Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens
The XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is essentially a general-purpose ‘walkaround’ lens, although it’s significantly more up-market than the regular kit zooms.
XF lenses represent the top level in Fujifilm’s X-mount line-up. While rather large and heavy compared with the company’s other standard zoom lenses, the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is built to high quality standards with extensive weatherproof sealing, a chromed brass mount, high-quality metal barrel and non-rotating 77mm filter thread.
Overall the shooting stills performance of this lens is very good, and it’s quiet enough to use for shooting movies. Price-wise, it’s a sizeable investment but if you plan to use it in challenging conditions and generally keep your lenses through several generations of cameras, the relatively high figure for a standard zoom is justifiable.
Announced at the beginning of 2015, Fujifilm’s XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens covers the classic 24-84mm equivalent zoom range with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture (equivalent to f/4.2 with a full frame camera). It has dust- and moisture-proof sealing at 14 points making it ideal for use by photographers who work outdoors. This lens also uses HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) combined with Nano-GI (Gradient-Index) coating to ensure superior flare control.
Angled view of the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The optical design of this lens consists of 17 elements in 12 groups and includes three aspherical lens elements to control spherical aberration and distortion, and three ED glass lens elements. The latter reduce lateral chromatic aberration (wide-angle) and axial chromatic aberration (telephoto) in order to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness across the entire zoom range. Nine rounded aperture blades create a smooth, circular bokeh.
The optical design of the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens showing the positions of the exotic lens elements. (Source: Fujifilm.)
All lens elements carry Fujifilm’s proprietary HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) for flare control as well as Nano-GI (Gradient Index) coating technology, which alters the refractive index between glass and air, further reduces ghosting and flare for diagonal incident light. Lens Modulation Optimiser (LMO) technology in X-Series cameras adds further performance improvements.
Autofocusing is driven by twin linear motors, shown in the illustration above. They enable the lens to achieve a fast lock-on speed of 0.06 seconds combined with near-silent operation, making this lens ideal for video recordings and working in noise-sensitive situations (such as weddings).
The lens is supplied with front and rear caps plus a petal-shaped lens hood (which wasn’t provided with the review lens) and a ‘cloth wrap’ (also omitted). It comes with a 12 month Australian warranty.
Who’s it For?
The XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is essentially a general-purpose ‘walkaround’ lens, although it’s significantly more up-market than the regular kit zooms. It’s also on the large side for a kit zoom lens – and quite pricey. Professional users are an obvious target market as a consequence.
The 24-84mm equivalent zoom range can cover many different genres, ranging from family snapshots through to landscapes, cityscapes and both individual and group portraiture. It also works well for street and event photography but is a bit limited for sports action and wildlife as well as close-up shooting.
Build and Ergonomics
XF lenses represent the top level in Fujifilm’s X-mount line-up and, compared with the company’s other standard zoom lenses, the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR is rather large and heavy. But it is built to high quality standards with a chromed brass mount, high-quality metal barrel and non-rotating 77mm filter thread. Extensive weatherproof sealing means it should withstand demanding professional use.
Measuring 106 mm in length at the 16mm focal length and with a diameter of 83.3 mm, the ‘all-metal’ XF 16-55mm feels very solid and substantial. Zooming in to 55mm extends the inner barrel by approximately 25 mm with only minimal barrel rotation.
The large lens cap has a sizeable pair of clasps that grip the 77 mm diameter filter threading securely. It is easy to fit and remove this cap by touch alone, an important feature given the role it plays in preventing the large front element of the lens from being damaged. Bayonet fittings around the outer edge of the lens barrel accept the lens hood that is normally supplied with the lens.
The focusing ring is located at the leading edge of the outer barrel. It’s roughly 13 mm wide with most of its surface covered in fine ridging to provide a secure grip. This ring rotates through 360 degrees without resistance when the camera’s power is off since focusing is controlled electronically by the camera. No focus scale is provided but when the camera is set for manual focus a scale will be displayed in the EVF or on the rear monitor screen.
