Landscape photography is easily one of the most popular photography genres and for a very simple reason: people love to capture the beauty of the world that surrounds them, be it metres from their doorstep or a far-off location.
Although the Fujifilm X series is quite young compared to other camera systems, it already has a rich choice of wide-angle lenses that can suit the landscape genre whose characteristics include excellent edge-to-edge sharpness, little distortion, and good micro contrast. Let’s have a look at them now!
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XF 14mm f/2.8
Announced four years ago, the XF 14mm f/2.8 is one of the oldest Fujifilm X series lenses but it still retains its value even today. With a 21mm equivalent field of view, it is a classic choice for landscapes, cityscapes and architecture. A characteristic that sets it apart from most other Fujinon lenses, with the exception of the XF 16mm and XF 23mm, is the distance / depth of field scale on the barrel. By setting the scale to the correct hyperfocal distance, you can assure yourself of acceptable sharpness from half of the hyperfocal distance to infinity.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Fujinon prime if it didn’t offer exceptional edge-to-edge sharpness and very little distortion. It is one of the only lenses that offers a sliding focus ring that, when pulled back, puts you into manual focus mode. This means that when you can easily switch between AF and MF without going into a menu.
XF 16mm f/1.4
The second prime I’d recommend is the XF 16mm f/1.4. It gives you a slightly narrower field of view of 24mm, which is one of the most popular focal lengths for landscapes. It is sharp across the frame, controls distortion very well, and comes with weather-sealing, which is a plus if you often work in inclement weather.
Even more appealing is the bright aperture of 1.4 and a minimum focus distance of 15cm which, when used together, can give you a very pleasant shallow depth of field effect. What’s more, the fast aperture makes it possible to use the lens in very low light without having to raise your ISO value.
Like the 14mm, it comes with a sliding focus ring that lets you quickly switch between AF and MF and a distance / depth of field scale, although the latter is very small and not practical to use.
XF 10-24mm f/4
A lens that we owned for over a year but sadly had to sell to fund other products was the XF 10-24mm f/4. Being an ultra-wide angle zoom with an equivalent focal range of 15-35mm, it is ideal for landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture (both indoors and out).
Despite being extremely wide, it produces very little distortion and is tack sharp through the aperture and focal ranges. Of all the lenses listed here, it is the only one with built-in OIS. Combined with the constant f/4 aperture, you should be able to use the 10-24mm hand-held in fairly low-light without pushing the ISO limit too much. It lacks a distance / depth of field scale on the barrel but you can see this information on your camera screen.
Our hope in the future is to add this lens back into our collection as it was incredibly fun and useful as an all-purpose landscape solution.
Samyang Rokinon 12mm f/2
The penultimate lens I’d recommend actually isn’t a Fujifilm product. The Samyang Rokinon 12mm f/2 is one of the most well-loved lenses for the X series because of its wide angle, fast aperture and lack of coma aberration for astrophotography. Centre sharpness is excellent from f/2 and the corners get better from f/4, although they never reach the same level as the centre. That said, the lens delivers excellent results for the price. It comes with a distance scale on the barrel (but no hyperfocal scale) and is the perfect size and weight for all Fujifilm cameras.
The fact that it is a manual focus lens may put you off at first, but remember that most landscape photography involves static subjects and slow apertures anyway. As such, you’ll rarely need autofocus to get accurate results, not to mention that the MF assists of Fujifilm cameras are very good.
It is also worth mentioning that this lens is one of the most affordable options out there for the Fujifilm system. For the quality it delivers, it is a real bargain!
Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8
The Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 is the widest autofocus prime for the Fujifilm X series. As with every Zeiss lens, it has excellent optical quality and displays hardly any flare, distortion, or chromatic aberration. It features 9 circular aperture blades and a minimum focus distance of 18mm, allowing you to achieve a nice bokeh. The only thing it really lacks is distance scale on the barrel.
When the lens made its debut for the Fujifilm X mount and Sony E mount, it was quite expensive, but these days you can find it for quite a reasonable price.