fly. Now I had to look into the view finder to know my aperture! Losing one stop of light when going from 18mm to 55mm isn't all that bad, the OIS (image stabilization) will make up for that as far as shutter speed and camera shake is concerned. And really, going from f/2.8 to f/4 on this Fuji zoom is way better than most other "kit" zoom lenses from Canon, Nikon or whoever, which often find themselves in the f/3.5-5.6 range.

I haven't really tested how good the OIS, image stabilization, system works. I'm used to pushing the ISO on my Fujifilm cameras by now to get decent shutter speeds to avoid camera shake, but I guess having OIS will save a few shots some time when really needed. As you can see on my pictures here, the system really never was needed because of available light during a bright summer day. Also, I'm not sure if I should turn it off in situations with good light. I think it might drain my batteries faster with it on.

For anyone used to zoom lenses, I'm pretty sure this one will make them happy. For me? I'm not sure I made the right decision yet. If it was f/2.8 for the whole zoom range, with the aperture values printed on the lens like on the other XF lenses, it would be better for me. But it's just a tool, I know I missed such a tool during my 4 weeks in Thailand. So, I have to learn and master this tool to make good use of it. But for now, I feel more free and it's more fun to have just one focal lenght on my X-Pro1.

A few snapshots:

This first shot shows that at 55mm, even at f/4 which is the largest aperture at that focal lenght - it creates nice shallow depth of field - have to admit I was pretty close to this flower though which of course limits the DOF. ;)

Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @55mm, ISO 200, f/4.0, 1/750sec. OOC JPEG.
Here's few more from yesterday and today:
Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @20mm, ISO 800, 1/800sec. OOC JPEG Velvia film simulation.
Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @37mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/50sec. OOC JPEG Astia film simulation
Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @36mm, ISO 200, f/3.6, 1/1700sec. OOC JPEG Astia film simulation

Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @34mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/400sec. OOC JPEG Astia film simulation


Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @55mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/240sec. OOC JPEG Astia film simulation.

Fujfilm X-Pro1 with XF 18-55mm, @36mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/420sec. OOC JPEG Astia.


That's it so far. Hopefully I will have time to update this post with some comparisons to my 35mm lens later on. This 18-55mm zoom lens seems pretty sharp at 35mm itself actually. All my JPEG's in this post are processed in camera. Also, for the Astia simulated pictures, I've set White balance to Auto, Color to +1, Sharpness to +1 and Noice reduction to -1.

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