Experience Reports

Fujinon XF27mmF2.8

In the world of photography, there is a particular type of lens about which most photographers get excited, the pancake lens.

A pancake lens is a colloquial term for a lens that's shorter than it is wide – hence looking like a 'pancake'. Due to their compacted dimensions, pancake lenses are always fixed focal length ('prime') lenses and much smaller and lighter than a regular lens.

When Fujifilm first announced the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 lens in 2013, many photographers were excited because it was the first pancake lens for the system.

Some may think that 27mm is a weird focal length. However, I think it is the perfect "normal" focal length. Normal is defined as the diagonal dimension of the film frame or image sensor. The math works out as follows:

  • 35mm full frame sensor dimensions are 36mm x 24mm; diagonal is 43.27mm.
  • Fuji GFX sensor dimensions are 43.8mm x 32.9mm; diagonal is 54.78mm; crop factor is 43.27/54.78 = 0.78988682 or ~ 0.79.
  • Fuji APS-C sensor dimensions are 23.6mm x 15.6mm; diagonal dimension is 28.29mm; crop factor is 43.27/28.29 = 1.5295157299 or ~ 1.53.

This lens has high image quality and excellent build quality. But it isn’t perfect. The Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 is a plastic lens and has no aperture ring. Additionally there is no manual-focus override. There are no controls other than the focus control ring.

I switched to the Fujifilm X system because the system offers camera and lenses that offer quick access to the triangle of camera settings, ISO, aperture and shutter speed. The Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 disappoints in that regard. While it’s easy enough to map the rear command dial to change aperture settings for this lens, the process breaks my current working style as it requires learning some new muscle memory.

The Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 lens has no lens hood because a pancake lens with a lens hood defeats the purpose of a pancake lens.

Fujifilm X-T2 | Fujinon XF27mm F2.8 — Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM @ 180mm | f/4.0 | ISO25600

I have mixed feelings about the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 lens. I appreciate the compact nature of the pancake lens and fast autofocus. The 27mm focal length (~ 41mm full-frame) is ideal for street photography; however, the lack of manual-focus override and no aperture ring limits it's overall usefulness to me. If Fuji were to release a lens at this focal length with an aperture ring, I would seriously consider purchasing. In the meantime, I make do with my manual focus Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5.

You have to move a switch on your camera to get to or from manual focus mode and move a dial on the camera to change the aperture.

Tech Specs

Name: Fujinon XF27mmF2.8
Manufacturer Fujifilm
Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
Minimum Aperture: f/16
Mount Type: Fuji-X
Lens Type: Fixed Focal Length
Circular Filter Size: 39mm
Focus Type: Autofocus
Recommended: Yes

Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve | 17 February, 2019 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8

Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve | 17 February, 2019 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8

Roi's Cafe | Fujifilm X-T2 | Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 @ 27 mm | 145 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 12800

Rohan | Fujifilm X-T2 | Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 @ 27 mm | 1500 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 8000

Tap room at Referend Blendery | FujiFilm X-T2 | Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 @ 27 mm | 1125 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 2500

FujiFilm X-T2 | Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 | 1125 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 6400
FujiFilm X-T2 | Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 | 1125 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 8000

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  • Khürt Williams
    14th July 2022 at 11:53 AM

    Maybe it's age, but I've reduced my lens "kit" to just a few lenses but I want to add more lenses. I don't like swapping out lenses when I'm out and about. Part of the reason is that carrying too many lenses, especially zoom lenses and small aperture fixed focal length lenses, adds weight to the camera bag. I usually decide what I want to do before I leave the house. I got a smaller camera bag to force myself not to carry more than two lenses.
    I recently used this YouTube video to advise another photographer who was a having challenge deciding on which of his many lenses to bring to an event. I have had that challenge in the past when gear-based FOMO takes over, and I suffered from the tyranny of choice.

    I have a Minolta XD-11 35mm film camera and three Minolta lenses; the MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7, the MD Rokkor-X 45mmF2 and MD Rokkor-X 28mmF2.8 . The XD-11 body weighs 560g. The MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7, MD Rokkor-X 45mmF2 and MD Rokkor-X 28mmF2.8 lenses weigh 165g, 125g and 265g, respectively. The three-lens film kit weighs about just over 1 kilogram. The Rokkor-X 45mm and Rokkor-X 50mm are pretty close in focal length, so often, I will choose one to put in the camera bag along with the Rokkor-X 28mm. However, unless I know I will be making wide-angle photographs, I’ll usually choose to bring the Rokkor-X 45mm only.
    This 35m film lens kit is all I need to capture the images I want with the Minolta XD-11. The 35mm film kit is my hobby within a hobby.
    When it comes to my Fuji X-T3 lens kit, I am taking a different perspective.

