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on November 21, 2013
It took me a while to learn how to shoot with the Fuji 27mm lens on the X-M1 camera, especially in low light, after being "spoiled" by the fantastic in-body image stabilization (IBIS) on my Olympus OM-D EM5 camera. With the OM-D and 17mm F2.8 pancake, I can manage a sharp handheld shot at 1/4 second exposure, sometimes even as low as 1/2 second. Due to the lack of optical image stabilization on Fuji prime lenses, I typically need a minimum of 1/30 second exposure on my X-M1 and 27mm lens to get an image of similar sharpness.

Once I got the hang of using the Fuji 27mm lens on my X-M1 (with Auto ISO set at 200-6400 and 1/60 minimum shutter), I have become pretty impressed with the quality of images this lens is able to produce. Given that this is a pancake lens, it is not intended for professional work. Yet it seems to do many things remarkably well, from casual portraiture, to street photography, to landscapes.

The build quality and feel of this lens is good, on par with the Olympus 17mm F2.8 pancake. The fact that the Fuji 27mm lens lacks an aperture dial does not bother me as it apparently does to some Fuji X veterans.

While I generally prefer a slightly wider field of view, ideally 35mm equivalent, the 41mm equivalent field of view of the Fuji 27mm lens is still reasonably wide enough for street photography. It can also double as a "normal" lens, since it is not too far off from the 50mm field of view. And I now am appreciating the usefulness of this lens.

This lens is quite sharp at F2.8 in the center, with only slight corner softness. It is certainly sharp enough for portraits, where corner softness should not matter as much. The sweet spot seems to be between F5.6 and F8, where it is tack sharp in the center and has much improved corner sharpness (although still not on par with my Panasonic-Leica 25mm lens). But this works great for daytime street and landscape photography, because the aperture can be set at F5.6 and you are good to go.

The contrast on the Fuji 27mm lens is slightly better than on my Olympus 17mm pancake, and it also does not suffer from the chromatic aberration of the Olympus. Skin tones and micro contrast is quite good, about as good as that on the Olympus 17mm pancake, but not nearly at the same level of my Panasonic-Leica 25mm lens.

Lens flare on the Fuji 27mm is better controlled than on my Olympus 17mm pancake.

Bokeh (a subjective thing) on this lens is pretty decent, but slightly edged out by both my Olympus 17mm pancake and Panasonic Leica 25mm in terms of "dreaminess", er, "creaminess" that bokeh aficionados rant about. (NOTE: I don't have any other Fuji prime lenses to compare bokeh with).

On the downside, the minimum focus distance is about 14", which makes the lens unusable for macro work.

The lens is also noisier and slightly slower to focus than my Olympus 17mm pancake, especially in low light.

For night street photography, I still prefer taking my Olympus OM-D with either the 17mm F2.8 or the 25mm F1.4, due to the OM-D's IBIS. (And this is no fault of the Fuji 27mm lens itself, which is a good match for the Olympus 17mm F2.8 in terms of image quality). For portraiture, I prefer my PL 25mm. For "one size fits all" solution, though, the Fuji 27mm and the X-M1 seems to be more my preferred choice because I can count on the generally excellent image quality this combination can deliver.

In summary I think this lens achieves what it has been designed to do, to be a sharp, capable, "go anywhere", compact prime lens with excellent image quality. The Fuji 27mm lens with the X-M1 camera is an excellent compact package for family, landscape and street photography.

Please see my comment in this review for a link to my recent pictures taken with this lens, mostly under less than ideal lighting conditions.
1111 comments|53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've wanted this lens for a long time, but just wasn't sure about it because I already have the 35mm Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4 R. Would this really be worth it? I kept looking for one of Fuji's semi-annual sales and when it dropped to $250 last week, I took the plunge.

Very very glad that I did. First, no, it doesn't lie near-flat on the camera as I'd hoped for but for $250 this is a nice alternative, The XF27 makes it a very light, very inconspicuous, snapshot-looking camera, taking much better photos than people actually expect..

The XF35 is a great lens, too. Beautiful quality to the photos, wonderful in low light, beautiful bokeh. But the XF27 really -does- feel like a different lens and makes the camera feel different. It is sharp and light and because you can boost the ISO so high with Fuji, even low light shots at f2.8 often are turning out, though of course the 35mm is better. The glass itself is a little over 1/2" in diameter, so when you're taking someone's photo it really doesn't look like you're taking "A Serious Picture". Perfect for street photography.

