The Fujifilm XF 18mm F/1.4 Review | Best Fuji Lens Ever Made?

Here are my top reasons why everyone needs to add this lens to their camera bag.

I sold four of my Fujifilm lenses (the 12mm f.2.0, my 18mm f/2.0, 23mm f/1.4, and my 50mm f/2.0) to fund what is perhaps the best Fujifilm lens ever made — the 18mm f/1.4.

I’ll come out of the gate to say that this will not be a technical review. There will be no pixel peeping, brick wall distortion tests, or bokeh comparisons. This article will demonstrate my overall shooting experience and initial impressions of the 18mm f/1.4 from a perspective of a wedding, portraits, and family photographer. It is, by far, my absolute favorite Fujifilm lens to date, which completely overhauled any opinion made on the 16mm f/1.4.

Why? Let’s jump in.

To Know:

Get up close and wide open with Fujifilm’s versatile new prime lens – the high-quality, portable, and weather-resistant 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR. With a focal length equivalent to 27mm, it’s the perfect choice for sprawling landscapes, the sights and sounds of the street, and everything else in between. Be ready for any creative outburst with lightning-fast autofocus, a wide f/1.4 aperture, and weather resistance to allow for continued operation in dusty, moist, and freezing conditions. The 18mm f/1.4 is ready to be a constant companion, wherever your adventures take you, capable of extracting every last bit of detail from any X Series mirrorless camera.

What We Love:

Greater Resolving Power to Offer Best Possible Image Quality

Never sacrifice a good image with cheap alternatives.

Less Chromatic/Comatic Aberration and Beautiful Bokeh

Creamy yet sharp in detail.

Fast, Quiet, and Smooth Focus

The perfect companion on fast paced wedding days.

Moment Fuji 16673794 XF18mm F1 4 R LM WR thumbnail

Fujifilm

XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR Lens

Looking to get close and wide with your Fuji? The FUJINON XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR prime will be your new versatile, high-quality, portable, weather-resistant friend

Buy for $999.00

Captures the Entire Scene Effortlessly, And Sharply…


When I started photographing weddings, I realized that I gravitated toward the broader end of the focal length spectrum. Upon switching to Fujifilm, I tried to make the 18mm f/2.0 happen, knowing that I like that 28mm field of view, but I needed an f/1.4 lens to satisfy my low light and high ISO preferences.

Additionally, I appreciate camera lenses with unique optical characteristics: wide-angle, close focus, and magnification. I shoot a lot of Lego portraits with my Nikon 28mm f/1.8G, and my previously owned 16 mm f/1.4 was pretty mediocre at recreating this look. I always felt that the background was too warped for my liking. After trying the 18mm f/1.4 for these Lego portraits, I found that it led to more pleasing results as the compression smoothly smooths out the blanketed background. And contrary to what you might think, the 18mm f/1.4 does, in fact, focus closer than my previous 23mm f/1.4. For me? That's perfectly enough.

The 18mm f/1.4 autofocus blows every other wide-angle lens out of the water that I used before. From my many months of experience, I can confidently say that it handles various versatile situations. Additionally, I can feel comfortable not having to stop down as much, knowing that the autofocus will keep up. I appreciate its mild distortion compared to the 16mm f/1.4 and its overall ability to capture human portraits better. While experimental warping along the edges of a frame has its place, I find that the 18mm powerfully encapsulates a more refined shooting experience. Overall — I would describe the 18mm f/1.4 to have distortion closer to the 23mm f/1.4 but offers the feeling of the 16mm f/1.4. The perfect happy medium.

The Best Fujifilm Lenses in 2022

The Best Fujifilm Lenses in 2022

From novice kit lenses to ground-breaking prime lengths that cover a huge range of focal lengths, sizes, and prices — there is truly a lens for everyone.

