Last update: 04/04/2023
For some time now, I’ve been writing about lenses that are compatible with the Fujifilm X mount. In fact, the link above takes you to a comprehensive and regularly updated list of all lenses currently available for the Fujifilm X mount, whether they are made by Fujifilm or third-party manufacturers. Today, I’m delving deeper into the topic by talking about pancake lenses specifically designed for this Fujifilm X mount.
Pancake lenses are particularly popular with many photographers for their compactness, which makes them very interesting for taking photos freely without drawing too much attention. They are also ideal for traveling light, for example. They are often used for street photography, although they can also be used for environmental portraits. Don’t hesitate to take a look at our complete guide to learn all the criteria for choosing a camera lens.
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Note that these lenses are almost always fixed focal lengths, requiring the photographer to move around to get the shot. And no, I never said that with a zoom lens, you can’t move around, eh! Anyway!
If you’re looking for other Fuji lenses, I’ve also written a comprehensive article on the best current Fujifilm wide-angle lenses available.
If you’re considering switching cameras or diving into the “Fuji” world, here’s everything you need to know about Fujifilm APS-C mirrorless cameras.
At the time of writing this article, I have identified three pancake-type autofocus lenses for Fujifilm’s X mount. The table below summarizes the key features of these three lenses which do not have image stabilization.
|Fuji X Pancake Lens
|FUJIFILM XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR
|FUJIFILM XF 18mm f/2 R
|TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 AF
The table below compares the technical characteristics of the 3 lenses mentioned
Therefore, here are what I consider to be the 3 best current Fujinon pancake lens for X-mount:
Released in September 2021, the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR is a pancake lens for the Fujifilm X mount, making it an excellent option for those in need of a compact and lightweight lens. It is an update to the non-weather-sealed version I, released in 2013, the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R. As expected from a pancake lens, its compactness is remarkable: it weighs only 84g and has a length of 23mm, making it one of the best Fuji pancake lenses available.
In terms of construction quality, this Fuji 27mm pancake lens offers very good build quality, including a manual aperture ring. It consists of 7 elements in 5 groups, including an aspherical lens. The Super EBC coating helps to limit reflections and ghosting. The lens is weather-sealed, allowing you to use it in the rain and dust.
Regarding its technical specifications, this new Fujinon XF 27mm lens has a minimum focusing distance of 34cm and a filter diameter of 39mm. The lens is not stabilized, but its relatively large aperture will allow you to shoot comfortably in low light, especially since the autofocus is considered very good even in difficult conditions. However, it is quite noisy.
When it comes to image quality, the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR produces excellent results from full aperture at the center, although the edges may be slightly softer. Stopping down to f/4 or f/5.6 provides improved sharpness and a more consistent image overall, but at f/8, diffraction takes effect and the image quality deteriorates. The lens handles optical defects like distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberrations very well, resulting in high-quality images.
Overall, Fujifilm offers us here a very nice lens, well built, weather-sealed, ultra-light and discreet, and offering a really good image quality. The lens remains versatile, but will be particularly perfect for street photography or traveling light. With a price below €450, it remains in my opinion an excellent choice. The only other alternative, much cheaper but of lower quality, is the TTartisan 27mm f/2.8 AF (which I will discuss just after).
Switching gears while still staying in the world of pancake lenses for Fujifilm, the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2 R was released in September 2012 and while it may be getting a bit old, if you’re in search of a relatively wide-angle lens (equivalent to 27mm on a Full frame camera) that is compact and lightweight, then this lens may be of interest to you. Although it’s not as compact as the 27mm mentioned earlier, the lens weighs only 116g and is 4 cm in length, so you’ll still remain discreet regardless.
Looking at the technical specifications, the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2 R, released in September 2012, has a 52m filter diameter and a 18cm minimum focusing distance. The lens is not stabilized or weather-sealed, but it does have a f/2 maximum aperture, which allows for some shallow depth-of-field effects (creating a blurry background) when combined with the short minimum focusing distance. This makes it a great option for low-light shooting as well.
