Review: Fujinon 18-55mm lens and image stabilization

The Fuji XF 18-55mm f.2.8-4.0 R LM OIS lens has image stabilization. How well does it work?

The Fuji XF 18-55mm f.2.8-4.0 R LM OIS lens has image stabilization. How well does it work?

The standard kit lens for most of the Fujifilm X-mount cameras, including the X-T1 I just purchased, is the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS zoom lens. There’s a lot of alphabet soup going on with that name, but the main feature here is OIS, or Optical Image Stabilization. This in-lens stabilization system is intended to improve the sharpness of hand-held images of static subjects at lower shutter speeds. As someone who’s used Nikon’s VR lenses for nearly a decade now, I’m very much happy with the feature, especially when shooting indoors. Keep in mind that no stabilization system will prevent subject motion blur at low shutter speeds.

I was doing some test shots with the 18-55mm lens, and I just wasn’t getting satisfactorily sharp results. As I was shooting hand-held, I had OIS enabled. Just for fun, I thought I’d test my lens with the OIS turned off. What I saw was amazing as my image sharpness rivaled that of my 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS G Nikkor lens. It is true that in certain situations, stabilization systems can actually introduce softness when using fast shutter speeds, but it’s not something I found to be an issue with my Nikkor glass. But with this particular lens, it makes a huge difference! Continue reading

Review: Think Tank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i

Since I bought my Fujifilm X-T1 system, all of my camera bags were suddenly too big! I purchased a Think Tank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i to carry it in. It’s perfect for walking around with the camera and a couple of lenses plus accessories. I still may get a slightly larger bag for times when I want to pack the entire kit, but right now, the Mirrorless Mover 30i is a good fit for me. It’s small, well-built, and can carry the X-T1 plus four lenses and accessories, including my iPad. For vacation travel, that’s a perfect combination!

Check out my review of the Think Thank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i bag on YouTube:

Check out the Mirrorless Mover bags at Think Tank Photo and receive a bonus item with any order of $50 or more.

Kindergarten Rock with the Fujifilm X-T1and 18-55mm lens

Once I disabled Optical Image Stabilization, I started getting impressive results with the Fuji 18-55m lens (click to enlarge).

Once I disabled Optical Image Stabilization, I started getting impressive results with the Fuji 18-55m lens (click to enlarge).

This is one of my favorite test subjects: Kindergarten Rock in Garden of the Gods. I wanted to try the 18-55mm kit lens again. Yesterday, I’d seen some soft results when compared with my Nikon 24-70mm. Of course, the Nikkor is one heck of a lens, and it wouldn’t have been surprising if the Fujinon wasn’t quite as sharp. But after reading many online reviews of the 18-55mm, I was wondering why my results were soft when others gushed about the sharpness. It turns out that the image stabilization system (OIS) can introduce softness at fast shutter speeds, just like Nikon’s VR system can.

I went back to Garden of the Gods, turned OIS off, and got this result. It’s pin-sharp and holds its own against my D4/24-70mm combo (I use this comparison because both are 16MP cameras).

So there you have it. The 18-55mm f/2.8-4 Fujinon is one heck of a lens for outdoor photography! Just be sure to only use OIS if you absolutely need it, like indoors with slow shutter speeds.