A Year Later - The Cold Wash Up For The New Lens - And It's A Hot One

on August 21, 2016

About a year ago I posted a column about the Fujifilm 27mm EX 2.8 mm lens I had just bought. I speculated that it would be a useful addition to the menagerie of glass I keep. I didn't know the half of it.

For the last 40 years we've been accustomed to thinking of standard prime lenses as wide-aperture affairs. Ever since the 50's we have clapped lenses onto our cameras with maximum apertures of f:2...f:1.8...f:1.4...f:1.2... If not a national obsession exactly, it has been the expected norm for a lot of natural-light shooting. People make careers of portraiture at maximum aperture - particularly if their clients are older, richer, wrinklier, or have hairy ears. You can hide a multitude of sins in back of a shallow depth of field...

Yet...every camera maker worth their multicoating has always had a standard length lens that has a smaller aperture - frequently combining this with some other useful feature like compact size or collapsibility. It has also usually cost less than the low-light lens. And frequently had better peripheral resolution. The only disadvantage for most of the film era was the fact that it had less bragging power than the f:1.4 version...

But it could be superb. I took years of tourist shots and weddings with the 50mm f:2.8 collapsible Elmar on the M2 Leica - and a lot of working shooters did too. It was the photographic equivalent of a .303 SMLE...and quieter.

Well, the 27mm Fujinon lens is in the same class. Small - look at the profile picture of the lens:

Simple. Only one ring turns - the manual focus ring. Lightweight. Fast. Precise. And of a focal length that can be turned to most tasks in street, social, or studio photography on the appropriate Fujifilm X series camera.

I use mine to take studio portraits:

I also haunt Camera Electronic beer-and-new-camera nights to gather reportage pictures:

It records all the little details of modelling projects:

And cars at shows:

It goes on holiday to the art galleries:

And sometimes it has adventures that it doesn't even tell me about:

I shall leave speculation on the last picture to the viewers - I know I am puzzled - but I would point out the interesting detail in the next-to-last one...the gentleman capturing the picture of the lady is using a mobile phone while a perfectly good Canon DSLR is hanging from his left shoulder.