This is Fuji’s first weather sealed lens. It is not the fast lens by any means, widest at f 3.5 up to f 5.6; but the focal length makes it a great travel lens. This 7.5x super-zoom lens is equivalent to 27-206mm on a full-frame camera (35mm) it also comes with Optical Image Stabilization.
If you are familiar with the 18-55mm lens or any Fujinon XF lenses you will have the same feel right at home with the XF 18-135mm. The build quality of the lens is top notch and with a reasonable price tag it is a very attractive lens. The mount like with any Fujinon XF lenses is metal and looks like it will last for a long time. The Zoom ring has enough torque and smoothness combination to it. I have no issues going back and forth for a different zoom range. There’s also a knob to turn the OIS (Optical Image Stabilizer) on or off and a button for manual or Automatic Aperture control. It also comes with a lens hood and a soft cloth pouch.
Size comparison from Fujinon 35mm , 10-24mm and 18-135mm
Zooming is not internal so the length of the lens changes as you change focal lengths, the longer the focal length the longer it goes. I didn’t observe any zoom creep issue. Overall the build quality is excellent and it feels great in the hands, it is a combination of metal and high quality plastics. It feels very solid and at 490 grams, it is a lot lighter than any 7.5x DSLR super zoom I have tried. The weight is very well balanced for a bigger camera like the X-T1 and X-Pro1.
Size comparison of XF 18-135mm vs. Canon 24-70 f2.8L Mark I with Zoom extended
Regarding the weather-sealed capability; I have conducted a test with X-T1 and this lens and pour a bottle of water, here’s the video : http://bit.ly/18_135
Performance and Image quality
The lens has an internal focusing (IF) system and it is very quiet compared to Fujinon 35mm f1.4 for example. I have a canon system and the focusing is as quiet and as smooth as the L lenses. The front of the lens is also fixed and doesn’t rotate on focus which is good for those who are planning to use filters. In actual use, the focusing is fast and accurate in any focal length or any lighting conditions.
Chromatic aberration is very well controlled, in fact I didn’t find any fringes on all the images I took with the 18-135mm, which is a very good indication about the quality of the glass used in this lens. The out of focus bits or bokeh is very smooth as well. This is really a well put together lens.
Fujifilm X-T1 and the Fujinon 18-135mm after the water test
When it comes to image sharpness, it doesn’t fall short, it is sharp not only on all focal lengths but even when aperture is set wide open. Especially at 18mm up to 100mm. At 135mm, the center sharpness is still superb but the edges are on the soft side at f5.6; I don’t find that as a problem since it gives better subject isolation. However, if you want it sharp from edge to edge, stopping down to f8.0 is where the sharpness is at its best.
Personally, I didn’t have any problem shooting wide open on this lens; the images are sharp and with good contrast and details.
The Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is a superb telephoto lens. I don’t see any major flaws for this lens. Of course it could be faster or it can have a fixed aperture of f2.8, but this is not the purpose of this lens. This is an all-around purpose lens, which is perfect for travelling or photo walks in which you don’t want to change lenses or simply because you want to travel light. For that purpose, this is a superb lens. This is not a surprise since all Fujinon lenses to date are all wonderful lens and with excellent build quality with a very reasonable price tag. For those who are waiting for a fast telephoto that lens in Fujifilm lens roadmap; so that should be coming in the future. But for those who wants to enjoy the benefits of a 7.5x super zoom, I don’t think you will regret getting this lens. Pair it with a Fuji X-T1 and you have a weather-sealed kit that you can take pretty much anywhere without having to worry about water or dust ruining the your gear. It is a perfect adventure and travel companion.