Jul 042012
 

 

The Fuji X100 and the Fuji Wide Angle converter lens

Woo too! I have been waiting for this one and I was a bit nervous about it because I did not think that this add-on lens would retain the quality of the X100. Many times conversion lenses take away from the quality of the original lens so Fuji had to be on the ball with this one. From the tech specs it sounded like they were:

  • 0.8x magnification factor to convert X100 lens to 28mm wide-angle (35mm equivalent)
  • All glass optical construction using four elements in three groups – (This is good)
  • “Made in Japan” for optimum quality – (nice)
  • FUJINON Super EBC coating – (perfect)!

Fuji sent me this lens in silver to review and like a kid with a new toy I have been shooting it for a day or two. Nothing special, just some shots around town to see how the lens renders and if it can hold up to the built in 35mm in quality.

As I have already stated above, this new Fuji Wide Angle conversion lens will convert your 35mm Fuji X100 into a 28mm f/2 Fuji X100! This is a genius idea by Fuji to expand the usefulness of this popular camera and I suspect they will sell many of these.  Sure, going from 35 to 28 is not a huge difference but for many this will be a welcome addition to their X100 kit. I was skeptical of this lens when it was announced because I thought it would be a cheap add-on that would lower the quality of the files. When Fuji sent me the silver setup above to test out I was far from disappointed.

First of all, the converter lens is very high quality and you can feel this as soon as you take it from the box. It has a solid heft to it and just feels “good” when you hold it, like the $350 you spent on it was well worth it. Check out the video below of the lens on the camera. The packaging is also top notch and just like the X-Pro 1 lens packaging.

Distortion? Yes, so be sure to tell the camera you have attached the lens!

As you have seen in the video above, the conversion lens simply screws on to the front of your X100 as easily as you would screw on a filter. When it is on, the camera feels much more solid and substantial but it is still not heavy. After you attach it you have to go into the settings menu and set it up to tell the camera that the lens is on. This way you will get distortion correction with the out of camera JPEGS. If you do not turn this on then you will not get any corrections. Also, shooting RAW eliminates the in camera corrections as well and without them you do get some barrel distortion.

The 1st image is an out of camera JPEG with the lens turned “on” which will do some distortion correction

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This next image was shot RAW without correction

How is the image quality?

Fuji claims no loss of image quality from the original X100 lens and I believe them. Besides the distortion we get when we do not let the camera correct for it the images are sharp, beautiful and still share the X100′s beautiful bokeh. I was impressed with this conversion lens as it did not seem to affect contrast, sharpness or overall look. The images still feel very “X100″, just a bit wider. This is really cool because there have been a few occasions where I wished I had a wider angle view when I was out shooting with the X100. For $349 we can now add that wider angle and keep all of the characteristics of the X100 that we love, even the faster f/2 speed.

Click the image below for a full size sample. I did NOT have any correction on here so you can see what the camera gives you uncorrected. If you look at the full size you can see how sharp the lens is even on the sides and corners. EXIF is embedded.

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The wide-angle conversion lens retains that beautiful X100 look and feel. Click image for larger and crop. Again, no correction – this is from RAW but without any PP.

Is the Auto Focus speed affected? 

The AF speed does slow down a little when this lens is attached. I noticed it was not as snappy as without it but even so, it is acceptable for me. Again, the X100 is not a speed demon. Never has been and never will be but it has been improved greatly over the past year with firmware updates. Even so, do not expect to shoot action with this guy. With the conversion lens it slows down a bit but is still fast enough for everyday use. It had no issues locking on and giving me accurate results. Just remember it will be a little slower than without the lens attached.

28 vs 35 – Not that big of a difference

Going from 35mm to 28mm is really not that big of a difference. It seems to me that Fuji should have made this a 24mm adapter so we would see a more dramatic change. 28 is a wide-angle, 35 is sort of wide-angle and 24 would have been in the super wide category. Going from 35 to 28 gives you a little more in your frame..but not much:

After looking at the images above you can see that the 28mm adapter will indeed give you that “wide angle” look. If you need that little extra bit of “wide” then this may be just what you have been hoping for.

Will I buy one?

So after just a few days with this will I buy the black one to go with MY X100? Well, yes I will as soon as I have the extra cash! I feel that Fuji has created an amazing add-on for our X100′s because  not only did they make it quality in and out, this will add more versatility to your X100 by giving you a wider angle of 28mm so you can take in that little bit of extra space in your scene or composition. The 28mm focal length is nice to have and I have always adored the Leica 28 Summicron. Fuji X100 owners now have the option to have a nice and small 28mm f/2 setup for only $349. This is WELL WORTH IT to anyone who shoots with an X100 and wants that wide-angle option. Once again I give a high five to Fuji for continuing to support the X100 users!

