Andy Westlake tries out this weather-sealed wideangle in our Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4R WR review
Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR Review: Build and handling
With its predominantly metal-barrelled construction, the 16mm feels like a top quality piece of kit. In terms of design it’s very similar to Fujifilm’s other fast primes, in particular the 23mm f/1.4, although when it comes to size and weight it’s closer to the 56mm f/1.2. Most of the barrel is taken up by the broad focus ring and the slimmer aperture ring, which are separated by a prominent fixed section that provides a positive grip when changing lenses.
The manual focus ring is one of the better examples of its type, driving manual focus electronically while giving a reasonably good impression of a traditional mechanical design. It rotates smoothly between its infinity and minimum focus end stops, engaging your chosen focus aid in the process.
I’m less pleased with the aperture ring, which has extremely loose click stops making it easy to move inadvertently. This isn’t quite as problematic as it might sound, as you can always see the current aperture setting in the viewfinder, but I’d prefer more positive click stops nonetheless.
For X-Pro1 users it’s worth noting that the 16mm will protrude a huge amount into the lower right area of the optical viewfinder, especially with a hood attached. As with the 14mm f/2.8 and the 10-24mm f/4 zoom, it’s best to use the electronic viewfinder so you can see the entire scene.
With a coreless DC motor driving autofocus, the 16mm isn’t quite the fastest-focusing lens in Fujifilm’s range, but for the kinds of subjects it’s most likely to be used for it’s more than capable. Likewise, while the linear motors used in the company’s top-end zoom lenses are practically inaudible, the 16mm’s AF is merely very quiet indeed. However, only the photographer is likely to be able to hear it and when paired with the silent electronic shutter on the X-T1 and X-T10, it should be possible to shoot in quiet environments with impunity.
In terms of accuracy, as we’ve come to expect from mirrorless systems that determine correct focus using the main imaging sensor, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about. The only caveat is that it’s necessary to ensure that the AF area is aligned exactly with your desired point of focus. When shooting wide open, I also found it pays to select the smallest AF area the camera will use, for the best possible precision.
One useful trick worth knowing is that if the lens’s focus ring is pulled forwards but the camera’s focus mode switch is set to manual, autofocus can then be acquired using the AFL button. This can be helpful when you wish to prefocus on your subject and minimise any possible shutter lag.