XF18mmF2 R review by HABU

Photo by HABU
X-Pro1&XF18mmF2 R: F11 1/250 sec(-1/3EV) ISO200
Photo by HABU
X-Pro1&XF18mmF2 R: F8.0 1/420 sec (-2/3EV) ISO200

When shooting the sky, I opt for lenses that resolve well to give the outline of clouds crisp edges. Clouds tend to come out in a smudged look. Using a lens with strong resolving power and choosing the optimum exposure gives a three-dimensional effect and texture to clouds.

The combination of the X-Pro1 and the XF18mmF2 lens managed to reproduce the fluffy texture and depth of these clouds, which appeared in the sky near dusk. The image has captured the contrast between the clouds' highlights and shadows, the blue tone of the sky, and even the shadows on the ground exactly as I intended. The lens produces an impressive range of photographic expressions.

I selected -1 (MEDIUM SOFT for "HIGHLIGHT TONE" and +1 (MEDIUM HARD) for "SHADOW TONE" to achieve smooth highlights and slightly strong shadows. This seems to be the best combination for sky scenery.

Photo by HABU
X-Pro1&XF18mmF2 R: F8.0 1/350 sec (-2/3EV) ISO800 Dynamic Range400%
Photo by HABU
X-Pro1&XF18mmF2 R: F8.0 1/350 sec (-2/3EV) ISO800 Dynamic Range400%

One of the challenges I ask myself in sky photography is "How much gradation can I achieve?" I try to prevent white highlights from clipping, while capturing an impressive blue color of the sky. It is important to determine exposure settings according to what the main focus of the image is, and to what extent details should be captured.

My style is to stop down 1/3 of a stop in correcting exposure and apply AE Bracketing at 1/3EV or 2/3EV. Changing exposure by just 1/3 of a stop can change the amount of details you capture. That is why I pay attention to the exposure of merely 1/3 of a stop. It is also crucial to take metering from the blue sky rather than the clouds.

The Dynamic Range setting should be boosted for this type of subject matter with strong contrast. I set the Dynamic Range to 400%, which means a higher ISO, but with its excellent sensitivity performance,the X-Pro1 produced the picture with stunning image quality.

Photo by HABU
X-Pro1&XF18mmF2 R: F9.0 1/300 sec (+1/3EV) ISO200

This is my pet dog, Anko. The crisp performance of the lens inspired me to use deep focus to capture her as well as the expanses of the blue sky. The camera accurately captured each strand of the dog's fur, each leaf of grass, and each shade of the sky. This is the type of scene that does the combination of the X-Pro1 and the XF18mmF2 lens justice.
I always examine whether I should take metering from the sky or ground. In this photograph, Anko is the main subject, which is why I took metering from the ground.

What I love about this combination is that it is compact and very lightweight, which makes it very easy to hold the camera just off the ground and shoot upward, pointing at the sky. The added mobility helps overcome the difficulty of capturing a constantly-moving living subject (in this case a dog) to seize the perfect photo opportunity.

Photo by HABU
X-Pro1&XF18mmF2 R: F8.0 1/7 sec (-1/3EV) ISO200

This sunset shot was taken from my home. Seeing the beautiful red sky, I immediately picked up the X-Pro1 and the XF18mmF2 lens, and took the picture.
Additionally all I needed was Velvia mode to capture the subtle red gradation and soft textures of the different types of clouds. I did not need a special filter or any post processing on computer to obtain this result. It is wonderful.

I can mentally simulate as I used to do when shooting with a film camera and contemplating as to the image a certain film would produce. And the result comes out exactly as imagined. This is proof that the camera has been developed by a photographic film manufacturer.

Photo by HABU
X-Pro1&XF18mmF2 R: F16 1/140 sec ISO200

The X-Pro1 and XF18mmF2 lens offers image quality and color rendition suitable for sky scenery photography. In addition, what inspires my photographic mind is the camera's viewfinder and dial-based operation system. When I mount a single focal length lens on the camera, and look through the viewfinder to determine composition, I become inspired with new ideas. To move closer, step to the side or attempt the portrait orientation—one after another.
Exposure can be adjusted with a comfortable dial operation. Inspiration brings improvement to my photography. This camera creates such a synergistic effect.

Soon I am setting off to Australia to capture the country's vast skies with the resolving power of the XF18mmF2 lens. I am also looking forward to taking advantage of the camera's low-light performance to try shooting night landscapes.

The X-Pro1 and XF18mmF2 lens offer the level of quality I have always pursued since I started shooting sky scenery, and even guides me to a new world of photography. Equipped with this combo, I will continue to brace the grand sceneries that expand in the sky.

About the author


Photographer HABU
Born in Nakano Ward, Tokyo in 1955.
Traveled to Australia on business at age 10 as a salaried worker, and fell in love with the country. Left the job at the age of 32, and started working toward a career in photography. He has since photographed landscapes of various areas under the theme of 'sky scenery', and released a number of photo collections, while also holding regular photo exhibitions.

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