Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR Review
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR is a new standard 6.7x zoom lens for Fujifilm's range of X-series mirrorless cameras that's well-suited to both stills and video use.
The Fuji 18-120mm lens offers an angle-of-view range similar to that of a 27-183mm lens in a 35mm system and features a constant maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the range.
Key features include a variable power zoom with an innovative zoom lever, smooth manual focus, stepless aperture adjustments, a close-focus point of 60cm, and an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades.
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR's optical formula is comprised of 15 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical lens elements to control spherical aberration and distortion and three ED glass lens elements to reduce field curvature and spherical aberrations.
It is both dust and weather resistant and capable of operating at temperatures as low as -10°C / 14°F and has fluorine-coated front and rear elements to help repel dust and moisture from the lens surfaces.
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR lens is priced at £899.99 / $899.95 in the UK and the US, respectively. It is made in Japan.
Ease of Use
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR is a compact, lightweight standard zoom lens, weighing 460g and measuring 123.5mm in length.
Unlike most zoom lenses, zooming is internal, so the lens barrel does not gradually extend as you zoom out from 18mm to 120mm.
The overall build quality of the Fuji 18-120mm is good, certainly in keeping with a high-end X-series body like the X-H2 that we tested it with.
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR lens has a metal mount, mostly plastic construction with some metal elements, and a non-rotating 72mm filter thread.
It features a dust-proof and waterproof structure with weather resistant sealing applied to various different areas of the lens, making this lens a perfect partner for the weatherproof X-H2 camera that we tested it with.
This lens has three control rings - the standard zoom and focus rings and an unusual third zoom lever that can be used to adjust either the zoom or focus using internal motors.
The zoom ring is generously wide and has a ridged, rubberised grip band. Both the zoom and the focus rings are smooth in action without being loose. Note that the power zoom mechanism is distinctly audible.
The focus-by-wire focus ring is wide enough for easy use but has no “hard stops” at either end of the focus range, making it more difficult to focus on infinity.
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR lens has an internal auto-focusing (IF) system with a very quiet linear motor. In practice, we found the auto-focus to be fast, virtually silent and accurate, and well-suited to both stills and video.
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.
The combination of internal zoom and focusing makes this lens easier to use on gimbal stabilization devices as the balance and length never change.
The lens features full-time manual focusing. After half-pressing the shutter button to autofocus on the subject, adjustments can then be made using the manual focus ring. You can even engage manual focusing by rotating the focus ring while pressing the shutter halfway during AF lock.
The Z/F button next to the zoom lever switches its action to Zoom to Focus modes. The zoom lever offers variable zoom speeds which are proportional to the speed at which the ring is rotated, lone of the main reasons why you would use this lever instead of the more conventional Zoom and Focus rings that the lens also offers.
Fujifilm haven't stopped there - in addition to the innovative zoom lever, this lens also has two custom function buttons which provide the ability to preset either a constant zoom speed, focal length, or focus point, set the camera’s menu.
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR lens doesn't have a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel. Instead you have to set it using the controls on the camera body.
This lens also doesn't feature any optical image stabilisation (OIS), again relying on the camera to supply stabilisation via its in-body system (if available). Recent models that do offer IBIS include the new X-H2S and X-H2 and the Fujifilm X-T4, X-H1 and XS-10.
In terms of accessories, the lens ships with a large plastic petal shaped hood and the usual Fujifilm soft lens bag.
The 18mm focal length provides an angle of view of 76.5 degrees on a full-frame camera.
The 120mm focal length provides an angle of view of 13.5 degrees on a full-frame camera.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not too apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas. The examples below show the worst-case scenarios.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/4, there is obvious light fall-off in the corners, especially at the wider focal lengths, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.
There's a lot of distortion evident at both ends of the zoom range which you'll need to correct in post-processing.
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 R LM PZ WR is capable of producing quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16 and f/22, as shown below.
The lens is quite susceptible to flare when shooting directly into the sun, though, even with the supplied lens hood fitted.
The Fujifilm XF 18-120mm F4 R LM PZ WR isn't really a macro lens, offering a minimum focusing distance of 60cm / 23.6in. and a maximum magnification of 0.2x. The following examples demonstrate how close you can get to your subject.
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.
In the XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR lens, Fujifilm have employed an iris diaphragm with 7 circular blades, which has resulted in fairly appealing bokeh for what is after all a rather slow standard zoom lens.
We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several examples below for your perusal, all shot wide-open at f/4.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.