As I was getting ready to write this article, I was looking around my gear cabinet for this lens and I couldn’t locate it. When I did find it, the lens was attached to my wife’s X-T4! It turns out that the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR is her favorite lens. It seems that whenever I want to use it, the lens is attached to her camera. This is the only lens that we fight over.
That first paragraph could be the entirety of this article. It says everything that you need to know (although my full review of the 27mm f/2.8 lens can be read here). If there could only be one lens in our household, it would be this one! But why? What makes this lens special?
The technical specs for this lens don’t stand out. A maximum aperture of f/2.8 isn’t eye-popping. The stats seem kind of ho-hum—in fact, that is why I hesitated to buy this lens in the first place. But stats don’t tell the whole story. What’s most important are the pictures, and the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR captures wonderful photographs!
Why does this lens capture such good images? It’s the sharpness, the micro-contrast, and the bokeh, which are all excellent. Perhaps, above all that, it’s the very useful focal-length, as 27mm is full-frame-equivalent to 40.5mm, which is pretty close to “normal” and very similar to what the eyes see. You can use this focal-length for most genres of photography. Useful and excellent—that’s the best summery of why I (we, actually) love this lens so much.
This is speaking nothing of the compact-size and lightweightness (I don’t think that’s a word) of this pancake lens, which makes it a joy to carry. Your gear is better when it doesn’t get in the way of itself, and this one—the smallest lens in the Fujinon lineup—certainly stays out of the way.
Ask anyone who owns this lens (or even the original 27mm f/2.8, which is optically identical), and they’ll tell you that it’s one of their favorites. On paper it shouldn’t be, but it is, because “on paper” is much different than real world use. The Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR is an easy lens to recommend to anyone. However, if there’s one issue, it’s that this lens is really difficult to find right now, so if you are shopping for it, I wish you the best of luck.
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The 27/2.8 is, no doubt, my favorite lens. I started with the X100S but the 23mm(35mm full frame equiv) has a bit too much barrel distortion for me. Faces aren’t really as flattering. So of course I moved up to a 35mm(50mm equiv) when I bought the X-Pro3 (my current camera). But my scene was gone. I decided to buy the 27/2.8 on a whim after reading sites like this and much to my surprise it was PERFECT. The environment was still wide enough for me but made sure my subject didn’t get lost in a large scene. Faces were also not distorted which I had experienced on wider focal lengths. But in addition to that, the pancake size of the lens, quick AF and easy to maneuver aperture ring (I’m using the 2nd gen version of this lens and I know the first gen version doesn’t have an aperture ring). I have a Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/8 that stays glued onto the front as well as a lens hood I Jerry-rigged to keep on and I think it’s the best combination of lens and camera (X-Pro3) I’ve ever used. I think it’s really important to find a focal length that represents how YOU see the world. I was often pushed to various focal lengths because street photographers or someone famous mentioned it and none of those felt right. There was a lot of moving forward or backward in the scene and the 27mm(41mm equiv.) is perfect. I previsualize the shot, bring the camera to my eye is almost exactly how I saw it. I think THAT is something special.
Awesome! Appreciate this comment a lot. That’s exactly right: if this lens is the right focal length for you (and I imagine that it is for many), then it is the best lens for you. I just need to glue the lens onto my X-E4 so that my wife quits snagging it (of course, she wouldn’t like that). Actually, I just need to get myself another copy. Thanks so much for the comment!
Rich, I ‘purchased’ this lens in June of 2021. It was on back order at the time, but I wanted to get it as soon as it was available. I’ve been waiting 5 months and it is still not available and no one will say when it will be available. I feel this is very poor management on Fuji’s part and extremely poor customer relations.
It’s my understanding that demand for the lens was much greater than Fujifilm anticipated, and they didn’t manufacture enough copies. I got my lens bundled with the X-E4 on the day that it was announced, but I think those who didn’t preorder on day one have had a tough time getting one. I think global shortages have contributed to the lack of availability, as camera companies have struggled to obtain all the materials they need to manufacture their products. This isn’t a Fujifilm thing, but something affecting most electronic companies worldwide. They could certainly do a better job explaining it to their customers, though. I hope you get your lens sooner than later.
Most people wouldn’t divulge this because it’s dumb and kind of embarrassing, but here it goes. I took a two week trip to Paris France recently and before leaving the house I had to make the decision to go simple with lens choice. I took the 14mm 2.8, the 23mm f2, 35mm 1.4 and the 18-55 2.8. Leaving the 27mm 2.8 behind. I found myself changing between the 23mm and 35mm more often than not. The solution was the 27mm, where? At home 5,000 miles away. Part of all this was how and what to fit on a small bag safely. Still no excuse as the 27mm is so small it’s a non-issue. Anyway I took it on the chin and of course the 27mm 2.8 goes everywhere with me always!!
