Tag Archives: Fuji 18-135 lens

Friday Image No.210

Dramatic sunset on Whitby Pier, North Yorkshire. Fuji X-T2, 18-135 f3.5-5.6 WR at 18mm, ISO200, 0.7″ at f/10.0. Tripod mounted.

Today I was going to share a shot from a recent shoot I did in the Peak District, but I’ve decided to save that for another day. Instead I have this image which I shot on Tuesday in Whitby, North Yorkshire.

I had been over walking the Hole of Horcum with my wife. As it’s only a short drive to Whitby we decided to carry and get fish and chips before heading home. Secretly I thought I might get lucky and catch a sunset on the pier. Unfortunately, I lost track of the time and we only left the café about 10 mins after sunset. Luckily there was plenty of colour still in the sky still as you can see from the image. It just goes to show that you should wait a while after the sun has set before packing up.

I captured the image using the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135 lens. It’s performed remarkably well and is pin sharp. In fact, I’m rather surprised at how good the performance is for this type of subject.

The camera was tripod mounted and I used a cable release, but I haven’t used any filters. As is often the case, once the sun sets, the contrast or dynamic range in the scene drops to something the camera can handle.

Another stroke of luck was the lights came on at the point I took the shot and whilst there was still colour in the sky. Often the lights seem to come on once all the colour has gone.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.208

Walking between Elterwater and Little Langdale in the Lake District, I noticed this group of trees. See the text below for details of the image capture.

In case you haven’t seen it, last week’s Friday Image wasn’t all it appears. The starting image wasn’t quite as colourful as the image I posted. In fact, it was rather a dull blue colour because of the AWB in the camera. This was a bit of a problem for me as was the dynamic range of the scene. The reason I’m telling you this is that I posted a video on YouTube yesterday where I demonstrate how I created the image. It’s around 30 minutes long, but that’s because I show and explain everything.

This week, I want to share a more traditional image. This one I captured during a recent trip to the Lake District and is from one of the fields above Elterwater. If you know your way onto Loughrigg Terrance from the cycle track between Elterwater and Little Langdale, you know where I shot this.

My original idea was for a three-shot panoramic which I did capture, and which does look good. But then I noticed this cluster of trees and a couple of sheep in the field beyond. The grass on the grass on the right was a lovely red colour and snowy foreground on the left nicely balanced the mountain behind.

The image is a single frame captured using the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135 lens. This is now my go to lens when I’m out walking as it’s a real all rounder and performs well. I also used a 0.6 (two stop) ND Grad filter to darken the sky and open the shadows more around the trees. With a bit of luck, I’m going to be up in the Lakes again on Saturday.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.207

Tarn Hows Winter Sun in the Lake District.
Tarn Hows Winter Sun in the English Lake District. Fuji X-T2 with Fuji 18-135mm lens, various shutter speeds (see text), hand held.

It’s been a hectic week here, with four back to back days of photography. I can’t recall the last time this happened, but I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity.

The first day was a trip over to the Peak District to meet up with a friend. That almost didn’t happen because the Snake Pass (which is my usual route) was closed by snow and ice. Fortunately, I had the idea of driving down to Winnats Pass which I reasoned was more likely to be clear. When I did arrive, there was snow and fog everywhere, making for some amazing scenes.

Following this, it was over the Lake District for three more days enjoying the Landscape, as well as more fog and snow. The image you see here is from the Sunday at Tarn Hows. It’s five exposures which I’ve blended into a single image as the composition just didn’t allow me to use an ND Grad.

I captured the images with my Fuji X-T2 and 18-135mm Fuji lens hand held. Fortunately, the bracketing option on the Fuji means you only need to press the shutter button once to take all the images in the sequence. This allows you to concentrate on holding the camera steady for all the shots.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Fuji 18-135 Lens Review

Duomo, Pisa, Italy.
Duomo, Pisa, Italy. Fuji X-T2, 18-135mm lens at 35mm. ISO200, 1/420″ at f/8.0.

It’s been exactly 1 year today since I purchased and received this lens; I remember it well because of the terrible events of the Manchester Arena bomb.

I’ve been promising to do a real-world review of the lens for some time, so I thought what better time than after a year’s use. I should also explain what I mean by real world review. I’m not going to base my comments on charts and reading other lab reports from the internet. If that floats your boat, just google Fuji 18-135 Lens Review and I’m sure you will get your fill. This review is based on my use of the lens, the images I have captured with it and what I think are the strong and weak points.

