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Fujinon XF 18-135mm WR First Impressions

Discussion in 'Fuji X Forum' started by Lightmancer, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Well, I picked this lens up today from my friendly local crack dealer, London Camera Exchange in Guildford, with £250 off courtesy of the Fujifilm offer on the X-T1. It hasn't taken me long to take it out for a quick wander.

    First Impressions:
    This is a chunky lens. It tips the scales at just under half a kilo (490g) which makes the 18-55 at 310g look like Twiggy. In fact it's not much lighter than the 55-200 which comes in at 580g. In terms of size it comes neatly between the two, thus:

    Fit and finish:
    Finish is what we have now come to expect from Fuji - solid, chunky and well-made. The barrel extends when zooming and is clearly plastic. There are two vents on the underside for the WR capability, but otherwise it is familiar territory for anyone who has used a Fujinon lens before; nicely weighted zoom, aperture and focus rings with the finely milled "dust trap" grips. There is some resistance to zooming out to 135mm but otherwise everything is smooth. Held face down there was no zoom creep. The lens hood is a petal-type affair as we have seen on the 18-55 and others, although this one is significantly bigger, as befits the 67mm filter thread. It's not a tight fit, and I feared I might knock it out of true, although this didn't happen today. The only other controls on the lens are the familiar aperture/auto and OIS sliders in the same place as on it's older siblings.

    Mounting on a camera:
    I bought this lens to fit on my X-T1, thereby giving me a weather-resistant DSLR capability - ideal for Frimley in the Autumn. It fits, of course, on the other cameras in the X stable, balancing surprisingly well on the X-Pro1 but looking (and feeling) more than somewhat top-heavy on the X-E1.
    34231129.8bd081f6.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 fits on an X-Pro1 par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    34231123.5b848991.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 fits better on an X-T1 par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    34231131.1f04becd.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 fits on an X-Pro1 2 par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    34231119.03101f96.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 fits better on an X-T1 2 par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    Fair to say, however, I wouldn't try it without the vertical grip attached. Together the X-T1 and lens would make a substantial dent in the floor if dropped - I wouldn't recommend it.

    In use:
    Now, there is nothing scientific about the following shots. I have simply set out to use the 18-135 as I would in real-world conditions. For the purposes of this exercise, I left it mounted on the X-Pro, just because I could. I used it (mostly) in aperture priority mode, wide open. A couple of the shots are in Program mode - the slider switch is quite easily knocked as you heft the weight of this lens. On the X-Pro I used it solely in EVF mode; it would work with the optical viewfinder at the wider settings, but I didn't see the point for today's exercise. All shots are uncropped unless clearly stated and have received no PP. The camera was set to "vivid" throughout; the mono conversions were done using Topaz Labs.

    Subject matter is my desk, followed by the local cemetery, a short walk away. The statues stand still and were ideal for the purpose. It was an overcast but mild day; when it rains I'll take it out with the X-T1 for a "wet test".

    So, first meet Tigger. He holds my business card, for I can never remember my 'phone number:
    34231115.06a1a78b.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 1 @ 135mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    And again with a 100% crop:
    34231111.27f92f3b.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 1 @135mm 100% crop par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    This at 1/80 sec at an equivalent focal length of 206mm.

    Now off to the graveyard.

    These shots illustrate the difference in angle of view between 18mm and 135mm; they are taken from the same spot:
    34231053.f4919698.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 6 Madonna @18mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    34231051.25ff79ba.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 6 Madonna @ 122mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    And these the difference between 55mm (the top end of the 18-55mm) and 135mm in practice:
    34231085.d401f2be.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 10 Angel @ 55mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    34231089.41609d11.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 10 Angel @ 135mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    ...the second shot is not a crop of the first.

