When it comes to versatility and performance, the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens is an excellent choice. Available as part of a kit or sold individually, this lens performs exceedingly well. Although there are other lenses with a similar focal range for the X-mount system, and great ones at that, this lens should not be dismissed as merely a kit lens, as it produces some great results.
Fujifilm, renowned for their exceptional optics, delivers again, providing remarkable imaging capabilities and a widely used focal range. The focal range spans from wide-angle to portrait-friendly standard zoom, designed to cater to a myriad of photographic needs, whether capturing sweeping landscapes, intimate portraits, or street scenes.
The lens boasts solid construction, combining metal and high-quality plastics, making it durable without adding excessive weight. While it's not weather-resistant, it can still withstand a light shower, as I've experienced. Measuring 70mm wide and 97mm extended and weighing just under 308 g, this lens is very portable. Its relatively small size makes it a great choice for those seeking a versatile travel companion without compromising performance. It features a 58mm diameter filter thread and a petal-shaped lens hood to complete its design.
The XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS boasts a respectable and popular focal range, covering wide angle to standard zoom perspectives. At 27-84mm in full frame equivalent, this range allows for shooting landscapes, portraits, and everyday scenes with great clarity and detail. With an aperture range of f/2.8-4, the lens offers both low-light capabilities and the potential for beautiful bokeh in portrait shots.
The lens itself is made up of 14 elements in 10 groups, including 3 aspherical and 1 ED element, with an aperture range of f.2.8 - f/22 in 1/3 increments.
The linear motor autofocus is swift, quiet, and accurate, locking onto subjects quickly and accurately. The focus ring operates smoothly, offering a tactile and precise feel. It’s responsive without being overly sensitive, with good friction allowing for precise manual adjustments when needed. The optical image stabilization (OIS) included in this ‘kit’ lens is particularly useful for handheld shooting or in low-light conditions, and can be engaged or disengaged via buttons on the lens. The aperture ring is barely audible, and it can be controlled either by the lens or the camera, depending on your shooting preference.
The gallery below contains images captured during a hike and a recent holiday. I wanted to travel light, so I only took the 18-55mm and no tripod. Initially, I was hesitant about this, considering the destination, but as it was more of a break than a photographic trip, it was worth it. All photographs were captured using aperture priority to test how the lens reacted quickly to different situations. You may notice a slight lack of contrast in the architectural images, more so in the skyscrapers. This actually has nothing to do with the lens; there was a constant haze during our time there. The images have very minimal post-production adjustments.
- Sharp images
- Standard zoom range
- Purchase individually or as part of a kit.
It's very close in focal range to the 16-80mm, so you may be swayed towards its constant f/4 aperture and extra reach.
One of the most appealing aspects of this lens is its versatility, catering to a wide range of photographic genres, from street to portrait to landscape. It's an all-rounder, combining focal length, aperture, and image stabilization to reassure in lower light scenarios. While there are other lenses with similar ranges in both aperture and focal length, some do not contain OIS. Ultimately, the decision is driven by your requirements and budget, but at $699, you really can't go wrong with this lens.
If you have a choice between the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS and the XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR, there is only a slight difference of $100. I haven’t yet tried the 16-80mm, although you will find some positive reviews there. The XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR offers a constant f/4 throughout the range, so this might be what you are looking for in a short standard zoom. When I purchased my Fujifilm X-T5 mirrorless camera, the option of the 16-80mm wasn’t there at the time but I haven't been disappointed in my decision in any way. This is a great lens, and although sold as a kit lens, it does not mean in any way that it’s sub-par. Far from the contrary, it’s a fantastic lens, and you will not go wrong with it.
For me, it was great on my travels and as an everyday carry-around lens. I have it attached to my camera very often when I’m out and about, as it allows me to capture a variety of images from intricate details to landscapes and architecture. It is a very versatile lens and should not be dismissed as an everyday kit lens, as it captures clean, sharp images with excellent color reproduction across the entire focal range.
If you are a Fuji shooter, you already know the quality optics that they produce throughout the range. If you are relatively new to Fuji, I would definitely not underestimate this lens, as you will be surprised by the results.