XF 27mm -- Meets expectations

Started Jun 4, 2017 | User reviews thread
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Doug Pardee
Doug Pardee Veteran Member • Posts: 9,920
XF 27mm -- Meets expectations

I've had my 27 for about two weeks now, so this is basically my initial impression. My other lens, the one I'm familiar with, is the 18-55.

The point of a pancake lens is small size and weight, and the 27mm delivers. The small diameter of the front glass also helps in rendering the camera/lens combination inconspicuous. Nobody's going to feel like you're pointing a bazooka at them.

Stylistically, the silver lens is a nice match for my silver ("panda") X-T10. There's a "fixed-lens film camera" look to the combination that I personally find very pleasing.

The 27mm focal length (41mm equiv.) is a matter of personal taste, but I like it a lot. It's a bit wider than a "normal" without being overly wide.

I don't have any problem with the lens not having an aperture ring. I don't change the aperture all that much, and the command dial works fine when I do need to.

Optical results, with the in-camera LMO and distortion correction, have been excellent. My pictures might suck, but I can't blame the lens.

Contrary to what I've read in other reviews here, the autofocus is slow. The lens design, based on Zeiss's Protar V wide-angle formula that was popular through much of the 20th century, pretty much demands that focusing be done by moving the entire optical assembly, rather than the "internal focus" used in most modern lenses. On the positive side, the lens doesn't suffer the optical compromises that come with internal focusing. When focusing, the front of the lens moves in and out, but it doesn't rotate like some external-focus lenses do, so if you put a polarizer or grad ND filter on there it'll stay at the angle you had it.

The slow focusing and the noisy focus motor become extremely obvious when combined with contrast-detect autofocus. AF-S with CDAF takes maybe half a second. AF-C with CDAF has an initial acquisition time of as much as two seconds and the tracking "pump" rate is about once a second, with the AF motor whining the whole time. I think it's fair to say you do not want to shoot video with this lens.

The slowness and noisiness of the focus system is also obvious when combined with manual focus. The lens clunks along in little steps as I turn the focus ring, causing me to slow down my focusing action so the lens can keep up. It's quite possible there's no real need to slow down, but the noise and vibration trigger my reflexes.

As has been noted, there's no lens hood supplied. In fact, Fujifilm doesn't even make a lens hood for it. It's a pancake lens after all -- people buy it for its small size, and a lens hood would probably be longer than the lens is. However, using my left hand to shade the lens has proven very easy due to the small size and light weight. I leave my left thumb tip supporting the camera's bottom plate, wrap my pointer finger around the focus ring, and curve the remaining fingers around as a shade. Have to watch the upper corners for vignetting, though!

My other nit-pick is the lens cap, which is very difficult to get properly clipped on. Maybe it's just the cap I have, but I have to put it on top-edge first, then swing the bottom into place, then use my fingers to spread the pinch tabs in order to lock it into place. Fortunately, in the scenarios where I'll be using the lens I'll be removing the lens cap for the entire session, and only have to put it back on at the end.

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the lens. Except for the minor lens-cap nuisance, it's exactly what I expected when I bought it.

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Co-founder of the open-source LightZone Project: http://lightzoneproject.org/

 Doug Pardee's gear list:Doug Pardee's gear list
Fujifilm X-T10 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Canon EOS 350D +13 more
Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8
Prime lens • Fujifilm X • 16389123, 16401581
Announced: Jun 25, 2013
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