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Fuji 18mm F2 thoughts?


abjurina
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I have been using my trusty 18-55mm Fuji kit as a reception lens, but lately it's been having a really tough time focusing in low-light scenarios. I know that I generally shoot most of the time at 18mm at 2.8. I am wondering if the 18 f2 would be a better low-light performer? The 16mm is also an option, but if I'd prefer to save the cash and weight if possible. Any thoughts or experience with any of these?

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I'm not worried about the absence of WR (but nice to have it anyway). I would like to see an improvement at uniformity of center/edges resolution, at least at the some middle apertures. That important for landscapes and other similar tasks.
I like pancake lens format and happy with XF27, but don't own XF18 only due to the reason above.

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It's probably quite good for documentary work. Edge performance doesn't matter there and the field curvature helps to blur to edges even more as the plane of focus is curved towards the camera. I wouldn't use it for stuff where edge to edge performance matters most but for people/documentary photography it's one fine lens.

 

That said, I primarily use the 16 and 23 for this kinda stuff. f/1.4...

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Since no one from the experts has answered the original question I made a very unscientific test in my living room. I could not see a significant difference. 

I was using

X-T1 with FW 4.0

XF18-55/2.8-4.0 with FW 3.12, always at 18 mm

XF 18/2.0 with FW 3.10

Focus distance approximately 1 to 6 m

 

Aperture, shutter and ISO was set to Auto.

AF to S, priority to focus, center AF field

AF modus single

Face detection off

High performance ON

 

At ISO 3200, open aperture, shutter speed was about 1/4 (2.8) and 1/8 (2.0)

 

It took about 1 sec until the focus was locked.

The zoom has a much quiter focus mechanism. The prime felt much more mechanical.

 

However, to my surprise most of the time the distance shown in the view finder was wrong!

Actuel distance about 5m, locked distance anything from below 2 m up to 10 m. No difference between the lenses.

Only in a few cases no focus was found. In some cases there was focus hunting. My feeling is that in these cases the locked focus was quite accurate. As I mentioned inthe beginning my test is not very sientific, so I did not really count.

 

Multiple times focussing at the same point was not much faster and the lens was moved back and forth. This would be typical for contrast AF or hybrid AF.

 

I am not sure if my observations are of some help.

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Generally speaking, the zoom SHOULD be faster. The 18/2 is an ALG lens (all lens group focusing), meaning every lens element moves during focusing. The Zooms have a dedicated focus group which is much lighter, smaller and should be faster to acquire focus. Thats the theory.

 

In how much the 1 stop brighter aperture helps the focus acquire its target faster, I don't know.

 

My guess is that the prime nails the focus better than the zoom. Faster? Don't know.

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This is exactly my main gripe with the XF 18mm, by itself it is really not a bad lens, it's small, compact, deliver great pictures.

But then came the XF 18-55 F2.8-4 and at 18mm F2.8 the zoom kit is just a tad bit sharper from edge to edge compared to the prime, the XF 18mm lose a bit on the corners but things gets a bit closer at around F4-5.6.

 

I don't know about you, but primes are supposed to be better than zooms at their native focal length, if that's not the case, something is wrong with the prime lens.

 

Agreed the differences are really small and you really need to be nitpicky about it to really see it, but I can see it and it super annoys me that I can...

 

I will repeat again, the 18mm is a good lens, I do not know if it is the 18-55 F2.8-4 that's insane at 18 but this is causing me to wait for the next iteration of the 18mm, and if it can get WR, that would be great for me as I travel on regular basis to quite humid/tropical countries where at least some form of WR is much appreciated.

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I have been using my trusty 18-55mm Fuji kit as a reception lens, but lately it's been having a really tough time focusing in low-light scenarios. I know that I generally shoot most of the time at 18mm at 2.8. I am wondering if the 18 f2 would be a better low-light performer? The 16mm is also an option, but if I'd prefer to save the cash and weight if possible. Any thoughts or experience with any of these?

It's an excellent lens. I find it a very usable focal length for landscape work, I think it is very sharp, and it really is a nice size on the X-T1.

