First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Keitaro So, Divisional Head of Fujifilm for providing the loan for X-S10 and XF18mm F1.4. The units were loaned from Fujifilm Asia Pacific and had returned back to them. All the shots shown here are taken by me and some shots are minor edit inside the X-S10.
Secondly, I would like to thank Syen Lim (@syen.lim) and Yi Xuen for helping out to test with this lens.
Thirdly, the original post can be found here. The reason why I repeat the same thing over here is that I can fine-tune my message putting across to the readers and edit some of the typo errors found in the original post.
First and foremost
XF18mm F1.4 is the fourth lens that comes with this aperture in Fujifilm lens line-up (XF16mm F1.4, XF23mm F1.4, XF35mm F1.4). It was announced under development back in Fujifilm X Summit held on 15 October 2020 and today it is here.
It has a field of view equivalent to 27mm in the 35mm film format. In this day and age, most of us should be very familiar with this field of view and use this focal length to shoot in our daily life. Yes. I am referring to our smartphones. Apple iPhone 12, Samsung Galaxy S21, Google Pixel 5 and Oppo Find X3 Pro, to name a few, share the common focal length with this lens. I suppose this lens is perfect for landscapes, portraits and general street and food shots.
So how does this lens sit inside the F1.4 family?
When I first hold this pre-production lens, I find the lens’ size and weight is somewhat familiar.
I pick up my XF16mm F1.4 and compare both of them. Indeed, they are very close to each other. XF18mm F1.4 is slightly taller but smaller filter size (@ 62mm) than XF16mm F1.4 (@ 67mm). And according to my not-so-accurate kitchen weighting scale, it weights 370 grams (slightly lighter than XF16mm F1.4 @ 375 grams).
There is this interesting button on the lens. This button helps to prevent photographer from accidentally turn the aperture ring to “A” (Auto Aperture). In order to use this “A”, you have to press the button and turn the aperture ring. If you notices, XF27mm WR also share this similar. A thoughtful engineering from Fujifilm.
The lens is well-constructed and built quality is awesome. The aperture ring is smooth and it has a good “click” satisfaction. Unsurprisingly, the lens hood is plastic. The lens barrel is not wide and large, so it fits well with most Fuji cameras.
Pairing this lens with X-S10 is comfortable. The weight is well-balanced throughout the lens and there is no sign of heavier front elements. WR is undeniably a welcome feature too.
To be frank, this is not my most frequently used focal length. 35mm and 50mm (in full frame equivalent) are my most used focal length and followed by 24mm. I wonder how I can optimize this lens as my daily street lens and portrait lens throughout this trial period.
The overall image quality is excellent and I couldn’t find anything to complain about. In my opinion, the photos taken at F1.4 are usable and the bokeh renders smoothly too. Of course, the bokeh is also comfy and pleasant to my eyes.
I also do not observe much chromatic aberration, maybe there is very little. Even if there is, it does not affect my photos a lot as it is easily remove in post. So I am not worry much about it.
Everyone’s expectation for autofocus speed is high and Fujifilm does not disappoint everyone with this lens. During the day, the focusing speed is real fast, it’s silent and it’s also confident in locking onto the subjects. For indoor environment, I do not experience any slow in focusing, it still silent. I do sometime experience miss focusing but it does focus right on my second attempt.
On the other hands, under extreme dim conditions, I can feel that the focus is slightly slower but not that terribly slow. Funnily enough, it does not hunt.
Using it for streets
Yes. No doubt this lens is for street photography. This focal length is wide enough to cover mostly general street shots. I don’t have much complain using this lens for street shots. I think I adapt to this focal length very well.
One of the benefits of having this lens is with its fast aperture, it gives “brighter” shooting opportunity for night street. Especially for someone who like to take night street photos.
Minimum Focus Distance & Magnification
This is one of the key features when I am looking for a lens and that’s because I love to take shots at its Minimum Focus Distance (MFD). Understanding the MFD will allow me to visualize what result can I achieve with this lens. I know it may not be a big concern for some people but it does concern me a lot.
In my trial period, I do not have the specification for this lens and hence, I does not have the exact MFD value. But I feel that it is not as close as what XF16mm F1.4 can achieve. If case you wonder, the MFD for XF16mm is 0.15m and I think for this XF18mm F1.4 is about 0.2m. But the result is actually not bad. (According to official statement, the MFD is indeed 0.2m and the magnification is at 0.15x.)
Using it for portraits Undoubtedly, Fujifilm has a range of amazing portrait lenses to choose from. I know we are not lacking of choices but I still want to show how well does this lens performs as a “portrait” lens.
From my standpoint, the results produce from this lens is beyond above passing level. The separation between the subject and the background is clean and decent. Eyes are sharp. Skin tone is pleasant. Having say that, I think this lens is very useful for environmental portraits.
Fujifilm has never fail to amaze everyone with their lens line-up and once again Fujifilm has done a good job providing such a high quality product. This lens gives many potential buyers more lenses options to choose from but definitely a hard time deciding.
Who is this for? I believe there will be some XF18mm F2 photographers going to upgrade to the F1.4 variant but I also know that there are lots of XF18mm F2 photographers will still keep their current F2 lens with them. Because who don’t love compact, small, lightweight and easy to carry around lens for general purpose shoots. The way I see it, I think Fujifilm is not targeting this group of photographers but rather another group of photographers who do not mind about the size and weight but a fast and big aperture lens. Having said that, there is no comparison between the F1.4 and F2 variant of the 18mm lens because they are both designed for different needs and purposes.
(The official price was announced at USD 999 and will be available from late May 2021.)
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1. All the shots taken here were shot by me.
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