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My Fuji 27mm f/2.8 Mark I Pancake Lens Review


Andrew L (gryphon1911)

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Andrew L (gryphon1911)
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I've always loved the idea of the small coat pocketable camera. Better than cellphone quality, but not much bigger.

I toyed with the notion of the Nikon Coolpix A, but initial cost and lack of a viewfinder out me off. I tried several Fuji X100 series as well as the Ricoh GR II.

They all had great qualities, but usually feel short in some stress that made them not a keeper.
 

The Fuji had great IQ, but lacked a speedy AF and poor battery life. The Ricoh had great IQ, but lacked a viewfinder.

They all had the failing of/benefit of a fixed lens.

Wanting my cake and being able to eat it too, I keep getting drawn back to a small ILC system.

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For a while it was the Oly PEN-F and either the 17mm f/1.8 or the Panasonic 12-32 pancake zoom.

Since leaving m43, that small gap has been filled by the Fuji X-E3.

To go along with the X-E3, I picked up the Fuji 27mm f/2.8.

Let's look and see what the Fuji 27mm has to offer and will it be a viable coat-pocketable option?
 

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Fuji X-E3
1/40, f/2.8, ISO 800
(converted from RAW in Capture One 12)

Handling/Size/Weight

This thing weighs next to nothing. It reminds me a lot of the Oly 17mm f/1.8 or the Panasonic 20mm f/1.8. It is close to their focal length ranges as well. You could put this thing in your bag and have it with you all the time and not really notice it.
 

It is very slim and doesn't stick out much from the body. Pants pocket? No, but definitely would fit just fine into a coat pocket or into a small side pocket of a backpack on a camera like the XE-3 or even an XA or XM type Fuji body.
 

It handles just fine, although I can see some people that are used to having an aperture ring might take a minute to get used to it. There is only one ring on the lens and it is for manual focus.

If you want to put this lens into auto aperture, just keep spinning the dial past f/16. The aperture icon will change indicating that you are now in aperture auto.
 

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Fuji X-E3
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400
(converted from RAW in Capture One 12)

Weather Sealed

Not on this lens. If you want weather sealing, you'll want the 23mm f/2 R WR lens or the 35mm f/2 R WR.
 

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Fuji X-E3
1/40, f/4, ISO 1250
(converted from RAW in Capture One 12)

Image Quality

Having had a chance to use this lens now for a while, I can honestly say that it performs well. It is sharp even wide open at f/2.8. You'll be fighting with shallow depth of field issues when shooting up close more than having an issue with the sharpness of the lens. For those that pixel peep...no it is not in the same league as the f/1.x lenses and lags just a tough behind the f/2 variations that Fuji produces.
 

It is not however, a "dog" of a lens. It performs quite well and I would have no problem using it out and about doing some street shooting or attached to the X-Pro2 or X-E3 as a general shooter.

Some people might not gel with the 40-ish field of view, but I had no issues with it at all.
 

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Fuji X-Pro2
1/450, f/2.8, ISO 400
SOOC JPG(standard), then B&W conversion in On1 Effects 2019

 

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Fuji X-Pro2
1/2900, f/2.8, ISO 200
SOOC JPG(standard)

 

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Fuji X-Pro2
1/420, f/8, ISO 400
SOOC JPG(standard)

 

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Fuji X-Pro2
1/140, f/4, ISO 200
SOOC JPG(standard)

Focusing

It is quite the fast little focuser. I could barely see a difference between this lens and the f/2. If you pick nits, then this is probably not as fast to focus, but I found it barely imperceptible. If I do have to ding the lens at all, it is at times it does do the infamous Fuji "pump" in and out sometimes when getting focus. Normally I only found that when shooting in difficult lighting conditions like very dim light or extreme backlighting. Even so, the camera/lens combos I've used have only missed focus 2 or 3 times out of the hundreds of images I've taken so far with the tiny 27mm.
 

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Fuji X-Pro2
1/40, f/8, ISO 320
SOOC JPG(standard)

VR/OIS

Unless you are using an X-H1, then you don't have any stabilization here. I've not missed it so far in my Fuji setup...but if I do "need" it in the 27mm focal length, I have the 18-55mm OIS lens to fall back on.
 

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Fuji X-Pro2
1/60, f/8, ISO 400
SOOC JPG(standard), then B&W conversion in On1 Effects 2019

Bottom Line

This little lens is a great addition to the Fuji lineup. No, it is not super fancy, doesn't have an aperture ring or OIS. What it does have is the ability to render a sharp image and give you little in weight or size penalty.

If you want a small lens that can perform and you happen to like the 40mm field of view then this Fuji pancake is worth your consideration.

Edited by Andrew L (gryphon1911)
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I've always loved the idea of the small coat pocketable camera. Better than cellphone quality, but not much bigger. I toyed with the notion of the Nikon Coolpix A, but initial cost and

I agree that it is a great little combo.  It replaced a Nikon J1 for me and actually wasn’t much bigger.  Being an APS-C set up it also replaced a DSLR system too.

crowecg

I agree that it is a great little combo.  It replaced a Nikon J1 for me and actually wasn’t much bigger.  Being an APS-C set up it also replaced a DSLR system too.

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