When Fujifilm announced the X-E1 mirrorless camera, it announced two additional lenses, the 24mm f/2.8 prime and the XF18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS lens. In this post I want to spread more information about the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens, which comes also as a kit lens for the Fujifilm X-E1.
XF Lens and the “X Mount”
As for the time of writing this article, Fuji has five XF lenses for the “X mount”:
- XF 18mm F2 R (27 mm equiv.)
- XF 35mm F1.4 R (53mm equiv.)
- XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro (91mm equiv.)
- XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 OIS (27-84mm equiv.)
- XF 14mm F2.8 ( (21mm equiv.)
Fujifilm X-Series cameras (e.g. X-Pro 1 and X-E1) has an APS-C size sensor with 1.5x crop factor. That means that to get the equivalent focal length in 35mm, you need to multiply the original stated focal length of the lens by a factor of 1.5. That means that the 18-55mm is actually equivalent to 27-84 mm.
Fujifilm FUJINON Interchangeable “XF Lenses” were designed or maximum performance and deliver exceptional image quality that perfectly matches the high-resolution performance of their X-Trans image sensor. FUJINON lenses utilize the Super EBC coating and aspherical lens and other type of elements to reduce chromatic aberration, distortions and result in image quality that will satisfy the demands of professional photographers.
We can see that Fujifilm focused on high quality lenses, that’s due to the fact that most of their XF lenses are actually prime lenses (fixed focal length), and those are fast prime lenses too. Those lenses are aimed for photographers who seek excellent optical performance, which is required to accomplish their jobs, whether it’s for news publishing, Stock Photography, studio work and so on.
Fujifilm X mount was designed specifically for Fuji’s Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens system cameras. The mount ring is very slim, and the 10 pin system builds the communication between the lens and the camera body so both cam work seamlessly together, while providing the camera all the data it needs to perform in high precision.
The X-mount has a 17.7mm distance from the lens’ first lens element, so the lens can be as close as possible to the camera image sensor. This helps the camera to produce higher resolution, again, to maximize the potential of the high quality X-Trans sensor.
As you ca see, everything was designed to maximize the potential of both Fuji XF lenses and the sensor. The final result should be superior image quality, resolution that can be equally compared to what you get with 35mm full frame sensor (at least that what Fuji claims for the X-E1).
XF Lens Roadmap
On Fujifilm.com you can see the XF lens roadmap. You can see that Fuji focused on releasing three fast prime lenses on 2012, and recently added the 14mm f/2.8 and 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS to the list. On 2012 we are expected to see more lenses, including the following:
- 56mm F1.5
- 27mm F2.8 (Pancake)
- 23mm F1.4
- 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS
- 10-24mm F4 OIS Super Wide Zoom
Fast 18-55mm Lens
The 18-55mm was certainly needed because with the launch of the Fuji X-E1, Fuji actually released a more affordable body that more enthusiast photographers can afford. That means that some of them would like to use zoom lenses, rather than using just prime lenses, that cam also be quite expensive. Still Fuji focuses its lens manufacturing on more prime lenses, but we can see that we are expecting to see two new zoom lenses in 2013.
The XF18-55mm F2.8-4 OIS lens is also the Kit lens of the Fujifilm X-E1. A normal zoom lens. This lens was built with the same high standards that you can expect from FUJINON lenses, and it’s also a relatively fast lens with F2.8 aperture wide openk up to F4 on the tele end.
The 18-55mm full name is FUJINON XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS. This is a versatile zoom lens which has a nice range for general photography. Considering it’s fast aperture, it was designed to be as compact as possible, flattering the smaller size of the X-E1.
The lens features a fast linear motor-driven (LM) autofocus and optical image stabilization of four stops. This lens will work superbly well with the new Fujifilm X-E1 MILC. In fact, when you visit Fujifilm website, you can see that the X-E1 is capable of 0.1 sec auto focus, but fuji marked this with **, which below it’s written “When XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS is set”. This means that you can expect very fast AF performance when using the 18-55 mm lens.
I think that many people will prefer getting the X-E1 with the kit lens to start with, and later decide which other prime lens to get. It’s nice to see taht Fujifilm gives a good amount of attention to any of its lens lineup. You won’t find here low performing lenses, every lenses here was made to be a winner.
I can give you one example of the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro lens. This lens was reviewed by ephotozine.de and the editor wrote:” The Fujinon produced a highly impressive resolution uncharacteristic..” (source). Other lenses perform great as well. Of course we can expect prime lenses to be very sharp, especially with macro lenses. Even so, the fact is that those lenses were designed for very high performance, and that’s what counts. The results are what you should care about, and with any Fujinon lens that you gonna buy, you can be sure that you will get very high quality glass.
If you had a chance to visit Fujifilm website and view the X-E1 sample images, you probably already know what those lenses can produce. The colors, contrast and resolution is simply superb. Although you won’t find any 18-55mm images there, you can get a feeling on what you should expect with the 18-55mm lens and the X-E1 camera.
Image stabilization is not a must on this lens, but certainly a welcomed features for those who want to shoot hand-held shots with slow shutter speeds. A 4 stop IS means that it stands at the same league as Nikon’s VR II, which offers the same 4-stops image stabilization.
I had Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and I would just wished to have such a high quality fast zoom lens on my cameras. This lens is a stop faster than the average 18-55mm lenses on the market from Canon, Nikon, Pentax and others. The fact is that because of the unique camera design, Fuji was able to create a standard zoom lens that is cheaper to make, but also sharper, smaller and lighter. So it’s maybe not to wise to compare it to DSLR lenses. We might compare this lens to future Micro Four Thirds standard zoom lenses for example, this will probably be a more fare comparison.
Some people wonder why all the other manufacturers didn’t come with a fast Kit lens like the 18-55 F2.8-4 lens. Most of them are F3.5-5.6, one stop slower.
Of course we will need to see some reviews’ results in order to come to a clear conclusion about this lens performance. Some zoom lenses perform extremely well at the center, but fail to deliver sharp results at the corners.
Because the 18-55 mm lens is pretty fast, people might pass the prime lenses and stay with this lens only, maybe another lens for special purposes (ie. ultra wide, 1:1 macro).
Overall I’m very happy to see Fujifilm giving photographers what they want. This lens didn’t fall from the sky. Fujifilm really want to succeed in the ILC business and listens very carefully to the target market. Every lens or accessory that you see and will see is something that Fujifilm though about carefully.
The Fujinon 18-55mm lens is a great lens to get if you buy the new Fujifilm X-E!, but also for those who already own the X-Pro1.
- 14 elements in 10 groups, including 3 aspherical lenses and 1 extra low dispersion element
- Seven-blade rounded diaphragm
- 58mm lens filter size
What do you think about this lens? – share your opinion by commenting below.