When Fujifilm the release of the Fuji 27mm f2.8 WR in 2021, it was perhaps the most predictable announcement they could have made. With the continuous, almost cult-like success of the X100 line of compacts, their interchangeable-lens cameras were calling out for a truly compact lens that matched their specifications.

Sure, Fujifilm was already offering two X-Mount pancake lenses, the XF18mm f2 and the first version of the XF27mm f2.8, though these were released in 2012 and 2013 respectively and neither really reflected the progress the X-Series had made. The initial version of the Fuji 27mm didn’t even have a physical aperture ring, a constant on every single other XF lens in Fujifilm’s line-up at the time.

In this post, I’ll discuss my personal experience travelling and shooting with this lens and why I believe it to be one of the best options for any Fuji photographer looking for a compact addition to their every-day carry kit.

Affiliate disclosure: While we do receive a small kick-back from any sales or leads obtained through our article, this has never and will never affect any of the content posted on our site. At Roamer Photography, we only recommend products that we have used extensively and would pay for ourselves, so while our affiliate links do help us out, these products are never included in our content for the sole purpose of generating income.

Fuji 27mm cover

Why I bought the Fuji 27mm f2.8 WR

 

This summer, before heading to Guatemala and Mexico for the remainder of the year, I found myself in a dilemma that’s likely familiar to most photographers that travel long-term: I wanted to downsize and simplify my kit without having to sacrifice of quality and, preferably, without having to sell a kidney to do it. I was looking for a set-up that was capable and versatile enough to handle just about any situation, without being too wide or too narrow.

Day of the dead with the Fuji 27mm

To any fellow Fuji-shooters, the Fujifilm X100V likely immediately came to mind, but since these have been on backorder for the best part of a year and are now being sold on the used market for hundreds more than they used to cost new, this wasn’t a viable option either.

Enter the latest version of the Fuji 27mm.

I sold my XF10-24mm zoom lens to MPB and bought a mint-condition Fuji 27mm f2.8 WR with what I was offered. Of course, the XF10-24mm is an incredible lens and was inarguably a much more versatile option, though it was rather large, heavy and it lacked any sort of weather resistance, which was an important factor considering I was travelling to the tropics for monsoon season.

 

The Fuji 27mm f2.8 WR’s shortcomings

 

Now, as with literally any other piece of photography equipment out there, there are good things and bad things to that can be said about the Fuji 27mm f2.8 WR. And as any good lens reviewer would, I’ll discuss both here.

Let’s start with the areas in which the Fuji XF27mm arguably falls short, before delving into the ways in which, for me, this lens makes up for it.

 

Not the widest maximum aperture

 

While the Fuji 27mm’s maximum aperture of f2.8 isn’t the worst on the market, it does mean that this lens leaves something to be desired when it comes to its low-light performance. If Fujifilm could have at least made this lens an f2, it would make the Fuji 27mm a much easier sell as an all-rounder lens.

 

Its focal length won’t suit everyone

Fujifilm XF27mm in the forest
Forest hike with Fuji 27mm lens

While I compared the Fuji 27mm to the lens found on Fujifilm’s X100 cameras toward the beginning of this article, the lens used on the X100 cameras is actually a 23mm lens. The Fujifilm 27mm (or 35mm full-frame equivalent) is a hugely versatile focal length, though it doesn’t suit everyone.

Landscape photographers, for example, will likely work primarily with wider focal lengths and possibly telephoto lenses, a good example of when the Fuji 27mm may not be the best choice.

 

No image stabilisation

 

Some sort of image stabilisation is another thing we would love to have seen on this lens, but again, given the size and weight of this pancake lens, it seems like a necessary trade-off. This, of course, isn’t as much of a problem if you own a newer Fujifilm camera body with IBIS, such as the Fujifilm X-T4.

 

How the Fuji XF27mm makes up for its shortcomings

 

Now, with the ways in which this lens could be improved out of the way, let’s get into the reasons why this lens may be a fantastic investment for many kinds of photographers.

