Fujifilm X-Pro1 Lens Review :: 18mm f2 & 35mm 1.4

The lens choice's for the Fujifilm X-Pro1 at the moment are 18mm f2, 35mm f1.4 and the 60mm f2.4 Macro, or in 35mm terms they would be 27mm, 53mm & 90mm. More glass will be available nearer the end of 2012 and I have included a lens roadmap at the bottom of this post. At the moment I have the 18mm and the 35mm, so I can only speak of them, but the finish will be the same across the range. Although light in weight, each lens is well built with all metal body, flange and lenshood. They have a black satin finish with plastic aperture and focus rings. I have read a lot of reviews on the web that say each lens is made of plastic...not so! Even if they were, high end Nikon glass have plastic bodies and cost 3 time the price of the Fuji glass, so plastic doesn't always equate to cheap. The lens caps for the squared off lens hoods are made of rubber and come off easily, but I would recommend using them when your camera is in the bag, but not when you're walking around. You will loose them! Each lens is also supplied with round centre pinch caps too, but they're a bit fiddly.

TAKEN WITH THE 18mm f2 at 1/45th sec , f9 and 200 ISO DESATURATED IN LIGHTROOM

The 18mm f2 is nice and sharp with only a very very minimal amount of softening at the edges. I have seen more softening on Nikon and Canon glass at similar focal lengths, so there's nothing to complain about here. Bokeh is very good with almost circular highlights and buttery smooth out of focus areas. The aperture blades chatter when the amount of light passing through the front of the lens changes. If you remember Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, it,s like a tiny Skippy inside your lens. The same thing happens in the X100, but it's tiny blades are almost silent and nowhere near as noticeable. I'm not sure why these cameras have to do this, but I'm sure it's one of the reasons why battery life is so bad in the X100 and X-Pro1. Even if the camera's aperture, shutter speed and focus are all set to manual, skippy still chatters away inside the lens. The focus ring is smooth when turning, but a rubber grip would have been better as the plastic can be a bit slippery.

THIS SHOT OF THE DEAD CAT WAS TAKEN WITH THE 18mm f2 at 1/30th sec, f2 and 400 ISO

THIS SHOT OF THE DEAD CAT WAS TAKEN WITH THE 35mm f1.4 at 1/50th sec, f2.8 and 1250 ISO

The 35mm f1.4 is an amazing little lens. On the down side, it's aperture chattering is a little bit louder than the 18mm, but in every other way it's a stunning piece of glass. It's as sharp as a tack, even wide open at f1.4 and the bokeh is as smooth as butter. The focus ring on my copy doesn't feel as smooth as my 18mm's, but I'm sure they all feel that little bit different copy to copy. The length of the lens with the hood attached is quite a bit longer than the dumpy 18mm, but it's not to bulky. The back element is much deeper set into the lens than the 18mm too. The aperture ring on my 35mm has a bit less resistance than the 18mm, but I have shot with the 35 more, so the 18mm might loosen up (I hope it doesn't though). In short, the 35mm f1.4 is an amazing bit of glass that in my opinion, Fuji couldn't have done a better job on.

TAKEN WITH THE 35mm f1.4 at 1/50th sec , f4 and 1600 ISO

A lot of people have complained about the high cost of the X-Pro1, but each X mount lens is actually very affordable, in fact three times more affordable than the two main manufactures, but with no less quality. The chattering is a bit annoying, but you do get used to it...a bit. I was going to hold off for the upcoming 23mm (35mm equivalent), but I needed something wide. I'm really pleased I got the 18mm and as I have the 23mm on the X100, I might not even bother buying one for the X-Pro1. I am keen to see the super-wide 14mm when it arrives near the end of 2012. I'll list the X-mount roadmap bellow (apertures may change when the lenses finally arrive).

I think Fuji may have made a mistake in allowing pre-production lenses to be tested and samples from them to be posted on the web. It worked fine for the 35mm f1.4 and I don't think I have read a single review that slates that lens. Unfortunately the 18mm f2 pre-production lenses suffered from both soft edges and purple fringing. The photo at the top of this post is the type of shot that you would find purple fringing on the tree branches due to the bright sunlight coming from behind. So far, I haven't had any issues with the purple pests, but I haven't shot loads of photos outdoor in conditions that would force the issue.

So I'm really happy with the two lenses I have. I haven't felt the need for a longer focal length so far, but I probably will get the 60mm f2.4 at some point. Although it's said to be slower at focusing, it is known to be super sharp. It's also handy to have a macro lens in your bag. If you have watched my video on the Lowepro Event Messenger 150 camera bag, you might have noticed I still have a space at the bottom left of the bag for the 60mm. The X-Pro1 realy shines as a tool for shooting portraits. The skin tones and bokeh are really really great, so the 60mm is maybe a must, but I'll wait a bit longer.

Lens Roadmap

14mm 2012 18-72mm f4 IS 2012 28mm f2.8 Pancake 2013 23mm f2 2013 70-200mm f4 OIS 2013 12-24mm f4 OIS 2013