How Fujifilm is Reimagining the Kit Lens; And Others Should Look to Them

julius motal the phoblographer x-e2 lens

You’re in the market for a new camera, and you go for the one with the kit lens bundled in. As you scroll through the options, you rub your temples as the f3.5-5.6 aperture becomes a tragic theme. You take a peak at the a99, and that 28-75 f/2.8 looks nice, but you have maybe half that amount to spend on a camera and lens. Then you come across the Fujifilm X-E2. It’s not yet on the market, but that kit lens looks mighty nice. The 18-55mm isn’t that impressive, but the aperture range is f/2.8-4 just like the X-E1 before it. Above all else, you get an aperture ring.

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The XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS’s 35mm equivalent focal length is 27-84mm. It sports an all metal construction, three textured rings and two switches. That sounds like more than you bargained for a kit lens–but hey, let Fujifilm give you more than you asked for. Or maybe it’s everything you asked for.

The ring farthest from the body is the focusing ring. The wider one behind it is the zoom ring. The smaller one half a step back is the aperture ring. You smack your forehead, and whisper, “An aperture ring…oh my.” Right behind that is a switch for the Optical Image Stabilization and another for Automatic or Manual aperture control.

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This is less a review and more of an ode. I’ve only had the unit for about a week, and of course everything has the potential to change. Yet, first impressions are important, and the quality of this kit lens is immensely refreshing vs the likes of others. When you move up to a professional DSLR, say a 5D Mark III or a D800, kit lenses are less of a concern because you most likely have a bevy of lenses.

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The 18-55mm f2.8-4 gives you complete optical control which is refreshing considering standard fare for kit lenses, and moreover, the aperture ring fits into the retro aesthetic of the X-E2. The focal length moves from a comfortably wide perspective to something close to a standard 50mm (disregard the 35mm equivalent for now).

What this really means is that you won’t really have to worry about immediately springing for a new lens because this one will give you great results. Granted, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on the Fujinon 35mm f1.4, you’ll get far better results, but this kit lens has got some chops. It’s got moxie.

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Of course, I wait for the day when a 50mm f1.something will be the kit lens, and who knows, Fujifilm may be the first to do it. We’ll have the X-E2 in house for awhile, and when another lens isn’t available, we’ll be getting stellar results with this glass. A proper review of this camera and its lens will come in due time. Just know that we’re super satisfied with it, and we hope all the major camera companies will take notice.

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We know that there have been constant aperture kit lenses like F2.8 or f4 zooms but, what about also considering bringing back the standard 50mm as a kit?

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