- Well-built lens with weather-sealing and smooth and positive controls
- Fast and accurate autofocus
- Excellent image sharpness right from f/2.8 throughout the focal range
- Outstanding contrast and rich saturated color
- Bokeh is fairly nice for a standard zoom
- Good flare control in most situations
- Minimal vignetting
- Quite large and heavy for a mirrorless standard zoom
- Pronounced lateral chromatic aberration
- No optical stabilizer
The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is a pro-grade zoom lens, and it certainly performs like one. It’s got excellent sharpness right from the maximum f/2.8 aperture, good bokeh for the most part and truly stunning contrast. Optically, the only real flaw is the presence of lateral CA.
The biggest knocks on the 16-55mm are going to be about size and the lack of an optical stabilizer. The lens is quite large, though it’s not particularly unwieldy on a body with a grip. The complaints come in comparison to the competition. Fuji’s own 18-55mm f/2.8-4 has an optical stabilizer, is almost as fast, and is downright tiny in comparison. Samsung’s 16-50mm f/2-2.8 is a full stop faster at the wide end, has an OIS unit, and is still slightly smaller and lighter than the Fuji. The size is, therefore, a concern. However, ultimately I don’t view it as a deal breaker depending on your uses.
If you’re after an all-purpose compact lens, it’s obviously not going to fit the bill (look to the 18-55). However, if you are looking for a lens to produce prime-like image quality over a range of focal lengths, then the 16-55mm will work quite nicely. I think the 16-55mm is especially well suited to professional event shooting for Fuji users, and for landscape photography, particularly in inclement weather where changing lenses isn’t a great idea. You can bring just the 16-55 and the 50-140mm, and cover a huge range with impeccable image quality in only two lenses. The weather-sealing only adds to that usage scenario.
The $1199 price tag and the lack of a stabilizer may drive away some buyers, but for those looking for great optical quality in a single lens solution, the 16-55mm is hard to beat. Fuji’s created another excellent lens for the X-Series lineup, and while it’s not quite as optically incredible as the 50-140mm, it’s darn close and makes a great one-two punch with that lens for serious shooters.
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If you enjoyed this review, check out my other camera and lens reviews in the Review Index.