Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review

February 25, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is a new professional weather-resistant standard zoom lens for Fujifilm’s X-series interchangeable lens cameras. The Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8 lens boasts an angle-of-view range similar to that of a 24-84mm lens in a 35mm system and features a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the range. Other highlights include a close-focus point of 30cm, an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, Fujifilm’s unique HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) and Nano-GI (Gradient Index) coating technologies, a linear motor-driven focusing system that allows the camera to lock focus on the subject in 0.06 second, and silent operation for video recording. The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR’s optical formula comprises 17 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical lens elements to control spherical aberration and distortion, and three ED glass lens elements to reduce lateral chromatic aberration (wide-angle) and axial chromatic aberration (telephoto). The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens is currently available for £899.99 / $1199.95 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is an undeniably large and heavy telephoto lens, weighing 655g and requiring the X-T1 camera that we tested it with to be fitted with a hand-grip for easier use. If you compare the 16-55mm / X-T1 combination to the Canon or Nikon equivalent, it's about 60% lighter and much smaller overall. So, depending on your viewpoint, the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR marks quite a departure from the more diminutive lenses in the XF lineup, or it's a lighter alternative to the Canon/Nikon offerings.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens attached to the Fujifilm X-T1 camera

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens attached to the Fujifilm X-T1 camera, zoomed out to 55mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens attached to the Fujifilm X-T1 camera

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens attached to the Fujifilm X-T1 camera

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens attached to the Fujifilm X-T1 camera, zoomed out to 55mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens alongside the Fujifilm X-T1 camera

The overall build quality is excellent, certainly in keeping with a high-end X-series body like the X-T1 that we tested it with. The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens boasts a brass mount, high-grade metal barrel and non-rotating 77mm filter thread. The zoom ring is generously wide and has a ridged, rubberised grip band. Zooming is not internal, meaning the length of the lens changes while you zoom by about 3cms. Physically the lens is shortest at 16mm and longest at the 55mm setting.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens at 16mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens zoomed out to 55mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is the third weatherproof XF lens to be released so far, featuring a dust-proof and waterproof structure with weather resistant sealing applied to more than 14 different areas of the lens, making it a perfect partner for the weatherproof X-T1 camera.

Both the zoom and the focus rings are smooth in action without being loose. Zoom creep is not an issue. The focus ring is wide enough for easy use but has no “hard stops” at either end of the focus range.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Front of the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Rear of the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens has a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps, and unlike some of Fujifilm's other variable-aperture zoom lenses, this one is clearly marked with the 7 full aperture settings that run from f/2.8 to f/22 plus the Auto setting, and it has a hard stop at either end. The aperture ring is nicely damped and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens in-hand

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens with the supplied hood fitted

In terms of accessories, the lens ships with a large plastic petal shaped hood and the usual Fujifilm soft lens bag - we'd have liked a proper padded case for such a premium lens.

Focal Range

At the 16mm end of the zoom range, the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens has a wide angle of view of 83.2 degrees.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Field of view at 16mm

At the 55mm end, the angle of view narrows to 29 degrees, which can be described as short telephoto.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Field of view at 55mm

Distortion

At the wider end, the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR has some barrel distortion, as you can see in the photo below, but it's no worse than you would expect from a 24mm lens. There's some slight vignetting in the corners at both ends of the zoom range when shooting at f/2.8.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Distortion at 16mm

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Distortion at 55mm

Focusing

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens has an internal auto-focusing (IF) system with a very quiet linear motor. In practice, we found the auto-focus to be fast, quiet and accurate, and certainly one of the quickest of all the XF series lenses released so far. Thanks to the IF mechanism the front of the lens does not rotate on focus, which is very good news for anyone looking to use the lens in conjunction with a polariser or graduated neutral density filter.

The lens features full-time manual focusing. After half-pressing the shutter button to autofocus on the subject, adjustments can then be made using the manual focus ring. You can even engage manual focusing by rotating the focus ring while pressing the shutter halfway during AF lock.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not really a problem with the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens, as shown in the examples below.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Macro

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is not a macro lens. The close-focus point is at 30mm from the sensor plane when the focal length is set to 16mm (40mm close focus point at 55mm). The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash card.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Close-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. Fujifilm have paid close attention to this aspect of lens use, employing a 9-segment diaphragm with rounded blades for pleasing bokeh. In our view, their efforts have been very successful - see the examples below.

AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
   
AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S Nikkor DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, lens, fujifilm, zoom, f2.8, 35mm, fuji, standard, 55mm, xf, 16mm, 23mm, x, weather, weather-proof, 16-55mm, 24-84, 16-55, Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR, 24-84mm

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