Unlike other mirrorless system providers, Fuji follows a top down approach in terms of target audience. Thus they are creating interest among professionals and prosumers first. After the release of 3 high quality prime lenses they are now tackling the mainstream market with a standard zoom lens - the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS. You may argue that it is just another kit lens but unlike its remote cousins it is obviously one stop faster. If you buy it as part of a camera kit it is pretty affordable but its naked price tag of more than 650EUR/US$ makes it obvious that Fuji still doesn't want to play in the low end market. Interestingly the lens features an image stabilizer which is the first time Fuji has implemented this in a XF lens.....
The Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS may be the hottest reason to enter the Fuji system. It is amazingly sharp throughout the zoom and relevant aperture range. The amount of lateral CAs is generally quite low with the exception of 55mm @ f/4. The Fujinon is not without flaws, of course. Technically it suffers from a high barrel distortion at 18mm and the vignetting is a bit too high at max. aperture. However, these aspects are taken care of either by the camera itself or external RAW converters so you don't need to worry from a user perspective. The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus) blur is pretty good for a standard zoom lens but it cannot rival the best prime lenses, of course. The build quality is on a very high level but then you also expect no less from a lens in this price class. It is a bit worrisome, however, that this is the 2nd out of 5 tested Fuji lenses with a rather significant centering defect. We hope that this is not a trend that we will have to confirm once more in the future. Interestingly Fuji has modified the AF mechanism in this new lens. Unlike the gang of 3 prime lenses (18mm, 35mm, 60mm) it is quite fast and basically silent so Fuji is definitely on the right track here. Fuji's new image stabilizer is, of course, also a welcome new feature. In a nutshell - you can't go wrong with the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS ... if you can get a good sample.
Optical Quality: 3.5 to 4 / 5
Mechanical Quality:4 / 5
Price/Performance:4 / 5
Via Thomas Menk