I know, this lens has been around a while and it's one of the early Fuji X lenses, but why this lens gets no love and so many negative reviews is beyond me. Reviews of the Fuji 18mm f2 on YouTube are scarce and the reviews I did find where underwhelming. Okay, maybe the effective 27mm focal length isn’t the most popular, but the Fuji 18mm f2 is a great lens. It’s early and I have only been using mine for a few days, but this thing is sharp in all the right places for the type of work I do.
The thing I heard and read over and over about this little guy is that it’s not on par with the Fuji 35mm f1.4. I totally disagree. I now have both and I think the 18mm f2 has great sharpness wide open and it has some really nice character, much like the 35mm f1.4. Honestly, I was expecting to not love this lens, but now, I’m smitten.
This isn’t a review, just my first impressions after having the lens for a few days so I won’t be discussing all of my typical review topics. I do want to quickly highlight the things that stand out to me right out of the gate.
The build quality is great. Much like the other 2 original Fuji lenses, it’s all metal, it has some heft but it’s also light. The size is what attracted me to this lens. It’s very short, nearly a pancake lens but not quite. Kinda looks like a hockey puck. It’s the perfect fit for my newly acquired Fuji X-E2S. This camera and lens combo puts it right at about the same size and weight as an X100F. I like that.
My typical focal length for casual shooting (streets, documentary) has mostly been at 50mm (or 35mm on a crop sensor). I’m very used to that field of view. I like the 35mm (or 23mm on a crop sensor) but I’ve often felt that it’s not different enough from 50mm and I always wish it was slightly wider. It’s been said that 35mm is about 2 steps back from 50mm (when zooming with your feet) and I think that’s pretty accurate. So I was more attracted to the 27mm field of view for the sake of variety.
To me, 27mm (or 18mm on a crop sensor) is wide but not too wide. It’s a story telling focal length. You get enough in your frame to establish context, but without crazy distortion. Bringing the view finder up to my eye with this lens mounted for the first time was surprising. My interior monologue said, “Oh, that’s wide.” “There’s a lot of stuff in my frame.” “This is going to be challenging.” Yeah, it’s very different from the 50 or 35mm field of view.
Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on this lens and the 27mm focal length. The lens itself is awesome: great size and weight, sharp where it matters, and it’s a unique field of view. It deserves a lot more credit than the internet gives it. I think I’m going to like using this lens, but who knows, it’s only been a few days.
I'll have my full review up soon and go into greater depth. Who knows, by then, maybe I'll end up hating it (probably not).