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

4.5
November 16, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS is a fast standard zoom lens for Fujifilm X-series compact system cameras. Offering a focal range of 27-84mm in 35mm terms, 4 stops of built-in image stabilisation, a compact and lightweight design, 0.1 second auto-focusing and an aperture ring, is the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS a viable alternative to the XF prime lenses that have been released so far? Read our Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS review to find out...

The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS is the first zoom lens in Fujifilm’s relatively new XF line-up. Compatible with both the X-Pro1 and X-E1 compact system cameras, the 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens boasts an angle-of-view range similar to that of a 27-84mm lens in a 35mm system. Other highlights include a close-focus point of 30cm, an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, 4-stop optical image stabilisation, a linear motor-driven focussing system that allows the camera to lock focus on the subject in 0.1 second, silent operation for video recording, and an optical formula that comprises 14 elements in 10 groups, including 3 aspherical and 1 extra low dispersion elements. The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens is currently available for £599.99 / $699.95 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens attached to the Fujifilm X-E1 camera

The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS is a relatively compact lens, at least when compared to its DSLR equivalents; but it's still quite a bit bigger than a comparable Micro Four Thirds zoom, for example. As you can see in the picture above, it complements the Fujifilm X-E1 very well, not feeling at all front-heavy even when fully zoomed out.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens alongside the Fujifilm X-E1 camera

The overall build quality is excellent, in keeping with the X-series bodies. The Fujifilm 18-55mm lens boasts a metal mount, high-grade plastic barrel and non-rotating 58mm filter thread. The zoom ring is generously wide and has a ridged, rubberised grip band. Zooming is not internal, meaning the length of the lens changes while you zoom. Physically the lens is shortest at 18mm and longest at the 55mm setting.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens attached to the Fujifilm X-E1 camera

Both the zoom and the focus rings are smooth in action without being loose. Zoom creep is not an issue. The focus ring is quite narrow and has no “hard stops” at either end of the focus range.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens attached to the Fujifilm X-E1 camera

The Fujifilm 18-55mm lens has a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps. As the zoom has a variable aperture throughout its range, there are no aperture markings on the lens barrel, so the aperture is shown in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen of the camera body instead. The rather thin aperture ring is nicely damped and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens attached to the Fujifilm X-E1 camera, zoomed out to 55mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens attached to the Fujifilm X-E1 camera, zoomed out to 55mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens

The has built-in OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser) equivalent to 4 stops, which is turned on and off via the dedicated OIS switch on the lens barrel.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens

The aperture mode switch toggles between auto aperture control (the switch is set to A) or manual aperture control (the switch is set to the aperture blade symbol).

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Front of the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Rear of the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens

In terms of accessories, the lens ships with a rather short plastic petal shaped hood.

Focal Range

At the 18mm end of the zoom range, the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens has a wide angle of view of 79.1 degrees.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Field of view at 18mm

At the 55mm end, the angle of view narrows to 28.4 degrees, which can be described as short telephoto.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Field of view at 55mm

Distortion

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Distortion at 18mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Distortion at 55mm

At the wider end, the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS has some barrel distortion, as you can see in the photo above, but it's no worse than you would expect from a 27mm lens.

Focusing

The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens has an internal focusing (IF) system with a very quiet linear motor. In practice, we found the auto-focus to be fast, quiet and accurate, and certainly the quickest of all the XF series lenses released so far. Thanks to the IF mechanism the front of the lens does not rotate on focus, which is very good news for anyone looking to use the lens in conjunction with a polariser or graduated neutral density filter.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not really a problem with the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens, as shown in the examples below.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Macro

The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS is not a macro lens. The close-focus point is at 30mm from the sensor plane. The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash card.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Close-up performance

Bokeh Examples

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. Fujifilm have paid attention to this aspect of lens use, employing a 7-segment diaphragm with rounded blades for pleasing bokeh. In our view, their efforts have been largely successful - see the examples below.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, lens, fujifilm, zoom, f2.8, fuji, standard, 35mm, image stabilisation, f4, 18mm, x-e1, xf, x-pro1, 23mm, anti-shake, 55mm, vibration compensation, x, 18-55mm, ois, 27-84mm, 27-84, 18-55, Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS

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