I was very surprised that the 27mm (41mm equivalent) field of view really -does- make a big difference to me compared with the 35mm. I like the 35mm--and it is lovely for portraits--but I have to admit that it is often a pretty tight shot in some places where you can't back up. The 27mm felt like a much more comfortable, more natural framing (supposedly the closest to what our eye sees)--I really did notice a significant difference--and it gives more context for people when you -want- to see the background. Again, nice for street photography.

The lens cap is tiny, with pinch edges, and I use a tether. It takes 39mm filters which are generally pretty expensive. But I got this one from Fotasy Fotasy MRC 39mm Pro 1-D Multi-Resistant Coating Super Slim MC UV HD Filterfor under $10 and it's working well I put a comparison up to show the different FOV between the 35 and 27 (both at f5.6 for comparison). Really glad to have this, perfect addition to any kit I think (at the sale price).

Note: The photos below show two different comparisons. (1) Yard shot, the left is 35mm FOV v. 27mm and (2) the brick wall shows without filter and with filter (dim lighting, but showing the comparisons).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 1, 2014
This is a great addition to a Fuji X lens set. It's tiny, light, and, when on sale, very reasonably priced. It has no image stabilization, and although it is an "XF" model (the higher-end lenses in the Fuji lineup) it is made in China, not Japan, like the other "XF" lenses are. It's a bit noisy during autofocus, too. But, cutting to the chase, if you are looking for a prime in this range, you'll likely not be disappointed. Images are sharp as can be, color is good, and you'll likely be pointing this thing at everything in sight due to its lightness and diminutive size. When it's on sale, as Fuji does every half-year or so, it's a great bargain, and it's the type of lens that you'll likely be happy about once you start looking over your photos. In spite of its slight shortcomings, its a wonderful addition to the Fuji line.

If you have not yet looked into the Fuji X system (be it the entry X-A1/X-M1 all the way to the X-T1) it's worth your time to investigate. It's one of the most remarkable systems with which I've worked, and the quality of the images are so good that it is almost shocking at times. This really does include the entry camera X-A1, which knocks out superb images even with the plasticky XC 16-50mm kit lens (I use that lens all the time, along with the XF lenses), and when you consider the price reductions that repeatedly occur (the X-A1 with the kit lens has been at $450 for some time now), the system can really be cost competitive. Some of the "XF" lenses get quite pricey, but the reviews on them are almost uniformly excellent, and they can produce images that compete with the best of the biggest brands. These lenses are routinely compared with Zeiss and Leica lenses, and my own experience lets me see why. It's worth looking into, if you have not yet done so.
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VINE VOICEon December 27, 2013
This is an early review of the Fujifilm XF 27mm "pancake" lens. I'll update it in a few months.

I've owned the XE-1 for a year and absolutely love the camera. Images are excellent. I've got the 18-55mm zoom, which is a very nice lens. And, compared to the camera body, it is heavy and bulky, which gives you a heavy camera to carry around and a very conspicuous camera (nothing says "I'm taking pictures of you" like a long lens). I had an idea that the 27mm would give a very different experience.

And, it does. The 27mm is amazingly small and light weight. The entire camera has been transformed into a compact, light, slim, inconspicuous bundle. Autofocus is blazingly fast (not that autofocus speed is the be-all and end-all of camera metrics, but it does stand out). Manual focus, with focus peaking, is a snap. The f2.8 aperture gives shallow depth of field, more than I would have expected at this focal length. Image quality is very good. 27mm makes a very interesting portrait lens, a very compelling and natural focal length for point of view images.

I think Fujifilm has a winner here. It will likely offend pixel peepers, but it's not that kind of lens. Fujifilm has some excellent primes for those who demand outstanding technical images, and they are about double the price of this lens. This lens gives me a second camera, one for walking around and informal shooting. The overall light weight and small size don't shout out "hey, there's a camera over here!" which allows for more candid shots.
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on January 2, 2014
Great for my style of street photography. Very discreet. Good picture quality. Probably won't rival the best of Leica, Canon, Nikon, or Zeiss. But in practice, its plenty good enough. I use it with the XM-1 to buld myself a very compact camera that looks like a P&S. Most people do not even notice I was taking their pictures.
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on December 22, 2014
Superb lens. It makes my Fuji XT-1 compact and easy to carry for those ad-hoc and family shots. Adding the very quiet shutter with this lense makes the XT-1 very easy to use without being a distraction to those around you.

