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Sapphire73

18-135 mm or 55-200 mm lens?

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I just did a river cruise down the Rhone. 13 days with a different stop, or stops, everyday. Loved it. I took my X-E3, 18-55mm and 27mm. With rare exception I got every shot I wanted and ended up being happier with faster lenses. I own both the 55-200 and 18-135. I thought I would be sorry I didn’t take one of them but I wasn’t. Almost no weight, easily hung around my neck or wrist. It turned out to be a great combo.

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I bought the 18-135 used at a good price two years ago, with the intention to sell it after the vacation I needed it for, since I already own the 18-55 and 55-200.

But I kept it, since it's a good quality lens, has excellent IS and is WR - and to be honest it holds it's value better, than my money on the bank at the moment ;-)

 

It's a jack of all trades, master of nothing. I use it for traveling light (on a bicycle) in combination with two fast primes, when I need the light or more wide-angle... or when I need it's weather resistance (it's my only WR).

 

If I can pack a little more I prefer the two-zoom combination. They have better IQ (you won't see a difference on Facebook or Instagram... I also print photo-books from it's shot - far from being a bad lens), and esp. they have larger apertures at any focal-length. I did not notice a relevant difference in focus-speed or accuracy between the zooms.

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The 18-135 was the lens I had waited many months for when production dried up. Eventually I bought one of the new Philippines manufactured units and I must say that compared to the other fine Fuji lenses I use the 18-135 is a bit of a dud. It functions well on my XT2 camera but it’s the final print that counts. The definition falls off quite quickly at the edges, which is quite noticeable in reasonable sized prints. At present I am in Malta giving it one last chance but I am not very hopeful.

I also have a very good copy of the 55-200 which I always get good large prints from and is a pleasure to use. I hope this helps.

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I would like to add that both my copies were great at F/11, and the IS helped a lot to keep that aperture. Unfortunately, many times I had to open up to F/5.6 and the landscape/interior results were, for me, a disappointment. For those "once in a lifetime trips", I'd rather not risk...  :huh:

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I have the 18-135 and 55-200 lenses.

 

The 18-135 is the best multi focal zoom lens made by any camera company! It’s the best of it’s type. If you are in a dusty environment, wet or otter situation where you cannot easily change lens without a chance of spoiling the sensor, then this is the lens to use!

 

It is weather resistant and has great O.I.S. This compensates for the F3.5 aperture at the wide end.

 

It’s surprisingly sharp all the way through the range. Obviously primes are better at the equivalent focal length but if you just want one lens this is the one!

 

The 55-200 is good as they say it is. A moderate telephoto.

 

I also have the 10-24 and love it!

 

I also have the 16mm F1.4 and this is Fujis best lens! Astonishing!

 

You have to make the choice. If you are in safari you will be best with two cameras....one for close stuff and maybe the 55-200 for distance.

 

If you only want to take one camera and don’t want to change lens due to dust, etc., then the 18-135 will serve you well.

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I am going to Tokyo soon and will take the 10-24, 23mm F2 and 55-200. However I think that this is still a heavy kit to take traveling and ideally I would take the following kit, not all of which I own:-

 

 

 

10-24mm, 35mm F2 and the Minolta Rocker-M 90mm F4 with the Fuji M adapter. This to me is a great travel kit. The 10-24 is the only zoom I would need, the 35F2 is a great standard lens and the Minolta CLE 90mm F4 whilst fully manual is astonishlingy sharp, light and compact.

 

Sadly I sold me 90mm F4 and a full set of filters when I sold my CLE (What a mistake!), I will replace it.

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Great thread. I think Konzy is the one who nailed it. Having a lens that will get you the shot in most conditions quickly and reliably is often more important than absolute IQ. The 18-135 is a great lens when you aren't focused primarily on photography but want the ability to capture that special scene or moment. It focuses quickly and is nicely weather resistant. When I traveled with my late wife I couldn't concentrate first on photography the way I do when I go out on my own. She was reasonably tolerant of my photo obsession but the travel together was about, well, travel together. Record photos were nice. The occasional magic moment was easy to capture with the "swiss army knife" lens. And domestic tranquility was ensured. Consider the extra lens cheaper, and less painful, than couples counseling. 

 

As Fuji owners we can get carried away with having the best lenses. But, corner to corner sharpness is really not that essential to most non-landscape or architectural photos. Getting the shot usually is the primary goal. Good photographers work with the limitations of their equipment, whatever that is, and get good photos. Period. Just look at any famous travel photographer. Many, many of photography's iconic shots are not sharp, sometimes not totally in focus. The photographer's eye is the crucial element.

 

Besides, having to change lenses because you have the wrong focal length on the camera has cost all of us once in a lifetime shots. If it hasn't, you aren't looking for time sensitive photos. Remember the old documentary photographer adage, f/8 and be there. 

