when i planned my trip to munich some time earlier, i had my fingers crossed that fujifilm would release the new XF23 F2 in early september, giving me the opportunity to test the new lens in bavarias beautiful capital. well, things mostly don’t go as planned, and that is why i decided to bring the XF18 instead. i really like this little gem due to its size and image quality, however, the slow and loud AF are major letdowns for me. nevertheless, with the release of the XF23 on the horizont and limited space in my bag, the XF18 was the lens to go for my visit.
and what should i say. while i did not use the XF18 very often lately, i instantly remembered why i love this lens despite of all its weaknesses. it looks absolutely sexy when attached to my X-T1, and the handling is a real joy. i would say that this lens hat a perfect size for a prime – compact enough to fit into my small shoulder bag, yet big enough to comfortably change the aperture or focus manually.
with its focal lenght of 18mm at the X-Trans sensor, i was able to capture some decent architecture shots as well as some (for my opinion) decent street scenes, and while i sometimes felt that a little bit more focal lenght would be appreciated, i am not really sure if its worth the deal when i would loose the ability to shoot some more wide landscape or buildings.
as i previously said, the XF18 performed very great in the streets of munich. it also did a very good job indoors, and its fast aperture also allowed some pretty decent results in low light. however, the darker its gets, the more problems occur with its slow AF. on the other hand, focussing in bright daylight never caused any problems, and the loud noise of the XF18’s linear motor was silenced by the munich soundscape.
well, i am in a really strange situation right now. before my trip, i was absolutely convinced that i would grab my savings and get the XF23 on release day. now, i’m not so sure about that any more. the XF23 might have the superior AF on board, which of course would be a great improvement over the XF18. the thing is, the XF18 itself is a awesome lens, maybe lacking some corner sharpness when shot wide open, nevertheless providing razor-sharp center image quality.
when it comes to size, the XF23 F2 is said to be a little bit bigger than the XF35 F2, making it way bigger than the XF18. this fact, in addition to its rangefinder-friendly design which i can’t really stand, really makes me wonder if i should upgrade my gear with yet another prime lens. also, i think i probably had more situations when i needed a low focal lenght than the other way around.
of course, this is – again – a very subjective point of view, and i also really like the idea of having a fast, silent and weather resistant XF23 as my everyday-lens. i guess, time and testing will have to tell if i really need those 5mm less focal lenght for decent wide shots of if this might also be achieveable with 23mm.
but, to get back to the topic: if you don’t need superfast AF, but a wide focal lenght with compact measurements, get this lens asap. second hand prices for the XF18 are basically a steal, and getting a new XF18 is also pretty affordable compared to some other lenses and brands. however you decide, this lens is worth it. i am pretty sure fujifilm will do a new version of the XF18 in the future, but since its not even on the roadmap yet, this might take some time. time you could spend taking great photos with the XF18F2.