I’ve done several of these “Why I Love The Fujinon…” articles—including the 90mm f/2, the 35mm f/2, the 27mm f/2.8—but I’ve been putting this one off. If you’d read my review of the Fujinon 18mm f/2, you might already know that I have a love/hate relationship with it. I called it “the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” because it is simultaneously wonderful and disappointing—wonderful image quality, disappointing performance. I don’t want to rehash what I already stated in the review, so I’ll approach this a different way.
For a long time I shot 35mm film. I had a Canon AE-1 camera and a 50mm f/1.8 lens, and that’s it—one camera and one lens. After awhile, though, I began to collect gear. I acquired more cameras and more lenses. One lens was a Canon 24mm f/2.8. Coming from 50mm, the 24mm focal-length lens seemed to be extremely wide-angle to me. I found it challenging to use, but also highly rewarding, because the focal-length can make a scene much more dramatic. Below is a picture from the first roll of film where I used the 24mm focal length. For Fujifilm cameras, 16mm is full-frame-equivalent to 24mm, not 18mm (which is 27mm full-frame-equivalent), but the difference between 16mm and 18mm isn’t huge. I actually like 18mm more because it is a bit less extreme yet still very dramatic.
The 18mm focal-length is very useful for landscape or cityscape photography. It wouldn’t be my first choice for portrait photography, but it is great for when you want to exaggerate the space in the frame. It can turn a rather ordinary scene into something more extraordinary through embellishment. I think everyone should own a lens with this or a similar focal-length, and challenge themselves to use it—and it alone—on occasion, just for practice.
The 18mm f/2 is Fujifilm’s second smallest lens, so it is especially great for travel or walk-around photography. It’s a lens that you can leave on the camera all day, or have as a second lens, perhaps kept in a jacket pocket. The size and weight advantage of this near-pancake lens cannot be understated!
Ultimately, though, it comes down to the pictures, and it’s easy to love how the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens renders images. When the pictures look as good as they do, it’s not hard to ignore the flaws (such as a slow and loud focus system). For this reason, the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is an essential tool in my kit. Yes, I do have a love/hate relationship with this little lens, but I lean much more closely towards the love side.
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Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Amazon B&H
Example photographs captured with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens:
The 18mm f/2 is my second most used lens behind the 35mm f/1.4. I love the lens when I’m traveling and in city environs.
Awesome! I appreciate the input!
Love the 18mm 2.0 as well, because of its size, its focal length and, especially, the rendering which has that indefinable “character” that seems to missing a bit in the newer, quicker and more silent lenses in the Fuji line-up. And for some reason, this lens seems to work very well for B&W shots.
There’s something with the micro-contrast and flare that’s especially good–that character you mention. Thanks for the comment!
It’s an excellent lens. When making landscapes and cityscapes images, I typically want my lens as wide as possible and with as little distortion as possible. I tend to expose at f/11 or f/16 and use a tripod. That’s why I love my XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. A wide-angle prime at f/2 doesn’t offer any value to me. I would be more interested in an XF10mmF4 R LM WR with low distortion.
The Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 is pretty good, but maybe just a little too much distortion? The Rokinon 12mm f/2 is a solid option for ultra-wide. If Fujifilm offered a low-distortion ultra-wide (like the 10mm f/4 you suggested) that would be pretty cool.
The 16-55mm f/2.8 is a lens I’d love to own someday. I think it would be near perfect when you need variable focal-lengths.
The XF16-55mm isn’t wide enough. I’ve heard good thing about the Rokinon 12mm. Perhaps I’ll rent it to see how it performs. I rented the XF10-24mmF4 R OIS a very long time ago.
The Rokinon 12mm is definitely pretty good, and there’s even an autofocus version out now.
Well, that’s what I use the phenomenal XF4mm/F.2.8 for. Almost no distortion. I you dismiss the WR thing, it’s a pretty perfect lens for landscape, city and close-up.
Back to the 18mm/F2: It was my second ever Fuji lens and I like it’s character and discretion in the city. But for landscape I always found some sort of unease in the pictures.
Interesting. I wonder what this uneasiness is from? Thanks for the input!
my 18mm is already glued to the camera ahahah
Awesome! Thanks for the input!
Nice lens, its 27mm équivalent angle of view is great for punchy street.
I love close focus wide angle view with this lens most. I came from canon with 50mm and got my little fuji with XC kit lens. 18f2 was my first fujinon prime and i was very pleased using it. Now i have 35f2, 50f2, but this 18 is still my favorite. It has some kind of magic in it 🙂
There does seem to be some kind of magic, particularly on a sunny day.