I have to admit, the instant I saw the Fuji 27mm pancake lens on a camera I was smitten by its compact size, and most particularly so when I saw it on a Fuji X-E1. It was immediately apparent that this was going to be a very handy, easily pocketable camera/lens combination, possibly one of the best combos out there.
I already did a review of this lens on my X-Pro1, but thought it might be fun to run it through its paces again on a smaller camera body where the fit just seemed to be more comfortable. Since I will be reviewing the new Fuji 23mm f/1.4 shortly, I also thought it might be interesting to analyze the performance of this lens again in comparison.
To further reduce its size, this lens does not have an aperture ring. Instead, you control the aperture by rotating the top dial on the rear of the camera. Frankly, I found it to be quite convenient, and maybe even preferable to using a ring on the lens. Maybe its just that I am used to changing apertures that way from using my pro-Nikons with G lenses.
|On an X-Pro1 the camera/lens package lost some of the small-size convenience it displayed when mounted on an X-E1. Nonetheless, I think it would still fit nicely in a coat pocket.|
|You can see the low profile of the 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens here. On a smaller camera body, like this X-E1, it easily fits in a pocket for those times you want to have something unobtrusive with you.|
|Download a high res version of this file by clicking here.|
|This brightly lit scene in full sunlight shows excellent dynamic range with no washed out highlight or blocked up shadows.|
The absence of color fringing from this lens is one of the best performances I have ever seen. The test shot below of trees is over exposed by 2 stops, and is typically where I would expect to see color fringing in the corner areas with high contrast. In this test, fringing is practically non-existent. Very impressive.
|Click here to download a high res version of this file.|
|This photo of tiny seckel pears was taken at the closet focus range of 13.39" (34cm) for this lens. This photo and the one above were taken wide open at f/2.8. It should be apparent that achieving bokeh is not one of the reasons for using this lens.|
A lens such as this Fuji 27mm f/2.8 pancake is intended for one purpose, its compact size and convenience, and it achieves that perfectly, particularly when mounted on one of the smaller Fuji X bodies. The pleasant surprise is that such fine image quality comes with the overall package. A pancake lens is generally thought of as compromise, but the Fuji 27mm breaks that prejudice by coming in a package that is not only tiny but speedy to focus, and with superb optics to boot.
I would have liked to have the lens focus a little closer than it does, but this might have lengthened the size too, and that is not what a pancake lens is about. Street shooters are going to love this lens. It's focal length is perfect for taking in a wide enough angle while still producing good depth of field with a zone focus at a stopped down aperture. For quicker framing Voigtlander makes a 40mm optical viewfinder that works well with this lens.
|Street shooters might want to opt for the Voigtlander 40mm optical viewfinder as an alternative to the EVF or LCD for quicker framing of shots. It fits and frames the Fuji 27mm perfectly.|
|When using the Voigtlander optical viewfinder in a situation like this, you many need to tilt the camera up a bit to correct for parallax.|
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