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

November 16, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS is much more than just a standard kit lens. It's remarkably sharp in the image centre almost throughout the entire focal range, except at full 55mm telephoto where optimum sharpness isn't achieved until f/8. Similarly edge sharpness is also commendably high at most settings, with the same exception of the 55mm focal length. The fast maximum apertures of f/2.8 at 18mm and f/4 at 55mm make it easy to creatively throw the background out of focus, with the seven-blade iris diaphragm achieving some appealing bokeh effects.

Vignetting is practically a non-issue, and chromatic aberrations are present but very well-controlled. There is some barreling at the 18mm wide-angle focal length, but no pincushion distortion of note at the 55mm setting. The lens' macro performance is rather unremarkable but its close-focus point of 30cm still comes in handy when including a foreground interest in the image, as you often do in landscape and architectural photography.

The lens also benefits from a fast and quiet auto-focus mechanism, generously wide zoom ring and a welcome aperture ring which makes it quick, easy and precise to set this key element of exposure. The lens mount is, thankfully, made of metal and, thanks to an internal focusing (IF) system, the front element and filter thread does not rotate on focus, which is very good news for those using polarisers and ND grads on a regular basis.

The only real fly in the ointment is the price - at around £599 / $799 this isn't exactly a cheap lens, which may hold back many enthusiasts, especially in the current economic climate. Compared to a similarly specced DSLR lens with fast apertures, however, it could be viewed as something of a bargain, especially when you consider that the Fujifilm 18mm and 35mm primes are even more expensive. And if you're looking to buy a body to go with it, then the new X-E1 and 18-55mm kit is a veritable steal.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4