Quick Facts about the Fujifilm XF 18-135mm F3.5-F5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens
- Weight: 1.08lb/490 Grams
- Weather Sealed: Yes
- Filter Size: 67mm
- Angle of View: 76.5 Degrees to 12 Degrees
- Focusing Distance: 1.48/.45cm
- Max Aperture: F3.5 (At 18mm)
- Minimum Aperture: F22
- Image Stabilization: Yes 🙂
- Mount System: Fuji X
- Price: $899
- Zoom: External
Table of Contents
Who is the Fuji 18-135 for?
Whenever you examine the current Fujifilm lens ecosystem, there are numerous zooms and primes.
Some lenses are quite old, such as the 18-135 which was released in 2014.
Now, you might be wondering… why am I reviewing this lens in the 2020’s, then? And the answer is because I can.
This lens was Fujifilm’s first attempt at making a super-zoom lens for the X-Mount. It had a full-frame equivalent of about 27-206mm, and there are other lens manufacturers that make similar lenses.
Super-zooms, such as the 18-135, are primarily marketed towards somebody who wants to purchase one lens that will cover 95% of their photos.
Unless you are shooting in low-light environments or want bokeh, you shouldn’t need much beyond F5.6. However, Fujifilm attempted to counter the low-light argument with a slightly effective OIS. But it’s important to note that at 35mm, you are already at F4.5.
Therefore, you will need something to pair with this lens.
What other XF lenses cover the 18-135 (APS-C)/27-206mm (FF) equivalent?
I suppose most of the lenses Fujifilm makes will be covered within this focal length. However, here’s a reminder of the options.
- Fujifilm XF 16-55 F2.8
Everyone’s favorite red-badge. The standard 24-70 F2.8 (Full-Frame equivalent) is the best performing zoom lens in this focal length. However, it is similar to this lens in the exclusion of OIS. And is the image quality really that good?
One of my least favorite lenses, the 16-80mm F4 always disappointed in regards to image quality. I think it’s a direct competitor to this lens.
- Fujifilm XF 18-55 F2.8-F4.0
The standard kit lens. A used copy can be purchased for around $300.
To me, the 18-120 is the “refreshed” version of the 18-135 despite Fuifilm word wording that the 18-135 (marketing not wording)
A beast. This lens is the best performing Fujifilm telephoto lens, period. Is it a bit expensive? Yup.
The telephoto equivalent of the 18-55, the Fujifilm 55-200 can be found for sub-$400. It’s important to note that this lens’s image sharpness struggles past 130mm.
- Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 LM WR
One of the most expensive wide-angle primes to date, the 18mm F1.4 is Fujifilm’s refresh of the 16mm F1.4. It has superior autofocus, very sharp across the entire frame, and has a good enough focusing distance. Pair it with the 56mm F1.2 WR and you will be satisfied.
An instant classic. The XF 23mm f1.4 is sharp, has beautiful sunstars, and it’s bokeh is magical.
Everything I said about the 23mm, but at the 33mm f1.4 ‘s focal length.
- Fujifilm XF 50mm F1
One of the few F1 lenses in the world that also has autofocus. However, with that 75mm FF focal length, how do you control your depth of field? It’s almost too shallow.
- Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 WR
A refresh of the original 56mm f1.2. This lens is now weather-resistant and has a closer focusing distance. (50cm)
- Fujifilm XF 90mm F2
It’s weather resistant, supposedly has fast autofocusing speeds (faster than the 56mm F1.2 WR, and is a valuable focal length for portraits. (Full-Frame = 135mm)
Fujifilm 18-135 FOV Sample Images
Just examining the field of view here, you can see that this covers an enormous field of view. For reference, the angle of view changes from about seventy-six to twelve degrees.
Which Fujifilm Camera Bodies Work Best for This Lens?
The lens photo below was the X-T4 paired with the 18-135.
For this lens, I appreciated having a deeper grip than some of the other X-T and X-TXX models.
The 18-135 certainly did not feel off-balance or tilted while it was not extended, but as the lens slowly crept towards the 135, it kind of had that feeling.
I don’t foresee this problem happening with any of the new Fujifilm models, so I think you should be fine with the
X-T, X-SXX, X-H, and others.
Dials, Switches, Buttons, Tripod foot, and More
This lens actually has a small footprint, and I was thankful for that.
Regarding switches, there are actually two different switches on the 18-135.
- OIS – On/OFF
The OIS allows you to turn off the optical image stabilization on the camera lens, instead of searching through the Fujifilm settings.
- Aperture Mode Switch
If you turn this switch to A, you can choose to program a button or dial on the camera body, and use that to change the aperture. Personally, I use the front command dial. (This is very similar to PASM cameras.)
Build Quality Review
I have two different things I noticed about the 18-135 build quality, and neither of them were good.
- Extension Zoom – Examined
The zoom ring rotates from right to left and left to right, and as expected, the zoom throw is massive. However, there were actually a few things I noticed about this.
#1: Interestingly, the zoom ring is not quiet.
#2: This is the problematic part. My 18-135’s zoom ring seems to get stuck around 100mm. I scoured the internet and read other reviews, and Klaus over at Optical Limits discovered the same thing in his review of the 18-135.
It is rather disappointing, as I cannot think of a single Fujifilm zoom lens that also has this problem.
Now, I am not as considered about sucking up sand or other objects with lenses as other people, but I would recommend purchasing a UV filter and possibly a wrap if you intend to use this at a beach. The sand is not going to damage it, but make it near impossible to clean easily.
