I'm sorry, I just cannot help myself. I just have to be the person that shouts praise from the rooftops for Fuji's whipping-boy/girl of a the X System lens line-up. Yep, the lowly 18mm f/2 R.
Five minutes ago I blew thru some frames I shot less than a week ago for the first time. All of them with the 18mm f/2 R. You know the dog, the red-headed step-child of the family. In blasting thru and choosing a few random frames I could not help but notice how gorgeous this lens renders. Not just considering it based on it's wideness. I mean period, the 18mm f/2 looks fantastic, as good as anything else out there in so many situations. Now considering it's a wide, that's unbelievable.
Not only is it gorgeous in how it renders but all the nonsense about sub-par sharpness etc is something I honestly just can't understand. Take a gander at the screenshot above. Go ahead download it and look at the same pixels I'm looking at. Now take a look where in the frame that crop is on a 24 mega-pixel XPro-2
I would say I use the edges more than most. I don't see anything wrong with the edges. Oh, you mean the very corners. Hmmm I'll show you those some other day like tomorrow or next week when I run across a picture where I happened to use the very corner.
Now let's consider the circumstances of that shot.
- ISO 3200 f/4 1/80s
- Handheld with me moving around not really concentrating on holding as still as I possibly could.
- No real depth of field to speak of this close. Take a look.
- I'm using the XPro-2 OVF and a focus area about as big has Allie's face.
What do you think is compromising things more? The above factors? The fake LR film grain? (yes LR grain makes things less sharp - how innovative) or do you think corner performance does? Oh, what tricks did I use? Hmmm, well default LR sharpening for one. Oh yea, that preset uses -5 clarity too. Do you need sharper pictures than above?
Hell f/4 is not even the optimum aperture for this little guy. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you shot anything flat where the focus point was in the corner because that's about the only time it might matter. Hell you can't even put a focus point that far into the corner so definitely it only counts if you happen to be making a picture of something completely flat pretty far away. Oh, foreground and background to any degree at all? Doesn't matter unless you happen to put your focus all the way in the corner in which you can't which brings us back to flat.
In any case the 18mm f/2 performs just as good as anything else everywhere it counts at all. Take a look at the numbers, take a look at real world pictures, the number of cases the only place this lens is not up to snuff (meaning has some theoretical performance deficit compared to another lens where that benefit will not see much use) is in the absolute corner-corner-corner. Who cares.
Consider this… It's one of the smallest lenses in the line-up. It's definitely one of the more useful focal lengths. It's very fast at f/2. It's very well built. It focuses really fast (maybe not as fast as the 35/2 but really fast) and it's pretty cheap if you get it on one of the deals or used. Nobody wants these which is mind-boggling.
More later as I shot the hell out of the 18mm last week. It's pretty much the perfect lens for the XPro-2 and honest go goodness no-kidding from someone that owns like all the "better" lenses from Fuji. This one has one of the more bueauuiful looks overall at every aperture. Magical in many cases.