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Fuji Showcase Fujinon XC 15-45mm 3.5-5.6 OIS PZ

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
So, I have one; one of the first in the UK.

First impressions - it is incredibly light. Powered off it is about the same in length as a 35mm f2. In use it extends by about an inch and a half. The mount is plastic. It has two rings, one narrower for focus and the wider for the power zoom. This has two zoom speeds, depending on how far you twist the ring; it only rotates about 20 degrees in either direction. On my X-Pro2 in EVF mode it is stepless, but with the OVF the framelines judder a little as they try to keep up. There is no indication of focal length set on either the lens barrel or in the viewfinder. Aperture is set by the rear thumbwheel. It does not come with a hood, nor is there a bayonet for one. Filter size is 52mm.

I had no time today to give it a good outing, and the rain this morning was biblical, but here are a few quick test shots comparing the 15-45 with my trusty old 18-55.

15-45 @15mm
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18-55 @ 18mm
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15-45 @ 45mm
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18-55 @ 55mm
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15-45 @ 45mm 100% crop
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18-55 @ 55mm 100% crop
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Focus in every shot was on the bridge of the Angel of Lens Testing's nose. Exposure was by spot-metering on the same point. These are all handheld SOOC jpgs; the only processing they have received is the 100% crop. Both lenses were shot wide open at their respective focal lengths.

To my eye and unsurprisingly the 18-55 delivers more, and more pleasing, bokeh at the long end. This is entirely to be expected given that it has a wider aperture and a longer focal length on its side. It still manages to throw the background out a bit at 55mm but the 15-45's smaller aperture and shorter focal length delivers a sharper background image.

The 100% crops are interesting in as much as although there is a difference in sharpness and in microcontrast, the 15-45 acquits itself remarkably well. I suspect that like the 50-230 and the 27 XC lenses, it will prove to punch a bit above it's weight and price bracket.

I have bought it specifically to use as a travel lens, and as a handy backup to my primes. I don't expect to use it a lot - I haven't used the 18-55 since last Summer - but it is there if I want something a bit wider or I can't be bothered to zoom with my feet. In that regard is it better than the 18-55? It is certainly lighter and more compact. I need to do more testing to get the measure of the performance and whether or not it is acceptable.

I don't like not knowing the focal length, I don't particularly like the power zoom (it makes a high-pitched whine that is quite disconcerting) and I am concerned that it may damage itself if the camera is turned on in my bag. I have had this problem with the 27 and it is not a cheap fix. I do like the compactness, the lightness, the slightly wider angle of view.

So. At this stage, I'd say jury out. Time will tell. I won't sell the 18-55 just yet...
 

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
Bit of an update.

When you flip to playback, the lens turns itself off. When you try to shoot, it wakes up but always at the wide angle end, not the previously set focal length.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
As far as video goes, I imagine the audible whine from the zoom motors would be a deal breaker. But I do sorta find this thing compelling for travel. As small and light as it is, especially for newbies who don't want to control anything besides zoom anyway... 15 is nice to have on the wide end.
 

Lumens

Regular
May 21, 2015
8
Interesting report. I just put one on back order that I believe will come in around the end of the month. I plan to put it on my back up XT-1 to carry with me when I don't want to carry the XT-2 with all my other lenses. It'll likely stay in the car for those last minute decisions to go shoot, when I don't want to make the trip back home to pick up all my gear.
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
123
Houston, Texas
A similar size to the 35/2 isn't all that small to make a Fuji X coat pocketable. I'd call the 12-32 from Panasonic a truly small travel sized standard zoom lens (although with a smaller sensor system). The power zoom is what would annoy me the most though. The Panasonic LX100 would be right up there as an all time favorite camera for me but for the power zoom.
 

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
A few more images, same settings as before, much sunnier weather.

I'm warming to this lens. It is what it is, and what it isn't is a top of the range offering from Fuji. It's (relatively) cheap and cheerful but like all Fuji lenses seems to punch above it's price bracket. It will be great for travel as a "there when you need it" lens. I'm a little concerned by what I see as close up softness at the 15 end of the zoom range, but that might be me being a klutz - a little more testing required.

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battleaxe

Regular
Jun 17, 2014
18
California
I am bit curious to see how it performs in color. A good part of me is like the price is great, size is compact, and it starts at 15mm, but then I have the 18-55mm. I could use t for the 15mm, but then I think why not just by a 14mm or 16mm Rokinon or the like? There's also the option of selling the 18-55mm for this and using the extra cash for gas money to go somewhere, or towards a new body(thinking X-T20 after the X-T30 comes out).
 

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
I'm in a different place, truth be told. I did an EXIF check; the last time I used the 18-55 in anger was nearly two years ago.

I cannot fault the lens in terms of performance, but bear in mind I also have the 18-135, and my main use case is travel. I am also predominantly a prime person, with 14, 23, 27, 35, 50(x2) and 56mm lenses in my "palette".

The 18-55 is getting long in the tooth in performance terms, it is not WR, not constant aperture. It does not have the reach of the 18-135 nor the weight advantage and width of the 15-45. It falls between a number of stools.

I'm thinking out loud here... The jury is still deliberating...
 
Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
Bill, I think the 15-45 fits well for your uses. Despite it's slight shortcomings. I have to keep my 18-55 because it is actually part of my son's kit. But a quick visit to Damien Lovegrove's site reminds me why I throw it in the bag as a backup for a portrait shoot.
 

AndyH44

Veteran
Dec 23, 2017
104
Central California Foothills
I've got one ordered ($275 shipped) and will be comparing it to my excellent 16-50 XC. I really dislike PZ but can live with it as I rarely need to shoot quickly. As long as the lens has acceptable IQ I think it would be a great CC lens due to it's size. We shall see!
 

AndyH44

Veteran
Dec 23, 2017
104
Central California Foothills
Got mine today and compared it to my XLNT XC16-50. All I can say is this little guy ROCKS on my X-E3!
You have the option of using the focus ring for MF or fine tune for zooming. The lens remembers where it was last set when the camera is turned off which is a neat feature on PZ lenses. The zoom has a variable speed which is easy to control and is dead silent. Hopefully, it won't eat up too much battery power!
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Pic comparison; 1st with XC16-50 @ 16mm. 2nd with XC15-45 @ 15mm.
Both F5.6; ISO 200
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Close up @ 15mm; F3.5
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AndyH44

Veteran
Dec 23, 2017
104
Central California Foothills
As I didn't have any 52mm filters, I mounted a 52 to 58 adapter and screwed in my B&W UV-Haze filter and found no vignetting. Looks like it was made for this set-up! Even when screwing in a polarizing filter in addition to the UV filter there is no vignetting! This little lens is going to be quite useful I believe!
 
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