Image Quality: Sharpness
The Fujinon XC 16-50mm is a mixed bag when it comes to sharpness. Center sharpness is quite good throughout the range right from the widest aperture. Unfortunately, edges of the frame are noticeably softer at wider apertures. On the wide end, the edges sharpen up considerably about one to two stops down, so that by f/8, the picture is reasonably sharp across the frame, though the edges are never quite perfect. At the longer end, I’ve found the edges to be a little better wide open than at the wide end, but the lens still needs to be stopped down a bit for optimum sharpness.
Overall, not a bad result here, especially considering the lens’ paltry $100 entry fee when paired with the X-M1, and the wide starting focal length. It’s good for a kit lens, but falls short of the Fuji 18-55’s performance.
Image Quality: Bokeh
The out of focus areas on the 16-50mm are quite neutrally rendered. They are not perfect, but for a kit zoom, it’s a rather impressive performance. There are no obvious rings around specular highlights at the long end, and while wider views do have a little more nervousness, it’s not terrible. There isn’t a lot of blur to be had with the 16-50mm unless you’re focusing relatively close, but it can provide some subject separation, and does it rather nicely here.
Image Quality: Chromatic Aberration, Color, Contrast and Flare
While the XC 16-50mm might be only average in sharpness, it’s in the control of other lens characteristics where it starts to shine a little bit. Chromatic aberration is relatively well controlled, with a minor amount of lateral CA being visible in some shots, but very easily corrected. The lens is very resistant to purple fringing and there’s really not much longitudinal chromatic aberration, which is seen as magenta and green fringes in front of and behind the focus point.
The 16-50mm has really nice color and a great contrast curve that really give the lens a great rendering. I said to a few people after shooting with the lens for a while that the 16-50mm isn’t the sharpest lens, but images out of the 16-50mm don’t feel like those out of a kit lens. Most kit lenses are very sterile in their rendering, with plenty of lens aberrations and no depth to the images. The 16-50mm, on the other hand, gives really deep images with great color and contrast, even if they aren’t the sharpest shots in the world on the frame edges. In real world use, I’ve found that I prefer this approach. Sharpness can be great, but if a lens is sharp, but makes pictures that look flat, it takes a lot more work to bring out the magic in the image. The 16-50mm gives a great look right out of the camera, and that makes using it quite nice.
The 16-50mm is also quite resistant to flare, which is a nice surprise. I have found it difficult to produce any sort of complex flare when shooting into the sun, and even veiling flare, which displays as a loss of contrast at the frame edge, is largely absent.
12 thoughts on “Review: Fujifilm Fujinon XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS”
Once again you gave us a terrific set of sample photos! I hope the manufacturers are showing you some love, because you make all their lenses look better than they look anywhere else.
Thanks for the review.
I like to travel and I am looking at a nice camera to do some landscape photography as a novice photographer.
I am thinking about xm1 + 16-60/18-55 ( I can get a kit deal for both lens)
Would you say the extra 2mm is worth going for or is the sharpness and aperture on 18-55mm much more important?
These are gorgeous photos you have posted here with the review. I very much would like to know how much post processing (if any) was done to them, and what the settings and simulation mode of the camera were.
She also loved to watch the photographs of her grandparents and other relations,
who according to her looked much slimmer and younger.
Now here’s a handy tip to figure out who to recruit.
An amateur photographer would focus only on the surface, and maybe more on the food circulating around.
FYI: Previous message is spam
I’ve only just picked up on this excellent review. I got this lens as a kit lens with an X-T10 when it first came out and I’ve done loads of photos with it,and I consider the results to be brilliant for a lens like this.I did some comparison tests with a 35mm f1.4 prime with both lenses at f8, same photo taken from same position, on a tripod, printed to A4 size and I can’t tell the difference. I now have this lens on an X-E2 (latest firmware) and use it as a walkabout kit.
I’m certainly late replying to this review, but I must say that I would have to disagree with the reviewers comments. I’ve had several versions of the earlier (Mk I) 16-50 and now the Mk II version and my copies were all outstanding optically – so much so that I keep it as the standard lens on my X-E2 and X-E1. I keep the 18-55 on the X-T1. Other than the all plastic scenario, if you can get over that, then you will find this lens to give many a big boy a run for its money. I’m totally sold on this lens.
I have this lens since August and I find it good enough on my X-T10, though I wonder if I shouldn’t get the new 23mm f2 to improve my skills and photos, what do you think?