(news & commentary)
Fujifilm today officially introduced the XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. Phew! That’s very Nikon-like in the proliferation of acronyms in the name. Previously teased with the X-T1, the 18-135mm is the first lens to match the weather-proof sealing of the X-T1 camera. At US$900, this lens seems to be targeted at the convenience shooter, offering the equivalent focal length range of approximately a 28-200mm lens. Fujifilm is also touting 5-stop image stabilization and very fast focus motor performance. There’s also a bit of macro-ness to the lens when set for that, with a 1:3.7 maximum magnification range.
This makes 13 lenses in Fujifilm’s offerings so far. However, Fujifilm has been moving away from aperture rings and into more the convenience and kit lens route lately. Fortunately, the next three of the next four lenses from Fujifilm should all be headed back towards the serious enthusiast/pro side of things (see the main Fujifilm database page for their lens Road Map).
Personally, I would have liked the 16-55mm f/2.8 first, as it better compliments one of the things the Fujifilm cameras are good at: low light performance. Given that one of Fujifilm’s main competition points is the m4/3 “DSLR” (Olympus OM-D and Panasonic GH lines), and those already have f/2.8 zoom sets and plenty of fast primes, I think Fujifilm’s getting a little too enamored by the consumer side of the equation. My take is that the X-A1 and X-M1 aren’t selling well, and the buying energy got focused away from the X-Pro1 and X-E2 with the X-T1 introduction. Technically, the 18-135mm should have showed up with that camera, as the weather protection bit matches. I suspect we’ll see X-T1 plus 18-135mm bundles fairly quickly, once initial lens demand is met.
The real question now is whether the 16-55mm and 50-140mm f/2.8 lenses coming late this year are going to be weather-sealed or not. I certainly hope so, otherwise Fujifilm would be driving more dissonances into their offerings at a time when they need to be showing a strong, well-focused hand.
Still, the Fujifilm X-mount lens set is slowly coming together. With 7 primes and 6 zooms it offers a fairly broad range of choice, with more coming (plus third party support from Zeiss and others).
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