The Fujifilm 18mm f2 Needs a Weather Resistant Update

In August 2013, we published our Fujifilm 18mm f2 lens review. Back then, this lens was widely praised for its size, fast aperture, and a whole lot more. Recently photographers got an 18mm f1.4 R WR lens that does an incredible job. However, it’s known that Fujifilm cameras feel better with smaller lenses. That’s what the f2 variant of the focal length is. And if Fujifilm told me that the Fujifilm 18mm f2 couldn’t be made to be weather resistant and have better focusing, I wouldn’t believe them. And there’s a great reason why.

Look at What Fuji Did

Some of you probably remember their original pancake lens: the 27mm f2.8. When that launched, it wasn’t weather resistant. When they launched the 27mm f2.8 R WR lens, we learned it was the same optics in our briefing. However, they kept the lens roughly the same size. So if they could do this with their pancake lens, why can’t they do it with the Fujifilm 18mm f2?

For years, companies have come up with some rather silly excuses. They’ve told us that if they made their lenses have weather resistance that they’d become more expensive and larger. Sigma has been one of the biggest culprits of this response. So too has Canon. But the truth is that brands like Tamron and Fujifilm have done it without issue. And if that’s the case, then a Fujifilm 18mm f2 could surely be made with weather resistance.

I’ve been in the photo industry for well over 15 years. I’ve seen and heard tons of deflections. The Japanese are masters at making lenses. I don’t believe the excuses anymore. If they’re so much so in pursuit of perfection, they can make these changes.

My Dream of a new Fujifilm 18mm f2 R WR

Back to the matter at hand, I really want a Fujifilm 18mm f2 R WR lens. This wouldn’t necessarily be a pancake, but it would still be a chunky yet beautifully ergonomic wonder. It would also perform well on various cameras, render the image quality of the previous lens, and be the one you want to bring with you everywhere. Right now, a lot of Fujifilm’s newer lenses don’t do that while having weather resistance. They changed the optical designs for autofocus speed. As a result, they’re huge.

Autofocus accuracy has never been much of an issue with the Fujifilm X-System, but the speed… well that’s an entirely different matter all-together. When launched, the X-Pro 1 and its accompanying lenses could not be mistaken for having a fast autofocusing ability. However, Fuji has once again proven themselves to be a company that does not sit idly by and just develop a replacement product to address issues, forcing early adopters to have to shell out MORE money if they want a working product. No, they attack the computer sides of all our digital equipment and upgrade the onboard firmware to improve the functionality of their cameras and lenses. I can count on one hand how many camera companies are willing to do that these days. So for that, I applaud you, Fujifilm, I applaud you. Basically, all of that was to say that Fuji acknowledged there was work to be done on the X-System’s AF abilities, and boy have they done a number on improving it!

A quote from our 18mm f2 review.

Thankfully, the 18mm f2 R WR already focused quickly, according to our old review. So if it’s the same focusing speed with weather resistance, I think this lens would be a huge hit.

Make This Happen

Fujifilm, please make this happen. You really need fast lenses, and f2 can work well enough here. But you also need lenses that make someone want to bring their Fujifilm camera with them everywhere. And a lens like the 18mm f2 R WR would be perfect for something just like that.