Fujifilm's smaller, lighter and more affordable alternative to the XF16mm F1.4 R WR has arrived. Michael Topham offers his verdict
Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 R WR review: Features
Despite being slower than the XF16mm F1.4 R WR, there are advantages to be had from choosing a lens that’s smaller and has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. Just like Fujifilm’s range of f/2 primes, the main appeal of the lens is its compact size.
Viewed side by side with the XF16mm F1.4 R WR, you get a good impression of just how dinky it is. It adds just 45.4mm in length to the camera it’s mounted on and within its stubby barrel it arranges ten glass elements in eight groups.
Of these ten elements, two are aspherical elements, which are arranged in such a way that they they’re intended to suppress spherical aberrations and field curvature while maintaining high performance from the centre of the frame to the edge. Unlike the XF 16mm F1.4 R WR, the lens doesn’t feature any ED (extra low-dispersion) elements, but it does have the same number of nine aperture blades that are designed to render striking spherical bokeh at wide apertures.
To ensure focusing is fast and operation is silent, the lens adopts the same inner focusing system driven by a stepping motor that’s used inside other lenses such as the XF35mm F2 R WR and XF23mm F2 R WR. If the lens puts in a performance as good as these lenses, we anticipate faster and quieter focusing than you get on the XF16mm F1.4 R WR – something I’ll touch on in more detail shortly.
Like the XF16mm F1.4 R WR, the WR abbreviation in the name tells us that it’s made to be weather resistant. Seals prevent dust, dirt and moisture creeping in and will allow those who own a weather-sealed X-series camera to continue shooting when poor weather conditions persist.
Fujifilm also claims that that the lens can be used in temperatures as low -10°C, plus there’s an effective rubber seal around the perimeter of the metal mount to prevent moisture or dust creeping inside the camera.
Another part of the spec not yet mentioned is its 49mm thread at the front for attaching screw-in filters and adapters. This is smaller than the 67mm filter thread on the XF 16mm F1.4 R WR and slightly larger than the 43mm filter thread on the XF35mm F2 WR and XF23mm F2 R WR.
Its minimum focus distance (17cm) doesn’t let you to focus quite as closely as the XF 16mm F1.4 R WR (15cm), however at less than half the weight of its faster sibling, it has a considerable weight advantage.