No matter what your kit comprises off, the one lens that every Fuji shooter should also have in his arsenal is the Fujinon XF 27mm f.2.8 pancake lens. Its a bit pricey considering its simplified construction, small size and slow speed, so if you don't want to pay a little over 400€ for it you can find one on the second hand market for under 300€. Its a lens most Fuji photographers will most probably pass due to its lack of an aperture ring and slow speed but I urge you to try one and then I'm sure you will never leave home without it - read on to find out why.
The XF 27mm f/2.8 Fujinon lens is probably the best lens in the entire Fuji lineup for street photography. A lot of you may disagree, but generally speaking, with an optical view of 40mm its a good compromise between the wide 35mm or the short tele 50mm (which are the 2 most preferred lenses for street). Its also very unobtrusive which combined with the retro and already small mirrorless X-T1 make for a killer combination which only the X100 can beat.
Build & ERGONOMICS
The build quality feels just like any other Fujinon XF lens. There are no loose bits and in no way does the XF 27mm feel cheap. Its a solid build with good quality plastic on the outside, a tight finish and a nice metal mount. During AF operation nothing moves on the periphery of the lens, but if you look at the front of the lens, then you will notice that the inner front element moves ever so slightly. The focus ring is not loose nor tight with a nice smoothness in its operation but does not offer manual focus override. As already mentioned there is no aperture ring, and at f/2.8 at this focal length quite slow, so overall a rather simple lens design.
In the above image comparisons the tiny dimensions of the XF 27mm become quite obvious. The standard kit zoom which was considered quite small for its speed and focal length range is quite large compared to the 27mm just like the fast 23mm. When you compare the X-T1 & XF 27mm to the X100 series cameras, then you realize the XF 27mm real potential.
Not much to pick on this lens, everything about the lens is excellent. The optical performance even wide open is super sharp with great Fuji color and contrast pretty much like all my Fujinon lenses. This is true at all apertures. Maximum sharpness as can be expected is at f/4-f/5.6 and worst performing aperture is f/16 where diffraction can be seen. I would also avoid f/11 too. Doesn't flare easy even though no hood is supplied but it can be a bit noticeable under some situations as seen in the last photo in the gallery below. Even the bokeh has a very pleasing rendering. The very little barrel distortion is so minute that its undetectable by the human eye. The AF performance is super fast and spot on, and its small size makes your X-T1 feel like an X100! Plus lets not forget the excellent price
Images taken with the XF 27mm f/2.8
Obviously there must be a price to pay to have such a great performer in such a small package. Firstly there is no aperture ring, so one of the cameras command dials must be set up to be used for selecting the aperture (in 1/3 stops), secondly there is no focus override in AF mode if you ever need it and last but not least, the lens cap is so tiny its a bit cumbersome to use and is misplaced easily.
The XF 27mm f/2.8 is my standard everyday lens for my X-T1. There is so much to love about this lens. With a view equivalent to a 40mm lens its not telephoto like the 50mm nor wide like the 35mm - its just right! Even its tiny size is a big plus making it a great companion for the X-T1. Optically the lens is a great performer in every way and may even be the fastest focusing lens in my arsenal, which includes such greats such as the XF 18-55mm, the XF 23mm and the XF 56mm.
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