Following the decision to finally remove the Fuji 18-55mm zoom lens from my camera bag and move it on to pastures new, something that’s taken me too long to do in honesty, I’d pretty much already decided on it’s replacement - the Fuji 18mm F/2. As one of the original holy trinity the 18mm f/2 still has a major role to play today, and with prices for it pretty much on their knees for the 18mm, second hand well looked after examples can be picked up for under £200. I paid well under that for mine, boxed and with all the original bits. As you can see from the image above, it’s obviously a camera that’s been well used, but to be honest, I don’t mind that one bit - it’s more what it can do, than what it looks like.
With a minimum aperture of f/2 it wins out against the zoom lens shortest focal length, but doesn’t have the advantage of image stabilisation. However, in a lens this small it’s really not needed. When you consider including the lens hood it only weighs around 116 grams, it’s not particularly in need of it, nor would it seemingly benefit from it.
What the lens does have is the ability to produce nice sharp images, with very little loss of quality across the board. I’ve read mixed reports about the 18mm, including that it’s soft around the edges and does suffer from chromatic aberration (CA), but I have to say in real terms I don’t really see an issue with it, and it could work out to become one of my more favoured everyday lenses to use such is the quality it seems capable to produce.
At 18mm (27mm in full frame format), it’s not especially wide angle, but gives an extra dimension when you need something just that little wider. If I really needed a wide, wide angle lens then the 14mm would be a more advantageous purchase, but at this stage a) I don’t need it, and b) the cost is more than twice even on the second hand market.
What is interesting using this lens, is the speed in which it focusses on my XT-1. I wasn’t quite expecting it to be as quick as it is, and certainly there is little hunting around trying to find focus with it, even in less than ideal conditions. I’ve yet to try it on the X-Pro1, but I’m guessing that it’ll be of similar speed, with few issues on that too.
So, for the time being, I’m an all prime man which kind of suits me. No drifting around focal lengths which I tend to do with zoom lenses, the decision is made for me, which is one less thing to worry about for me. I’m still in two minds as to whether I need a step between 18mm and 35mm. A 23mm or even the small 27mm pancake lens would be the ideal filler to make sure all the shorter prime length bases are covered.
If you are looking for a relatively wide angle, cheap option for your Fuji, then the XF 18mm f/2 is certainly one I would add to your list.