An everyday lens that really delivers!

Shot using XF18-55mm
In December 2013, I visited Thailand for a couple of weeks with a three days stop-over in Singapore. As I had never traveled to Asia before (I always seem to end up traveling South or South West), I was pretty excited. There isn't anything better than traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures - especially the food (I had the most amazing crab curry in a really dodgy looking restaurant by the side of the river in Singapore) to inspire you to take photos.  

Shot using XF18-55mm
On my last blog entry where I explored the Fuijfilm X-series of cameras, I mentioned that I was looking forward to adding the XF23mm f/1.4 to my camera bag - this was going to be my perfect lens. The only down side to this is that I now had 4 lenses (18mm, 35mm, 18-55mm & 23mm) to carry around. The whole idea of switching over to the Fuji X-series was because of the small, lightweight kit of fantastic quality. One had to go. I had recently purchased the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS, with the thinking being that I would sell my 18mm & 35mm. This was more difficult than I thought! The XF 18mm was sold on eBay and it turns out I couldn't part with the XF 35mm f/1.4 - it's just too good.

The most surprising part for me was how brilliant the XF 18-55mm performed. It's nothing like the usual 18-55mm kit lenses that you sometimes get with kits from other manufacturers, which can feel cheap, light and ‘plasticy’. This feels how a proper lens should feel. Solid, smooth and with the right amount of weight. Most importantly the end results are superb. The new firmware updates have something to do with this, adding better responsiveness to focusing and the OIS.

Shot using XF23mm
My travel kit consisted of:  battered Domke F-3x bag, Fuji X-Pro1 with 23mm f/1.4 / 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and 35mm f/1.4, couple of spare batteries and a light meter. Turns out I didn't touch the 35mm lens or the light meter! During the day I had the XF 18-55mm attached to the camera. I still carried the 23mm and 35mm just in case, but I never switched. The XF 18-55mm is my perfect 'everyday' lens. I didn't have any 'must have' photos in mind when walking round Singapore or Thailand, I just knew that I wanted to be able to take a variety of shots with the minimum of effort. Also the light would be varied, from the bright outdoors, to shadow and semi-dark temple interiors. 

Shot using XF23mm
With its bright f/2.8-4 aperture and image stabilisation, it really was a joy to use. In the evenings, I switched to the 23mm f/1.4. The reason I used this instead of the 35mm f/1.4 was simple. Apart from the 23mm being my favorite lens length / angle (35mm equivalent in old money), I'd bought it for this holiday and it needed to be used. I am very happy to report that it didn't disappoint. Very quick focusing, really sharp and lovely fall off (bokeh). When using it in manual  focus it is so simple, as the focus ring has a start and finish point - unlike the 35mm which seems to turn for eternity. The only negative point is the size (it's quite a lump) and the fact that instead of having a dedicated metal lens hood like the 18mm & 35mm it comes with a big ugly plastic petal shaped hood. I just find it annoying.

I had a brilliant time in the freakishly clean and polite Singapore, and Thailand, which is much more lived in, and am looking forward to hopefully visiting again. 

You can see the Fujifilm X-Series of cameras and lenses in our stores in Burgess Hill, West Sussex and Central London. In both stores, you can touch and try them out for yourself. Alternatively visit www.ParkCameras.com you can see the X-series online, with many products featuring videos to help give you a feel of the cameras.

If you use the Fujifilm X-Pro1, why not let us know which lens is your favourite and why. Simply post a comment in the section below. 

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