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I love the 18/2 - one of my most-used lenses. I know it's not a super performer in the corners wide open, but for landscapes I find it does very well @f5.6 - how many fast 28s have you used that are great in the corners wide open? The CV 28/2, CV 28/1.8, Nikon 28/1.4 and even the summicron 28  aren't really setting the world on fire wide open in corners. (To be fair, Leica guys judge pretty harshly - as they should given the price.) I find it at least as good as the zoom - and then there is the extra stop, and compact size. What's not to love?

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To me I love it and hate it, I like it obviously for its small form factor and cheap price, as well as it's fast aperture. But at times, even stopped down I've noticed it to be a bit soft. If I was going for a lens because of it's form factor I would recommend it, but I honestly think the 18-55 is a better performer.

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I own it and am happy with it. It's not amazing on the edges but centre sharpness is perfectly fine. Maybe I'm imagining things, but it feels like my fastest focusing lens, despite being so old (I also own the 23mm and 35mm).

 

I'd love to replace it with the 16mm, only because I shoot in the dark a lot and could use the extra stop. Because of that, and the fact that it's not too far from 23mm, I don't shoot the 18mm very often, but when I do, I remember how good it is. Especially for people photos, where extreme corner sharpness usually isn't a big deal.

 

I mostly use it for group and reception photos when I'm using a flash. Other times I'll take it with the 35mm when I want a super compact setup that gives me some versatility, because I can fit those two in the same bag that will only fit the 23mm on my X-T1.

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I love it because it is so small and inconspicuous. You pull it out, step in close to get that wide angle perspective, and people do not even blink. You get a great 'natural' shot. If I try to do the same with my Nikon D810 with the 14-24mm zoom, everyone would stop and stare.

This is the 18mm late in the evening in the streets of Singapore.

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The following photo was taken with an X-Pro1 and the 18mm lens.
The lens is great, it focusses fast enough for street and documentary photography.  Newer lenses are faster, because technology improves, but the 18mm can now be bought for very low prices, which makes it good value.  It's small, unobtrusive, and produces great images. 
The only well known issue with the 18mm is the "dust" (metal filings) that accumulate on the internal glass elements.  That dust makes no difference to the photographs, but I've dismantled and cleaned my 18mm twice.  I'd buy another if this one broke down, especially now as prices are less than half what I originally paid.  Great lens, and much lighter and less obtrusive than a zoom that covers that length.

 

13355509805_802b63babf_b.jpgVerona Curiosity by Paul Crespel, on Flickr

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I just made the leap from XF18 to the XF18-55 and I´m not looking back.

For my pics, OIS is more important than F2 (I own a XF35) and for architecture the uniformity of the sharpness across the frame is visibly better with the zoom even at F5.6.

Made some grat snaps with the XF18, street and people pics rarely carry the focus plane all the way into the corners...

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It's rattling, it has a notable slower AF than modern lenses and it might be a tad bit soft in the corners shot wide open … I love it! It's compact, I also love the angle, and it has some character. I like the 18-55 much, I think it's underrated and a really good lens, but once in a while I put my 18mm on and I feel "home". Strange. I have the 18 / 27 / 35 and the 18-55. Of these, I think the 27 is the sharpest, and the 35 is the most "magic". Still the 18 is good for me for everyday, it's super compact and if you don't care about the corners, you could get along quite well ;)

 

15604906070_3d1d225487_b.jpgclick to enlarge 

 

18618697051_4686fa69c0_b.jpg

click to enlarge 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I ended up getting the 27mm in the end. So far, I really like this lens. The focal perspective feels very natural and it's quite responsive! Image quality is a good as most any x lens. I'm also surprised that I don't miss the aperture ring, but it makes sense with keeping things smaller. A perfect lens for the x-10 as well.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since I didn't used anything apart from 18/2, 35/1.4 and 60/2.4 I can tell that 18/2 is optically the worse one out of these three primes. But still, it is a very good lens compared to any other wide prime of any other system.

And 18/2 is still the second smallest lens for X mount, which (plust the F/2) mean that this is still on of the best street lens if you want a lightweight and compactness.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My biggest complaint about this lens is it seem to lack of dynamic range. Quite disappointed as I mainly shoot landscape with this lens. Maybe the coating is not good. Or maybe I'm used to dynamic range on full frame. I'm gonna get a CPL filter for this. Hope it can improve the dynamic range.

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  • 2 months later...

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