05.19.2021 Rommel Bundalian

LENS STORIES: Rommel Bundalian x XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR

Rommel Bundalian

Highly experienced in both Film and Digital Photography
Specialization in 360 VR Photography / Travel Photography
Street Photography remain my first love in photography
Member of World Wide Panorama 
Contributing Photographer of 360Cities 
Faculty Member of PCCI (Philippine Center for Creative Imaging)
Jan 2012 – Present Creative Director / Photographer – Imageworkz
June 2008 – Present Photographer – 360 Unlimited Arts & Photography Studio
March 2003 – May 2007 – Freelance Photographer / Magazine Contributor
April 2001-March 2002 – Assistant Photographer / Artist – ADPHOTO
Jan.1995-March 1999 – Freelance Photographer – Metro ManilaWARDS E
Finalist – 2001 Digital Design Competition
1st & 2nd Place-Digital Print of the Year 2001
Grand Prize & 1st Runner Up Winner2004 Master Digital Artist of the Year
January 2007 I-MAG Photography
March 2007 WACOM ASIA Website
SEPTEMBER 2007 “Image of the Week” at PHOTOSHOP.COM – U.S.A.
8th Place and Honorable Mention – AfterCapture Magazine by ADOBE Contest WorldWide 2007
Featured Artist at Corel Painter Magazine U.K. Edition
Featured in Mabuhay Magazine In Focus : October 2011
Featured in Manila Bulletin Newspaper – App, App and Away March 2012

I remember the days when the XF18mmF2 was the only widest lens available for my first X-Series Mirrorless camera. It was the perfect lens combo for my X-Pro1 then. This focal length made me love my X-Series mirrorless system over my full frame cameras as I was able to carry it around and do my photography everyday.  My day would not be complete if I didn’t have my X-Series camera with me and it has been my everyday lens even before I became an official Fujifilm X-Photographer.

It’s been almost a decade since and I have owned and tested most of the prime lenses of Fujifilm, so I am definitely excited and eager to test what the new XF18mmF1.4 is capable of. It brings back the memories of my first XF18mmF2 lens.

With so many Fujinon lenses available now, I really miss the 18mm focal length that I’m used to. For me, it is the best focal length for my style of photography. The 27mm equivalent in 35mm format is wide enough that you lose less of your surroundings. This lets you capture anything – you can shoot street, landscape, cityscape, nature, documentary and even environmental portraits.

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (2mins exposure time at F16)

Moving to Sydney has made me excited to explore the city. With so much diversity around – from multi-cultural suburbs to different beaches, it is a playground for a photographer like me.  I will definitely enjoy shooting this project with this new lens on hand plus the versatility of wider aperture of F1.4.

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/160 F1.4 ISO 800)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/160 F1.4 ISO 400)

Fast and Capable in Low Light

First, I decided to test how fast and how good the lens handles low light by shooting at the widest aperture at night. Shooting street at night is not my usual style but the F1.4 aperture opens up new possibilities for my photography. I was surprised to see how the lens handled the night scenes beautifully – images are sharp and noise-free.

Perspective and Compression

The wide aperture and weather sealing of the new XF18mmF1.4 are just icing on the cake.  I personally love the perspective of 18mm. For me, the compression is more natural and it really reflects the way I see the scene. It’s like seeing with your own eyes.

The XF18mm captures the atmosphere of the scene really well – allowing you to shoot your subject as well as the environment where your subject is. This perspective allows me to enhance the stories of what I am trying to capture in my photos.

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/100 F1.4 ISO800)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/80 F5 ISO125 )

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/400 F2.8 ISO200)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/200 F8 ISO320)

Up Close and Wide Open

This lens also allows you to get close to your subject at up to 11cm from the front lens element. I had fun using the close up capability of this lens. I was able to shoot my subjects up close while still having space in the background to play around with.

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/100 F10 ISO250)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/100 F1.4 ISO 400)

The focusing distance of this lens is comparable to that of the XF16mmF1.4 where you can focus so close at a wide open aperture of F1.4. By doing so, this lens can produce a smooth and creamy bokeh and a good separation of your subject from the background.

Getting up close and wide open really opens up new creative options of capturing the scene. I am able to give focus and emphasis to my subject while at the same time still show a bit of the environment.

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/125 F1.4 ISO800)

Go Wider and Right Distance

Aside from street photography, the XF18mmF1.4 also excels in other shooting situations like nature photography. By being in the right place at the right time, you can capture dramatic images that show the vastness of nature because of the wide angle perspective of the lens. I am impressed that it is able to capture even the tiniest details of leaves, branches, and rocks.

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (7 secs F16 ISO200)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/320 F8 ISO 400)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/500 F7.1 ISO400)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/400 F10 ISO200)

Just the right focal length

Shooting more with this lens will definitely improve one’s knowledge in composition. I am able to engage and get close but at the same time I also need to be aware of the four corners of my frame. I need to quickly anticipate what’s going in and going out of my frame.

Ultimately, what I love about this lens is that it is the perfect focal length for my street/documentary photography. It’s just the right focal length – not too wide and not too narrow.

It really draws the viewer into the scene and allows them to experience what you experience. As a photographer, my goal is for the viewer to experience my photos, not just see them. The 18mmF1.4, along with its close-up feature, wide aperture, fast AF and incredible sharpness, allows me to do that.

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/200 F8 ISO ISO320)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/200 F8 ISO250)

X-Pro3 & XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR (1/160 F8 ISO200)