The Odd Lens Out – Part Five – Zonlai 22mm F1.8

The Odd Lens Out – Part Five – Zonlai 22mm F1.8

Well, here’s the point where I took my heart in my hand and buckled the Zonlai 22mm F1.8 onto the Fujifilm X-T2. I’d already gone through the nervous tension of dealing with some unknown organisation on eBay to acquire the lens – I’d sat wondering if anything would ever be delivered. And all the time pondering whether the money paid out was going to be worth it – whether an inexpensive eBay lens would be just junk.

That’s not meant to sound too pessimistic. I’ve had good products from eBay as well as valueless things – and as long I was prepared to write off any junk to experience, it was a fair enough amusement. I’m not sure it did not put my credit card details into the hands of scalawags but that was all part of the modern internet experience. Suffice it to say the Zonlai came through in reasonable time and was a satisfying thing to look at in the box. I got a chrome lens cap and a chromed lens hood reminiscent of the M-series Leica designs.

It’s a fully manual prime lens with smooth focusing and click stops for the aperture. The engraved distance scale seems accurate and it goes to a positive infinity stop. The mount is very smooth – the chromed finish smooth enough. It’s not Leica quality – or Fujinon quality – but quite frankly, kids, I’ve paid more money for poorer lenses in the past. It’s heavy and seems to focus easily at f1.8.

Of course, when you use this lens on the Fujifilm camera you need to tell the camera what you’re doing – otherwise it doesn’t think you’re doing anything and refuses to turn on the focus assist colours or to fire. Just dive into the menu and enable everything.

A. The full image:

B. The detail box:

Well that’s pretty good – not up to the Fujinon prime standards but not too far off. The lens does go awfully soft at the extreme corners and picks up some vignetting there as well, but not too badly. Likewise there is a little linear distortion.

The final washup for the five lenses is the monetary one.

There are often cashback deals for Fujinon lenses – in fact there are some on right now. This means a considerable saving. Currently I count the following from our site catalogue:

a. Fujinon 23 f2 in stock right now at $ 639.

b. Fujinon 23mm f1.4 in stock right now at $ 1186 with a Fujifilm cashback of $ 150. Final cost of $ 1036.

c. Fujinon 18-55mm in stock right now at $ 599 with a Fujifilm cashback of $ 150. Final cost of $ 449.

d. Fujinon 18-135mm in stock right now at $ 888 with a Fujifilm cashback of % 150. Final cost of $ 730.

e. Zonlai 22mm on various ebay offers approximately $ 165-180.

Remember that with the Fujifilm lenses you get auto focus and aperture, better performance, and a two-year warranty, With eBay you get a low price, manual focus and aperture, and a chance to take your chances. As they say in the DIY line at the hospital emergency room – suture self…




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