- Aperture Ring
This is more of a personal preference, but I did notice a clicking noise on the 18-135’s aperture ring. Also, the aperture ring is not marked with the F-Stops, so you are reliant on the EVF or back display to determine your F-Stop.
Other 18-135 Build Quality Characteristics
The weather sealing is there, and there are no major spots for water to enter through on the lens. =
At which focal length does the aperture change on the Fujifilm 18-135?
I think it is kind of cheating that they argue that the minimum aperture is F3.5, and immediately at 19mm that minimum aperture if F3.6.
Additionally, losing almost a stop of light by 35mm is enough to make me angry.
Let’s not even talk about how the aperture starting at 83mm is F5.6.
So, here’s the takeaway, this lens is not to be used in low-light. Period.
Fujifilm 18-135 Brick Wall Sharpness Test (Corners)
From the video below, you’ll see that I found the 18-135 to be quite sub-par in regards to sharpness.
Additionally, I did not have an exact square or rectangle I cropped into. Instead, I just zoomed in to the approximate crop that I would use, if I was cropping at that focal length. (That is why 18mm is much more cropped in than 135mm.) That probably makes the test moot, but it’s how I use the lens.
I found that the 18-135 performs better on the longer-end than the wider-end in regards to sharpness. Also, it’s interesting that F6.4 was sharper than around F8.
With a lens like this, you certainly give up image quality and sharpness in the name of convenience.
This is not going to be a lens that you rely on the bokeh, as this lens does not offer a single attribute that will contribute to depth of field.
In the images below, you can determine what lies in both the foreground and background, and thankfully it is not too distracting.
Bokeh Balls Review
The bokeh balls were very, very bad with this lens.
There’s a pretty noticeable soap bubble effect, and that was even when the bokeh balls were round. At 18mm, you will see that the bokeh balls were not round at any aperture in the corner.
For awareness, there are only seven aperture blades, which might be one of the reasons this lens is not very good at bokeh balls.
Photo Autofocus Performance
The autofocus struggles, and it is very apparent that this was one of Fujifilm’s first lenses. If you test it on the older model (such as the X-T20), it is not going to be as reliable. I certainly missed some shots, so I tested on one of the newer models for all of these photos. (an X-T4)
Now, despite the autofocus being fast, it does hunt for some time. Let’s take for example, this picture here.
I took probably ten photos of this biker with zone-focusing and face detection on, and I only managed to achieve one photo in focus.
This all being said, here’s something interesting. The 18-135mm actually has faster autofocus than the 30mm F2.8, which is one of Fujifilm’s new-ish lenses.
Video Autofocus Performance
Almost everything I said about the photo autofocus is replicated in the video autofocus.
I suppose that this lens should not be as quick as the 18-120, and that makes sense as that lens contains newer linear autofocus motors.
Fujifilm OIS Test
According to Fujifilm, the XF 18-135 is rated for approximately 5 stops of OIS.
But if you add the X-T4 or other Fujifilm bodies that have Internal Body Image Stabilization, this lens and camera combo could be rated anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5 stops!
From my testing, I think Fujifilm’s claim of 5.5 stops with the X-T4 and 18-135 might be a bit exaggerated. (As you will hear me say in every review I do.)
However, I was able to get some pretty sharp hand-held photos with this combo at 135mm and 1/10s. That’s pretty good.
Macro Performance and Focusing Distance
Like the bokeh balls, we are not going to have a good macro performance from this lens. The focusing distance and reproduction of the 18-135 is:
|Minimum Focus Distance of 18-135:|
For this photo, I certainly had to step back a ways. (A lot further than I wanted.)
You can achieve some sunstars around F20, but it certainly is not going to make your image pop.
I counted about 12 or so points on the sunstar.
On the wider-end, there’s some major barrel distortion with the 18-135. Now, it’s important to note that their lens profiles in Capture One that will correct this automatically, and the JPEG version is almost fixed.
After the wider-end, there is ever-so-slight pincushion distortion as you creep throughout the zoom range, but I don’t think most people will notice it.
Pros of the 150-600
- Covers almost every focal length
I suppose there is one benefit to this lens, and that was that I never felt like any subject was too far away. The 18-135 has a good-enough focal length that many other systems use. (Olympus and Nikon both have versions of this lens.)
- Capable OIS
Although there is a lot of marketing material, I felt like the OIS on the 18-135 was capable. If I had to unofficially rate it, the 18-135 is at least good enough for a 3 or 4 stop improvement over no OIS.
Cons of the 150-600
This lens is not worth the MSRP, period.
- Sticky Zoom Ring
As mentioned above, I read numerous other reviews, and they all mentioned that sticky feature around the 100mm mark. That’s highly unacceptable for a lens that’s entire job is to be a super-zoom.
Nothing about this lens is memorable. It’s an old lens, and if you use it on older bodies, you will be disappointed.
Losing two points as it is three hundred dollars too expensive at MSRP.
It’s going to lose 1 point for sharpness. Meanwhile, it also lost an entire point for autofocus struggles. Finally, it loses .5 point for general reliability concerns.
Because it is imperative for this lens, the 18-135 lost an entire point for the sticky zoom ring. Additionally, -1 point for already being at F4.5 at 35mm. That’s too far into the zoom range.
I hardly vent about style, but I was kind-of disappointed in the 18-135. It just did not give the same old but nice feel that other XF lenses offer. There is no marked aperture ring (not a big deal), but the zoom ring seemed to collect dust. (-1 Point)
Total: 12.5 or 62.5%