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Hands on: Fujifilm Fujinon XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR review

Fujifilm's first hybrid lens for the X-mount uses an electric drive control mechanism to provide a strong stills performance and an even better zoom action for video

Lauren Scott
(Image: © Lauren Scott)

Early Verdict

The Fujinon XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR is a versatile lens across many genres of stills photography, but it's an even more tempting prospect for videographers thanks to the constant internal zoom mechanism and ability to record remotely. Zooming is smooth and steady throughout the range, and the lens' compact sizing makes it a true go-anywhere companion.

Pros

  • +

    Smooth video zoom action

  • +

    Reasonable price

  • +

    Compact design

Cons

  • -

    Fixed maximum aperture

  • -

    No built-in stabilization

Fujifilm extended it's X-mount roadmap last year (opens in new tab) with four new optics, however the Fujinon XF 18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR lens wasn't truly announced until the May 2022 X-Summit event.

This new portable zoom has been designed as a true hybrid companion, meaning that the manufacturer has given weight to both stills and video when coming up with its design. Covering the equivalent focal lengths of 27mm – 183mm in the 35mm film format, it's a versatile range that allows photographers to capture landscapes, portraits and detail shots all in one optic. 

We got a hands on opportunity with the Fujifilm XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR at the launch of the Fujifilm X-H2S (opens in new tab), and put its versatility to the test as we wandered the streets of London. The lens is compact and easy to use, but what's the image quality like? And given that it can be used for advanced video performance, how do the features stack up there? Let's take a closer look...

Fujifilm XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Fujinon XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR: Specifications

Focal length: 18-200mm
Max. aperture: F4
Lens configuration: 15 lens elements in 12 groups (3 aspherical and 3 ED elements)
Minimum focus distance: 46cm
Max. magnification: 0.2x
Dimensions: TBC
Weight: 460g
Filter size: 72mm

Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR: Key features

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

The Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR has a constant maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the zoom range, but it's also got close-up capabilities thanks to the magnification ratio of x0.2. You obviously wouldn't be using this as a macro lens, but it's nice to know that it can capture detail shots when needed. The minimum working distance of 46cm from the front-most lens element is maintained at all focal lengths.

When it comes to zooming during video, the lens can actually suppress the change in angle of view during focusing and optical axis shift so as to keep the shot looking natural without distortion. As well having regular focus and zoom rings, the Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR goes further, with a variable zoom/focus control ring and a zoom button for constant zooming that's smooth to the eye.

Other standout features to aid video production include an updated aperture drive control which stops the exposure noticeably shifting when the aperture is adjusted – that means no bold changes in brightness when filming in changing conditions (say on a cloudy day when the sun goes in and out). 

Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR: Build and handling

Fujifilm XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

The Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR is made up of 15 lens elements in 12 groups, and the design is as simple as it needs to be. Because it zooms internally rather than extending, the lens barrel has an uncluttered yet rather suave exterior, keeping everything important tucked away inside.

On the barrel there are essentially three key areas of control. The zoom and focus control ring feels superbly smooth to rotate – if we were being picky it could be described as a little too slow – which is probably because the ring has been designed to produce a subtle zooming action while recording video footage. That said, the zoom speed is proportional to the speed that you rotate the ring, which gives the user a great level of control and confidence.

On the barrel there's also a Z/F selector, which as the name suggests changes the role of the ring between zoom and focus. This is a nice touch to have, and allows you to customize lens operation to suit you and the task at hand. The last control is a zoom button, which is used to power the zoom at a steady speed – again, perfect for video footage. A second press of this zoom button ends the zoom motion.

We're not sure whether this lens would stand up to heavy rain, but then it's not aimed at extreme users either. It is dust and weather resistant – sealed at 13 locations – and can be operated at 10 degrees Celsius below zero. 

Weighing just 460g, you barely notice the lens on a body like the Fujifilm X-H2S. Overall it feels well-balanced, tactile and the finish is high-end, with a 72mm filter thread on the the nose of the lens.

Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR: Performance

Fujifilm X-H2S sample images

Shot with the Fujifilm X-H2S at 1/150sec, f/4, ISO100 (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Fujifilm X-H2S sample images

Shot with the Fujifilm X-H2S at 1/350sec, f/4, ISO100 (Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Fujifilm X-H2S sample images

Shot with the Fujifilm X-H2S at 1/60sec, f/11, ISO100 (Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Fujinon XF18-120mm

Shot with the Fujifilm X-H2S at 1/140sec, f/4.5, ISO100 (Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Despite not having the best weather conditions for testing the Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR (with the new Fujifilm X-H2S) we were able to get some pleasing stills showing great detail color rendition – which isn't surprising given Fujifilm's rich history of color science. Even when shooting on very busy London streets, the rapid AF was able to keep up with our intended targets – even when others walked in front of them or they sped across the road.

At f/4 this lens is never going to be a master of low light photography or produce stunning bokeh, but then it's not designed to be. If you're looking for a light X-mount standard zoom then the similarly-priced Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR (opens in new tab) is probably your best bet.

But if you want to carry one lens around and know that it's equally adept at filming a wide range of situations and shooting both landscapes, portraits and lifestyle shots, this could well be a winner. The zoom ring really is smooth and silent, so it does the job for video transitions very effectively. We'd still like to (and will) test its video capabilities further, as we didn't have enough time with the lens to give a solid verdict here either way.

Fujifilm X-H2S with Fujifilm XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR

(Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR: Early verdict

There's no doubt about the market positioning of the Fujinon XF18-120mmF4 LM PZ WR lens. It looks to be ideal for content creators who want a portable lens with a smooth zoom for video footage, but it shoots brilliant everyday stills too.

The lens can also be used remotely to film video – if you're using the Fujifilm X-H2S and an optional FT-XH accessory – which is something that could make it an even more tempting proposition for pro videographers.

The Fujinon XF18-120mm F4 LM PZ WR is due for release in September, a little later than the Fujifilm X-H2S and Fujinon XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR (opens in new tab). The current suggested price is $899/£899.

We'll be bringing you a full review very soon, with lab tests, scores and more test shots with a fully-fledged (not pre-production) lens.

Read more

Fujifilm X-H2S review (opens in new tab)
The best Fujifilm camera (opens in new tab)
The best Fujifilm lenses (opens in new tab)

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Lauren Scott
Lauren Scott

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography. 

With contributions from