Lens Review: Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens is the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This is a lens that I want to love because of its small size and very useful focal-length, but I don’t love it because its way overpriced and has a disappointing focus system. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though; I have plenty that I want to discuss about the Fujinon 18mm f/2 before giving my conclusion.

This is one of two “pancake” lenses offered by Fujifilm; the other is the 27mm f/2.8. Whereas the 27mm is a true pancake, the 18mm f/2 is only sort-of one, as it’s a little on the large size for this category. Think of it more of a Japanese pancake than an American flapjack, or maybe it’s a short stack. The 18mm f/2 is compact glass for when you want a little less girth and weight, but it’s not quite as small as one might hope for.

In this lens are eight elements in seven groups with seven semi-rounded blades. You won’t get great sunstars. Bokeh is pretty good, although not something you’ll experience much because it’s a wide-angle lens. The 18mm focal-length is full-frame equivalent to 27mm. The minimum focus distance is about seven inches, which is pretty good. The maximum aperture is f/2 and the minimum is f/16, with 1/3-stop intermediate clicks. The lens accepts 52mm threaded filters.

The Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is sharp in the center at all apertures. It’s slightly soft on the edges at all apertures, but more so when wide-open, so it’s best to stop down to at least f/2.8 or f/4 if you can. I didn’t notice any vignetting. There’s not much distortion, and I didn’t notice any chromatic aberrations; I wonder if it’s because the camera is correcting this—as you probably know, I shoot JPEGs, and I didn’t inspect the RAW files. Image quality from this lens is clearly Fujinon, and I’m quite happy with how it renders pictures.

This is one of Fujifilm’s oldest X-series lenses, and it shows. It’s in desperate need of a refresh. Autofocus is the slowest I’ve experienced in a Fujinon model, outside of macro lenses that have a long range to cycle through. It’s also the loudest. I found manual-focus, which is focus-by-wire, to be somewhat unpleasant. The focus system on this lens is disappointing, but ultimately it is sufficient for most situations, so you just have to put up with it. Hopefully at some point Fujifilm makes a new version with a better focus motor.

The 18mm f/2 is quite prone to lens flare, which you might love or hate depending on how you feel about it. Fujifilm does provide a lens hood that’s highly effective, but it adds significant length, which defeats the point of it being a pancake lens—with the hood it makes this lens the same size as the 16mm f2.8. I’m personally okay with the flare, so I don’t use the hood.

Fujinon 18mm f/2 flare example.
Fujinon 18mm f/2 flare example.

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens isn’t weather-sealed (which only matters if your camera is), it doesn’t have any image stabilization (which isn’t a big deal on a wide-angle lens), and it’s slow and loud compared to other Fujinon lenses. Yet it retails for $600! The only thing special about the 18mm f/2 is that it’s small and lightweight, which is why I bought it and why I plan to keep it, but I wouldn’t pay $600 for it.

If you can find one for a good price, it might be worth owning. Otherwise, there are better options to consider, including the 14mm f/2.8, 16mm f/2.8, 16mm f/1.4, 8-16mm f/2.8, 10-24mm f/4, 16-55mm f/2.8, 18-55mm f/2.8-f/4, 16-80mm f/4, and 18-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6. Heck, the 15-45mm f/3.5-f/5.6 and 16-50mm f/3.5-f/5.6 might even be better options! Pretty much any Fujinon lens that covers this or a similar focal length will have some advantages over the 18mm f/2. The one and only reason to buy the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is if you need a small pancake-like wide-angle lens to attach to your camera. If you need that, this lens is your best bet because it’s your only option.

Ah, but the pictures captured through this lens are quite nice, even if the experience of capturing them is less than ideal. That’s why I said this is the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You have to know this going into it, or you’ll likely be disappointed. If you can put up with the quirks and can get it for a good price, you’ll find glass capable of capturing beautiful images, and that’s what matters most. I don’t love the lens, but I do like it and plan to use it frequently.