This little $350 addition helps push the X100, for me at least, into the “I’m a better choice than the X2″ category. For $1199 plus $349 you have an amazing little camera that is now much more versatile AND CHEAPER than the little Leica X2. I’ve already shown in many comparisons that the X100 stands toe to toe with the X2 (minus the lens flare of the X100) in image quality so now it has even more going for it with this 28mm conversion lens. It’s a beautiful setup and I highly recommend it for those who have an X100. For those trying to decide on a camera and are eyeballing the X100 and X2 or other cameras, ANY of them will do the job. Pick the one that speaks to you the most.

BTW, the image above were ALL shot with lens correction off because I forgot to turn it on when I 1st attached it! I will add some new images later with the correction turned on..check back to this page later or tomorrow for more!

Where to buy:

I always highly recommend B&H Photo or Amazon, both of who are Fuji dealers.

You can buy the conversion lens at B&H Photo in BLACK or SILVER - B&H lists $349

Amazon also has these and at the time of this writing the black is in stock and the Silver is also available to order. - Amazon lists this at $399 for some reason.

Amazon also has the black special edition X100 at $1599, which is $100 off the $1699 price! (This is the set I have)

  54 Responses to “The Fuji X100 and the Fuji WCL-X100 Wide Angle converter lens. The X100 can now sport a 28mm f/2!”

  1. I’ve done something similar, adding Canon 500D, or 250D, lenses, to my beloved Nikon V1, and NEX-5N, lenses, to get as close as possible to get really nice macro shots. The 500D means infinity moves to half a meter away, and 250 means it is just a 1/4 of a meter away! The effect is best on fairly long lenses, but I do like to use them on my Zeiss1.8/24, and the Nikon 35, too! Neither of these lenses are good as is, for close ups, but with these add-ons things improve a lot!

    • An even closer comparable set-up is using the Sigma 19, and a Panasonic GMW-GWC1, on the NEX-5N – superb results! The NEX range is hampered by a lack of lenses, but the arrival of the Sigma 19, and the Sigma 30, helped a quite a bit, in addition to the Zeiss-branded Sony 1.8/24.

      But with the GMW-GWC1 you get a hell of nice wide-angle lens, faster than the E16, and far sharper!

      • hi there. i see that you’ve used the pana wide angle adapter to your sigma 19 and 30 lenses. can you inform us how the adapter perform on both lenses? thanks.

  2. Seems interesting, but I don’t see much value added. 28m and 35mm are so close. If not having a 28mm is really a hinderance, then I wonder why use the X100 in the first place. I love my X100, but what I appreciate most about it is that there are no additional lenses to buy. It’s simple. And when I go out with the X100, I have use my eye to frame the shot. Just my $.02. I don’t see that the extra few degrees of view will give me something I didn’t already have before. That being said…I have the X-Pro, and am looking forward to the 21mm, so that may skew my perception on the matter.

    • There are still things about the X-Pro1 that I don’t like which keep me with the X100: body size, no leaf shutter, no ND filter, questionable IQ with Trans-X at low to mid ISO. Still, I’m not really interested in a 28mm equiv., but maybe it’ll push some people into the X100 that only shoot 28mm. Personally, if Fuji could somehow make a 75mm-ish equiv. converter, then that would be all that I need.

  3. Thanks Steve. How does it look on your Black X100? Would like to see that. I am planning to buy the black X100 soon. Seems like a classic and I can be happy with a fixed focal length.

    Gar

  4. I own the X100 and I love it. Even so, I have the same disease that everyone else here has: upgradeitis. No amount of medication will fix it and I am left wondering if this converter lens is just a band aid on what needs to happen, namely an X100 with interchangeable lenses. Everything we thought the X-Pro 1 was going to be but wasn’t. For now, this band aid will work but we all want more. C’mon, admit it.

  5. I think 24mm would push the image past the edges of the viewfinder (although you would have thought it would work with the EVF).
    I don’t understand why Fuji bothered. The whole point of the X100 is that it is a basic and compact form factor without the need for add ons. If you want that get the X Pro 1. Anyway IF I was to add a lens to my X100 I would want a zoom (28-90) or tele (100mm) not a slightly wider lens.

    • You cannot be serious. Please understand this: They bothered because people will buy it.

      • Many others appear to agree with me. See the later posts.

        • I don’t agree with you.

          I think it is an excellent decision. It still remains a compact large-sensor camera. The sensor is sealed from dust and when I need something more, I have options now.

          What is not to like?

  6. And in 6 months there will be a telephoto converter. Part of me loves that Fuji are thinking of their fixed lens compact customers, the other part thinks… Just buy a xpro1. Im glad leica will never make these for the x’s. As much as id hate to, id probably buy one lol

  7. Nice shots, as always, especially the penultimate one. If I hadn’t sold my x100 (which i mostly regret) I don’t know whether I’d be into this. It appears to be the best wider angle conversion lens I’ve seen by a mile but the field of view isn’t that much different. Applaud Fuji but doubt it’s going to set the world on fire.

