Fuji 18-135mm unboxing, initial thoughts, review and sample photos

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Fuji 18-135mm f/3.5 – f/5.6 R LM OIS WR lens

I use the Fuji 18-135mm on my Fuji X-T1 and  thought I would share my thoughts on this lens.

G’day, Ben here, today we’re going to take a look at the new Fuji 18-135mm f/3.5 – f/5.6 LM OIS WR lens.

OIS stands for Optical Image Stabilisation and WR stands for weather resistant.

Being an avid Nikon shooter, for the past 2 years I have been using a D800 (you can read my thoughts on my D800 here), one of the good things with the prosumer level cameras from Nikon, is that they’re weather sealed. Which means that you can get out in the rain and not have to worry about whether the water’s going to get in your gear, and the dust – all of those sort of hazardous areas, you never really have to worry about it.

Fuji 18-135mm F3.5 F5.6 R LM OIS WR lensAs soon as the Fuji came out, I started off with the Fuji X-E1, you can read my review on it here, the X-E1 is a great little camera, but I didn’t want to get it out it out in the rain or the dust, because I knew it wasn’t weather resistant. So, as soon as the Fuji X-T1 came out, I knew it was a huge advancement on the X-E1 and X-E2, so I grabbed the X-T1.

The X-T1 is weather sealed, but it’s no good having a weather sealed body if your lenses aren’t weather sealed.

Fujifilm are starting to release the weather resistant lenses. The first weather resistant lens from Fuji I’ve got my hands on is the Fuji 18-135mm lens, so I’m going to share with you what’s inside the box, and then we’re going to have a quick chat about the lens itself.

I’ve done quite a bit of shooting with the fuji 18-135mm already. And so I can tell you a little bit about how I found it, and I’ll do that as well as I go through this blog post

In the box is all the normal stuff, like manuals and warranty card, Fujifilm also give you these really nice pouches to put your lenses in when you’re out in the field and you’ve got them in your bag. I’m pretty slack and don’t use them very often, but there you go.

The lens was really nicely packaged. You certainly couldn’t fault the packaging from Fuji. It’s well packaged, so it travels well. And if you did ever want to ever post it somewhere or transport it the box would be handy to keep – I also like to keep the boxes for another reason, because when you go to sell the lenses, I think if you’ve got a box to put it in, always attracts a better price.

It’s got a long name, it’s the Fuji 18-135mm F3.5 F5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. That’s a mouthful! but that’s okay, we’ll talk a bit about what all that means. Essentially though, it’s a really good all round, all purpose lens. Because it goes from 18mm to 135mm, you’re going to be able to cover a wide range of things. In fact, it covers 27mm to 206mm equivalent to a full frame.

I had it on my X-T1 for a few days, did a lot of shooting with it and I found that it was really, really useful. I also have a Fuji 10-24mm, and so that covers my wide angle and then I’ve got the Fuji 18-135mm, which covers my zoom. And really, I don’t think I need any more than that. I have got the Fuji 35mm 1.4, which is good for just wandering around, low light stuff, portraits, etc. But essentially then, I don’t need to have any other lenses. Of course, they’re not weather resistant and the Fuji 18-135mm WR lens is (The WR on the lens stands for weather resistant).

Fuji 18-135mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 LM OIS WR lensWhat surprised me at first though with the Fuji 18-135mm lens, was the way that the barrel came out when you zoomed in. Because I thought that that would definitely be an area of concern for weather resistance. If you got the barrel wet and then you retracted it back in, then it’s going to get wet. Fuji have created a weather resistant vent. And so, it all passes back out of this vent. This stops the dust and the moisture staying inside the lens and damaging your lens. Which is a great idea.

Fuji 18-135mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 LM OIS WR lensThe fuji 18-135mm lens itself is not huge, and this is one of the things I do love about the mirrorless camera. Everything gets smaller, including the price! – that’s a real bonus. And they don’t compromise on quality. It’s a very good quality lens, feels great. It’s got a 67mm front element. So, if you’re going use filters, there’s plenty of filters that would fit 67mm or adaptor rings for 77mm rings.

