The Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8: The Predictable Lens

This lens is a dinosaur that is refusing to die in favor for a revised model as many dream to see for some years. Introduced in 2013 alongside with the Fujifilm X-M1camera model, its persistence and success among the (compact) Fuji X photographers is a true testimony of its inherent qualities.

The Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8 is one of the two official so-call « Pancake » lenses available from the Fujifilm X-Mount line-up (The other one is the Fujinon XF 18mm F2 R lens). Designed firstly to be paired with smaller APS-C ILC bodies of the X-A or X-M series, it never prevents many Fuji X-mount enthusiasms to match the small optic with larger camera X-series models. Especially pleased by X-E model series users, it is still used extendedly by serious photographers.

Right from the start, we must precise that some basic characteristics of the others Fujinon XF prime lens series are missing on the XF 27mm. No aperture ring is available on the lens and no provision have been made for an optional lens hood. The Fujinon XF 27mm lens construction is noticeably lighter and the autofocus motorization can be heard.

One of the biggest advantages of the XF 27mm is its angle of view (55,5 degrees) which is equivalent to a 40mm focal length for the 24X36mm analog-film or digital format. Although its maximum aperture of F2.8 remains modest, it can be assimilated as an everyday lens.

Frozen Morning

On assignation
The Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8 lens is a very small optic and you may be felt a bit uncomfortable at your first use it. It adds almost no weight to the body of the camera, in fact less than 80g (less than 3 ounces). It is also a very contracted design and for people who are used to hold the bottom of the taking lens with the palm of their left hand to get more stability, it can feel a bit odd to do it with your thumb and one finger only.

The biggest advantage of the XF 27mm F2.8, especially for a travel or street photographer, is certainly its inherent discretion. Coupled with a small Fujifilm X-mount camera body (X-A, X-M, X-E or even X-T/two digits), it can assimilate to a compact camera with a fixed lens such as the Fujifilm X100 series models.

If you decide to add to the XF 27mm F2.8 a generic lens hood (sorry no official lens hood available from Fujifilm), you may improve a bit the handling of the optic. Just remember that the lens hood is couple with the front focus moving element and attention must be taken to prevent dangerous front lens hood banging.
The 39mm accessory filter size is relatively common for that type of fix focal length
A little winter fresh air with coffee and some literature! 
Autofocus is quick (although not fully silent). Manual focusing is accurate with good simulated travel of the ring for fine focusing. This is not a macro lens so close focusing is limited if you are working with very small subjects. No aperture ring for that model and you will have to rely on the adjusting dial of the camera (which is an option present on every Fujifilm X-mount models). No optical stabilization system (OIS) is offered and you have to be more aware about the shutter speed selected by the camera or by yourself. You may choose to upper your minimum shutter speed limit to counteract the photographer shaking effect.

Through Glass Azur Montreal Subway

NorthernWest Light

Morning Snow Tiny Flakes

Picture quality
The color rendition of the Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8 doesn’t differ from the other lens models of the X-Mount Series and the same continuity in term of image results observed with the others Fujinon X-Mount lenses can be expected. For sure, automatic in-board calibration and picture correction are part of the advantages of the modern digital photography. Focus accuracy between left and right side and up and down has been adequate with the different copies that I have owned over time.

The Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8 is not really a substitute of the standard zoom lenses such as the XF 18-55mm, XF 16-80mm or the XC 16-50mm that have a much larger focal length versatility and are dotted with an efficient optical stabilization system (OIS). Like many fixed focal prime lenses, it is more a creative lens that is forcing the photographer to anticipate and preselect the way he/she manage the subject and the context of the picture to produce.

The angle of view of the Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8 is similar of the one who can experiment with your own eyes if you are considering only the sharp area. It results that lens rendering can be easily anticipated even without looking into the viewfinder or on the back screen of the camera.

In all, the Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8 is a very predictable and compact lens of the Fujinon X-Mount line-up, ideal for travel, for street and spontaneous photography. One of the endangered optic lens species!

(First published in February 2016, revised in February 2020)

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