I’m Paolo and I have been a Fuji user for a little over a year now. Just like everyone else I was a DSLR shooter before but the weight got to me and I thought of trying unconventional brands. Started with the awesome but slow to “everything” X100 – that is before the firmware updates that made the X100 what it was supposed to be like, now. Anyway, that’s where my love and hate relationship with Fuji started. Well not really hate, it is such a strong word, more of frustrations which I have already gotten over with. I got my hands on a Fuji XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR this February in time to shoot the famous Cebu City’s Sinulog Festival “Pit Senor!”. Thank you Marie Dela Cruz of Fuji Philippines for letting me try one!
Some shots during the Sinulog celebration in Cebu City, Philippines using the Fuji XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR OIS lens:
This guy was filming the celebration and was getting around with his skateboard:
Here’s my initial impressions of the lens:
You will easily notice that it’s big. I myself was just carrying the diminutive Fuji XF 27mm f/2.8 lens so you can just imagine the size discrepancy between the two. Though compared with my old Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens non OIS/VR (which I sold a long time ago) that of Fuji is still small by comparison.
Weight wise, its just but understandable that it packs substantial pounds over the 27mm. Just by its filter size alone, it’s 39mm for the pancake vs 67mm for the weather resistant zoom.
Fuji XT-1 with XF 27mm f/2.8 and with XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR OIS:
Fuji XT-1 with pancake lens XF 27mm f/2.8:
If you have with you the XC 55-230mm f/4.5-6.7 mm lens, it is a bit slimmer and shorter when on neutral but longer with full barrel extension:
Just to get an idea on the size of the Fuji XF 18-135mm WR OIS compared with the Fuji XC 50-230mm lens:
Lens zoomed out to 18mm:
And fully zoomed in to 135mm:
Here is the XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR OIS when mounted on an XE-1. It becomes front heavy but without being uncomfortable:
When it comes to build quality, true to its nature as an XF lens the 18-135mm OIS WR is built to withstand pretty much any challenge you throw at it. It has a metal mount, high quality plastic body. There are three rings on it.
The first is for the aperture control, which is closest to the body, unlike the 60mm macro lens it does not have imprinted values on them. You get confirmation that you successfully changed aperture on the viewfinder or LCD.
The second is the zoom ring. The zoom rubber grip has a nice tactile feel to it. (again it’s really rubber not plastic as other lenses have on its zoom ring). The barrel of the lens extends as you move it to its end range though it feels secure zooming in and out.
The third ring is used when in manual focus mode. It feels smooth and damped. You can just use a finger to move it when you fine tune using focus peeking (ergonomically this helps as the barrel of the lens is a bit long).
It comes with a plastic petal-shaped lens hood unlike the Fuji XF 60mm f/2.4 macro lens which has a metal hood. Now, it all depends on you if you prefer plastic or metal, as for me I’m leaning on the latter.
As i was shooting between 8 in the morning till around 11 AM, I can say that the lens acquires focus fast. It is snappy, although at times it did hunt for focus even in broad daylight. Now when I say sometimes, I meant 3-4 times and might be attributed to user error (subject is backlit..yeah I know, I’m not making excuses here but I’m no professional so relax). Some shots during the Sinulog celebration in Cebu City, Philippines using the Fuji XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR OIS lens:
Students “volunteers” lining up the street to provide a sort of human fence for crowd control. Everything was orderly during my short stay in the streets:
Pretty faces everywhere:
Another tribe/participants during the Sinulog parade. Are they funny or what?
One thing worth mentioning though is that this lens brings versatility with you wherever you go. You can shoot landscape and in a second take portraits of people you pass by. The lens is weather resistant and paired with WR Fuji X-T1 you are all set for any situation Mother Nature gives you (keyword: weather resistant, not weather proof). So, use with caution or you might hurt your bank account.
And the OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) really works! Here are some shots where I felt a lot comfortable shooting… Flowers in our backyard. Admit it or not but most of us underwent a stage of shooting anything in our yard, from flowers to insects to rocks. As I have said, the Fuji 18-135mm is an all around lens.
Here are some cityscapes shots of Cebu City, Philippines:
Simala Shrine in Sibonga, Cebu:
Going to Simala Shrine in Sibonga, Cebu is about a 2-hour drive from the City proper. You can also ride a bus going there which will roughly be a two and half hours of travel. One then can take a tricycle (motor cycle ride) going to the Shrine.
Most of the people who frequents the place are devotees, students and ordinary folks who pray for a miracle.
