Friday, August 8, 2014

Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 Fujinon lens test (PART 2)

In Part 2 of the Fujifilm XF 18-135mm lens review, we will have a look at some real-life images shot over the last few weeks... If you missed PART 1, please click here.

The camera used was a Fujifilm X-T1; a perfect companion for this new weather resistant lens! For most of the shooting I had the new MHG-XT grip on the camera, giving it a perfect balance.

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In order to test the weather resistance, I took the lens into a windy and very hot Dubai desert...

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And to the very wet, Niagara Falls... At some stage both camera and lens were soaking wet, but didn't miss a click!

Mounted on a lightweight MyFoto tripod, I photographed the Toronto Skyline at night... 
Toronto skyline during the blue hour

And shot some modern high-rises during the day...
Toronto highrises 1

I even pointed it out of an open aircraft window, while overflying the Field of Flanders in Belgium...
Castle of Rumbeke, Belgium

Lastly, even though not a Macro lens, it focuses pretty close for a zoom as can be seen in this shot of the little 27mm pancake lens.




WHO IS THE LENS FOR?

I personally see the new 18-135 lens being perfect for two types of photographers;

1/ The beginner photographer, who wants a do it all with one single lens. Even though the size of the lens is considerable larger than the 18-55 kitlens, the extra range might come in handy. Combine this with an weather sealed X-T1 body and you have a great "starters kit".

2/ The outdoor-adventure photographer, who works in an environment that is not suitable for frequent lens changes (e.g. water, blowing dust and sand). As this is presently the only weather resistant lens, this is a no-brainer. 

Desert Rose, Dubai

WILL I BUY THE LENS?
Hmmm. As I'm neither 1/ or 2/ above, logic would say no... However I must say that the lens would come in very handy for two types of my photography;

a/ Aerial photography; a quick browse in my image library, shows that most of my aerial images are indeed shot in the 18-135mm range. As changing lenses while doing aerial photography is to be avoided, the lens might be the way to go.

b/ Air to Air photography (i.e. photographing aircraft from another aircraft); especially when shooting other propellor aircraft, one uses relatively long shutter speeds, to avoid freezing the prop. This is often achieved by using a mid aperture in the f8-f11 range. Given the slower shutter speeds, the 5 stop Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) would be a great help when shooting out of a moving aircraft!

Niagare Falls Panorama

CONCLUSION
As always is the case for a lens with a broad focal range like the 18-135, it is all about compromises; it does a lot of things OK, but nothing 100% perfect... No criticism but pure photography physics! 

Is the 900,-USD price tag too high? Well one obviously is paying for the weather sealing, but a 600 to 700,-USD range would have put it more in line with the exciting zooms like the great 18-55 and 55-200. The fact that unlike other XF lenses, it is manufactured in China instead of Japan, doesn't help to defend its somewhat higher price point neither...

DISCLAIMER: Fujifilm Middle East is NOT paying me for this review. I buy all of my own gear and what is above is how I personally think about the lens

Happy X-shooting,

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