Bottom Line Up Front…
How good is the Fuji XF 18-55mm kit lens, is it worth getting with your camera or selling straight away? For me, the XF18-55 is a super lens in terms of Cost / Benefit ratio. This essentially means that when you throw some unpredictable kids or an impatient spouse into a trip where photography isn’t the main effort, the XF 18-55mm REALLY shines. But it definitely isn’t the most exciting lens to use, especially towards the long end!
I find this lens can produce some stunning results (especially SOOC) however there are also instances where it does not. For that reason, I don’t always have 100% confidence that it can deliver those spine-tingling images. It seems that the AF system (which is excellent) and the OIS (also excellent!) fight it out, resulting in some blurry images.
Overall, it’s a versatile, great value, unobtrusive lens to capture everyday moments. That said, it lacks the IQ and creative “oompf” offered by alternative lenses.
XF 18-55mm Sample Images & Settings
Pros / Cons
There is a plethora of reviews and comments out there relating to the XF 18-55 – I won’t try to replicate the charts and graphs and stats. All I can comment on is real world, personal usage!
Overall, according to the internet, the XF18-55 is regarded as an extremely sharp lens, although often combined with an “especially” caveat…. “especially for a zoom”, “especially for a kit lens”,
From my use, I’ve found it to be really sharp. Not just for a zoom… or for a kit lens. Just sharp!
That said, I sometimes experience blurry images from the XF18-55 – despite acquiring focus and using a fast shutter speed. I believe this is attributable to having OIS enabled, when its not required. To that end, I will usually ensure OIS is OFF unless I have reason to turn it on….
The AF on the XF18-55 is absolutely GREAT! Much faster than the older lenses from Fuji. I will often use the XF18-55 with face detection ON! Almost an impossibility with some of the older, faster (aperture) primes .
- Good IQ, especially ~ 23 – 35mm.
- OIS is excellent (when required & using slow shutter speeds!)
- AF is great! Very fast focusing.
- Only f4 at long end.
- OIS (can create blurry images when not required!)
- Not much “magic”.
If you are used to kit lenses from other companies, disregard your prejudices! This is not really a kit lens given it retails for an RRP of £729! I have found it to be great at all focal lengths, but generally weakest at the widest end of things! Although I cannot claim any expertise in reading MTF charts, there are lots of people who do! Check out optical limits for a more technical analysis. They confirm that 18mm is generally where the lens is weakest because of barrel distortion and field curvature.
From real life usage though I can confirm the Fuji XF 18-55mm kit lens is more than decent due to its good sharpness, nice bokeh, quick AF and great IQ. It will be the perfect companion to a trip out where you want to capture memories, but photography is not the main driver!
That said, you are probably going to miss the dreamier bokeh and creative pop offered by the faster Fuji Primes such as the XF 35mm 1.4 sooner or later.
Conclusion – should you buy the XF18-55mm “Kit Lens”
A resounding ABSOLUTELY from me. I have found myself revisiting older photographs marked as favourites that I had thought were taken with the XF 35mm 1.4, but were actually taken with this kit lens.
Sure, the bokeh and sharpness can’t compete with Fuji’s primes, but seriously, you don’t always need technical perfection for capturing memories with loved ones which is where this lens really excels.
Usually this lens comes as part of a kit with your camera, i’d definitely opt for this over the newer XF16-80mm f/4 for the bigger apertures at the wide end. But that’s just me …