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: Build & Handling
At just 45mm in length, the lens is smaller than the XF23mm F2 R WR and shares almost identical dimensions with the XF35mm F2 R WR. Taking a closer look at the barrel, you’ll notice it has the same difference in diameter between the rear and front of the lens, meaning the aperture ring is slightly larger than the manual focus ring.
Keeping with tradition, the aperture ring is located towards the rear of the barrel. This allows your thumb and index finger of your supporting hand to find it and control it easily when your eye is raised to the viewfinder.
One of the differences in design between this lens and the XF16mm F1.4 R WR is that the focus ring is a lot smaller and can’t be snapped back to engage manual focus. Instead, users are forced to activate manual focus via the camera body. There’s also no depth-of-field scale or focus distance scale markings on the barrel like you get on the XF16mm F1.4 R WR.
With no switches and a simple design, the lens fits in with the look of Fujifilm’s range of other f/2 prime lenses. It backs up its good aesthetics with an excellent feel to the aperture and focus rings.
The aperture ring clicks through its f/2.8-f/22 range in 1/3-stop increments. Rotating it anti-clockwise to its farthest point takes you to its ‘A’ setting, where users can take control of shutter priority or let the camera decide on the best aperture setting in its Auto mode.
The electronically operated manual focus ring is very smooth and works well when you’d like to make fine focus adjustments in combination with a magnified view on the rear screen or EVF.
The plastic lens hood that comes supplied with the lens isn’t so thin that it feels vulnerable to damage, plus it can be inverted for storage and transportation purposes. In its inverted position it’s still possible to adjust the aperture ring, however the hood does fowl the manual focus ring.
Fujifilm’s lineup of small f/2 primes have an excellent reputation for their strong, robust build quality despite costing considerably less money than their f/1.4 and f/1.2 counterparts. This lens is yet another example, feeling just as good paired with enthusiast and entry-level X-series cameras like the X-T30 and X-T100 as it does on high-end models like the X-T3.
Our review sample was supplied in black, but those who own an X-series camera in a silver and black finish do have the option to purchase the lens in silver to match.