  8. Is it still technically f/2? I thought any converter would drop the max aperture… Is that only going tele?

    • Screw-on converters, that you apply in front of the lens, usually leave the aperture unaffected, while those you fit between camera and lens affects it greatly. Raynox, for instance, makes a lot of these, and (almost) all leave the lens as fast as it was before.

      • The original f/2 when wide open, means the physical aperture diameter is f divided by two. With the convertor on, this f changes, but the diameter of the aperture hole doesn’t. So if you want to express the diameter of the hole in terms of f, you’d have to lower this number two. This would be congruent with the notion that with the converter on, you push more light from the scene (i.e. the extra elements now included in the projection), though the same physical aperture which means the projection gets a little bit brighter indeed.

        If you think the projection doesn’t get brighter with the converter on, which light rays from the converter-less projection would you say are being exchanged for the extra rays caught by the wider angle?

  9. really nice indeed… I sohuld order mine too :p

    til now, I bring the x100 for 35mm and a NEX in addition for the 28mm (16mm kit lens)..they’d make a really nice combo
    now that they provide the 28mm converter, I can say goodbye to the NEX :D

    thanks for the review Steve

    • The NEX 16mm lens gives you a 24mm equivalent, which is quite a bit different.

      • GH,

        Yes, and of course this can be widened to an 18mm equivalent with Sony’s own inexpensive converter, and which surprised me by how little it impacted on image quality over the prime.

  10. Or you could have Panasonic GF3 with 28mm f2.5 for $285 from amazon…

  11. Steve-

    Does this lens require a different uv filter for protection? Also does the current hood work?
    Thanks-

  12. Message to Fuji : > X100 35mm f2 + X 200 75mm f 2 = 2 cameras with 2 ideal lenses, no dust makes one happy photographer.

    Fun aside Steve, I have to say I love my X100, perhaps Fuji could come up with a 2x converter now that would be better for me.

  13. Hmm….you COULD buy one of these wide angle adapters….or you could just buy an X-Pro1 and get an 18mm lens…or the 35mm lens…or the upcoming 14mm…

    I dunno, not for me…I would think that if someone bought the X100 they had already come to grips with the one focal length limitation. With that said….I’m surprised with the quality of the samples…very impressive.

    • An X-Pro 1 and 18mm lens would cost you WAY more than an X100 and adapter, almost $900-$1000 more, and the X100 is smaller, faster, has the ND filter, is silent and just feels better. At least to me. I am still not a huge X-Pro 1 fan. Way too quirky for the cash IMO. Plus, this is sharper than the X-Pro 1 18mm.

      • Agreed, Steve. I’m running an X100 alongside a NEX-7 right now, and, although one would assume that an X-Pro1 would be an easy way to consolidate the two, the X100 is too hard to give up for the reasons you mentioned. It’s carry everywhere camera. If Fuji could somehow make a tele converter of some kind for it, I could get rid of my NEX, too.

      • Steve…since when did dollars matter on a predominantly Leica blog:) Anyway, you may say that your X100 with converter is sharper than the XPro1 with 18mm and that is fine….how about your 35mm…or 60mm…or 14mm….what, no converters for those focal lengths??

        Anyway, my point is all in good fun but I think the XPro has gotten a bad rap, I love the camera. Too many people expect it to replace a DSLR…which it doesn’t, but if you take your time and learn t work with the quirks it’s a great camera. IMO it is much the same experience I had with my M8…it was quirky as hell but very rewarding.

      • Steve,
        Not sure your right about the x100 having sharper pics than the x-pro (and I’m no fan) once the x-pro is processing using the right software in raw like here…
        http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1020&message=42014965

  14. The wide conversion is really too small a difference for me to buy into the convertor; the x100 is wide enough as it is for my uses. However, if Fujifilm makes a teleconverter of comparable quality to change the lens to a 50mm and 75mm, you can be sure I’ll be on the wagon!

  15. Seems like the small additional field of view afforded is not worth the larger form factor out on the street. Doesn’t look as much like an old style camera that people don’t shirk away from with the WCL attached.
    But then again, I kinda feel a case of GAS coming on.

    Jeffrey

  16. Hi Steve,

    I have a Fuji x100 and I am curious , are you samples sooc jpegs? if so what settings did you use ( colour and b+w )?

    Thanks in advance . James

  17. No thanks. My Black X100 was purchased because of the fixed lens. Pure and simple, which is the same way I like my Photography.

