The Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 Zoom - wide open

No decent weather in sight, so I decided to do some test shots with the Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 Zoom on my newly acquired X-E1. Pretty murky outside so I thought why not give the maximum aperture a try out? So moving from f/2.8 at the wide end to f/4 at the long end I shot a few tests.

There have been some conflicting reports on this lens, the first Fuji zoom for the X system. From Ken Rockwell raving about it and how its 'flawless' to some guy on the Fuji Dpreview forum saying its seriously soft. Well I'm coming down on Kens side here. Its actually very good, from these initial tests. The shot at the top of the page shows what can be got out of it in terms of sharpness. This is maximum aperture remember.

The shot below is even more impressive. 

If there is ever an almost perfect recipe for CA and fringing, its snowdrops, a zoom lens and the widest aperture. As you can see. No sign of it. OK I thought, so Adobe Camera raw with its CA and fringing removal tool has done its job. Problem was I hadn't turned it on. This is a raw file simply processed in Photoshop CS6, and its superbly free of problems.

I will admit I did find some very small amounts of CA at the wide end eventually, but I had to really look hard for it.

Above is another shot with a 100% blowup showing how crisp the files are. This was processed using the programme default settings for ACR. Colours are spot on also.

Below shows what kind of distortion it produces, with an example below of how I corrected it in Photoshop.

Again as you can see, pretty good there too.

Finally, in case you are interested. Bokeh!!!

So all in all pretty good across the board. Is this the best standard kit lens ever? Well probably, but then its not really a 'kit zoom'. Certainly not in the way that we understand that term. Its just a very good zoom lens, and obviously very nicely matched to the X-Trans sensor. It is I think somewhat better than the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8, though obviously it doesn't hold that fast aperture throughout. Sony have nothing like this for NEX, and while I quite liked the Samsung 18-55mm zoom, this is significantly better.

I must say in conclusion, I like this zoom at the wide end more than I like the 18mm prime. I had a look at some images I shot with that on my X-Pro 1, and these are sharper and with no CA / fringing which the 18mm prime does suffer from. (or at least mine did)

All in all a good start to my second X-Trans Sensor adventure.

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