Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 R WR Review
Fujifilm have now got to the stage in the life-cycle of their APS-C camera system where they're busy releasing new versions of older lenses in their range, and this time it's the turn of the venerable 27mm F2.8 prime.
The Mark II version benefits from the addition of three key things - weather-resistance, an aperture ring, and a lens hood - whilst retaining the same ultra-compact dimensions and almost the same weight as the original.
On the flip-side, the focusing ring is now even narrower than on the Mark I version, making manual focusing less intuitive, and the implementation of the screw-in lens hood and accompanying hood cap is a little awkward, in that it precludes the use of filters (unless you remove the hood first) and the cap can be tricky to remove in a hurry.
We would also have liked to see Fujifilm address a couple of other key complaints about the original, namely its lack of sharpness towards the edges of the frame and the very audible auto-focus motor, but alas they haven't changed either the optical construction or the high-torque DC coreless AF motor.
This Fujifilm 27mm lens is remarkably sharp in the centre of the image virtually throughout the entire aperture range, with only f/16 suffering from diffraction. Sharpness at the edges, however, isn't so good, requiring the user to stop down to f/8 to get critically sharp results.
The maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes it quite easy to creatively throw the background out of focus, with the seven-blade iris diaphragm achieving some lovely bokeh effects. Vignetting is practically a non-issue, and chromatic aberrations are present but very well-controlled. There is no barrel distortion and little vignetting even when shooting wide-open.
The new Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 R WR does remain the most compact lens in the now fully-formed XF line-up and is therefore worthy of attention from anyone interested in using a small, discrete and lightweight camera system, especially if paired with a compact body like the new X-E4 that we tested it with.
Priced at £419.99 / $399.99, the second version of this lens has become slightly more expensive in the UK but slightly cheaper in the US, perhaps a sign of the times rather than any strategic move by Fujifilm.
So it's still not exactly cheap for what is after all only an F2.8 lens that's not so sharp at the edges, has a noisy AF motor and a rather convoluted lens hood implementation.
On the other hand, adding weather-resistance and an aperture ring without increasing the size does make the XF 27mm Mark II even more versatile and appealing than the original.
Pairing the new XF 27mm F2.8 R WR with one of the smaller, rangefinder-esque Fuji cameras like the X-E4 does undoubtedly make for a super-compact, weather-proof travel set-up that's very discrete.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4|