The Fujinon XF 18-135MM F/3.5-5.6 R OIS WR

Just recently, Fuji announced it’s very first weather sealed lens, the 18-135mm.

Honestly, i really thought that the 10-24mm was going to be weather sealed, but it turned out not to be.  This makes me wonder something:  with all the XF lenses that have come out previously and are not weather sealed, is Fuji going to re-release those lenses as weather sealed lenses?

But then what happens to all the first generation XF lenses that people already own?  Would people who own the X-T1 all of a sudden try and sell off their old XF lenses, just to buy the new version?  It will be interesting to see what will happen.

Even though Fuji will perhaps never re-release all their XF lenses (i do doubt it), i ask the above questions for a few reasons:

1) Not everyone (X-T1 owners) will be happy with an 18-135mm lens.

2) Using any other lens on the X-T1 is kind of pointless if you are going to shoot in wet weather.

Many people do not like the “all-in-one”, “Swiss Army knife” type of lens that the 18-135 is.   These “all-in-one” lenses are not known for having great performance when it comes to IQ.  There are also compromises made when manufacturing this type of lens – overall sharpness throughout the focal range, falloff, etc.

However, it just may be that Fuji has broken the mold and have developed something that will change the notion of an “all-in-one” lens forever.

Though many people will not touch the 18-135 with a ten foot pole, they will only have to wait a while longer for something more appealing: the 16-55mm f/2.8 WR.

The 16-55 is somewhat further ahead on the lens roadmap from Fuji; therefore, i suppose we should expect to see it sometime at the end of the year.  Aside from the 16-55, the only other weather resistant lens on the horizon (according to the roadmap), is the 50-140mm.

So where does this leave X-T1 users who would like to take their camera out in wet weather?  Well, if they are not considering the 18-135, they will either have to wait for the 16-55 or have a plastic bag handy.  After all, a weather sealed camera only stays weather sealed if you are using a weather sealed lens.

My feelings on the 18-135:

In regards to the focal range itself, i think it will be a great travel/walk-around lens where you may not want to be carrying 2-3 different primes and constantly changing them.

However, i lived with the 35mm for my XP1 as my only lens for about 6 months.  Was i wanting anything longer?  Not really.  In the end, it really depends on what kind of photographer you are, or more to the point, what kind of person you are.  It boils down to “different strokes for different folks”.

If you really want this lens, go and get it and don’t let anyone tell you any different.  Will it be as good as the XF 35mm at 35mm??  Perhaps not, but i hardly think it will be shabby.

The only lens that i have owned that is somewhat equal to the 18-135, was the Nikkor 18-105.  It was a decent lens and was great to have on your camera if you were walking around and did not really have a specific “theme” in mind to shoot.

If i were to purchase the 18-135, i would be afraid that my 35 and 60 would never see the light of day again.  I would certainly keep my 50-230mm.

Though, since the 18-135 is a “slow” lens, i don’t think i would ever give up my 35 f/1.4 or my 60 f/2.4.  For someone who likes to take photos of church interiors, those extra stops are valuable.

On the other hand, i did fine when i had my 18-55mm, which is just as slow, but has a great OIS system to compensate.

You see how difficult it is to decide?

For me, i think the one real advantage of a prime lens, is that they are so damn good at their focal length.  You tend to lose this in a zoom.

The other advantage of the primes, is their light gathering capability.  You loose some of that with 18-135, but then you have the wonderful OIS system.

Anyhow, i don’t want to turn this into a full blown, zoom vs prime debate.  It’s really up to you and what your needs are.

The 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R OIS WR:

As stated above, this is Fuji’s first weather sealed lens and the only lens that will go along with the X-T1 to make a fully weather resistant camera kit.

In terms of construction, it has the same quality and feel of all the other XF lenses in the Fujinon stable.  Markings and switches are also the same as on other XF zooms.

Some claims by Fuji:

– A 5.0-stop image stabilization system.

– The lens is “weather sealed” in over 20 areas of the lens barrel.

– The lens has a fast AF, max 0.10 seconds (complies with CIPA).

Aside from the above claims, what else are we to expect of this lens:

– Lens Config.: 16 elements in 12 groups (4 aspherical elements and 2 anomalous dispersion lenses)

– Field of View: 76.5 degrees to 12 degrees at the long end.

– Max Aperture: f/3.5 – 5.6

– Min Aperture: f/22

– Number of blades: 7 rounded

– Step Size: 1/3 EV, 17 steps

– Focus range, normal: 0.6m – infinity

– Focus range, macro: 0.45m – infinity

– Filter size: 67mm

– Weight: 490g

For any sample images, you can do a quick Google search and come up with some.

So far, so good.  From what i have read and seen, this lens should be a winner.  It will be great for those who want to travel or take walks with just one lens.

It will be even more fantastic for those who have an X-T1 and have been waiting for a complete weather sealed kit.  I can only think that the 16-55 will be just as popular with X-T1 owners as well.

I was not wrong when i said in a previous post, that 2014 will be an exciting year for Fuji and for Fuji users.

Happy shooting!






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