First Impressions: Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Kevin-Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Product Images (1 of 4)

Over the last year Fujifilm has been filling in its lens line up with new zoom lenses including the XF 10-24 f4 and XF 55-200mm f3.5-4.8. Now Fujifilm has introduced a new XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, a lens that promises photographers a wide range of focal lengths in one relatively small package. But as is the case with most jack-of-all type lenses like this, we’re going to find out if it has sacrificed any image quality for all this flexibility.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the lens

  • Fujifilm X-Mount
  • 27-206mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/3.5-5.6 to f/22
  • Four Aspherical and Two ED Elements
  • HT-EBC Multi-Layer Lens Coating
  • Five-Stop-Effective Image Stabilization
  • Inner Focusing System & Linear AF Motor
  • Weather-Sealed Construction
  • Seven-Blade Rounded Diaphragm
  • Filter Thread: 67mm
  • Dimensions: 2.98 x 3.85″ (75.7 x 97.8 mm)
  • Weight: 1.08 lb (490 g)

Ergonomics

Kevin-Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Product Images (2 of 4)

The lens was surprisingly light when I picked it up for the first time every at Photo Plus East. Compared to most superzoom lenses designed for APS-C sensor DSLRs, it’s lost about a third of the weight and girth. Of course this is thanks to mirrorless cameras having a smaller flange distance, which in turn allows for more compact lenses.

Externally the lens closely follows the design of the XF 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 R LM OIS and comparatively is almost the same size. It features a rubberized zoom ring and plastic focusing and aperture rings. As the lens has a variable minimum aperture, the aperture ring is unmarked but it works just as well as the digital ring on Fujifilm’s XF 18-55 f2.8-4 kit lens. On the left hand side you’ll also find two switches for the lens’ optical image stabilization and turning on automatic aperture modes.

Build Quality

Kevin-Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Product Images (3 of 4)

Despite the 18-135mm lens’ diminutive size it’s still a solidly built lens comprised of mostly high-grade plastics. The lens fits well with my Fujifilm X-T1, so it should work well with larger Fujifilm bodies like the X-Pro 1. Put it on a X-E2 or X-M1 and gravity will tilt your lens down towards the ground as it hangs from your neck or shoulder. That said, the lens didn’t exhibit any zoom creep problems during my short time with it.

Ease of Use

Point, zoom, click, shoot, and repeat. Everything is that simple with this lens. It focuses quickly on its own and the zoom ring extends the lens smoothly. Photographer who like to shoot with manual focus won’t have any problems zeroing in focus themselves either because of the 18-135mm lens’ well dampened rings.

Autofocus

Kevin-Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Product Images (4 of 4)

Autofocus speeds were plenty quick on the wide end of this lens. At father focal ranges, however, the lens took an extra beat to hone in focus. The good news is in either case the lens didn’t wind back and forth trying to lock onto the subject.

Image Quality

Kevin Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens 27 mm 1-40 sec at f - 3.5 ISO 800

This is where the Fujifilm XF 18-135mm 3.5-5.6 started falling apart for me. It’s only sharp in the center and even then details can look a bit muddy. Additionally, colors were a bit more muted than we expected out of Fuji glass, but the X-Trans sensor still manages to translate skin tones very well.

Otherwise, don’t expect to get a lot of delicious bokeh with this lens, though, what little out of focus areas this lens produces do have a pleasing smooth look to them

Kevin Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens 74 mm 1-20 sec at f - 4.7 ISO 800

Kevin Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens 132 mm 1-15 sec at f - 5.6 ISO 800

Kevin Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens 148 mm 1-9 sec at f - 5.6 ISO 800

Kevin Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens 58 mm 1-10 sec at f - 4.5 ISO 800

Kevin Lee The Phoblographer Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens 27 mm 1-20 sec at f - 3.5 ISO 800

First Impressions

The Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 lens’ generous wide focal length range makes it a very attractive option for photographers. Whether you’re street shooing or covering events, this lens could do it all. Combined with the X-T1 you could have a great all-in-one kit that’s also designed to withstand the elements.

There’s a lot of promise from this lens and so far it has not impressed us in any regard. So far it just seems to be a lens with good build, good ergonomics, and good image quality. While I’m feeling pretty ho-hum on the lens right now, I’ll have to put this lens through the rigors of a full review before I can give my final verdict on this jack-of-all-trades kit.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Brooklyn.