I want to caution that despite the 18mm f/1.4 having less distortion, that doesn't mean it's easier to compose any photos with its broader framing. You will have to correctly manage more elements in the frame to make the image pop within a lawful composition. Similar to my 18mm f/2.0 review, many people describe the 18mm focal length as a "snapshot" focal link, as most standard cameras on cell phones are of this equivalent 28mm focal length. Though, for me, the snapshot feels and looks more of a testament to the photographer's eye rather than the capability of the focal length itself. So, for me as a photographer, I like to be challenged because I get bored far too quickly. Anybody can bokeh the hell out of an image using a 50mm f/1.0 or the 90mm f/2.0 because of the blurred background, but the 18mm f/1.4 will keep your shooting honest.

This lens is wildly sharp. I'm talking next-level detail and crisp clarity (but in the best sense possible). I like to compare the 18mm f/1.4 with the 90mm f/2.0's wide-angle cousin. If Fujifilm's X-series lenses are already this perfect, I'm ecstatic to see what the future lineups will visually accomplish.

Comparisons

I wouldn't be a good reviewer if I didn't leave you with various comparisons to other lenses that exist in the Fujifilm lineup, now would I?

The 18mm f/1.4 vs. The 18mm f/2.0

The deciding factor is going to be size and price. Do you want a pocketable lens? Do you want a cheaper lens and prefer the 28mm field-of-view? I love the 18mm f/2.0 as a travel lens but immediately sold it when they announced the 18mm f/1.4. I travel with the 18mm f/1.4 as my go-anywhere lens, along with the X100V being that 23mm equivalent. The 18mm f/1.4 is a bit larger than the f/2.0, but indeed not anything I can't stuff in a light bag or a stroller.

The 18mm f/1.4 vs. The 16mm f/1.4

This is what everybody wants to know, like which f/1.4 wide lens should you buy? If you're shooting cityscapes and landscapes requiring a broader angled perspective, I'd only keep the 16mm f/1.4. However, once you start adding people into the mix, that's when the distortion will depend on how you'll document these human scenes. The 16mm f/1.4 certainly limits the photographer to the center of the frame, whereas the 18mm f/1.4 holds a more forgiving composition. And if you prefer the best sharpness — the 18mm hands down will be the winner.

What We Rate

Skill Level

Just getting started Understands manual settings Shoots regularly Professional

Photo Quality

Passable Pretty Good Really good Best Out There

Video Quality

Passable Pretty Good Really good Best Out There

Auto Focus

Always hunting It Works It Works Quickly Quick and Locked In

Low Light

Very Noisy Average Clean Crisp And Clean

Rugged Ability

Leave it in the studio Daily Carry Traveler Mountain Goat

Build Quality

Cheap What You’d Expect Solid Top Of The Line

In Detail:

This new 27mm equivalent lens has three aspherical elements, which translates to fantastic sharpness corner to corner, even at wide apertures. The XF 18mm is smaller, lighter, and inherits an aperture ring alongside a traditional focus ring. Additionally, the 18mm has a linear focusing motor that translates to stupid-fast focusing speeds noticeably faster than the 16mm. It's a modern lens that can take advantage of current FujiFilm bodies. Though sharing the same price as the XF 16mm F1.4, this lens feels light years ahead at times. The 4mm gap in equivalent focal lengths may not feel like much; however, it feels like the difference is more in practice. While it most likely has to do with the difference in the angle of view being higher, the 18mm feels less distorted in many situations and primarily when focusing at equal distances.

What It Has:

  • Compact Size F1.4 Lens
  • Weather-Resistant Design with A Position Lock on Aperture Ring
  • Filter size: 62mm

What It Does:

  • Greater Resolving Power to Offer Best Possible Image Quality
  • Less Chromatic/Comatic Aberration and Beautiful Bokeh
  • Fast, Quiet, and Smooth Focus

Specs:

Focal Length: 18mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 27mm)

Maximum Aperture: f/1.4

Minimum Aperture: f/1.4

Minimum Aperture: f/16

Lens Mount: FUJIFILM X

Format Compatibility: APS-C

Angle of View: 76.5°

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