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• 5 minutes read

After 3 years of usage, I review Fujifilm's "kit" lens

Note: all images below are processed. I have my own style; I don’t rely on presets provided by Fujifilm’s film simulations. Also, keep in mind that I’m reviewing this lens as a landscape photographer.

Introduction

In the APS-C world, 18-55 lenses are sold in a kit. When I started photography back in 2014, I bought a Nikon D3200 with the monstrously awful Nikkor AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G VR. This lens and its counterpart in the Canon world have a pretty bad reputation, for good reasons. Back in the days, you had to spend pretty much a thousand euros (or dollars) to get a well built and sharp lens from those two.
Then, I discovered the Fujifilm X system. The first camera I tried was the X-T1. What a revelation! A mix between a vintage look and modern technologies immediately made me love it. A few months later, in March 2017, I jumped right in with the Fujifilm X-T20 and the Fujinon XF 18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS. From there, I shot pretty much 70% of my images with it. In October 2019, I even bought the X-T3 with a second 18-55! Let’s see why.

My experience so far

Proper photography equipment is expensive. But I refuse to compromise the quality of my images. That’s why I either buy Fujinon lenses or nothing (not anymore at least). Luckily, Fujifilm doesn’t make bad XF lenses. And one of their best is sold in a kit with their cameras. That means you can join the community of Fujifilm shooters for a relatively low price with, for instance, the Fujifilm X-T30 for around $1299. That means you get roughly $200 off from the $699 that the lens costs. And the web is full of excellent deals that can save you more money. You could even go second hand if that’s something you don’t mind.
Anyway, once you have that in your possession, you’re good to go. And if like me, you love traveling and shooting landscapes, you can shoot almost everything you want with just a single lens.

Now, what if you want to shoot wider images? Assuming your wallet can follow, you could buy the awesome Fujinon 10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS. But that’s not what we want to do here. To have a larger field of view, you could shoot a panorama of vertical images! Yes, it requires processing, but that’s better than nothing because there are situations where I still haven’t found a solution. Like when you need to go beyond 55mm. Yes, you could buy the Fujifilm XF 2x TC WR Teleconverter for $449 or add $250 for the magnificent Fujinon 55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. But you know, you can compensate for your lack of lenses by your creativity. Because that’s what photography is all about. Have original ideas, don’t focus on your frustration.

Here’s the kind of look you can achieve by shooting past 55mm (67mm here).

Beyond being capable of giving you impressive image quality, the 18-55 also has a great optical stabilization. It’s extremely useful, especially if you have a camera with In-Body Image Stabilization, such as the X-T4 or the X-H1.

Natural History Museum of London, handheld, OIS enabled, 29mm, ƒ/3.2, 1/15s and ISO 640.

Conclusion

So, what do you think so far? If you’re looking for a more technical review, I won’t be able to help. There already are plenty of reviews covering all those details on the web. To me, reviewing a lens is done on the field, producing real work with it and telling people what you think with your heart.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality. It’s almost all metal and beautiful;
  • Excellent optical quality;
  • Excellent focal range that covers plenty of situations;
  • Great optical stabilization.

Cons

Well, in our context (which is landscape photography, for those who jumped right in conclusion), It’s tough to find anything negative about it.

Weather sealing could be a nice thing to have, but the lens would cost more. And I don’t think you nor Fujifilm wants that.
Just take care of your lenses and don’t shoot under the rain unless you’re protected from water.

Bonus shots

That’s it for today!

You may have noticed that the point of this post also was to inspire you to shoot more and better with whatever you can afford.

See you later!

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