It used to be the case that if you bought and used a zoom lens with a wide range, certain compromises in terms of optical quality had to be accepted. The Fuji 18-135mm however suffers no such limitations. This thing is good. In fact it's very good, the best 'superzoom' I've ever used. Optically it's a star and I've yet to be less that 100% satisfied with anything I've shot with it.
However, that's not it's piece de resistance. That is the fact that it's incredibly quick to zoom and focus. I've never used a zoom lens of this range and this size that was as speedy to use as this. A few days ago I was shooting in a Cotswold village and I needed to be fast. You'll get an idea of what I was taking pictures of by seeing my reflection in the hairdressers window. Now the X-T1 + 18-135mm isn't an unobtrusive smartphone, far from it, so I had to decide on my composition, shoot it and move on pretty quickly to avoid any 'misunderstandings'. And this is where the 18-135mm really shines. The zooming action is seriously fast. The lens is so beautifully engineered that it reacts instantly to what I want to do with it. I can't think that I would be able to work much quicker if I was using a prime.
The great advantage of this is that I was able to time my shots just right and get the composition I wanted. Add this to the X-T1's lovely bright viewfinder and the quick AF and somewhat surprisingly, I now have a Fuji 'speed machine'. Not something that those of us who used X100's and X-Pro 1's when they first came out would have ever imagined.
So it's hats off to Fuji for this. It's taken them a while to get round to releasing a lens of this type, but while they have certainly taken their time to produce the 18-135mm, it's been well worth the wait. I wrote in a previous post that I was fully expecting the the lens to be well-built and optically excellent, but I have to say I AM surprised (Pleasantly so) by just how fast and accurate it is to use. And while the weight and bulk of the outfit may not be ideal for fast moving situations there are no complaints from me about the responsiveness of the X-T1 / 18-135mm combination. As I indicated in the title of this post it is the best superzoom I've used. In fact I'd go further than that. This is one of the best lenses of any type I've ever used and for me it's certainly the most useful lens in the Fuji lens range and because of that, the best. And who would have thought I'd be giving that accolade to an 18-135mm. Certainly not me.
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