Fuji XF Lenses: Part One – The XF27

Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro1 lust/hate/love story:

Part Sixteen: Fuji XF Lenses: Part One – The XF27

If you’ve been following this ‘little’ story from the start, then you’ll probably understand it’s a story of contentment. A tale of following your heart when it comes to choosing your camera.

Of course, Fujifilm X is not just a camera range, it’s also a range of lenses. XF lenses (and some XC ones!)

Whereas X-Pro series lovers had to wait a very long time for the X-Pro2 to come out, people looking for XF glass have been spoiled by the rapidly expanding range of lenses!

What started off as 3 primes, just 4 years ago is now… well I’ve actually lost count, but it’s a lot!

Now as you’ll know, not only am I a big proponent of the 3 original primes (what they give away in speed to their newer brethren, they make up for in size and price, hey just my opinion) but I very much love the fact that they were designed around the X-Pro1.

So I think it’s high time we took a look at the XF prime lenses. Well the ones I own!

So now that I’ve stated my love of the 3 original primes, let’s start off with….

The XF27!!

Yes, yes – I know – it’s not an original prime!

In fact it may just possibly be Fuji’s most over looked lens. People don’t like it so much…

…Why?

Well it has no aperture ring, it comes with no lens hood (although a screw in one can be brought cheaply from ebay/amazon etc), and it’s not very fast (max F2.8).

Thing is… with Fuji’s X-Pro1 + XF18 + XF27 give away sale, I reckon that many of you X-Pro1 owners, own this lens…? Do you use it? Do you like it?

Now first things first…

I think it might be my least used prime.

But the thing is… when I do use it, I really like it!

One of my all time favourite shots was taken with it!

It’s very good for a lot of the stuff that I like to shoot. When ever I do use it, I end up using it quite a lot.

Now this is no place for MTF charts, or anything too dull like that! This is a place for rhetoric and pictures!

However, that said – let’s take a quick look under the corrected image!


This is what my downstairs toilet tiling looks like as a SOOC Jpeg.


This the same shot from RAW, with ZERO lens corrections applied.

As you can see there’s some image distortion and some light fall off (vignetting) inherent within the design of the lens. (Your RAW convertor should and your camera will automatically correct for this)

Remember (in fact ALWAYS remember) if the shot is good, no one will look past the content of the shot. No one that matters anyway, soft corners, light fall off yada yada, important, of course – but important to the image viewer, not as much as you’d think.

So let’s take a look at the little XF27, so often overlooked for it’s bigger, heavier and faster stablemates.

First it really is small, yet the focus ring is big enough to use comfortably. The lack of aperture ring is almost strange, but remember, this is how pretty much how every other digital lens works, you use a dial on the camera.

That’s it for the technical stuff. Yeah I know. But this just isn’t the place for it!

Instead, shall we see some shots with it?

Fly Walk

So it’s not a macro, it’s not super close focusing and it’s not fast enough to make bokeh and subject isolation.

OK then. If that’s what you think….

Tulips

Of course being a XF lens it’s sharp. But it’s really sharp, I mean, think of how SOME fast lenses are best stopped down a stop or two. Think of the XF27 wide open as something that’s been already stopped down a bit.

Discarded

Again wide open at F2.8. Again SHARP. The flare is part of the shot… but look at how it photographs light, I mean seriously, let’s say that again… Look. How. It. Photographs. LIGHT. You can actually see the rays of light that comprise the flare. Open the image up in Flickr (press z on your keyboard when in Flickr) look at the sharpness of the Coke can, that I’ve shot wide open, against the light.

Seriously, is that a bad lens, a lens that can do that?

The human eye sees at approx. 40mm (in FF eqv), guess what 27mm comes out as when converted to FF length? (it’s about 40mm folks) Want pictures with the same sort of view point of what you actually saw?

Night Fall

This scene is about the same as I saw it.

Trying Mummy's Breakfast

This is one of my all time personal favourite shots. (It’s also completely 100% SOOC jpeg. By the X-Pro1)

In Preparation for this instalment I’ve been shooting the XF27 for most of the week. I’ve gone out with the X-Pro1, with the 27 mounted, and nothing else.

So here’s a recent shot.

Two Clever by Half

Again wide open. Again bright unfavourable light. Again, sharp, sharp, sharp, with that contrasty XF character!

Want a small light lens that adds very little weight to your camera (and camera bag)? Want a lens that’s sharp and makes a similar picture to what you see? Want a lens that you can use to reportage and document your world?

Don’t want to spend a lot of money? That’ll be the XF27 then. (I just searched ebay UK sold listings and they’re trending at the £150 mark)

It may not be an ‘original prime’ But in my mind it sure captures the essence of the three original primes. Small, light, portable, discreet character filled and SHARP.

Sure it wouldn’t be my desert island XF lens, but I’m glad I’ve got it, and if applicable, so should you!

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2 thoughts on “Fuji XF Lenses: Part One – The XF27”

  1. Hi Adam,

    As always a super and to the point article.

    I have had this lens for a long time and simply put, love it.

    It is everything you say it is and more. I have 4 Fuji X lenses. I have had more than that at any given moment but the 27mm is the lens I put on the camera for most everyday shooting.

    I have the 35mm 2.0 and the 56mm 1.2 and the 18-55 poorly named “kit zoom.” In manual lenses I have a Nikon 50mm 1.8 (made in Japan), 8mm Samyang Fisheye in Fuji mount, 85mm 1.4 Samyang in Fuji mount.

    I gave up worrying about MTF charts and snobby reviewers a long time ago. You are right that the 27mm was never given a fair shake except by those of us who actually use it.

    The coverage is excellent for real life shots, it is sharp, it corrects well if that is what you want it to do, and its overall imaging is superb. I only wish I had not sold off its sister pancake lens, the 18mm. It too is an outstanding piece of glass.

    Like

    1. Thanks very much Elliot,

      I also have a review of the 18, it’s linked on the X-Pro references page, and will appear in blog form at some point.

      I was a bit concerned about the 18 and the 24mp of the X-Pro2, but it renders beautifully, nice contrast and warm colours

      I recently had a loan of the 35F2 (I have and adore the 35F1.4) and quite liked it. It’s win some / lose some when compared to the F1.4.

      The 27 I should use more… Perhaps I’ll use it for the rest of the week…

      Thanks again
      Adam

      Like

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