Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 WR
- Weight: 13.1 oz/370 Grams
- Weather Sealed: Yes
- Filter Size: 62mm
- Angle of View: 76.5 Degrees
- Focusing Distance: 7.9″/20cm
- Max Aperture: F1.4
- Minimum Aperture: F16
- Image Stabilization: No
- Mount System: Fuji X
- Price: $999
Table of Contents
Who is the Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 for?
The Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 is not Fujifilm’s first attempt at creating a lens with a 27mm full-frame equivalent focal length. After all, the 18mm F2 was one of Fujifilm’s first XF lenses with a release date of 2012!
There are two target audiences for this lens, the first is Fujifilm video users. The autofocus is excellent, and it is a surprisingly good focal length for that application. The second category is those who wish to purchase into the new Fujifilm prime ecosystem. (18mm F1.4, 23mm F1.4, 33mm F1.4, and the 56mm F1.2 WR) These lenses excel in regard to sharpness across the entire frame, are weather resistant, and have multi-functional purposes.
What other Wide-Angle lenses exist?
The 8-16mm F2.8’s price has recently been lowered to $1,499. On the used market, it can be found for less than $1,000. Although it is difficult to purchase accessories for, the sharpness from center to corner is better than other lenses with this wide of a focal length.
I’ve carried around the 10-24mm F4 for almost two years at this point, and there are a couple of things you should know. It performs better on the wider-end than on the longer-end. (Around 20mm is when the lens starts to struggle.) It’s not actually the best Fujifilm lens for video, as the OIS is good but not great in combination with Fuji’s IBIS. Finally, it’s great for daytime photography. F4 is not enough light for anything at night.
- Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8
Along with the 18mm F2, this is one of those XF lenses that is not widely reviewed or acclaimed. Some people in Facebook forums swear by it, however.
I own this lens, too. For a while, this lens was iconic. It is sharp, has a close minimum focusing distance, and the manual focus clutch installed intrigue for those who adopted Fujifilm for the manual control feeling. It continues to be an excellent lens for photography, and I compare it against the 16mm F1.4 in the bottom of this article.
- Fujifilm XF 16mm F2.8
A pocketable lens for the smaller, XF bodies, the 16mm F2.8 has quick autofocus. Plus, the sharpness is good enough from what I hear. I have not had the pleasure of testing this lens out, as I already own the 16mm F1.4. However, I intend to review it shortly.
- Fujifilm XF 18mm F2.0
One of Fujifilm’s first attempts at creating an XF lens. This lens is one of the smallest within the entire XF ecosystem. I don’t hear a lot about this lens in various forums, nor do I really read any reviews about it, either.
Dials, Switches, Buttons, and More
There is only one major button on the 18mm f1.4, and that is the aperture lock next to the smallest aperture, F16.
The metal used on the 18mm F1.4 is the typical, metal finish that is used on almost every Fujifilm lens. At the time of writing this, the only real XF exceptions to this finish are zoom lenses such as the 18-120, 150-600, and the 200mm F2.
Photographers will appreciate that the numbers are marked, and the aperture ring does click a bit, (Although, you can use one of the command dials to change the aperture if you prefer.)
I found the lens to be well-balanced, and because of its shape, it doesn’t skew heavy towards the front lens element or close to the lens mount. This is imperative for both the larger and smaller bodies.
The manual focus ring is excellent, in my opinion. I don’t necessarily know if I would rely on it for video, as to get from the minimum to medium focusing distance is quite a long throw. However, it is easier to get from medium to infinity.
When thinking about the combination of the field of view of a 27mm lens, a crop-sensor body which has less bokeh, and apertures, it’s really difficult to imagine a scenario in which I would need to shoot beyond F9 or so. However, because this lens might be one of the sharpest XF lenses I have ever tested (along with the 56mm F1.2 WR), I wouldn’t hesitate to.
At F1.4, the 18mm F1.4 starts strong in the corner. So much so, the only difference between F1.4 and F2 is an ever-so-slight increase in contrast. (Really, I might not have seen any marginal improvement.)
At F4, this lens is perfection. I cannot find any fault with this lens in regards to sharpness. And it will continue on this way until about F11. I didn’t even feel like at F11 or F16 the image was that bad, either, which is impressive considering it usually falls apart.
The corners are noticeably less sharp than the center, but more than usable for 99% of your photographs.
At F1.4-F2.8, the lens performs amicably, and I would rate it a solid 8.5/10. It gets incrementally better until you reach around F4, which is when I think the corner sharpness is around the same as the center. Really, from around F4-F5.6, this lens is amazing. I think at F8 is certainly great too, and it is around F11 that diffraction becomes evident. F16 is a decrease in image quality, too.
Yes, I am nitpicking. But the drop-off of the 18mm F1.4 from center to corner is still better than every Fujifilm zoom lens that has been made, so far….
18mm F1.4 Color Fringing
To my naked eye, and not cropping in whatsoever, there was not any color fringing in my photographs. However, when zooming into 200%+, there might have been a bit. It is gone by F2, though.
- @F1.4: It really took me looking into two different photographs to determine if there was any color fringing. (The second photograph is available upon request.) In darker scenes that involve brown or black bokeh, I really don’t think anybody will notice. However, with something that is silver, this might be the most noticeable color. There was a slight, slight amount of fringing at F1.4
- @F1.6: Not even a full-stop away, the color fringing is about halved. Wow…
- @F2: There is no color fringing that I noticed.
I did not see any soap bubble effects or onion ring-like problems with the bokeh, and I was actually surprised at how well it was rendering all things considered.
- Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 @1.4 – Bokeh Balls
The bokeh balls at F1.4 are pretty good, in my unscientific opinion. The center has nice, round bokeh balls. And although there is a slight, slight cat’s eye effect, I don’t find them distracting. Nor are the points that apparent compared to some of the other lenses.
- Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 @2 – Bokeh Balls
F2 is when the bokeh balls perform the best, especially in the corner. I think the consistency is there, and there is no reason that anyone should be disappointed at this aperture.
- Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 @2.8 – Bokeh Balls
At around F2.8 or so is when we do start to see the polygonal shape of the aperture blades starting to take effect. This lens has a 9-bladed diaphragm, so it does perform better than almost every seven-bladed lens. The results are usable, however.
- Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 @4 – Bokeh Balls
And at F4, there are definite polygonal-shaped bokeh balls, and I would avoid using them. However, having three stops of bokeh balls which can be used is pretty good.
The photo autofocus was fast, and I am not going to complain a bit. If I had to rate it, it’s among the top Fujifilm lenses in regard to autofocus speed.
Video Autofocus Test
And because of that, this lens excels at video. From minimum to infinity, the speed racks well and is mostly smooth. It does contain Fujifilm’s newer linear motors, and the videos below were shot using AF Speed +0 and Tracking +0.
This might be a unique focal length to cinematographers, but I wouldn’t hesitate to pair the 18mm and 33mm F1.4 for almost all my video needs.
This lens is perfect for when Fujifilm creates a cinema-worthy body.
IBIS -Only but no OIS Review
By pairing this lens with the X-S20 or X-H2s, I am happy to report you will have excellent, handheld results despite the lack of optical image stabilization in the lens.
Fujifilm’s IBIS system excels at handheld, static shots, as long as they are above 16mm (24mm full frame) focal length. It does struggle when it comes to walking, though.
If you pair this lens with some of the newer lens bodies and a gimbal, you will get even better shots. When it comes to video, I really cannot think of a reason to not trust this lens.
There is minimal distortion with this lens!
And almost no vignetting that is noticeable, either! Good job, Fuji!
You really don’t get the best sunstars until around, which is acceptable given the field of view.
However, in all honesty, I was super pleased with the 18-bladed sunstars when stopping down.
This video below was taken first at F8, and then I stopped down to F16.
15 elements. 9 groups. 3 aspherical lenses. 1 ED element. The optical construction of this lens is complex, to say the very least.
And the flaring and ghosting are very noticeable. So much so, I thought that the new, wide-angle 8mm F3.5 actually handled flare and ghosts better than this lens.
Macro Performance and Max Reproduction Ratio
A maximum magnification of .15x, and the 18mm does a minimum focusing distance of about twenty centimeters.
We can occasionally use this lens for macro-light photography, but I think there are better alternatives such as the 16mm F1.4 and 30mm F2.8.
Will it be replacing my 16mm F1.4?
If I was starting out within the XF ecosystem, and I was adamant on purchasing a wide-angle prime lens, I would purchase the 18mm F1.4 over the 16mm F1.4. It is sharper, lighter, and does cost a few hundred dollars more, but the performance is excellent. (Even the sunstars,)
However, the law of sunk costs does affect me, so I will probably avoid purchasing the 18mm for now. To be honest, if I would start looking into video lenses seriously, I might jump ship to the Panasonic Lumix S5IIX system, along with the new prime lenses.
This 18mm, 33mm F1.4, 56mm F1.2 WR, 90mm F2m and the 200mm F2 all combined together create an excellent photography combination that is lightweight, and I am confident in the XF ecosystem in regards to photography output.
Pros of the 18mm F1.4
- It will hold its purchase price
Lately, I have been looking into purchasing some new photography gear, replacing my now defunct X-T20, and debating whether to purchase into a new ecosystem like the RF mount. However, in doing this, I have become actually aware of the value that the Fujifilm lenses actually have.
Honestly, I have been shocked that three years later, I am still able to achieve 50-70% of the purchase price. I really think that with the continued parts shortage, and the above-average resale value, that the 18mm F1.4 will continue to hold its value for the mid-term future.
In many ways, I think that the 18mm F1.4 might be one of the best lenses Fujifilm has ever made. The optical formula promotes excellence for the forty megapixel sensors. The autofocus is good enough
Cons of the 18mm F1.4
- New-Ish Price Tag
As one of the newer Fujifilm prime lenses, I have not seen as many used Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 WR’s hit the market as I would like to. So, the $999 price tag is a bit steep for some.
- Held Up by Lens Bodies
Someday, Fujifilm will create a camera body that competes with its rivals in terms of autofocus, video features, and internal body image stabilization. When it does, the 18mm F1.4 will be prepared.
- Flaring and Ghosting
Again, the flaring and ghosting aren’t the best. (Especially the ghosting) It is what it is, and it does not feel like I am compromising.
My Final Rating
Priced around $999, this lens is a bit steep. However, it is the same launch price as the 16mm F1.4, which launched around 2015. Given the recent increase in new camera gear, it would have made sense that this lens would cost a couple hundred dollars more. I think the pricing is a win, and it only loses .5 a point.
I don’t foresee any potential issues with this lens. It should do about everything you need it to.
There is a lost of half-a-point for the ghosting.
The build quality, from the weather gaskets to the paint, all appear premium. Additionally, the size allows switching between the new Fujifilm prime lenses without the need to rebalance on gimbals. It’s solid.
Overall: 19/20 or 95%