Fujifilm has done a wonderful job filling out the lenses for their X-mount camera system since it’s beginning in 2012. Among my personal favorites have been the more recent compact f/2 series lenses, that many have dubbed the “Fujicron” lenses, as a nod to the high quality, super small Leica Summicron lenses. These include the XF 23mm f/2, the XF 35mm f/2 and the XF 50mm f/2. The lens reviewed today, while sporting an f/2.8 maximum aperture instead of f/2, can be thought to be the final important entry into the Fujicron club. (Technically, we should call f/2.8 Fujifilm lenses “Fujimarits” if we are creating new portmanteaus of Leica lens names, but, well, I don’t really care). The XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR is a very compact wide-angle lens that gives a field of view equivalent to a classic 24mm lens on full-frame. Combined with the other Fujicrons, a complete wide to telephoto lens system using fast compact primes can be created for the X-Mount system. The other Fujicrons have had excellent optical quality despite their affordable price and small size; does the 16mm f/2.8 match its sisters?
Construction and Handling
Like the other recent ‘Fujicron’ lenses, the 16mm f/2.8 R WR is a very compact lens clad in a metal body that feels extremely solid. It’s a very lightweight lens and the barrel tapers towards the end to provide as much clearance as possible when using the optical viewfinder of the X-Pro series cameras. Being a wide-angle lens, the front element is a bit larger than the other tiny Fujifilm lenses, and features a 49mm filter thread. This is the one down-side to this small lens series: there are three separate filter thread sizes in the four lenses: 43mm, 46mm and 49mm. That aside, the lens follows the trend of its sister lenses in having classic retro aesthetics, excellent build quality and great haptics. I did however, notice one very minor change to the aesthetics on the 16mm f/2.8: they’ve slightly changed the font for the f-stop designations on the aperture ring. Previous Fujifilm lenses have had a rather straight sans-serif font, while the font on the 16mm f/2.8 is slightly italicized. I’m not sure why this change was made.
The 16mm f/2.8 features full weather sealing at the moving controls as well as a rubber gasket that surrounds the lens mount to prevent water intrusion into the camera. The large aperture ring fits in with the other Fujicrons and is extremely well damped and features solid detents. The aperture rings on these lenses feel like finely geared safe dials, and they are wonderful to operate. The slim focus ring sits in a sort of valley in the lens body and turns with light damping and is very smooth. Like all Fujifilm lenses, the focus is by wire. (Before anyone comments, even the ones with focus clutch operation do focus by wire, though they have focus scales and hard stops.)
The lens comes with a bayonet mount plastic lens hood that is of decent quality, and fits in well with the retro aesthetic. Like the 50mm f/2, the 16mm f/2.8’s hood is reversible for storage. The hood will shield the front element a bit, but it’s fairly short, and is most useful for some moderate front element protection.
Below, you can see the lineup of all four of Fujifilm’s recent small prime lenses for the X-mount. The quartet makes for a versatile kit that is quite compact, well-built, weather sealed, with quality optics and affordable prices. I’m so glad Fujifilm came out with this line of lenses, as it really helps the X-mount be a system that can realize the small size promise of mirrorless with a good-sized sensor and reasonable lens speed.
The Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 features a stepping motor that provides very fast and accurate autofocus. In my testing, the lens locked focus extremely quickly and with outstanding accuracy, even in lower light. Of course, being a wide-angle lens, the focus motor doesn’t need to move as much, but even so, performance is excellent in this department, and fits in line with its sister lenses, which are also rather quick focusing lenses.