I have been using the Fujifilm 27mm pancake lens for almost a year and I am yet to actually give the lens the attention or acknowledgement it deserves. The Fujifilm 27mm lens has in a sense, become my much loved ‘off duty’ lens, tending to be my go-to lens for general days out exploring. As one of Fujifilm’s least expensive lenses the 27mm is deserving of attention especially by those photographers who really want to travel light.
During this year’s annual holiday I used just the X-T1 and 27mm to document days out to the beach, amusements, walks and outings, with the 27mm making the X-T1 feel more like the X100s in form factor but with the option of additional lenses. That said the Fujifilm X100s will always remain an exceptionally special camera in my mind.
When capturing the Blackford Dolphin at Harland and Wolff I also packed the X-T1 and 27mm lens to grab some ‘snap shots’ during the long exposure captures. It obviously isn’t as fast as some of the f/1.4 lenses Fujifilm has available but f/2.8 is generally fast enough in most situations. This image of Blackford was captured handheld at f/2.8.
The Fujifilm X range of cameras is a constant companion when shooting music and the 27mm is a great little lens for grabbing the action. If it isn’t the 27mm I am generally shooting gigs with the brilliant 56mm f/1.2 lens or Fujifilm X100s. This image of Mojo Fury was captured front of house in Belfast’s Limelight venue during the band’s 10th anniversary celebrations.
Whereas this image of Rend Collective was shot at the back of the Mandela Hall at Queen’s University. I love this image for the clarity of the audience and how the camera handles the direct light source. Settings wise I lock the Aperture at f/2.8, the ISO at AUTO3200 and have a tendency to use Spot metering.
Depending on how long I have to shoot the band I will try to find the lowest working ISO for the environment but credit the Fujifilm X range, the AUTO 3200 is pretty accurate and tends to find the lowest optimum ISO reliably.
Everyday Documentary Photography
On days out in the Mournes, which tend to feature a bit of rain, the X-T1 and 27mm make for a great walk around system capturing the various landscapes and documenting the adventures at the top. I packed this camera/lens combination on a recent charity walk to the top of Donard.
I find the focus on the Fujinon 27mm to be fast and reliable and out and about in the mountains I tend to hold the camera out and use the LCD as my viewfinder. I also think the 27mm allows you to get quite close to a subject which results in a rich bokeh, I will cover this more later.
The Fujifilm X sensor is consistently remarkable and captures every detail of a scene and can create the perfect black and white image including capturing the incoming fog from the Donard mountain.
Every year we make the effort to attend the Lisburn Mayor’s Carnival parade. In 2014 I packed the X-T1 and 14mm lens. The forecast gave for rain (although not as bad as in 2013) so I thought the weather sealed X-T1 was the ideal camera and given the size of the 27mm the chances of it getting wet were reasonably slim.
On holiday the X-T1 and 27mm was my walk around system. I am not going to post my family holiday snaps on here but there are dozens of great images that will end up in the annual archives. The 27mm lens is equivalent to 41mm on full frame (explained in Understanding Depth of Field) and it reminds me of shooting with 50mm lens.
Puritans will note that the f/2.8 on a cropped sensor isn’t going to match a f/1.4 50mm on full frame and they would be correct, that said, the X-T1 /27mm combination offers striking sharp images on a soft bokeh background with relative ease and portability. What I am saying is I always loved shooting with the 50mm lens and the Fujifilm 27mm offers the same level of enjoyment.
For some the one slight negative of a compact lens is a lack of aperture control on the lens itself. Instead aperture is controlled on the camera itself and although it felt slightly strange at the start the brilliant Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) means I can dial the aperture with my thumb and see exactly where I am on the screen.
You can see just how the compact, Fujinon 27mm gains its “pancake lens” description.
The 27mm is a fast f/2.8 lens that offers consistently smooth bokeh. (If you want to learn more about the term bokeh and the concept of Depth of Field check out the Shooting Shallow eBook). The image below shows the X-T1 and 14mm lens and you can see the quality of the bokeh captured by the 27mm.
This isn’t a technical review but more of a hat tipping to a lens that serves me very well but rarely gets any credit on the pages of FlixelPix. At around £350 it is one of Fujifilm’s most cost effective lens that offers remarkable image quality, compact form factor at amazing value for money. If you are looking for a low cost lens that offers both versatility and a compact form factor then look no further than the Fujinon 27mm.