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.
14 thoughts on “Review: Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR”
Great review Jordan, as always. I don’t know if you plan to do this, but I’d love to know your thoughts about how this lens compares to the 16mm f1.4 and perhaps more interestingly the 14mm f2.8 for your uses. All three lenses are different of course and each has it’s unique appeal. I’ve seen plenty of articles already comparing the two 16mm lenses with the inevitable trade offs for size and cost. What I haven’t seen is a comparison with the 14mm f2.8 which seems to be a bit overlooked these days but remains a great lens. Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated.
Thanks again and great to see the new content on the site.
I probably won’t do a direct comparison, but here are my thoughts: I think the 14/2.8 is a bit better optically, with much better native optical distortion control, and a bit better sharpness in the corners, though it’s not a major difference there. Both focus fast, both are very good optically. The 14/2.8 is bigger, but it’s also not huge, so whether that size makes a difference to you is personal. I am probably going to be selling my 14/2.8 (and all my Fuji lenses save for the four Fujicrons), as I am turning my Fuji kit into my small prime kit.
Thanks for this Review Jordan! I was waiting for something like this since the release of this lens. But unfortunatly, it seems most people use it for street fotography, rather than anything else and compare it to the 16 f1.4 only. I’m happy to notice you use it as I do, part of a small prime Kit. And that for city- and landscapes, travel as well as architecture. Your example pictures show exactl what I was looking for in my use cases.
My X-Pro2 newer knew anything other than the 3 Fujicrons and the 90 f2. So before this lens I had to rely on the 14 f2.8 and was very happy with it , really. But as you stated: it’s just not the same shape and feel as the Fujicrons. I was especially bothered with the focus clutch mechanism, being used to the Fujicrons I’m always stumbling over that when using the 14mm. But the optical quality was beyond any complains for the price, so I really wondered if the compactness of the 16 f2.8 would carry a lot of drawbacks. According to you, it doesn’t, they are not too far from each other optically. That’s good news, thanks for that! Shame though it’s not an f2, this still seems to be beyond our current engineering capabilities at tis prize & size.
I will now go on testing a 16 f2.8 and then replace my 14mm with the new 16mm, more or less completing my perfect X-Pro2 Prime/Travel Kit. Thanks again for the review! Please continue this platform, I like your style. 🙂
Jordan, it’s funny you mention you’re turning your fuji kit into a lighter prime kit. That’s exactly what I’m doing now (actually taking delivery of my x-t3 tomorrow) – and will set it up w/ the 16/23/35 crons. And maybe the 50 later… I plan to use it mostly for video and I have my Sony set up alongside for everything else and main use. Btw, I’m also a Cornell Engineer 🙂 I don’t chime in often, but I read a lot of your content and hope you continue to keep up it. Please look me up for a coffee or beer if you ever visit Singapore.
I’m sorry to hear that you’re selling off most of your Fujifilm lenses. I have enjoyed your reviews of Fujifilm products, so I hope that you continue to write reviews of their cameras and lenses. Are you going all-in on Sony full frame?
I am just transitioning my Fuji gear to be a small prime kit. It’s really hard given how ad monetization has been so reduced over the past few years, to the point where I really make nothing from the site any more, and as such, it’s impossible to justify having three full fledged camera kits from different makers. I still plan on doing continued Fuji reviews in the future, and I still really like the system.
Makes a lot of sense, thanks Jordan. I can understand the focus on the Fujicrons: they really seem to deliver on the promise of small size and big image quality. Personally I couldn’t part with my 35mm f1.4, but to each their own!
Nice images. I have the Fujicron 35/2 and 50/2. (and am heavily invested in Nikon and Nikon glass- 18-200, 17-55/2.8, 85/1.8, 80-200/2.8, 300/4, and 1.4 extender).
My question- X16/2.8 or X23/2 on my XPro2?
It’s definitely a personal choice based on focal length. Both are good lenses. From a purely optical standpoint, I think the 16/2.8 is a bit better, but the deciding factor should be whether you want a moderate wide lens for things like environmental portraiture, or whether you want a fairly wide lens to take in that wider view.
Thank you, for the reply. I could not decide and ended up picking up both.
This 24 mm is absolute winner when I walk about in the autumn forest !
I recently sold ALL my big, clunky Nikon DSLR gear and went full Fuji. I LOVE Fuji cameras and have three, the X-T3, X-Pro2 (my favorite), and the compact little X-E2 (GREAT TO carry to restaurants and family gatherings). And while of course I LOVE these baby Fuji prime lenses, I also have mixed in a few off brand models as well. I currently have a TTArtisan 7.5mm Fisheye (just for kicks!), a Zeiss 12mm f/2.8 Touit prime lens for real estate interior work (my main source of photography income), the little Fuji 27mm f/2.8 Pancake lens (excellent for the X-E2), the Fuji 35mm f/2, a TTArtisan 50mm f/1.2 for low light work, a Fuji 50mm f/2, the 85mm Rokinon Series II f/1.4 for portraits (along with the 50mm’s), a Tamron 18-300mm for nature photography, and a Fuji 18-55mm. My thinking is this: I am getting a Fuji 16mm f/2.8 as I’ve always loved 24mm full frame lenses for landscapes, and I’ll probably sell the Fuji 18-55mm to get the 16mm, as I really would like to go “all prime” lenses for most of what I shoot. I’m debating replacing the little 27mm Pancake lens with the Fuji 23mm as well, and welcome your advice on that. I’m pleased with the quality of the TTArtisan lenses, although manual focusing can be a bit of a drag at times compared to autofocusing, but with peak focusing assist it’s not really a big deal. While the Tamron 18-300mm has terrific range, it is as heavy as a tank and I hate lugging it around, so I may sell that as well and get a Fuji prime telephoto. Any recommendations on that? Thanks so much for this excellent review of the 16mm. VERY helpful!!!
The 90/2 is exceptional.