Prime Lenses

The 18-55mm zoom is very nice and extremely convenient but it isn't your only option. Fujifilm's XF prime lenses are excellent, and we spent a lot of time with them during the shooting for this review. It's worth noting here that all four of the XF primes weigh less than the 18-55mm zoom, too. In the images below, all taken from the same position, we've shown the field of view of each of the current XF series primes.

XF 14mm (21mm equivalent) XF 18mm (27mm equivalent)
XF 35mm (52mm equivalent) XF 60mm (90mm equivalent)

The original XF lenses - 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 60mm F2.4 macro

These three lenses date from the inception of the X series. Shown below, from left to right are the 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4 and 60mm F2.4 Macro (which offers 0.5x magnification). The 18mm lens in particular features an unusually short backfocus design, with a large-diameter rear element that protrudes behind the rear of the mount.

All three of these lenses offer an impressive blend of large maximum aperture and relatively compact size; even the largest is smaller than Sony's Carl Zeiss Sonnar E 24mm F1.8 for the NEX system, and the 35mm F1.4 is slightly shorter than Panasonic's Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 despite covering the larger APS-C sensor. All of the lenses include circular aperture diaphragms for attractive rendition of out-of-focus backgrounds.

Lens hoods

The lenses all come with finely crafted metal hoods - those for the 18mm and 35mm are rectangular, while the 60mm gets a deep circular hood. Unfortunately, though, practicality seems to have taken a back seat in their design; the 60mm's hood is so deep that it's nearly impossible to change the lens with the hood reversed, and as the front element is deeply-recessed anyway, we ended up always leaving it at home (which rather negates the point of having one).

The original XF lenses with their hoods attached, from left to right 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4 and 60mm F2.4 Macro. Because those for the 18mm and 35mm can't be reversed, they take up additional space in your bag.

All three hoods use the same bayonet fitting and can be mounted on any of the lenses. Interestingly the 35mm hood doesn't vignette on the 18mm.

The rectangular hoods, meanwhile, can't be used with the standard circular clip-on lens caps and require flexible push-on caps instead, which tend to fall off. None of the hoods are particularly well-suited for use with polarizing filters either (arguably the only type of lens filter that still makes perfect sense to use with digital).

Here's the X-E1's big brother the X-Pro1 with the 18mm, 35mm and 60mm primes and hoods as you'd pack them up to transport. The rectangular hoods for the 18m and 35mm add bulk for carrying and can't be used with the normal clip caps, while the 60mm's hood is deeply impractical.

XF 35mm F1.4 R

If we could only have one lens with the Fujifilm X-E1, it would probably be the 35mm F1.4, which on the X-E1 and X-Pro 1 gives a field of view equivalent to 53mm. Not only is it beautiful to behold, the XF 35mm F1.4 excels in terms of its low-light portrait capability and soft, attractive bokeh. It obviously isn't as versatile as the 18-55mm zoom, but it's sharp, lightweight, and that large maximum aperture has a lot of creative potential.

New XF 14mm F2.8 R

Announced alongside the X-E1, the XF 14mm F2.8 R lens adds an even wider prime option to the XF lens line-up. Incorporating a push-pull ring mechanism to switch between manual and autofocus modes, which we first saw on the Olympus 12mm f/2 lens, the 14mm F2.8 is equivalent to a 21mm lens on a 35mm camera in terms of field of view. We'll be publishing an article examining this lens in more detail very soon.

With the sliding lens ring clicked forward, the focus indicators are hidden and the lens is in autofocus mode. The lens ring does not turn. Slide the ring to the rear to reveal the focus indicators and adjust the focus.

Lens roadmap

Last year, Fujifilm published a roadmap for lenses it plans to release by Spring 2013, including three image-stabilized zooms, an ultra-wide prime, a 'pancake' normal, and an 85mm-equivalent F1.4 'portrait lens'. Two were released with the X-E1 (the 14mm and 18-55mm). The remaining lenses are listed below. It's an interesting list intended to show Fujifilm's commitment to building a complete, versatile system.

Lens
Type
35mm-equiv FL
 27mm F2.8  Pancake prime  41mm
 23mm F1.4  Semi-wide prime  35mm
 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS  Telephoto zoom  83-300mm
 56mm F1.4  Short tele prime  84mm
 10-24mm F4 OIS  Wide-angle zoom  15-36mm