Experience Report: Fujinon XF27mmF2.8

The Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 is an excellent lens ruined by the lack of an aperture ring.

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

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

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 a 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 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.

In my opinion, a pancake lens with a lens hood defeats the purpose of a pancake lens. The Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 lens has no lens hood.

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 its overall usefulness. If Fuji were to release a lens at the 27mm focal length with an aperture ring, I would consider purchasing it. 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.

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