    Another at the 18mm end:
    34231047.ca97bba2.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 4 @ 18mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    ...and 135mm. I've converted this shot to mono, and done a 100% crop. This was wide open at f5.6 and shows "interesting" blur in the OOF highlights:
    34231103.bdc1782a.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 10 Jesus @ 135mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    ...more noticable in the mono renditions:
    34231101.05df240d.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 10 Jesus @ 135mm mono par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    34231093.acc30ba2.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 10 Jesus @ 135mm mono 100% crop par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    Here's a bit of gratuitous greenery:
    34231061.5dfe6f0c.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 7 @ 80mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    And some plinth action:
    34231073.c9a24077.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 8 Plinth @ 50mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    34231073.c9a24077.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 8 Plinth @ 50mm par Lightmancer, on ipernity
    34231063.1ac5430a.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 8 Plinth @ 50mm 100% crop par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    And finally what wander through a churchyard is complete without a bit of a gargoyle:
    34231105.3df7657f.1024.
    Fujifilm XF 18-135 11 par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    Verdict:
    Overall, I like this lens. It isn't as sharp as the primes, but it acquits itself well in real-world use. I was surprised how well it matched with the X-Pro1, although for me at least that isn't the intended body. I had toyed with the idea of selling off the 18-55 as surplus to requirements, but the weight of this lens in comparison means that the 18-55 still has a place in the bag for a day spent wandering around in the city if I don't want to carry all those extra grams. I like the handling, and although I haven't really challenged either the OIS or the WR yet, I don'd doubt they will do the job. I'll probably invest in a collapsible rubber hood for wet weather use - I suspect the petal hood won't really protect that big front element from wayward drips and splashes. Mine wears a filter already and I would advise anyone else to do the same. This isn't the cheapest, fastest or lightest lens on the block, but it is a damn useful range of focal lengths in a handy package and deserves to sell like the proverbial hot cakes.

    Well done, Fuji - another winner.

    You can see these images full-size and a few more with this lens here: Fuji XF 18-135 First Impressions on Ipernity
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I'm exploring a single-lens solution for an upcoming trip to Africa, so this is quite interesting. I think this is the lens. This, and the X100 for something faster / smaller, should fit nicely in the little Domke bag and prevent me from ever fiddling with changing lenses.
     
  3. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    That's a good question. It has been many years since I went to Africa - so long ago in fact that I took two bodies - a Ricoh XRX and a Pentax Program A...! The 18-135 is a cracking travel lens, but you may find it a little wanting at the top end if you are going on safari - I "did" Kruger Park and was using a 500mm mirror to get even remotely close.
     
  4. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    well, dern. I know the 55-200 is an amazing lens, I just worry about casual shots and 55 on the low end, but then I'd have the X100 for that.
     
  5. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    It all depends what you are expecting to shoot. 99.9% of the time I'd say that a 200mm+ equivalent lens is long enough for most purposes.

    That said, I am still having nightmares (in mono, of course) about my lens-faux pas when I went whale-watching off the Na Pali coast of Kauai with a 135mm Tele-Elmarit M as my longest lens - on an M7. I hadn't realised that the boats were required by law to keep their distance from the whales... I got one big splash with a finny black dot in the middle...
     
  6. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I expect a mix of "regular vacation" shots - which for me means (in full frame equivalents) that I want 24-50 and bokeh on demand - and then the more predictably long "safari" shots, which you are surely correct in saying will reward as long a lens as I can get. Right now for the first category the kit 18-55 is basically perfect. When I want bokeh, I just flip the Aperture switch on its barrel,which I left at maximum opening. And it covers 28-85, so everything I ever want walking around, save that one wacky ultra-wide shot I might've used the 14 for, but which I can easily live without in exchange for the convenience of only carrying the one kit lens (as I did on that long 5 week 7 city trip, when I also had the 35m 1.4 lens in the bag just for fun). So the X100's 35mm equivalent is a good compromise, if I were to glue a 55-200 onto the XT, I guess. That lens is BIG though. Whew.
     
  7. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Ok, I understand. Over on XSpot, I am musing about picking up a Samyang/Rokinon 300mm...
     
  8. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I do have a Minolta-XF adapter arriving on my doorstep today, as luck would have it. I know I hate my Vivitar 70-210 for the old minoltas, but I wonder HOW much I'd hate it on the XT.