Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR Review

June 26, 2015 | Mark Goldstein |

Conclusion

The Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR opffers a winning combination of an effective 24mm focal length, ultra-fast f/1.4 aperture, nine rounded aperture blades for surprisingly good bokeh, and a close focusing distance of 15cm, making it well-suited to both street and reportage photography as well as land- and city-scapes. Optically it's a stellar performer throughtout the frame and aperture range, and the weather-proofing is the icing on an already rich cake. There's virtually nothing to complain about, really, apart from the price and the overall size/weight of the lens, but we certainly wouldn't let those two minor factors stop us from strongly recommending this lens.

The Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR lens is remarkably sharp in both the image centre and at the edges virtually throughout the entire aperture range. The fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 makes it incredibly easy to creatively throw the background out of focus, with the nine-blade iris diaphragm achieving some lovely bokeh effects. Vignetting is practically a non-issue, chromatic aberrations are noticeable only by their absence, and there is little barrel distortion worth mentioning. The close-focus point of 15cm comes in very handy when including a foreground interest in the image, as you often do when taking close-up street photos.

The auto-focus system is another strong-point, with hardly any delay before locking focus and a quiet mechanism. It also offers a generously wide focusing ring, a very welcome aperture ring which makes it quick, easy and precise to set this key element of exposure, and an innovative focus collar for quickly switching between auto an manual focus, the latter coming complete with a focusing distance scale with depth-of-field markings that makes it easier to zone-focus. The lens mount is made of metal and, thanks to an internal focusing (IF) system, the front element and filter thread do not rotate on focus, which is very good news for those using polarisers and ND grads on a regular basis.

Perhaps the only real flies in the ointment are the price - at around £729.99 / $999.95 this isn't exactly a cheap lens - and the size, which rivals the XF 56mm f/1.4. Compared to a similarly specced DSLR lens with an equally fast aperture, however, it could be viewed both as something of a bargain and a space-saver, being much cheaper and approximately 40% smaller than the Canon/Nikon equivalents.

In summary, the Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR is yet another very high-quality prime in the ever-more-comprehensive XF lens range, and a real must-buy if you like shooting either street photography or landscapes.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4.5