In terms of sharpness, this Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2 R pancake lens is not the sharpest, but it’s important to keep in mind that the lens is over 10 years old. The sharpness is relatively good in the center at full aperture, but falls off on the edges and even more so at the extremes, which remain soft. You will need to stop down to f/4 or even f/5.6 to get a more homogeneous image, although the edges/extremes will still lag behind. In terms of optical defects, there is significant distortion and visible chromatic aberrations. Vignetting remains acceptable on the lens. Flare may be an issue in certain backlit situations.
In conclusion, despite its age, this pancake lens remains unmatched on the current market, especially if you’re looking for such a compact and lightweight focal length. The build quality is good, and although the image wide open with centered subjects. The relatively wide aperture still offers beautiful artistic possibilities.
I’m concluding this chapter on pancake lenses for Fujifilm X mount with this third-party lens, the TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 AF. Quite rare for this Chinese brand, this lens has autofocus. It competes directly with the Fujifilm XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR, due to its equivalent focal length and maximum aperture. The lens remains very compact at only 94g and just 3cm long. This makes it a very interesting alternative lens if your budget is more limited.
The build quality of this TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 AF is rather good considering its price point, with an all-metal construction. It has an aperture ring and a manual focus ring. The lens is not stabilized or weather-sealed at this price point, but it does have a sealing ring at the base. The lens also has 2 special lenses to try to reduce chromatic aberrations. The minimum focus distance is 35 cm. The lens has a filter diameter of 39mm. The autofocus also seems to work very well.
Regarding sharpness of this 27mm pancake lens, reviews indicate very good image quality at the center, but the edges and corners are a bit softer. Of course, this cannot rival the quality of the Fujifilm 27mm lens, but the TTArtisan is more affordable. Stopping down to f/4 or f/5.6 will improve sharpness. Optical flaws are generally well-controlled with minimal vignetting and relatively well-corrected distortion and chromatic aberrations.
In summary, the TTartisan 27mm f/2.8 AF is a very interesting lens that benefits from autofocus, all at a price that is half that of the Fujifilm equivalent. While the Fujifilm 27mm lens may be better constructed and is sharper, this lens represents a valid alternative if you have a tighter budget. In fact, for less than €150, I believe it’s an excellent choice!
The table below summarizes the main characteristics of the 3 pancake lenses with AF for Fujifilm X mount mentioned above.
|Fuji x mount pancake lens
|Min. focus distance
|FUJIFILM XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR
|FUJIFILM XF 18mm f/2 R
|TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 AF
I won’t dwell on the possibilities here, but I wanted to particularly mention a manual focus pancake lens.
This Laowa 10mm f/4 Cookie X is quite extraordinary. It’s an ultra-wide-angle lens (equivalent to a 15mm focal length on a full-frame sensor) for Fujifilm X cameras, making it an ideal lens for landscape or architecture photography. Its lightweight (125g) and length (2.5cm) make it an ideal choice for traveling light. The all-metal construction quality is remarkable. The minimum focusing distance of only 10cm offers great opportunities for composition.
The lens reviews indicate excellent sharpness at the center with the edges/extremes slightly behind. Vignetting is huge at full aperture and reduces afterwards. Distortion is reasonably well-managed. In the end, for less than 300€, Laowa offers here a quality lens (albeit manual) in the form of an ultra-compact ultra-wide-angle lens! If you are looking for an ultra-compact ultra-wide-angle lens, this lens is a perfect fit!
I am not aware of any other manual pancake lenses, except for the recently announced 7Artisans 18mm f/6.3 Mark II X and of course the TTArtisan 25mm f/2 MF, which has little interest now that a better version with autofocus (the 27mm) is available.
That’s it for this article on the various Fujifilm pancake lenses. I hope I have helped you to see more clearly in any case. Even though I may need to update it, I invite you to read our article on the best current Fujifilm lenses.
I’ll see you soon for another Fuji article.