Update: 3 August 2015
I've come to find this lens annoyingly slow to focus. Especially with the 4.00 firmware- all the other lenses got faster, this one **always hunts** as if something inside is always in the wrong position. It works and provides great pictures, but it is not as fast to focus as the kit lens 18-55. Removing 2 stars because it just doesn't rise to what one should expect from this price lens.
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on October 29, 2015
I love this lens! I bought it to use with my Fuji X-T10. It came with me on a trip to Iceland and Ireland.
It is well built, light, compact. Absolutely perfect for travel. Sharp with great colors.

I converted from Canon to Fujifilm this year, with the X-T10 and this 27mm being my first venture into the brand, and the mirrorless system as a whole. I could not be happier! This lens paired with a mirrorless body is a great travel companion. I'm shooting a lot more now that I don't have to lug heavy gear around.

Though I did sometimes crave a wider field of view (as I primarily shoot landscapes), I still got awesome shots and appreciate the versatility of this lens. I have since added the 16mm f1.4 to my kit. But this nifty 27mm will likely still be my go-to for travel.

As others suggest, I would recommend looking for this lens elsewhere for a better price (perhaps the website with a two syllable name that starts with an E---this is where I got mine, new, for around $150.00 less)
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on January 7, 2015
This is a peculiar focal length - a little wide of "normal" but not really "wide angle". It is equivalent to a 41mm on a 35mm film camera. Very few lenses of this category have ever been offered. Yet there has been a debate going back decades that the angle of view presented by these lenses comes closer to the natural or "normal" view seen by humans than does the traditional normal lenses (50mm in 35mm film or full frame digital). I can't say who is right but I remember the 40mm that came on my first serious camera, a Konica TC. I remember that it was easy to use and did its job very well.

Attached to a Fuji X-E1 or X-E2 the 27mm gives you a very light, compact package with a lot of versatility. I often prefer this to the 16-50mm kit lens that I also have. With a little foot work and thought I can cover almost the sane range of subjects. Subjectively, image quality appears very sharp and clean to me. Reviewers with the means to do more objective technical evaluations seem to agree.

Pros: Small, light, flat. No zoom. No aperture ring (use thumb wheel instead). F/2.8

Cons: No zoom, No aperture ring. F/2.8. Not particularly close focusing.

I don't see how a lens faster than F/2.8 or with closer focusing could be designed without being larger and heavier.

More: After more use here are a couple of additional observations.
--If you are doing hardcore landscape photos (i.e., tripod & cable release & ND filters), either the 35mm or 23mm is a better choice since the additional impedimenta just cited pretty much negates any size and weight advantages.
-- You may be willing to to bring an X-E2 plus this lens along on difficult journeys (for example- 10 hours on horseback) where a larger body & lens would wear you down.
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on September 7, 2013
This 27mm pancake lens with a 35mm equivalent of 41mm angle of view produces well defined photographs with accurate color representation. It weighs practically nothing. The lens is intended for non-obtrusive photographic moments. The aperture is controlled by the wheel on the back of the camera, not with an aperture ring.
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on August 31, 2014
This lens is exactly what I would expect for the price and then some. I was looking for a compact lens for my X-E2, something with an approximate normal field of view. The 27mm F2.8 lens looked like a good fit.

Before I go any further I do want to acknowledge the complaints about noisy focus and a degree of hunting before the lens locks on to the subject. Compared to the 18-55 kit lens both motor noise and focus hunting are evident in the 27mm lens. If your typical subject matter would suffer from 1/2 second more focus time, don't buy this lens. Bear in mind that this is essentially a sub $300 lens and set your expectations accordingly.

My review of this lens is characterized by the word 'Enough'. It is sharp enough, fast enough, accurate enough to make me pleased with my purchase. I didn't expect legendary performance from a lens that sits at the bottom rung of its family price tree. I did however expect sharpness and color fidelity equal to the standards set by Fuji and I haven't been disappointed.

Party pictures - great! Still life - fantastic! Street shooting - discreet! Five kids tearing around the backyard - meh. But then that's why I have the 18-55 or I can purchase some other $600+ lens with similar focal length.

Buy this lens if you want a compact kit that screams 'Don't leave me at home!' Buy this lens if you love the composition challenges of shooting a normal-ish lens where the zoom is your own two feet. Don't buy the lens if your subject matter frequently includes fast moving subjects - but then you wouldn't want an F2.8 when faster lenses of similar length are available.
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