By way of background, this is the second Fuji 18-135 lens I have owned. The first I purchased second hand and after a lot of frustration, it was eventually traded for other equipment. The problem with the first lens was that it was soft and didn’t focus correctly across the frame. The performance was hit and miss, which also seemed to be exaggerated by Adobe Lightroom “smoothing” the finer details in the Fuji RAW files.

It was then only after another 6 months of experience with the Fuji X-T2 that I decided to try a new example of the lens. This was quite a decision for me given my previous experience, but the idea of the 18-135 focal range was so compelling I thought it was worth the risk. A single lens that covers this focal range and will produce a good image is very attractive. It makes the lens ideal for travelling as well as trekking, when you don’t want or don’t have time to mess about changing lenses.

Since buying this lens, my Sony RX10, which was my previous trekking camera, has only been out a handful of times. The focal range of the Sony RX10 is 24mm – 200mm in full frame terms. This compares with 27mm – 202mm for the Fuji 18-135. In terms of coverage, the Fuji lens is similar although I do sometimes miss that first 3mm of the RX10 at the wide end. Where the Fuji 18-135 makes up for this is in being weather resistant and the Fuji X-T2 producing wonderfully clean images.

In terms of weight and size, the Fuji 18-135 lens is what I would term a medium-sized lens but quite light for the size.

Here’s a quick comparison of the Fuji X-T2 against the weight and size of my Micro 43 outfit. This was the kit that I tended to use for travel photography because of its size and weight.

Olympus 12-40 lens 382g – This is my main lens and although doesn’t have the reach of the 18-135, tended to stay on the camera 80% of the time. If I want the additional reach on the Micro 43 kit I would need to use my Panasonic 45-150mm (a great little lens by the way).

Fuji 18-135 490g – About 100g heavier than the Olympus but with the benefit of additional reach.

Olympus EM5 425g – As well as being lighter, this is also smaller than the X-T2 by a couple of cm. The only downside is that I need to use the body with the additional Olympus grip as the body alone gives me cramp in my right hand after around an hour’s use. This takes the combined weight over that of the X-T2.

Fuji X-T2 507g – Slightly larger and heavier than the Micro 43 body but still sufficiently compact.

Both kits will fit into a single small shoulder bag.

Fuji X-T2 with 18-135 Lens and Olympus EM5 with 12-40 lens

The Fuji 18-135mm lens has a 67mm front elements which allows me to use the Lee Seven 5 filter system when I want to be compact, although there is a small amount of vignetting when the lens is wider than around 23mm. The lens works fine with the Kase K8 filter holder and system, although this is bulkier and heavier than the Lee Seven 5.

The bugbear in my mind with the Fuji 18-135 lens is image quality, but I believe this is largely psychological and based on my earlier problems. I think when you constantly look for problems with the images from a specific camera or lens you will find always find something. It also makes you much fussier about image quality. If I compare the quality of the Micro 43 kit (probably unfair as it’s a few years older than the Fuji X-T2) those images aren’t as sharp or detailed and they carry more noise. The images are also smaller at 16Mpixels compared to the Fuji’s 24.3Mpixels, which does come in handy for commercial work.

There are though a few weak spots in the Fuji 18-135mm lens:

  • In very bright conditions and with the lens at the wide-angle end of the focal range, I do notice some Chromatic Aberration or colour fringing in images. This though is easily removed during RAW conversion.
  • When processed using Adobe Lightroom, the RAW files captured with this lens seem to be more prone to their fine details being “smoothed out” by the conversion. I don’t know what causes this, but I notice it when I compare the images with other RAW converters.
  • When used at 18mm, the extreme edges of the lens sometimes go off a little in terms of sharpness. To illustrate this, I have included an example below with sections of an image magnified to 200% and only limited/default capture sharpening applied. You do seem to be able to improve this to some degree by stopping the lens down further. And if you can use a slightly longer focal length the lens starts to perform very well indeed.

Extreme top edge of the image showing some softness in the top edge of the tower. Image magnified to 200%. Click image to view at full resolution.

Extreme bottom edge of the image showing less softness. Image magnified to 200%. Click image to view at full resolution.

Middle part of the frame with only default sharpening applied. Image magnified to 200%.Click image to view at full resolution.

Leaning Tower, Pisa, Italy.
Here is the full image.

Perhaps the biggest practical test of the Fuji 18-135 lens was my recent trip to Italy. After agonizing for some time over which lenses to take, I decided to travel lights and use only the 18-135. Reviewing the images now, I’m very happy with the quality and I was completely happy to work within the restrictions of the focal range. This is a very versatile lens and I’m happy to rely on it for future travel trips, especially when I want to travel with limited equipment.