Fujifilm XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR Review
The Fujifilm XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR offers a winning combination of an effective 27mm focal length, ultra-fast f/1.4 aperture, nine rounded aperture blades for surprisingly good bokeh, and a close focusing distance of 20cm, making it well-suited to both street and reportage photography as well as land- and city-scapes.
Optically it's a stellar performer throughout the frame and aperture range, and the weather-proofing is the icing on an already rich cake. There's virtually nothing to complain about, really, apart from maybe the price and the surprising omission of a manual focus clutch, but we certainly wouldn't let those two factors stop us from strongly recommending this lens.
The Fujifilm XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR lens is remarkably sharp in both the image centre and at the edges virtually throughout the entire aperture range. The fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 makes it incredibly easy to creatively throw the background out of focus, with the nine-blade iris diaphragm achieving some lovely bokeh effects.
Vignetting is practically a non-issue, chromatic aberrations are noticeable only by their absence, and there is little barrel distortion worth mentioning. The close-focus point of 20cm comes in very handy when including a foreground interest in the image.
As usual for a premium Fuji lens, the build quality is excellent. The lens mount and barrel are made of metal and, thanks to an internal focusing (IF) system, the front element and filter thread do not rotate on focus, which is very good news for those using polarisers and ND grads on a regular basis.
The auto-focus system is another strong-point, with hardly any delay before locking focus and a pleasingly quiet mechanism. It also offers a generously wide focusing ring and a very welcome aperture ring which makes it quick, easy and precise to set this key element of exposure.
Sadly, the innovative focus collar for quickly switching between auto and manual focus that is found on the 16mm and 23mm lenses hasn't been included here. We're not really sure why Fuji took this decision, especially as those two lenses come complete with a focusing distance scale with depth-of-field markings that makes it easier to zone-focus.
Perhaps the only other real fly in the ointment is the price - at around £879 / $999 this isn't exactly a cheap lens, although fans of the 28mm focal length who have been very patiently waiting for Fujifilm to release a high-quality F1.4 version will most likely snap it up.
It may have taken Fujifilm rather too long to add a fast 28mm prime to their lens range, but now that it's finally arrived, we're happy to report that it's something of a must-buy if you like shooting either street photography or landscapes.
|Ratings (out of 5)
|Value for money