One of my favorite lenses of all time? Perhaps.
I’m not even sure where to start. This lens is pure joy to shoot with. It’s the kind of lens that puts you right in the middle of whatever you’re shooting because in order to fill the frame, you have to get close. Sometimes really close. Maybe that’s why I love it so much – it allows me to photograph my family while I’m in the midst of living life with them instead of feeling like I’m on the outskirts, observing but not participating.
With a 28mm equivalent focal length, it’s on the wider end and that’s not for everyone. For many years, I gravitated toward a 35mm equivalent – highly recommended as a versatile focal length, it seemed a sure bet. And I used it heavily for a few years, but I was never in love with it.
Enter the 18mm f/2 lens (28mm equivalent). I originally purchased it for interior photography and I was surprised when I wound up using it so much for my personal photos as well. The focal length is fun. I don’t know how else to describe it. It is perfect for capturing the silly, the unusual, the playful…I really love using it to photograph my kids. But it also holds its own in areas where one might typically go wider, such as interior photography and landscapes.
I can’t help but compare its function to that of the 16mm f/1.4 because the focal lengths and maximum apertures are so similar. But the size and cost are vastly different. Having owned both, my money is on the 18mm and here’s why: If you’re shooting wide, there’s a good chance that you’re stopping down to at least f/4 – in which case, you really have no need of a lens with a 1.4 aperture. In addition, for any type of traveling, the 18mm is significantly smaller and lighter. Significantly. That alone is enough to sway me. And I think the results speak for themselves.
*All images shot on the X-T1 or X-T2 with the 18mm f/2 lens.