We must admit we were a little surprised when Fujifilm announced a launch event just for a single lens, but the XF18-135mm is a weather-resistant superzoom that was constructed with premium image quality in mind to pair up with the Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless system camera. It contains four aspherical glass lenses and two ED glass lenses for high sharpness and rich contrast with a Multi-layer HT-EBC coating to reduce lens flare and ghosting.
The XF18-135mm lens covers an equivalent field-of-view of 27-206mm, making it a perfect walkaround lens with the equivalent of 7.5x zoom. Autofocus is extremely fast through the zoom range due to the inner focusing mechanism, and Fujifilm says the linear motor technology driving the focus is extremely quiet (max 0.1 sec). We tried a pre-production sample of the lens and you really don’t hear anything when focusing - just the autofocus confirmation beep when it has acquired focus. Needless to say, focus was picked up extremely quickly, and accurately.
Another key feature is the inbuilt 5.0-stop image stabilization function, which Fujifilm says detects movement in the low frequency band, and uses an algorithm to sense blur from that signal. For greater accuracy, the high-precision gyro sensor used has quartz oscillators to detect movement from the high to low frequency bandwidths. We tried this a little in the showroom – shaking the camera a little while we shot, and managed to get an acceptable image at 1/10 sec handheld, but we’ll wait to do some proper tests before we can properly comment on the 5.0-stop claim.
Weighing in at about 490g, the XF18-135mm lens does have substantial heft to it, which we feel helps to balance out the weight of the X-T1 camera somewhat. There isn’t a distance scale on it, though that’s probably a minor quibble. We thought the zoom ring was fairly smooth, and the aperture ring on the lens (activated by a switch on the top of the lens) has click stops, which gives a nice tactile sense to adjusting your aperture values.
While it already boasts a dust-proof, weatherproof structure, the lens further benefits from sealing applied to 20 different areas of the lens barrel, and a unique ventilator been placed on the base of the lens barrel to let air escape when you zoom, while keeping dust and moisture from getting in. This ensures smooth operation in spite of the elements.
Overall, it seems like when combined with the X-T1, the XF18-135mm lens offers photographers a light weight (930g combined weight), all-weather solution for their photography needs, so we’re looking forward to having this combination in our labs for a proper review.
It's available at all major retailers in July with a recommended retail price of S$1399.
Meanwhile, here are some sample pictures taken with the pre-production XF18-135mm mounted on a Fujifilm X-T1 for a rough approximation of the image quality that can be expected:-