The other small Fujifilm primes have been strong performers optically despite the slower maximum apertures and significantly lower prices than the faster primes in the Fujifilm lineup. The 16mm f/2.8 thankfully is similarly strong optically.
The 16mm f/2.8 provides strong image sharpness across most of the frame right from f/2.8. The edges at this aperture have a bit of softness, but are still generally usable. Stopped down to moderate apertures brings sharpness all the way to the corners. Quite impressive for such a compact wide-angle lens. The lens even maintains good sharpness when focused close up.
Being a moderate aperture wide-angle lens, the ability to blur out the background with the 16mm f/2.8 is fairly limited. However, when focusing close up at f/2.8, some blur is definitely possible, and the lens performs quite admirably in this department, which is a bit of a surprise to me. Specular highlights are fairly evenly light, with just the faintest hint of a bright ring on the edges. The background is smoothly rendered and lack obvious distractions.
Color, Contrast and Chromatic Aberration
One thing I have always praised Fujifilm for is their very consistent ‘look’, and that is most apparent in the color and contrast profile of a lens. The 16mm f/2.8 is no different, and fits in with the rest of the Fujifilm lens lineup with strong even contrast that is punchy without being overbearing. Color is natural and well saturated, again without being in your face. If you like the way other Fujifilm lenses draw, you’ll like the way the 16mm f/2.8 draws as well.
There is a bit of lateral chromatic aberration that is easily corrected in post-processing, and will be automatically corrected in JPEG images. It is also possible to induce a tough of longitudinal CA in the right circumstances, but I found those situations to be few and far between.
Distortion, Flare and Vignetting
As with many of the other Fujicrons, the 16mm f/2.8 relies on software corrections for distortion and vignetting correction. When shooting JPEGs or applying the manufacturer’s profile in your RAW converter of choice, the 16mm f/2.8 will display essentially zero distortion. If you turn off that profile, you will see that the native optical distortion is actually quite high, with pronounced barrel distortion visible in any shot with straight lines near the edges. However, good edge sharpness is maintained even when the profile is applied, and as such, I don’t really mind that Fujifilm relies on digital correction in this manner.
Vignetting is similarly strong if you don’t apply the profile, but is corrected well in post-processing. This is somewhat unavoidable in very compact lens designs, but may have an impact in the noise of the image near the corners.
Flare is very well controlled, with minimal contrast loss and only extremely minor ghosting in certain circumstances. Well done here.
Overall, the lens performs very well, especially considering its low price. Well done, Fujifilm.
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.