  18. Awesome quality for such an add on lens. I love the X100 in manual mode and once AF is set on the back button, (on manual focus setting) i find it is a pretty fast camera to shoot with.
    Feels nice and solid yet compact and discrete to use every day. Not a Leica but quite a close copy with impressive sensor and ISO performance.

    Loved the ‘mask’ picture Steve, that’s how i look most days.

  19. I’m kinda disappointed too… would prefer a 21mm (at least 24mm) equivalent, even at the cost of 1 or 2 stops down. Indeed 21mm f4 with comparable IQ would have been PERFECT and cheap (I guess), since I would personally intend to buy a wide converter only for landscape. So I’m (sadly) not interested.. But thanks for the review Steve !

  20. For the money I would just buy the Panasonic LX5 (which I have) and drop it in your pocket. Nice fast lens that covers a 24 – 90 mm range. I surprised that this camera doesn’t get more coverage here & it’s still ‘made in Japan’, not China.

    • Are you kidding? I had the LX5 as a pocket camera alternative to my 5DII but honestly, didn’t like the results at all. Besides, I found it very slow and the manual mode…
      Since I have my X100 however, I didn’t touch the 5DII anymore.
      Agree with most posters that it’s a nice add-on but 24 mm would have been more useful.

  21. ” It seems to me that they should have made this a 24mm adaptor ” ???
    No, they should have made this a 24mm LENS.
    Are they serious about the X Pro system or not? Meanwhile, over in the Olympus tent…..

  22. I just received my x100 about 2 weeks ago. What a fun little camera this is. Not only fun, but the quality is outstanding. Not sure if I am going to get the wide conversion lens though….. Keep up the good work steve.

  23. That X100 still looks tempting with that contraption screwed on to it. But it’ll be a very cold day in hell when I would take the step into adapters/screw-on conversion lenses.

    I’m just biased of course.

  24. I just returned from DC and NYC and I adored the x100 on this trip. There were probably only a couple of times that I would have reached for this add-on lens if I owned it. I think that SH put his finger on it: the change is not dramatic enough. Now if Fuji made the same quality add-lens to give me a 50mm prime, my wallet opens up and I start rationalizing the purchase.

    I am happy that Fuji is expanding the options for the x100. The x pro1, seems like a lovely camera with a serious price tag that I cannot justify. If I can someday get a 50mm x100 for a few hundred dollars, then I’m set. Well, set until the x400 comes out with a full sensor and a revolutionary ISO dial. Yes, a dial.

    Thank you, as always, for the good review.

  25. And where is the all-black camera?

  26. For me personally the 28 would indeed be too close to 35, but it really seems that Fuji did not want to compromise the image quality (which indeed is the point of X100) and probably therefore decided not to go with 24 or 21 instead.

    I would not be surprised if 50 adapter would be around the corner as there are users who would prefer 50 to 35. Now whether a 50 adapter can be made to retain the quality is something I do not know.

  27. Funny, I don’t have an X100 but if I did I’d probably buy one of these. 35mm to 28mm may not be a quantum leap but depending on what you shoot and how, it can definitely make a difference.
    It is pocketable, the quality is good, even the price tag is ok and I don’t think you start to compromise being a purist if you carry one. Makes sense to me… Maybe I should just get an X100 after all… aarrgghhhh…

  28. Hei Steve, is there actualy a reason why this same adapter would not work on the Leica X2? :)
    Probably the Leica wont have the firmware to correct the Jpegs, but it still would make the FOV wider.
    did You try?

    Awesome article, I think I will get one for my X100 to, when I have some spare cash :)
    I tested an Vivitar Wide Angle adapter recently, it is on my blog in Latvian tough, but if You care, can take a look at the photos(and bad Automated Google Translation to English).
    http://translate.google.lv/translate?hl=lv&sl=lv&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Ftenisd.blogspot.com%2F2012%2F06%2Fvivitar-043x-wide-angle-adapter-apskats.html

    It did not have the same WCL-X100 quality, but the price is a lot lower and the angle quite wider.
    Thanks.

  29. As an x100 owner the 35mm eqv standard lens is plenty wide enough for me, I just use my feet to zoom. What would be really useful is a high quality 75 / 90 mm converter, so fingers crossed that Fuji have this in the pipe line.

  30. I would like to know if anyone has tried this adapter on a tri elmar making 22-28-35-50? As has 49mm tread. Thank you would love to know in next 24 hours as packing up for Wimbledon men’s final and would be a great addition to wonderful lens

  31. very cool adapter … little pricey but seems to hold the iq …
    do you care to share where you bought the mask – got a link?
    douglas

  32. I would like to see a teleconverter that could get the X100 to reach 50mm… or, may be 70mm..

  33. Would you say the X100 is a better buy that investing in a 35mm lens. ie Canon 35mml or the new sigma 35 f1.4?

    cheers

    barry

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