 

Size and weight: it’s barely noticeable

 

Starting with easily the most obvious benefit of this lens, is the fact that it’s absolutely tiny. The Fuji 27mm is just 23mm long and weighs just 84g. To put that into perspective, the zoom lens I sold for it weighed more than 5 times as much.

Fuji 27mm tiny

It’s extremely low profile also makes it a fantastic street-photography lens. Pedestrians rarely bat an eye with this lens, which would not be the case if they had a giant zoom lens pointed in their direction.

 

Durability

 

When I consider investing in a new lens, its durability and general resistance to my stupidity are significant factors to take into consideration. Earlier this year, I let some dust seep into my XF55-200mm zoom lens while hiking in the Egyptian desert. Each time I had to manually edit those dust spots out in Lightroom, I was reminded of the fact that I can’t be trusted with a non-weatherproof lens.

Fuji 27mm in the Guatemalan forest

I knew that the Fuji 27mm would be accompanying me on a lot of hikes and adventures, in which it may have to occasionally withstand a beating from the elements. Given that it’s fully weather-sealed, I don’t have to worry about it getting damaged by rain, sand or dust. Yet another reason why the 27mm f2.8 WR is such a great travel lens.

 

Unlike its older brother, it has a physical aperture ring

 

In addition to its aforementioned weather-sealing, the Fuji 27mm improves on its predecessor in one fairly significant way: the addition of a physical aperture ring.

One of my favourite features of the Fujifilm X Series is the almost ubiquitous inclusion of physical control dials. I like to be able to look down at my camera and know exactly what my settings are and, generally, if a setting is hidden away in the camera’s menu, I will most likely just leave it in automatic.

Not including an aperture ring on the initial version of the Fuji 27mm made it feel like a distinctly less premium lens. This is clearly something Fuji picked up on as well, as now the only lenses they sell without physical aperture controls are within their entry-level XC line.

 

For some, the 27mm is a ‘Goldie-locks’ focal length

Fuji 27mm at dia de los muertos

Since we mentioned the Fuji 27mm focal length in the potential downsides of this lens, it’s only right that we also cover it in its benefits. The 35mm full-frame equivalent focal length has long been considered a “goldie-locks” focal length due to its versatility and suitability for street photography in particular. And on top of that, it’s even a good focal length to use for video.

 

Is the Fuji 27mm a viable alternative for the Fujifilm X100V?

 

This will likely be a very common question given this lens’ form factor and the perpetually sold-out status of the immensely popular Fujifilm X100V. The X100V has achieved such cult status that some are actually buying used, 4 year old cameras for 1.5x their original price when they were released.

Fujifilm X100V vs Fuji 27mm

This has, naturally, left many Fujifilm enthusiasts searching for an alternative, and some have found pairing the XF27mm with a small body such as the Fujifilm X-E4 to be a good fit.

While this may be a strong and cost-effective alternative for some, it must be mentioned that this alternative does come with some concessions, such as having to make do with the 27mm focal length rather than the X100V’s 23mm lens, and having to do without the option of using an optical viewfinder since the X-E4 is not a rangefinder. The Fuji 27mm is also not as good in terms of low light performance, given the X100V’s wider maximum aperture of f2.

That being said, you do gain flexibility in terms of actually being able to use different lenses with the X-E4 and, honestly, this alone may even make this combination a better option for most photographers.

If none of these sacrifices present deal-breakers to you, I would say that pairing the XF27mm with any small Fuji body is a fantastic option, and one which you may at some point thank yourself for if you find yourself in a situation in which a fixed focal length just won’t cut it.

Monterrey with the Fuji 27mm f2.8 WR

Wrap up

 

So there we have it, my experience with the Fuji 27mm f2.8 WR lens and why, in my opinion, it should be a contender for anyone looking for a compact, do-it-all travel lens. 

If you liked this post, why not check out our most recent posts or subscribe to our newsletter below to stay up to date when we post.

Roamer Photography is an online community that aims to help guide photographers through the saturated and ever-changing world of travel photography.

All of your photography and travel information in one place.