    Actually, all amateurs needed to do (with primes) was a.) figure out the main normal that was most comfortable for them; b.) figure out if they wanted to augment that with a wide angle, and, if so, which one; and c.) ditto with a short tele. The last step, d.), was to decide if a longer tele was wanted or not. ~ Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer

    The X-T3 body weighs 539g, slightly lighter than the Minolta XD-11 body. I have two Fujinon lenses; the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR (41mm-e1) and XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR (24.5-84mm-e) lenses for the X-T3. The XF16-55mm is my choice for landscapes and cityscapes (short end), portraits (long end), and everything in between (groups, events). But it's a heavy lens. The XF-16-55mm weighs 655g; 116g heavier than the camera body. I don’t fancy carrying nearly 1.2 kilograms around while on holiday or when out for street photography.
    The XF27mm is compact and weighs just 84g, I usually leave it attached to the X-T3 body, almost like a body cap. To me, it’s the perfect "photographer about town" camera and just 1mm shy of being a "perfect normal" lens for the X-T3’s APS-C sensor. Using the original definition of the photographic term, the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR is my prime lens.
    I rarely use the middle of the range on the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. Most photographs taken with that lens are either at the wide end (landscapes) or the long end (portraits). I think I may be better off splitting the weight and range of that lens into two lighter lenses; the XF16mmF2.8 R WR (24mm-e) for landscapes and the XF56mmF1.2 R (85mm-e) lens for portraits. The XF16mmF2.8 R WR weighs just 155g, and the XF56mmF1.2 R weighs 405g. The only other lens I want is the XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR for bird/wildlife photography. That lens weighs 1605g, and with the X-T3 camera body, this minimalist wildlife kit would weigh over 2 kilograms. It’s heavy but changing it out in the field is not something I would need to do.
    The 16mm, 27mm, and 56mm focal lengths would cover the field of views I use most, covering landscapes, portraits and everyday photography. For the rest, I can zoom with my feet or crop.
    Choose your lens kit based on the kinds of photographs you like to make. Before you leave home, decide on what you will photograph and only bring the lenses suited to that. I think it’s okay to have a large lens kit, but if your camera bag can be used for weight training, don’t let gear-based FOMO paralyse you.

    The "-e" indicates the full-frame equivalent focal length. I am borrowing this trick from The Online Photographer website. ?

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  • Khürt Williams
    26th March 2022 at 2:49 PM

    It’s been a rough few weeks.
    On March 8th Apple announced a new Mac, the Mac Studio, and a new companion display, the Studio Display. I was so excited I ordered right away. This Mac Studio was not the Mac I was waiting for Apple to announce; it was even better than expected. The Mac Studio looks like a beefed-up Mac mini with a powerful new Apple M1 Max CPU. It has all the ports that Apple removed from the Mac lineup over the years, including regular USB Type-A ports but, more importantly, an SD card slot for photographers.
    When Apple removed the SD card slot and Type-A ports from the MacBook Pro and iMac, I said it was a wrong move. Some of my friends said that only a few people would care or notice. But the new Mac Studio has them. “I told you so”.
    I compared the geek bench performance benchmarks for the 2013 iMac, Mac Studio and 2017 Mac Pro. The Mac Studio is a beast! It’s 150% faster than my old iMac!
    I love the performance and display in the iMac, but one downside of the all in one design is that each time I upgrade to a new iMac, I am effectively paying for a new CPU and display. Another downside is that the 27? display in the iMac can’t be used as a display for another computer. With the new Mac design, the CPU and display are separate. I can connect any 4k, 5K, or better display to the Mac Studio. The Studio Display is a beautiful 5K display with a built-in HD camera and multiple speakers. It’s gorgeous and powerful and a perfect companion for the Mac Studio, Mac mini, or any computer.
    On March 8th, I placed my order, and Apple provided me with an expected delivery date of March 24th. Apple allowed me to trade in my old but functional 2013 27? iMac for $200. I was so excited.
    On March 18th, my iMac stopped booting. After a full day of troubleshooting, I determined that the internal SSD had failed. The iMac could boot from the external Time Machine disk, but the performance was terrible. I unplugged the iMac and set it aside. I told myself, “your new Mac will be here soon”.
    On March 24th, I received an email from Apple that there was a problem with my credit card, and they could not ship my order. I called the credit card company, but they said the problem was that Apple wasn’t sending them the pertinent information (the card verification code) to complete the order. I had placed the order using Apple Pay, so I called Apple Pay support. They couldn’t explain why the card verification code was not being sent and refused to take the number over the phone. They recommended I cancel the original order and place a new one using their website and regular checkout. That put me at the back of the order list. Apple will ship my new Mac Studio and Studio display around April 18th. Argh!!
    My Adobe Lightroom catalogue is on an external hard drive, but my wife’s 2013 MacBook Air is not powerful enough to run the software. We purchased the MacBook Air for light-duty tasks such as email, calendar and web browsing. I can’t do any photo editing. I feel a sense of loss and lots of anger. I hope my new Mac Studio and Studio Display will arrive before April 18th.
    Earth Day is still a few weeks away on 22 April. However, the Lens-Artists are celebrating early.

