I’ve owned the XC15-45mm for the last four years, and used it quite extensively. I’ve grown to love it far more than I hate it, and there are some very good reasons too. Here are my thoughts…
First, what I hate about the lens.
For anyone who has used the XC15-45, you’ll know that the zoom mechanism can be trying at times. Power zooms can be a pain, you turn the zoom ring and the camera sometimes decides to zoom the lens, sometimes it gets where you want to, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s an adventure each time you use the thing! And don’t even try to zoom when you have gloves on, for some reason, my lens hates me wearing gloves!
Another reason others dislike the lens is because it’s all plastic, but that’s not really an issue for me. I’ve dropped the lens more times than I can recall, last time it even got buried in sand when I fell and the camera hit the sand lens first… And it survived!
It’s suggest aperture is only F/3.5, and sometimes I wish it was a little wider.
On all honesty, other than the zoom, there’s not much to dislike about this lens.
What I love about this lens.
For all the hate this lens gets, I’ve grown to love it over the years. I own and have owned all sorts of lenses. From cheap manual focus lenses, to the XF series of lenses. I settled on the XF18-135mm after using the XF18-55 and XF16-80 and I couldn’t be happier with that lens. However, I still use the XC15-45 a heck of a lot!
It’s small and compact and very light! This for me is a huge positive. When it’s on your camera body, the camera is super lightweight. For many occasions, from time with family, street photography and hiking, it’s perfect because it’s just so small, and allows you to capture the moment without feeling like you’re carrying anything.
It’s focal length has been perfect for me. I have always liked wider angles and at 15mm on the widest part of the range, the lens doesn’t disappoint. It’s both wide and extremely sharp! At 45mm the lens performs fairly well also, not quite as sharp, but more than useable, however I tend to use the wide end much more often. After all, it’s 15mm! That’s amazing!
It’s price is simply amazing for what you get. You can pick it up for around £99 which is a total bargain! What’s more, a huge majority of these lenses haven’t even been used and sold as second hand, because people assume they are rubbish! It’s a win win situation!
The lenses durability also defies it’s look. As mentioned, I’ve dropped this lens on more occasions than I can mention. It’s got buried in sand with my weight and the weight of an X-T3 on top of it. It’s been soaked so much in the rain, that water has been dropping out of it. It’s been out in the heat and left on tables/chairs and reached extreme temperatures while I’ve been taking a rest. It really is a small, light, tank of a lens!
I’ve known a lot of people who have sold this lens and then regretted it. Mostly for losing the 15mm focal length, but also because of its size. For the amount you can sell it for, it’s just worth keeping in your kit bag for when you need something small and discreet and with a focal length that’s better than you think you’ll need.
I can understand why people sell it though, that focusing is a pain in the arse, but honestly, stick with it, or use it as a 15mm prime lens and you’ll soon forget it’s shortcomings.
I wrote an article a few years ago about the XC50-230mm being an underrated lens, well, I think the XC15-45mm gets a lot more hate than the 50-230mm ever did, and for all the wrong reasons.
A lens is a tool, learn how to use it properly and get the most from it.