I’ve done stuff like this before, too. It’s a great learning experience–helps to refine your travel bag. No shame in it at all. Thanks for sharing!
I preordered this unit last month and still waiting. It will be my first Fuji lens on my new X-T3. I have been using an adapter to mate my Canon glass to the Fuji mount, but the results are just “ok.” I’m excited to see the quality of the Fuji lens by comparison… Anyway, I hope our wait isn’t too long.
I hope you get it sooner than later. You’ll definitely appreciate it.
No doubt it’ my favorite lens, I have only praises for it. Mine is actually the old model purchased soon after it was available to purchase. It has never, never disappointed me and its small size is great especially when you want to put your camera in your knapsack.
The new and old models are optically identical. The aperture ring and weather sealing are the only differences. Such a good lens! Thanks for the input!
I’ve got a XT30 with 18-55 but I’m looking for a prime lens. Family, landscape, trips (I practice road cycling), architecture and street photography, yes I know it’s impossible to have a lens to do all these things but I hesitate between 27 and 23. The 27 as a pancake lens is perfect to go everywhere but I’m afraid about the aperture. Bokeh or night photography versus the 23 f2, I’m afraid to do a mistake. What can you do about that ?
Well, my opinion is that the bokeh (which is the quantification of the quality of the out-of-focus area of an image) from the 27mm f/2.8 is just a bit better than that of the 23mm f/2. These things are subjective, though.
If you are talking about how narrow the depth-of-field can get, the 23mm at f/2 at the minimum focus distance will produce about 1/4 inch of focus, while the 27mm at f/2.8 at the minimum focus distance will produce about 1/2 inch of focus.
As far as low-light, the difference between f/2 and f/2.8 can be fairly significant. With that said, I’ve used the 27mm after dark with success plenty of times.
I don’t think you can go wrong either way, and the 23mm is probably easier to find, but I personally like the 27mm better.
I hope this is helpful somehow.
I love the 27mm f2.8. It lives on my X-T10. I always say it’s perfect around a party table, group shots and street. Need a 50mm a couple steps forward. Need a 23mm take a few steps back. Sharp and quick. I love it.
Yeah, it’s such a “perfect” focal-length. If I could only have one, this would be it.
It’s a lens with reasonable sharpness
It’s small, which is good. It’s overpriced, which is not
At $400 it’s one of the lesser expensive lenses in the Fujinon lineup. Worth every penny and then some in my opinion.
I think what’s interesting is that it wasn’t too long ago various writers we’re writing off the XE line of cameras and now with what perceives to be the success of the X-E4 and the pairing of the new 27mm 2.8 with the aperture ring, it just shows what can change on a dime. Surely Fujifilm is pleased and equally surprised at the X-E4s success. I love the camera and I won’t go into now what would make it better, but I’m wondering if by adhering to the XEs platform, another model platform will suffer.
I think what Fujifilm is trying to do (with the X-Pro3 and X-E4) is put a little more separation between similar models. For example, the X-Pro2, X-T2, X-T20, X-H1, and X-E3 were all pretty similar, aside from shape, and a few differing features. So Fujifilm went a little more extreme: backwards mount the screen on X-Pro3, minimalism on the X-E4. Now the camera lines are a little less alike.
The X-E line is one of my favorites, but for some reason tends to be overlooked. The X-E4 seems to be doing better than expected, but I have no idea if it is above, right at, or below Fujifilm’s projections.
Hi Ritchie! How does the xf 27mm f2.8 wr perform and render with black and white? I luckily found a boxed new sealed xf 27mm f2.8 wr for a great price, around 318 euros, and I’m really interested in buying it to live along my X-Pro3 and my xf 35mm f1.4, giving me also the option of having a fully wr equipment. Always wanted a pancake lens to keep it inconspicuous, light and slim. The only options for pancake are the xf 18mm f2 and the xf 27mm f2.8 and I’ve always been undecided in between those 2, despite the differencein focal length. I know the xf 18mm renders b&w beautifully and it’s quite famous for it, but what about the xf 27mm? I also wonder abut the 2.8 max aperture, which on paper doesn’t really excite me. Thanks!
My recommendation: get it. You won’t be disappointed. It renders b&w very nicely.
Thanks Ritchie! I have made the purchase and can’t wait to receive it and test it on my X-Pro3. Wish you an amazing road trip for the upcoming 5 weeks! Best, Marco