 

My last trip with my wife I took the 18-135, the 35 f1.4  and the Samyang 12. One do everything lens. One fast interior lens for frescos and one low light normal lens. No regrets. I do own the 55-200. I use it. I like it. 

 

If I could offer Sapphire one piece of advice it would be sell all her old Canon gear and still get the 18-138. Using two systems seldom serves anyone. Muscle memory gets mixed up switching cameras and it's just extra weight to schlep around.

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Wow! I have been traveling and just caught up on the recent posts. This has been a very helpful thread - to me (the OP) and I am guessing, to others as well.

 

I was very happy with my decision to buy the 55-200 before our trip to Europe last September, but still have my eye on getting the 18-135 someday. My newest lens is the Fuji 16 mm f/1.4 lens (a gift) and a better flash might be next, but we’ll see.

 

It is really great to hear so many perspectives on this. Thank you all!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If I could offer Sapphire one piece of advice it would be sell all her old Canon gear and still get the 18-138. Using two systems seldom serves anyone. Muscle memory gets mixed up switching cameras and it's just extra weight to schlep around.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I am unlikely to sell my Canon gear (partly because I share it with 3 other Canon shooters in our family and it will eventually go to them) but I totally get what you wrote about muscle memory, etc.

 

I have set the Canon gear in a closet while I try to work through a very detailed book on the Fuji XT 2 to help me get the most I can with this amazing camera. And making the Fuji my primary camera helps with that - as does the difference in weight! But it is nice to know that I can pick up the Canon in a pinch and use it with ease. Just like playing something on the piano that one learned long ago....

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I’ve been shooting with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm for two years now and always wanted to replace them with one lens because: a) I hate to change lenses and I feel like I missed some great shots in the past because of that; B) I hate carrying additional weight with me and 18-135mm weights about half of what 18-55mm and 55-200mm weight together.

For two years I couldn’t convince myself spending that much for a lens that got so many negative reviews claiming it was a mediocre lens for that price.

Two weeks ago I finally decided to get one and play with it. Boy was I surprised! The quality of my copy is fantastic! I run some tests comparing all the three on my X-T10 and the 18-135 beats the crap out of 18-55mm at any focal length and at any aperture. It is almost as good as the 55-200mm and the only way you can see a difference between them is if you start pixel peeping. And even then the difference is very insignificant.

I only give up about ½ stop of light which is easily compensated by a great OIS system which will easily give you 5 stops. It doesn’t reach as far as 55-200mm does but 95% of the time you won’t really miss it (unless you’re a wildlife photographer).

18-135mm is a keeper! 

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I made some of my best travel pics at 200mm, that keeps me from switching to the 18-135.

 

Over the years, I found the 14 + 18-55 + 55-200 to be my favourite travel kit, if I have time to change lenses. Not too heavy, not too expensive, covers a wide focal range with very good to excellent IQ. As a bonus, the 14 and 18-55 share the same lens hood.

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I had the 18-135 for a couple of weeks and I sold it quite disappointed of its IQ, not bad but quite lame when compared to the general fujinon quality, at least my copy. Totally another kettle of fish when pitted to the 'fijicrons' in the IQ department. Bulky and heavy BUT phenomenally good OIS and convenient range, so for video it's quite an asset. But I rather go with the usually snubbed XC16-50 zoom. It's sooo light that it's a bliss, INVALUABLY feather light when traveling, better IQ, very good wide angle range at 16mm and quite decent for video but much worst OIS than the 18-135's one (its only shortcoming). All in all a win win lens on a dirty cheap price! On the other hand the 55-200 IQ is as good as it gets, also very good OIS (almost to the level of the 18-135),quick autofocus and surprisingly good for video, a must for sports. I use it every weekend for sailing and it's a boon at an affordable price second hand (got mine for little short of 400€. So in a nutshell, grab the 50-200 and look for some light fujicrons like the 18, 35 f2 ... To my taste better to carry two small bodies like the xt10-20 and xe3 than the 18-135. By the way, very little difference in photo image quality, if at all, between the xt10 and the new XE3 but substantially better video capabilities and much better autofocus.

Any way, the 18-135 is quite a decent lens, better than most of our skills, but Fuji has better options for price/weight/IQ balance.

Edited by Palafren

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I just bought a second hand x-t1 and the 18-55mm kit lens. 

For more tele i will choose between the 18-135mm and the 55-200mm.

Looking all the comparisons i tend to to for the 55-200mm based on image quality speedness and the more tele. 

But my dought is that this lens is not Wheater Resistant.

I frequently  make fotograghs outside especially in nature including sometimes dew or misty wheather.

I can protect with some shield like un umbrella  but is the WR really a big advantage?

If not i defenitively choose for the 55-200.

 

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I use the 10-24 55-200 and the 18-55 for travel. I been happy using the three lenses, If I go where I also need  a low light I take the 16MM 1.4 with my XT-3 aland grip. All fit easily into my think tank bag. My trip to Calif in June will have those three lenses in the bag.

 

Edited by Frank I

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