The standard kit lens for most of the Fujifilm X-mount cameras, including the X-T1 I just purchased, is the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS zoom lens. There’s a lot of alphabet soup going on with that name, but the main feature here is OIS, or Optical Image Stabilization. This in-lens stabilization system is intended to improve the sharpness of hand-held images of static subjects at lower shutter speeds. As someone who’s used Nikon’s VR lenses for nearly a decade now, I’m very much happy with the feature, especially when shooting indoors. Keep in mind that no stabilization system will prevent subject motion blur at low shutter speeds.
I was doing some test shots with the 18-55mm lens, and I just wasn’t getting satisfactorily sharp results. As I was shooting hand-held, I had OIS enabled. Just for fun, I thought I’d test my lens with the OIS turned off. What I saw was amazing as my image sharpness rivaled that of my 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS G Nikkor lens. It is true that in certain situations, stabilization systems can actually introduce softness when using fast shutter speeds, but it’s not something I found to be an issue with my Nikkor glass. But with this particular lens, it makes a huge difference! Continue reading Review: Fujinon 18-55mm lens and image stabilization→
This is one of my favorite test subjects: Kindergarten Rock in Garden of the Gods. I wanted to try the 18-55mm kit lens again. Yesterday, I’d seen some soft results when compared with my Nikon 24-70mm. Of course, the Nikkor is one heck of a lens, and it wouldn’t have been surprising if the Fujinon wasn’t quite as sharp. But after reading many online reviews of the 18-55mm, I was wondering why my results were soft when others gushed about the sharpness. It turns out that the image stabilization system (OIS) can introduce softness at fast shutter speeds, just like Nikon’s VR system can.
I went back to Garden of the Gods, turned OIS off, and got this result. It’s pin-sharp and holds its own against my D4/24-70mm combo (I use this comparison because both are 16MP cameras).
So there you have it. The 18-55mm f/2.8-4 Fujinon is one heck of a lens for outdoor photography! Just be sure to only use OIS if you absolutely need it, like indoors with slow shutter speeds.
Well, I decided I’d see what the hub-bub was all about with regard to the Fujifilm X-series cameras. I’ve known for some time that these cameras have a great sensor (16MP, APS-C, no AA filter), but the ergonomics and performance made me hesitate. The biggest flaws with the Fujifilm X-system have been related to focusing speed and lag. Now, with the introduction of the Fujifilm X-T1, most of those issues are gone.
The X-T1 is more DSLR-like in design than the other Fujifilm bodies, making it a little less compact than say, the X-E2. However, it’s weather-sealed, has an articulating LCD, and the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is huge. Moreover, the autofocus performance is said to be faster than the X-E2, which was considerably better than the previous generations of Fujifilm cameras (X-E1, X-Pro1). The X-T1 shoots at 8fps, and has a nice built-in grip.
So I put in an order with B&H Photo (I buy all my own gear) and got a nice Fujifilm kit. Here’s me unboxing it with my first impressions:
Short answer: the build quality of the X-T1 and lenses is nothing short of dreamy. Silky smooth focus ring action and metal barrel construction. It’s really nice to handle! Moreover, the size of this kit is totally manageable. My ThinkTank bags just swallow this kit up!
I had a chance to sit down with Tony Sweet for this episode of The Sensor Plane podcast. Tony and I discuss the recent advances in mirrorless camera systems; he’s started using the Fujifilm X Pro-1 and he recently took it on a photo workshop he led in Havana, Cuba.