Is the Fujifilm XF 18mm Lens that bad?

Started Jan 13, 2014 | Questions thread
JohnLL Regular Member • Posts: 109
Re: I own the 18mm

A propos of this discussion in general, not of anything any specific person has said ...

I often wonder, with WA lenses, if the corner sharpness criticism may often (if not usually) be due to spherical distortion, which is difficult to avoid entirely (so I hear - I'm no lens designer) in such lenses. As the lens designs get wider and wider, however, they tend to get slower, and also to have greater DOF (on account of being slower and also having a shorter focal length). It may be, then, that in the APS format the 18mm is perhaps the hardest of all to make really great.

Spherical distortion, of course, needs a flat subject corner-to-corner to be measured or even confirmed, and also high magnification (pixel peeping, to some degree at least). most real-life subjects, however, are not flat.

Another issue is that in lenses this wide, focusing followed by recomposing (for those that use this method, including me) can make a significant difference to the actual (off-axis) distance to the focus point as compared to the measured distance. This can make it tricky to get the best possible focus on the centre of interest, it is true, but on the other hand, a little fuzziness in other areas is not always a bad thing. Witness the interest in super-fast lenses to get greater bokeh.

I don't have this lens, and may never get it, but despite the criticism it has received, I have seen that it can make excellent pictures. I already have the 18-55 (which I find very good indeed). My next one will likely be the 14mm.

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