Stefan Finger (born 1983) is a German photographer. He is based in Düsseldorf and Hannover.
After his Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Media and Sociology, Finger received his Master in Political Communication at the University Heinrich Heine in Düsseldorf. For this degree he completed a Master’s Thesis about the effect of photography. During his studies he worked as a freelance photographer and writer for several newspapers and the news agency epd as well. In 2011 he began studying Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Applied Sciences in Hannover. During his studies he completed an internship at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Finger is working on long-term projects around the world, focusing on socially significant topics. He was already nominated for the CNN Journalist of the Year award and the Mediaprice of the “Kindernothilfe” with a story about people who live on a Philippines’ dumpsite.
With the story “Wanna Have Love?! – Consequences of Sex Tourism” (the first long-term project Insa Hagemann and Stefan Finger realized as a team) Hagemann and Finger won the highly-prestigious UNICEF Photo of the Year Award in 2014, the Schömbeger Fotoherbst and were shortlisted for the Alfred Fried Award. Stefan Finger is represented by the photo agency laif.
The FUJINON XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR – a true gamechanger
FUJIFILM X-Photographer Stefan Finger has tested the new FUJINON XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR and is particularly impressed by its precise autofocus.
The FUJINON XF18mmF2 was one of the first lenses I bought for my FUJIFILM camera. It’s small, light and, most importantly, has a nice focal length that comes close to the 28mm photography of the days of analogue photography. In recent years, however, the lens has rarely made it into my camera bag: I had become too used to the F1.4 aperture and all the advantages it offers on my other lenses. Because I like to work with the available light, even under difficult lighting conditions. It is also important to me as a photographer to guide the viewers’ eyes to the points in the image that they should focus on by using a small area of sharpness.
For me, the FUJINON XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (a 35 mm equivalent of 27 mm) is an absolute gamechanger. For one thing, the autofocus and image quality of the lens are outstanding. For another, it brings me back to a focal length that I very much enjoy. Often my FUJINON XF16mmF1.4 (a 35 mm equivalent of 24 mm) has been too wide-angled for me. However, the FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 (a 35 mm equivalent of 35mm) didn’t provide a wide enough angle. The XF18mmF1.4 fits perfectly into this gap.
I have tested the lens extensively: in portrait shoots for newspapers, in reports in the Ruhr area, on family outings with our two children and in a report on the last eel fisherman on the Rhine. The autofocus didn’t miss a single shot throughout my testing process. In the process, I gave my FUJIFILM X-Pro3 a difficult task with the XF18mmF1.4: early morning backlight as the 84-year-old fisherman pulled the dinghy ashore. Almost complete darkness at night to capture the starry sky above the fisherman’s boat. Sometimes I focused on an object that was very distant, sometimes on one that was very close.
There was only one situation where I had to switch to manual focus: when I wanted to take a photo through a rather dirty window pane. Here, of course, the lenses usually cannot tell whether I want the reflection in the window or my protagonist standing in the room behind it to be in focus. When doing the necessary manual focusing, I noticed another improvement offered by this lens: the manual focus is much smoother to use. This makes manual focusing much more fun and helps you to achieve an optimal and, most importantly, extremely sharp result better and faster.
As a photojournalist, I have to be able to rely on my camera equipment. I don’t buy cameras or lenses just for show. They have to be able to withstand the odd knock, perform in bad weather and even be laid in the mud from time to time. The new XF18mmF1.4 is also a “WR” lens, i.e. a lens that is sealed against splash water and dust. When the fisherman pulled the net out of the water, the camera and lens got splashed with water. This did not affect the lens.
I was also surprised at how short the closest focusing distance is, as it is very low. FUJIFILM states it to be 20 centimetres. In my test, however, I was often able to get as close as twelve centimetres from the subject and get it in focus.
On top of that, the XF18mmF1.4 fits seamlessly into the FUJIFILM lens range: it’s small, it’s light, it has a very quiet focus and it’s superbly finished. I have always been a fan of FUJINON lenses because they have very good imaging performance and are very well designed. But the FUJINON XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR sets a new benchmark for me. I am curious as to what may come in the future.