I’ve been doing a bit of reshuffling lately, getting rid of lenses I don’t use and no longer need, and thinking about which lens to replace them with. I sold my Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 lens, which although a stunning lens, I just never really got in with its long fixed focal length, and I also sold my Meike 6.5mm circular fisheye. I’ve loved using fisheye lenses for many years, but recently, my love of wide and ultra wide images has really disappeared from my life.
What did I want?
Selling both these lenses has had no real impact on my focal length range, so my next lens had to have a number of things in order for me to purchase it
I had a number of ideas of what I initially wanted to get, and a number of features that the lenses should have. The first was that it needed to have a reach around the 85mm I replaced, but needed to be a smaller lens, secondly it needed to be a WR (weather resistant) lens and thirdly it needed to have either a wide aperture or have great image stabilisation.
I looked at a number of lenses, actually initially a pair of lenses. The XF18-55 and the XF16mm F/2.8. For some reason I thought o would sell my precious 15-45mm as well, but I quickly put an end to that, as, although it has its haters, it’s a beautifully sharp lens with a great wide angle. Plus, it didn’t quite replace the 85mm.
I was just enough to have a quick try of the XF16-80mm F/4 lens, another lens that looked like it could potentially full the gap that I needed. Although it was nice and wide at 16mm, I just want impressed by the overall size of the lens and the 80mm zoom didn’t feel like enough for a zoom lens. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely lens, has great image stabilisation and is a WR lens, but I just didn’t like it.
The final lens I was thinking of was the 18-135mm. One of the older Fujifilm lenses, that basically ticked all the boxes I needed it to. The size seemed good for its final length, reviews looked good, it has great image stabilisation and most importantly is a WR lens. It also has a nice clickey aperture ring (although not marked out like a standard aperture ring) which was something else I was after (the 16-80 had a real aperture ring).
The choice was made
And so, I decided upon the XF18-135mm F/3.5-F/5.6 lens. A lens that sits in the middle of my 15-45mm and 50-230mm. This new lens is in no way to replace either of those two lenses (and not to replace my 23mm F/1.4), but rather to complement them on scenarios where I might need something different.
When I need a small, light lens which has a very wide focal length, but can zoom in on subjects in situations such as street photography, flowers, people photography, architecture and inside buildings, as well as for use with my Infrared filters, the 15-45 is perfect as it is so unobtrusive.
When I want to photograph birds, insects, distant objects and portraits, while still keeping things light, the 50-230mm comes into its own. It’s definitely Fujifilm’s most underrated lens.
For general fun, lots of bokeh and to just feel like I’m carrying an analogue camera, the mighty Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 will always be there. A stunning lens, and one which rarely leaves my camera for its stunning image quality and low light abilities.
The XF18-135mm has been bought to be used in a combination of these scenarios, and for its WR abilities so I can go out in more inclement weather. It’s neither as wide as the 15-45, or as long as the 50-230mm, but covers ranges great for family photography, traveling with a single lens on family days out, potentially for close up work and for times I don’t mind carrying something a bit heavier… And it is much bigger and heavier than all my other lenses!
I decided a short while back that I’m going to sell lenses that I don’t use, and I’ve already done that. I’ve gone from five lenses down to three lenses, plus back to four with this new lens. I know have a lens for every occasion, for every weather type and for everything I want to do something a bit different.
And that’s it, I really don’t need, or want any more lenses… Said no photographer ever…
I’ve not had chance to go anywhere, and the weather has not bene perfect, so just a couple of test images from the garden. All EXIF is in the images.