Why I Love The Fujinon 18mm F/2 Lens

Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens attached to a Fujifilm X-T30 camera.

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.

Canon T70 & Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 – Ilford Delta 400 film

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!

Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Kodak Gold 200

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.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Amazon  B&H

Example photographs captured with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens:

Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400
Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400”
Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400”
Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Kodak Gold 200”
Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Fujicolor Superia 800
Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”

17 comments

  1. John Grubb · December 17

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Onno · December 17

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 19

      There’s something with the micro-contrast and flare that’s especially good–that character you mention. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  3. Khürt Williams · December 18

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 19

      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.

      Like

      • Khürt Williams · December 27

        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.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · December 27

        The Rokinon 12mm is definitely pretty good, and there’s even an autofocus version out now.

        Like

    • jazzlampe · December 20

      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.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · December 20

        Interesting. I wonder what this uneasiness is from? Thanks for the input!

        Like

  4. Rui Miguel Pedrosa · December 19

    my 18mm is already glued to the camera ahahah

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: 5 Frames: Fujifilm X-H1 + Kodak Gold 200 + Downtown Salt Lake City | FUJI X WEEKLY
  6. hpchavaz · December 30

    Nice lens, its 27mm équivalent angle of view is great for punchy street.

    Like

  7. Pingback: My Current Fujinon Lenses | FUJI X WEEKLY
  8. Vainius · January 13

    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 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 14

      There does seem to be some kind of magic, particularly on a sunny day.

      Like

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