So to close this, if you ask for my opinion if i would personally get the Fuji XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR OIS lens? In a heartbeat! Though for most of us the price tag will be a bit steep. But it is all worth it. The one lens solution for your travel adventures. Then again, there is one cost-effective alternative if you can live without the weather sealing and that is the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS lens. Yes, you will have to bring an umbrella when it rains and be short on the zoom but your pocket will have the extra cash to spend.
What do you think?
This guest post was contributed by Paolo Braza. Paolo is a former corporate dude. Having taken a medical related college degree, he is now pursuing it after 13 years of being in the sales industry. Now he wants to be a Physical Therapist to help mankind restore its normal functions, mobility and quality of life, having lost them to years of partying, smoking and drinking.
Aside from that, he thinks he is a photographer, believes he is a cool, eccentric Fuji user. A big time wannabe blogger. A so seldom runner and a full-time dreamer. Check out and subscribe to his new site. You can also follow Paolo on Twitter.
I’d be interested to know if you can use an extender with this lens?
Great shots, your lens seems sharper than mine. How did you get the matt effect
Can’t see a yellow cast. Your shots have character !
Love your work.
Good Job Pao. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Haters will always hate. All glory to God.
Great pictures you showed me !
I’m really impressed with this lens, I bought it as a kit with the X-T1. That 5 stops of IOS, great! The best 18-135mm APS-C one lens solution available !! Thanks for your review.
Great photos!!! Keep up the good work!
Michelle! Thank you for the kind words!
Your photos bring me to the other side of the country where I’ve never been to before. Like the Simala Shrine. Or a celebration/feast I’ve never witnessed ever. Im a Filipino too and its the country I desire to settle in when I retire, the photos have reminded me of what a beautiful future I have in my ageing years as Philippines will always be considered as a happy country. So I dont know what a perfect picture should be as Im not a professional photographer, but I believe, what matters really is how it affects its audience. And the reasons behind why the photographer snapped the picture. They say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you are taking opinions really well, positive or negative. A job truly well done!:)
Hi Michelle! Kamusta? It is always nice to meet a fellow Filipino in photography sites or blogs. It is such an honor for me to have been given the opportunity to be published in PhotographyLife. Getting comments may it be positive or negative is something i am thankful for because of the effort extended in writing such comments. And Philippines is really a beautiful country and retiring here i think is a wise decision. Lots of places to explore, Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Batanes just to name of a few. All worth the travel if you ask me. And so i wish you Goodluck in everything! Mabuhay ka Michelle!
Hi Pao! You should post more photos of your travel! Negros itself has lots to offer, there are times when I start asking myself about dreaming to travel here and there when I havent actually explored my own hometown yet?! Seeing posts of other people taken in Negros, I couldnt believe that they actually exist in Negros.
Enjoy your travels and enjoy capturing photos of God’s creation! They are beautiful!
I think you got some really nice shots in there, but I was wondering about processing. I mean the photos don’t look like any film simulation mode, so it’s hard to see how it renders colours, tonalities, etc. I just think it would have been better if they were more natural, especially given the title.
That said, thank you for your time and effort. There are not many reviews of this particular lens. And by the way, I’m based in Saigon, many of my friends are Filipinos. If you ever come by, let me know ;) I’ll show you some nice places around here :)
Hey Csaba! How are you? Thank you for the comments. Will hold you in your offer, will definitely drop a msg if i happen to be in Saigon!
The first thing I thought to myself when I saw these pictures was, where’s the contrast. I don’t think the lens could really be that bad, more likely it’s a poor quality of the posted pictures.
my first impression when i saw the name of the guest in this article i feel so honoured.cuz i am also a filipino and i am so excited to see all the photographs cuz i am expecting to see a breathtaking images.but suddenly i feel sorry for i never surprise at.all.photographs are nice but not as impressive and jaw dropping like all the other guest and contributors who shared their works in this site sorry for my words but that is based in my observations.:(
Roy! kamusta? still, thank you for taking time to comment. Mabuhay!
Paolo, thanks for the post. These are really great pictures and a great post that feels like a breath of fresh air after so many unnecessary posts about rebates,Nikon gears and specifically Nikon V series. I have been a film shooter and a regular National Geographic reader for the past 20 years and I can’t fault your pictures. Sadly this is a site for Nikon fanboys and anything outside Nikon is rubbish…..If it was Nikon related post Nasim would have jumped in your defence but then you don’t shoot Nikon and thats the price to pay when you post in these brand affiliated sites. Don’t let this back setting mentality put you down…. You have a great eye and the processing is Nat Geo like…Keep it up!!
Wandiba, Big Thank You for the kind words, it means a lot. I was a nikon user before i made the switch to fuji. As a company i think they are doing well considering that they were known for their film technology.
Actually, Nasim et. al. are big fans of Fuji, as you’ll see if you look through prior postings.