Callum McInerney-Riley tests the long-awaited fast-aperture zoom lens for X-series cameras
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR review – Introduction
One of the most popular lenses among DSLR photographers is the 24-70mm f/2.8. It’s a lens praised for its versatility due to its fast aperture and useful focal range, and these attributes make it a decent tool for everything from portraits to landscapes.
The new Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR fulfils this role for Fujifilm X users, boasting a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout its 24-84mm (equivalent) zoom range. This closely matches the ever-popular 24-70mm, although just outdoing it at the long end.
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR review – Features
A total of 17 elements in 12 groups are used to construct this lens, including three aspherical elements designed, says Fuji, to control pincushion and barrel distortion. Three additional ED glass lenses are included to reduce lateral and axial chromatic aberration.
A benefit of the internal focusing system of this lens is that it doesn’t rotate the front element. This makes it much more user-friendly when using filters such as ND grads or polarisers. The lens accepts widely available 77mm filters. Nine rounded aperture blades make up the iris diaphragm.
An f/2.8 aperture used with an APS-C-sized sensor will produce a depth of field equivalent to f/4.5 on a full-frame camera. For this reason, the extended focal length of this lens (when compared to a full-frame 24-70mm lens) is very useful, giving increased background blur and a very flattering focal length for subjects such as portraiture. When used wide open, this lens gives beautiful rounded bokeh and a generally pleasing look to out-of-focus backgrounds.
Supplied with the lens is a petal-shape lens hood that helps to reduce flare and increase contrast. The lens features Fuji’s Nano-GI and Super EBC Coatings, which do a remarkable job of cutting down flare. I found that when shooting with the sun in the top corner of the frame, I was still able to retain a good amount of contrast with only a minute amount of lens flare visible.
It’s also worth noting that this Fuji 16-55mm lens doesn’t feature any optical stabilisation, as the company felt that adding it would compromise the optical quality of the lens. While this may be true, other companies have managed to achieve fast zoom lenses with stabilisation that are optically very good – for example, Samsung’s 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS for its NX series of mirrorless cameras.