It’s Wonderful! Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 R LM WR Lens Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

It’s easy to see why photographers keep making the switch to Fujifilm. The X-System brings nostalgic joy back to photography. Their film simulations let photographers be photographers again, and their lens roadmap keeps expanding. The new Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens provides the classic 28mm equivalent focal length paired with a fast aperture. It’s an ideal focal length and is speedy enough to take anywhere, making the system even more enticing.

It’s weather-sealed, and the linear motor provides even quicker autofocus. We spent the last few weeks with this lens to see if it measures up to our first impressions. It does. It may even surpass them. Keep reading to find out why.

Too Long Didn’t Read

The Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens provides the classic 28mm equivalent focal length with a fast aperture. The linear motor delivers even more impressive autofocus, and it’s weather sealed. Images are beautifully sharp with painterly bokeh, gorgeous colors, and solid contrast. The film simulations make editing a breeze and get you back to shooting in no time. It is a lens that you can and will want to take with you everywhere.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • It’s quite sharp
  • Swift autofocus
  • Lightweight and ergonomic
  • Withstands the elements
  • Great for a variety of applications
  • Beautiful optics

Cons

  • Minimal chromatic aberration when shooting backlit
  • Vignetting is a con if you don’t appreciate it, although it’s easily fixed

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm XF 18mm f1.4 lens with the Fujifilm X-T4 body. We also used the StellaPro CLx-10 LED light.

Tech Specs

Summarized from the listing over at LensRentals.

  • Weather sealing
  • f1.4 aperture to f16
  • Linear motor
  • 62mm filter thread
  • Optional metal lens hood
  • 9 aperture blades
  • 370 grams
  • 15 elements in 9 groups
  • 3 aspherical elements
  • 1 ED element
  • $999

Ergonomics

Fujifilm prime lenses are known for their superior ergonomics and this lens doesn’t disappoint. The Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens is lightweight and fits perfectly in your hand. It’s a joy to shoot with all day.

The first thing you see is the classic textured aperture ring. It also has an A-setting to control the aperture through the camera. Next is the focusing ring with a texture that provides an ergonomic grip. On the other end of it, the aperture ring has an A-setting. The A-setting lets you control the aperture through the camera body.

Unlike the 16mm f1.4 and the 23mm f1.4, the Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR doesn’t have a snapback. So if you want to focus manually, you need to do it through the camera settings.

Build Quality

This lens feels solid. The WR in the name of this lens means it’s weather-resistant. I spent a few days with this lens in varying elements up in the mountains. It performed effortlessly through dense smoke from wildfires, dusty mountain winds, and light rain. I also sat it underneath a sprinkler and then took some images of my cat playing afterward. The Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens had no trouble keeping the dust and moisture out.

Autofocus

This lens performs like you hope it will, if not better. The Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens provides snappy and quiet autofocus thanks to its linear motor. I tend to prefer shooting with a chosen focusing point, and this lens delivered time and time again. I experimented with wide-zone focus, AF-C, and face detection. (There were even a few times that it detected my cat’s face.) I even put it on the continuous shooting mode and blasted a few frames at a time while playing with my cat. Seeing that he is the most difficult subject I’ve ever photographed, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the results.

The manual focus of this lens is also delightful. The barrel glides smoothly, and achieving focus is quick. The only time I found manual focus to be faster than autofocus was when I was shooting in low light conditions well past blue hour. The lens did achieve autofocus in these instances.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens is a standard modern lens in the lineup. The aperture ring is very convenient and a huge reason why I particularly enjoy shooting with Fujifilm. You can also switch the aperture ring to A-mode and control the aperture through your camera. Manual focusing is effortless to achieve as well. This lens doesn’t have the snapback autofocus feature, although the autofocus is so good you don’t need it.

Image Quality

There’s a lot to love about this lens. It’s sharp. The lens boasts good bokeh that you’ll enjoy. It also keeps any majorly annoying, traditional lens issues at bay. And then there’s Fuji’s color, which comes primarily from its sensor output. No matter what simulation you use, you’re going to adore this lens.

Bokeh

Look at this! It’s really nice. The Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 R WR LM is a great lens if you want documentary-style images. And so this lens shouldn’t have Fuji’s best bokeh. Indeed, there are lenses with creamier bokeh. Still, though, it’s quite nice. The lens doesn’t have a lot of contrast either, so you’ll need to use lighting to effectively make your subject stand out.

Sharpness

When shooting wide open at f1.4, it is impressively sharp throughout the frame when focused on infinity. It is sharp at the center for closer subjects and improves when stopping down to f2 or f2.8. Optimal sharpness is achieved between f2.8 and f8. Images do become a little softer when stopped down past f8. This is only apparent when zoomed in more than 100%, and the photos are still absolutely usable.

This lens allows you to get quite close to your subject. The bokeh created by the Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens is smooth and beautiful. The combination of the wide-angle and fast aperture creates a unique perspective ideal for highlighting your subject.

Lens Character

The wide-angle of the Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 is wide enough to create fun distortion when you want it. Any unwanted distortion is a simple fix in post-production. The lens does create some vignetting, which is reduced when the lens hood is removed. There is a minimal amount of chromatic aberration in backlit situations. There is also a bit of distortion, which is natural as it is a wider angle lens. All of this is easily corrected in post-processing.

Color Rendering

The color created with this lens when paired with Fujifilm’s film simulations is precisely what you’ve come to know and love. Classic Chrome provides images that are true to real life without the annoying green or magenta when utilizing auto white balance. Classic Neg is ideal for situations when you want a little more punch of color. These are my go-to choices and make for minimal post-processing, allowing me to get back out shooting.

Extra Image Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Lots of folks will post reviews that show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. It’s not showing what the lens can do. So, our Extra Image Samples section shows edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.

Edited

Unedited

Conclusions of the Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 Lens Review

Likes

  • Fast autofocus
  • Aperture ring
  • Super sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Great focal length for many shooting applications
  • Comfortable to shoot with all day
  • Weather-resistant

Dislikes

  • Natural vignetting can be heavy with the lens hood
  • Chromatic aberration in the highlights

There’s a lot to love about this lens and not much to complain about. Distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberration are minimal and easily remedied in post. I’d much rather have that option than a technically perfect, clinical lens devoid of character.

The Fujifilm XF 18mm f1.4 lens is something that you can attach to your camera body and leave on. It’s the perfect focal length for street photography and a perfect walk around lens for travel. The wide-angle paired with the fast aperture is great for storytelling and environmental portraits. You can even shoot beautiful food and product images with this lens.

Autofocus is achieved incredibly fast. Bokeh is painterly, and the images are sharp. The film simulations make for simple editing and allow you to get back to shooting quickly. This lens is fun and beautiful, and you won’t want to take it off of your camera. If you are looking for significant reasons not to buy this lens, there aren’t any.

We’re giving the Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 XF WR lens five out five of stars.

Want one? It’s priced at $999 and you can pick it up here.

Supplemental reporting provided by Chris Gampat.

Brittany Smith

Brittany is a commercial fashion and portrait photographer working in Montana and NYC. When not behind a camera she can usually be found at a local artisan coffeeshop, writing for photography education sites and publications, teaching fitness classes, or baking something fabulous.