Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens
The XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens will appeal to photographers looking for a fast, modest wide-angle prime lens.
This lens makes a good choice for landscape and architectural photographers and would also be suitable for street shooters and environmental portraitists. Its fast f/1.4 maximum aperture is also good for low light photography as well as photographers looking for decent subject/background separation.
Announced in mid-April and released in May, the Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens (XF18mmf/1.4) is the 39th lens to be released in Fujifilm’s X-mount line-up. Covering a similar angle of view to a 27mm lens on a 35mm camera body, its fast maximum aperture and weather-resistant design makes it a good all-rounder for covering genres as diverse as landscapes and cityscapes to group portraits and event photography.
Angled view of the Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The new lens weighs only 370 grams and is just 75.6 mm in length, making it both lightweight and highly portable. Its optical design shown below) consists of 15 elements in 9 groups and includes three aspherical and one ED elements to suppress chromatic aberrations and coma.
The optical design of the Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens showing the positions of the exotic elements. (Source: Fujifilm.)
Internal focusing is driven by a powerful linear motor, which provides fast and near silent autofocusing. The focus group is made up of six lens elements that move in unison to reduce aberration fluctuations that can occur when focusing.
Focus can be achieved from the minimum object distance of 20 cm to infinity in as quickly as 0.25 seconds. At 20 cm, the magnification is 0.15x.
Weather-resistant seals at eight locations along the lens barrel, make it resistant to dust, moisture, and able to withstand temperatures as low as -10°C. A new aperture ring design with an ‘A’ position lock prevents accidental movement of the aperture ring from the Automatic setting.
The XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens accepts 62 mm filters and has a minimum focus of 20 cm with a maximum magnification of 0.l5x. The LH-XF18 lens hood for the XF18mm f/1.4 R LM WR was bundled with early orders but is now available as an optional accessory for AU$99.
Who’s it For?
The XF 18mm f/1.4 lens makes a good choice for landscape and architectural photographers and would also be suitable for street shooters and environmental portraitists. Its fast f/1.4 maximum aperture is also good for low light photography as well as photographers looking for decent subject / background separation.
Although the linear motors mean autofocusing is fast and quiet video shooters may find using manual focus a bit restricted. We suspect at least some will want more sensitive and extensive manual focus controls.
Build and Ergonomics
The lens barrel and mounting plate are made from metal, giving the lens a very solid feel, despite its comparatively light weight. Because of its faster maximum aperture, it’s just under double the length and a little over three times the weight of the XF 18mm f/2 R lens, which we reviewed in October 2018.
The front element is slightly recessed but bulges outwards, as you’d expect from a wide angle lens. It measures approximately 30.1 mm in diameter and is surrounded by a partly-ridged annulus that carries the lens details. The lens is threaded to accept 62 mm filters and there’s an external bayonet fitting for the supplied petal-shaped lens hood.
Just behind the hood mounting is the manual focusing ring, which is approximately 30 mm wide and almost entirely covered with fine ridging. Because focusing is driven by the camera, this ring turns through 360 degrees when power is off. When power is available, the ring turns smoothly but lacks hard stops at either end of the focusing range.
Further back is the aperture ring, a characteristic of Fujifilm’s lenses. It has marked settings in one-stop increments from f/1.4 to f/16 with unmarked click stops between them. The A position at the left hand end of the scale lets users lock the lens for auto aperture control. Interestingly, the lens doesn’t include a de-clickable setting for use when recording movies.
There’s no depth of field scale and the minimum focus is 20 cm. which only provides 0.15x magnification. Evidence of weather-resistant sealing can be seen in the narrow flange around the metal lens mount, which locks securely onto the camera body.
Our Imatest tests showed the lens to be capable of very high resolution in the centre of the frame. This tailed off to fall just below expectations for the camera’s 26-megapixel sensor roughly half way out but only declined a little by three quarters of the distance towards the edge of the frame. Such excellent performance is reflected in our image quality rating.
The highest centre resolution occurred between about f/2 and f/3.2, with a gradual decline to f/5.6, where diffraction began to take effect. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.
Because we were unable to process any of the raw files from the test camera, assessments of chromatic aberration, distortion and vignetting have had to be made on JPEG files, recorded with in-camera processing disabled. However, it’s not possible to fully escape the influence of JPEG processing, so we consider this may not be truly representative of actual performance.
As expected, lateral chromatic aberration was well down in the ‘negligible’ band in our Imatest tests and we found no clear evidence of coloured fringing in test shots. In the graph of our test results above, the red line marks the boundary between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA.
Some vignetting is to be expected in large-aperture wide angle shots so it was unsurprising to see evidence of it in the embedded thumbnails of raw shots taken at apertures between f/1.4 and f/2, although at smaller apertures none could be detected. Similarly, we found no obvious distortions – either barrel or pincushion – in JPEGs or in the thumbnails of raw files.
Autofocusing was generally fast, near silent and accurate, thanks to the linear motor system. The only (relatively minor) errors we found were when shooting close-ups at f/1.4, where the depth of field is paper thin.
In movie mode, where focusing is based upon phase detection, we noticed a few, relatively minor lags in locking onto moving subjects. Focus breathing was only detected when shooting subjects closer than about a metre from the camera – and even then it was relatively minor.
Bokeh was mostly smooth and attractive, although since most of our test shots were taken in overcast conditions, we had few chances to capture shots containing very bright highlights. Similarly, the shooting conditions prevented us from testing the sunstars capabilities of the lens, although it5s nine-bladed iris diaphragm should be able to record 18-pointed stars at f/16.
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Picture angle: 76.5 degrees
Minimum aperture: f/16
Lens construction: 15 elements 9 groups (including 1 ED plus 3 aspherical elements)
Lens mounts: Fujifilm X
Diaphragm Blades: 9 (circular aperture)
Weather resistance: Yes, 8 locations
Focus drive: Linear motor with internal focusing
Minimum focus: 20 cm
Maximum magnification: 0.15x
Filter size:62 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 69 x 76 mm
Weight: 370 grams
Standard Accessories: Front and rear lens caps
Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355
Based upon JPEG files captured with the Fujifilm X-T30 II camera.
Vignetting at f/1.4.
Close-up at f/1.4, ISO 160, 1/2500 second.
Close-up at f/4, ISO 160, 1/850 second.
ISO 160, 1/125 second at f/11.
ISO 400, 1/100 second at f/9.
ISO 160, 1/800 second at f/4.
ISO 200, 1/100 second at f/5.6.
ISO 160, 1/170 second at f/5.
ISO 500, 1/100 second at f/8.
ISO 320, 1/80 second at f/11.
ISO 160, 1/25 second at f/16.
ISO 400, 1/25 second at f/11.
ISO 200, 1/50 second at f/13.
104: ISO 2000, 1/25 second at f/9.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujifilm X-T30 II camera.
RRP: AU$1749; US$999
- Build: 9.0
- Handling: 8.8
- Image quality: 9.0
- Autofocusing: 8.9
- Versatility: 8.7