Fujifilm XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR Review

Started 2 months ago | User reviews thread
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Erik Baumgartner Senior Member • Posts: 4,052
Fujifilm XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR Review

Bad stuff first - when it works, the AF is instant and silent, but I'm having some occasional issues with my older X-T2 and X-T20 (yes, all firmware current). It always focuses accurately, but will occasionally stutter and fail to focus initially, racking in and out for a second before locking (even in good light with plenty of contrast, AF-S or C). I've tried two copies of the lens on two cameras with the same result so I don't think anything is "broken" per se. Hopefully a firmware update will improve things on that front.

Aside from the annoying, but mostly inconsequential AF issue (for my usual slow and deliberate shooting, anyway), the 18mm f/1.4 is really pretty much faultless - super sharp across the frame at all apertures and almost entirely free of of any CA/fringing even wide open, and including in high contrast situations. It isn't just "sharp for f/1.4", but is actually sharper wide open than many other "good" lenses are at f/5.6. I sometimes hesitate to use my 35 f/1.4 or 56 f/1.2 wide open, especially in high contrast situations, but not the 18 f/1.4, not at all.

the 18mm f/1.4 very solidly built, well balanced and easy to operate (the aperture ring might be slightly easier to rotate than some might prefer, but I like it just fine). The focusing ring is large, well damped, in the right place, and silky smooth - no problems there either.

The supplied plastic hood is effective, fits well and isn't especially awkward looking, but for the premium price of the lens you ought to get a premium hood too. The ridiculous $70 they're asking for the metal hood upgrade is insulting.

There is some slight (and easy to correct) vignetting that isn't being corrected automatically in Lightroom (RAW - which could also be remedied with a firmware update), and when focused on a distant point with a wide apertures, the extreme foreground bokeh can sometimes appear a little gritty, but that's nitpicking, the bokeh is generally excellent.

Oh, and the sunstars it produces stopped down are far and away the best I've seen from any Fuji prime (the 8-16 zoom is also excellent)

Despite the AF quirk, I'm still giving it 5 stars as it's the best optic I've ever had attached to the front of my camera, I'd keep it if the AF didn't work at all. Highly recommended.

 Erik Baumgartner's gear list:Erik Baumgartner's gear list
Sony RX100 Fujifilm X100V Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +4 more
Fujifilm XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR
Wideangle prime lens • Fujifilm X
Announced: Apr 15, 2021
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Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T20
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