Back in June of last year, i shared with you the first photos that i took with my new Xf 18-135mm here: (https://d7100shooter.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/first-photos-from-the-18-135mm/).
After using this wonderful lens for nearly 7 months, i wanted to share my impressions with you.
As i had mentioned in my post featuring the first photos i took with the 18-135mm, some people may avoid this type of lens. After all, cramming in umpteen different focal lengths into one lens, there will be compromises. However, i feel that Fuji has done an excellent job with this lens and any of the “compromises” are extremely hard to see.
Well, i did not get a box with the lens. When i purchased it, Camtec did not have an 18-135mm available all by itself. Therefore, they graciously broke up an X-T1 bundle in order to get me one.
From having a few other Fujinon lenses, i can assure you that the lens is well protected by the packaging that Fuji provides.
Once again, Fuji does not disappoint. As with all of their other XF lenses, the 18-135 has a metal lens mount.
The 18-135 is also weather sealed, which is nice if you are going to attach it to an X-T1 – not so much if you have an X-Pro1, like i do.
As far as i can tell, most of the outside of the lens is metal, including the rings, the zoom ring having a rubber grip. The inside barrel of the lens is plastic. Though, i do believe that the filter ring is metal.
The 18-135 is somewhat of a bulky lens; therefore, getting the extra grip for the X-Pro1 or the X-T1, is advisable. Having that extra grip will make it far more comfortable to shoot with this lens.
As i mentioned above, the 18-135 is weather sealed. It is Fuji’s first lens to be so. Keep in mind that weather sealed does not mean waterproof. So, if you are thinking of submerging this lens in water for a few days because you want to prove a point, don’t.
The lens does have OIS. This is very helpful in two areas or a combination of both: 1) when shooting in low light at the top end of the focal range and 2) shooting in low light using the maximum aperture of the lens, which does not afford a tremendous amount of light to come through. Therefore, if you can not obtain a decent shutter speed, the OIS will help keep things stable for you.
One really neat feature of this lens, is it’s ventilation system.
Fuji has incorporated a ventilator at the bottom of the lens where air is expelled. This not only gives you a nice, smooth zooming range, but it also prevents dust and moisture from getting into the lens.
Mounted on the X-Pro1:
It looks really damn good when mounted on the X-Pro1. Along with the extra grip, the camera is well balanced.
You obviously will not be able to use the OVF with the full focal range of the lens because of parallax. From 18 to 60mm, you will be fine. Though, beyond 60mm, you will want to switch to the EVF or even use the EVF exclusively when using the 18-135.
The AF while mounted on the X-Pro1 is decent, but i can only imagine how snappy it would be on an X-T1 with phase detection AF points.
I am not a pixel peeper, so don’t look for any 100% crops, side by side comparisons, ISO tests, MTF charts, etc. Look at your photos as they were meant to be looked at. If you are worried about being able to see fine detail on a flies ass from 40 yards away, then perhaps photography is not for you.
The 18-135mm lens is not going to be as sharp as the prime lenses that Fuji has in it’s line up. Though, you would have to look pretty hard at your monitor to notice any significant difference. If that’s your thing, then knock yourself out.
What i concern myself with, is overall image quality when looking at a photo as it should be looked at and i am very pleased with the results that the 18-135mm has given me. I am quite confident that any prints would hold plenty of detail to appreciate.
Protecting the front element:
The 18-135mm does come with a flower petal lens hood, as seen in the photo below. However, if you want to protect that front element even more, you are going to have to purchase a 67mm UV filter.
Who is this lens for?:
Many people don’t like these “all-in-one” lenses, simply because the ones that have been made by the likes of Nikon & Canon, are not that good. Well, i can assure you that Fuji has done a great job on this lens and it will not disappoint anyone who is looking for a versatile lens.
If you are someone who does not have a lot of money to spend on lenses, then this lens just might be for you. For example, if you were wanting to purchase the original 3 lenses that came out when the X-Pro1 came out, you would have to lay out $2147.00 CAD for those 3 lenses (18, 35, 60).
The 18-135 covers all three of those focal lengths, for just $999.00 CAD. That is a considerable difference in cost.
Though, don’t get me wrong. The 18-135 at let’s say 35mm, is not going to be as good as the 35mm prime. Therefore, if superior image quality is important to you, you will most certainly want to invest in some prime lenses.
If you are looking to travel light and want to be able to have a broad focal range at your finger tips, then the 18-135 would be a great lens to take on any trip. It will also serve you well if you want a good walkabout lens for those days that you just want to go out and shoot, but are not sure of what you may come across.
Who this lens may not be for:
Obviously, anyone who does not take to these types of lenses, will not purchase this lens. Simple as that.
There are folks out there who strictly like to use prime lenses – for obvious reasons; therefore, probably would not take a second look at this lens.
In the end, it is not going to be a lens for everyone. Heck, some people don’t like zooms period, no matter the focal range.
Personally, i like the 18-135 for it’s broad focal range, OIS and the great image quality that it delivers. It’s not to big and with the extra grip, it is well balanced on my X-Pro1.
If you own an X-T1, this lens would be a great companion for it and would give you a completely weather resistant set up.
If you are looking for the best image quality that a Fuji lens can give you, i would suggest investing in some prime lenses. Prime lenses are masters at their focal lengths.
On the other hand, if superior image quality is not the most important aspect of your photography and you are looking for an everyday/travel lens, the 18-135 will most certainly fit the bill.
Who dares wins.
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