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 on a Fujifilm X-T30:

Shallow Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Calm Canal – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Farmington Bay Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Sky Reflections in the Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
International Fence – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Red Steel Pile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Dirty Shore & Reflections – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Algae & Broken Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Puddle in the Path – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Still Water Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Seagull Over Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Wetlands Under Pastel Sky – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Structure Abstract – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Bucket in a Basket – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Sidewalk Intersection – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Three Seagulls – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Tree & Reflection – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Dramatic Sky Over Shallow Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2

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New Fujifilm Deals

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm just rolled out some new sales, and I thought I’d pass this along to you, in case you are in the market for one of these items. I don’t know if any of these are blockbuster deals, but there are some worth pointing out nonetheless. I hope that whatever you are looking for are among these items.

For cameras, the best deals are on the X-T20 and X-H1. I wanted to point out that the X-H1 bundled with a lens is an especially good bargain. The camera is already a great value at $1,000, but you can bundle it with a lens for an even better deal! The X100F is on sale, which doesn’t happen frequently. If you just need a cheap second body (or perhaps a Christmas or birthday gift for someone), the X-T100 is very inexpensive and worth taking a look at.

For lenses, there are a few good deals, which you can see below. The Fujinon 90mm f/2.8, which I recently reviewed, is on sale, too, but I didn’t include it in this list because it is “only” $100 off. I’m just showing you the best deals. You can find the prices of everything on my Fujifilm Gear page, as there are other cameras and lenses on sale besides what’s found below.

Fujifilm X Cameras:

Fujifilm X100F $1,100   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T20 (Body Only) $600   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T20 w/16-50mm lens $700   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T20 w/18-55mm lens $900   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-H1 (Body Only) w/Power Grip $1,000   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-H1 w/16-55mm f/2.8 lens $1,700   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/8-16mm lens $2,300   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/18-135mm lens $1,700   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/90mm lens $1,550   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/50-140mm $2,400   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/100-400mm $2,700   B&H
Fujifilm X-T100 (Body Only) $400   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T100 w/15-45mm lens $500   B&H   Amazon

Fujifilm X Lenses:

Fujinon 8-16mm f/2.8 $1,800   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8 $650   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 $650   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8 $1,400   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 80mm f/2.8 $950   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 $1,700   B&H   Amazon

Fujifilm GFX Cameras:

Fujifilm GFX 50R w/63mm lens $5,000   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm GFX 50R w/32-64mm lens $5,800   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm GFX 50S (Body Only) $5,000   B&H   Amazon

Fujifilm GFX Lenses:

Fujinon GFX 23mm f/4 $2,100   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 32-64mm f/4 $1,800   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 63mm f/2.8 $1,000   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 100-200mm f/5.6 $1,500   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 250mm f/4 $2,800   B&H   Amazon

These are affiliate links, which, when you purchase something using them, I get a small kickback. It doesn’t cost you anything, yet it helps to financially support this website. I would never ask you to purchase something that you don’t want, but if you found this article helpful and are planning to buy one of these items, using my links to do so helps me tremendously. Thank you for your support!

Great Fujifilm Deals

There are currently some great deals on Fujifilm cameras and Fujinon lenses at Amazon right now. If you’ve been thinking about buying one of these items, now is a good time because of the great discounts being offered. If you use the links below, you’ll be supporting this site. Nobody pays me to write the articles you find here, so using my affiliate links is one way that you can support what’s happening at Fuji X Weekly.

As far as Fujifilm cameras go, the Fujifilm X-T2 is still $500 off and the Fujifilm X-H1 with grip is an incredible deal at just $1,300! There are some other promotions currently being offered, but these two are the good ones that you should be aware of.

For Fujinon lenses, the Fujinon XF 200mm f/2 is $1,000 off, Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 is $500 offFujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 is $400 off, Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 APD is $350 offFujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 is $300 off, and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 is $300 off. Those are the best discounts currently being offered on lenses.