July 31, 2014
This is better than any kit lens you'd find on nikon and canon.
It has great optical quality, it's faster than most kit glass, and is very small and easy to pack. I'll briefly go through these characteristics.
The optics are awesome, combined with Fuji's autocorrection magic, this glass is very well controlled.
You can also shoot portraits with decent bokeh at the 55 range, which is roughly 82-82mm full format equiv.
The bokeh wide open is very smooth, and feels 'creamy'.
You do get some lateral CA's shooting wide, but they are generally quite small and easily removed using LRoom.
And the fact you get f/2.8-4 with OIS, makes this pretty awesome in low light.
I shot a lot of low light scenes with my x-t1 using this lens for a wedding, and it held up very well. I even went as far as shooting in only candle light, hand held. The OIS combined with shooting at 18mm@f/2.8, made this work well.
This lens is tiny, but also sturdy and has nice construction. It's also very light considering the optics, build quality and speed. Even combined with the 55-200, your bag still wont' weigh much.
It's not as good as a constant aperture lens, but you can't compare it to one of those, as they are in a different category.
The only knock I'd give to Fuji is their lens cases are really cheap, they're just cloth wraps with a pocket, and with no form. They don't 'protect' the lens.
I ended up using the cases from my nikon/canon glass for this. But you can buy a new case easily. So I'm not really faulting it, the lens is really what I'm taking about.
I took this lens along with my 55-200 on a trip to England/Scotland. It was excellent.
Taking shots of castles at the widest 18mm, the edge details were decent, with some quality loss, but not a lot. I found that the distortion was very well controlled as well.
You can shoot portraits with this, but I would still recommend using the 55-200 over this, just for the extra compression. I do find this lens has a bit better A/F compared to the 55-200.
I'd highly recommend you purchase the 55-200 with this lens, that way you have a long range covered. If you really are looking for more speed, I'd wait for the fuji 2.8's coming out. But they're going to cost you a lot more, and supposedly don't have OIS.
Hope this was helpful.
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