    Prothonotary Warbler | Sunday 19 May, 2019 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR | 1400 sec at f/5.6
    Riccardo Mori posted a commentary on a recent New York Times article on computational photography.

    … it’s clear that computational photography is polarising: people who want to be more in control of their photographic process loathe the computational pre-packaging of the resulting photos.

    The problem, as far as I’m concerned, is the approach of those who happily take advantage of all the capabilities of computational photography but want to pass the resulting photos as a product of their creative process.

    Not long ago, a photographer friend of mine has succinctly remarked, All the photos taken with current flagship phones look like stock photos to me. And stock photos are great, are perfect for their purposes, but you won’t find them hanging in an art gallery.

    As I read the middle paragraph, I nodded my head vigorously in agreement. I know people who fancy themselves good photographers simply because they can push a button and have a computer algorithm make a photograph.
    With time effort, and perseverance, experienced photographers develop their skills with a camera. With interchangeable lens film and digital cameras, when a photographer pushes the shutter button, they have already considered the scene, the lighting conditions, and the composition and used their experience to adjust the camera aperture, shutter speed, and other settings. The photographer takes the place of the algorithm. I am concerned that many of the people using computational photography do not have an appreciation for that skill.

    Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) | Wednesday 1 April, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
    Fuji announced a few new lenses in the spring of 2021, one of which was the XF27mmF2.8 R WR, an update to the XF27mmF2.8, which I already owned. The new lens has a focus ring and is weather sealed. The previous lens did not.
    I developed some muscle memory for aperture changes using the Fujinon XF16-55mm R LM WR lens. Without an aperture ring on the XF27mmF2.8, I must use one of the function buttons on the camera body to change the aperture. I was annoyed and found the arrangement inconvenient and ran counter to why I switched to Fuji.
    I waited several months until after reviews were posted online before deciding to place my order. The lens was hard to find. Fuji stated that they were challenged to produce enough lenses due to demand for the lens and supply chain issues. None of the big box stores or online retailers had the lens in stock. Amazon stopped taking orders, but Adorama and B&H Photo took orders and put you on a waiting list. Last week my XF27mmF2.8 R WR lens finally arrived after placing it with Adorama several months ago.
    The XF27mmF2.8 R WR lens is imperceptibly larger and heavier than the XF27mmF2.8 but remains light and compact. The aperture ring is silky smooth. At the 41mm full-frame equivalent on the Fuji X-T3 APS-C sensor, the 27mm focal length is close to the perfect normal focal length.
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  • Oberlin, Elyria, Beneduce Vineyards and Wide Angle Lenses – Island in the Net
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  • Isolation Photo Project, Day 101 by Khürt Williams on Island in the Net
    27th July 2020 at 12:13 PM

    […] York City, etc. I had long wanted a Fuji XF100F for that purpose. After renting an X100F and the XF27mmF.8 lens last year, I realised that the X-T2 and XF27mmF.8 combination was just over 100g heavier than […]

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