The Fuji 18-135mm is just a nice all round lens

It’s just a great lens, really well built. Everything works nice and smooth, the aperture ring works nice. The zoom ring works really nice. It is just a nice all round lens. One of the things that this particular lens has got some good press for is the image stabilisation, and I’ve got to say that I was really, really impressed.

Reading the Fuji site, it says that it’s got the worlds most advanced 5 stop image stabilisation function (CLICK HERE is you want to read all the technical stuff about the Fuji 18-135mm lens). And you’re probably wondering, what does that all mean? Well, what it means is that – typically with a zoom lens, in which stabilisation is important. Because when you’re zoomed all the way in, a little bit of movement from the back of the lens – shakes the front of the lens, creates blur as you take your photos. And image stabilisation is the way to get around that.

And what they’ve done really, really well here is they’ve built in a gyro system. And gyros essentially means that the all the elements inside the lens float around. Now, not a lot of people know this, but Fuji actually has been making image stabilisation on a much higher level, and complex level for a long time for space shuttles, satellites, and helicopter photographic rigs etc. So, they’ve been involved in creating stablilisation systems for a long time. They know what they’re doing. In fact, they’re probably more experienced at it than Nikon or Canon, and any of those other manufacturers. So, you know you’re gonna get state of the art.

Fuji 18-135mm OISBut five stops of Image Stabilisation! – I’ve got to say I was a little bit skeptical.

So I put it to the test and I started shooting at 135mm (200mm equivalent). And typically the rule is, if you’re going to shoot at 200mm, you wouldn’t go less than 1/200th of a second, otherwise you’re going to get blur. I got it down to 1/15th at 200mm and still was getting sharp shots. Sure, I had to brace myself  to take the shot, but even at 1/15th, I was still managing to get sharp shots. Handheld, at 200mm, that is amazing.

Fuji 18-135mm Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) Test Shots.

Check out these images taken hand held with the Fuji X-T1 and the Fuji 18-135mm lens. For each shot I halved the shutter speed to see how it would respond. I was in shutter priority at ISO200, zoomed all the way into 135mm which is like 203mm on a full frame. Even the first shot at 1/30th of a second is lower than the recommended minimum, the rule here is to never shoot lower than the focal length, for example, at 200mm, the minimum you should use is 1/200th of a second, as you can see I started 4 stops lower than that!

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/30 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/30 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/30 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/15 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/15 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/15 sec at 135mm

 Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/8 sec at 135mm

 Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/8 sec at 135mm

 Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/8 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/4 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/4 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/4 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/2 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/2 sec at 135mm

Fuji 18-135mm Hand Held at 1/2 sec at 135mm

 If you’re interested in how the optical image stabilisation (OIS) works in the Fuji 18-135mm  lens, I made a quick video demonstrating it.

How much did I pay for the Fuji 18-135mm lens?

Price wise I paid AU$1200 for mine. There was a $200 cash back on till late December 2014. So if you are in Australia, I know there’s a cash back available from Fuji. I have not tested the Fuji 18-135mm in any weather yet, but I do give my gear a bit of a thrashing. It will be out in the rain at some point. And I’ll give an update if anything fails or goes amiss on me.

Fuji 200 Cash Back Offer

In Summary

I can certainly confirm that the Fuji 18-135mm f/3.5 – f/5.6 LM OIS WR lens is a really well built lens, a nice quality, good sharp images, comes with everything you need. Lens hood, lens caps front and back. And there’s nothing else I can really say about it. If you’re thinking about a good all round lens for your Fuji X-T1 or X-E1, X-Pro or X-E2, this is a great addition to your kit, and I think that you’ll really enjoy it.

Try it for Yourself

I have recently launched Oz Lens Rental, it’s an Australia wide lens and camera gear rental website. I have the Fuji 18-135mm lens in stock for hire if you’re interested in trying it out!

Have you got a question? Maybe you have this lens too… leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers, Ben

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Ben,

    After renting the 18-135 with the XT-1, I can honestly say I was surprised with the build quality. I don’t know why I expected it to be cheaper than my Canon gear, but I have to admit I was really impressed with the Fuji stuff. No doubt the mirrorless revolution is coming, and maybe Fuji is leading the charge.

    Loved the review, as usual.

    Cheers,

    Jason.

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