Fujifilm just announced the release of its XF18-135mm high magnification zoom lens, the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR for availability in July and features a dust-proof and waterproof structure with weather resistant sealing applied to more than 20 different areas of the lens. Typically zoom lenses of such extreme focal ranges are aimed at broader consumer markets. Fuji instead chose instead to target this professional-grade lens for its X-series cameras. Its zoom range covers a wide shooting range full frame equvalent of 27mm wide-angle to 206mm telephoto.
Fuji continues to improve the AF of its lenses with each new lens and update. The XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR uses an inner focusing mechanism for rapid autofocus speeds.
The optical design incorporates four aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements to minimize chromatic aberrations and distortions throughout the zoom range while also lessening the overall size and weight of the lens. At 490 grams it is almost 100 grams lighter than the current 55-200mm lens. Helping to keep the weight and cost down is the f/5.6 aperture at full extension. Fuji boasts of a 5-stop vibration reduction to compensate for the slow aperture. Even so, f/5.6 as a maximum aperture is not going to appeal to those of us who like using selective focus in our images. At least on the 55-200mm zoom the aperture at 200mm is f/4.8, and at its 135mm focal length it is f/4.4.
The lens barrel features 20 distinct seals across its design to resist dust and moisture from entering the lens. Additionally, further contributing to effective weather resistance, an internal ventilator ensures smooth zoom adjustment and prevents dust particles and moisture from reaching the interior of the lens.
An enhanced optical image stabilization system, which includes dedicated OIS Unit Lenses with a wide range of corrective movements, compensates for the appearance of camera shake by an effective five stops to benefit working in low-light conditions and with slower shutter speeds.
Generally, zoom lenses made to cover an extensive focal length range do so by making compromises in the resolution and aberrations. Such lenses are usually aimed at the amateur consumer market. So it is something of a surprise that Fuji added weather resistance to the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 lens and also intended it for a a more serious camera user. Having been constantly and pleasantly surprised by the quality level of all Fuji zooms, I expect this lens to meet a higher standard than the usual comprised level of the breed. We shall see. I will definitely looking at this lens closely, testing it, and reporting my findings here. There is something to be said for a lens that can do it all. Just imagine adding this lens to a travel kit with the 10-24mm zoom -- you'd have a complete package in two lenses!
The Fuji XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 can be pre-ordered now for delivery in July.
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