The Fujinon XF18-135mm f3.5-5.6 WR LM R OIS is eminently suitable as a travel lens. It’s compact and lightweight but sturdily built with a comprehensive set of weather-seals. Build quality feels excellent in all respects and, as an ‘R’ lens, it features a physical aperture ring. The 7.5x zoom range is modest for a superzoom lens, equating to 27-206mm in full-frame terms. Suffice it to say that wide-angle coverage and telephoto reach aren’t overly generous.
Mount: Fujifilm X
Full frame: No
Image stabilisation: Yes
Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
Angle of view: 76.5-12 degrees
Diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum aperture: f/22
Minimum focusing distance: 0.45m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.27x
Filter size: 67mm
There are some appealing features packed into this compact lens. Autofocus is driven by a linear stepping motor which is fast for stills and delivers smooth, near-silent focus transitions when shooting movies. There’s also a highly effective 5-stop optical image stabilizer, helping to keep camera-shake at bay. This is naturally a bonus when you’re travelling light and don’t want to lug a tripod around with you.
Quality glass includes four aspherical elements and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. All 16 elements in the optical line-up are treated with HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating), with the aim of boosting contrast and color accuracy, while minimizing ghosting and flare. A dedicated aperture ring is on hand for controlling the reasonably well-rounded 7-blade diaphragm.
Despite the relatively limited zoom range, sharpness is only good in the central region of the frame and, even here, it drops off disappointingly at the long end. Sharpness towards the edges and corners of the frame are lackluster at all zoom settings. Color fringing and distortions are relatively low, helped by in-camera firmware corrections.
We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.
We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the center of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic aberration).
Centre-sharpness drops off at the long end of the zoom range and edge/corner-sharpness is fairly mediocre throughout.
The firmware of Fujifilm X-series cameras automatically corrects fringing, even in raw files. The net result is that it’s very minimal at all focal lengths and aperture settings.
Thanks to in-camera corrections, there’s very little distortion at any focal length, and only marginal barrel at 18mm.
This Fujifilm X-mount superzoom has excellent build quality and refined handling characteristics. It makes an ideal travel lens for X-mount mirrorless cameras, being fairly compact and lightweight yet offering a sizeable zoom range. However, it’s pretty pricey to buy, has a relatively limited zoom range compared with many recent ‘superzoom’ lenses and certainly isn’t the sharpest tool in the Fujinon box.
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