Immediately behind the focusing ring is a thin silver ring and roughly 2 mm behind that lies the zoom ring, which is 35 mm wide. A 25 mm wide ridged, rubberised grip band covers the front section of this ring, while the rear section steps slightly inwards to an un-ridged band that carries stamped index marks for the 16mm, 23mm, 35mm and 55mm focal length positions.
These line up against a white mark on the 2 mm wide band between the zoom and aperture rings. The aperture ring is approximately 9 mm wide with a 5 mm wide band of wider ridging around its rear surface.
In front of this band, the lens barrel is marked with full stop increments from f/2.8 to f/22, with click stops at 0.3EV intervals. Beyond f/22 is an A (Auto) position which marks the limit of the ring’s rotation.
The lens then slopes inwards across two steps to the mounting plate, which fits securely to the camera. A narrow rubber flange keeps dust and moisture out.
Imatest showed the review lens to be a fine performer on the X-Pro3 camera we used for our tests. We obtained the best performance at the shorter focal lengths, with wider apertures, where the camera and lens combination was able to meet expectations for the sensor’s resolution with JPEG files when sampled around the centre of the frame. Raw files delivered higher resolution, as expected, and shown in the TESTS section below.
We found some, relatively slight, image softening towards the periphery of the frame throughout most of the focal length and aperture ranges. Diffraction began to take effect from bout f/11 on, as shown in the graph of our test results below.
Lateral chromatic aberration was negligible for both JPEGs and RAF.RAW files. Fujifilm’s cameras provide built-in corrections for this aberration so we had to check raw files, which are uncorrected. Levels of CA for raw files were only a little higher than for JPEGs, for which the results of our tests are shown in the graph below.
Because Fujifilm’s cameras also provide automatic corrections for vignetting and distortion we assessed these factors by looking at raw files. Unfortunately, the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, our preferred converter, tended to correct both aberrations automatically so we had to use a more basic raw file viewer to check for each aberration.
Very slight vignetting could be seen with the widest aperture settings at all focal lengths, but it vanished by the time the aperture had been closed by a stop. Rectilinear distortion was relatively low, with obvious barrel distortion at 16mm, no apparent distortion at 23mm and slight pincushioning at 35mm and more obvious pincushion distortion at 55mm. Since both vignetting and distortion can be corrected in the camera and are easily corrected in most raw converters and image editors, we don’t see either as a serious problem.
Flare and ghosting were effectively negligible, even when shooting directly towards a bright light source. We also found relatively few ‘sun spots’ in shots taken with strong contre-jour lighting.
With a minimum focusing distance of 30 cm across all focal lengths, this lens is not ideal for close-up shooting, although longer focal lengths provide some scope for close-up shooting or larger flowers and pet portraits. At wide apertures, bokeh in de-focused areas could be relatively smooth although slight ‘onion skin’ outlining could be seen around bright highlights in blurred backgrounds, particularly with the shorter focal length settings.
Please Login or Register to access the Conclusion.
Picture angle: 83.2 to 29 degrees
Minimum aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 17 elements in 12 groups (including 3 aspherical, 3 ED elements)
Lens mounts: Fujifilm X
Diaphragm Blades: 9 (circular aperture)
Focus drive: Twin linear motors
Minimum focus: 30 cm
Maximum magnification: 0.16x
Filter size: 77 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 83.3 x 106 mm
Weight: 655 grams
Standard Accessories: Front and rear caps, petal-shaped lens hood
Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355
Based on JPEG files captured by the Fujifilm X-Pro3 camera.
Vignetting at f/2.8, 16mm focal length.
Vignetting at f/2.8, 23mm focal length.
Vignetting at f/2.8, 35mm focal length.
Vignetting at f/2.8, 55mm focal length.
Rectilinear distortion at 16mm focal length.
Rectilinear distortion at 23mm focal length.
Rectilinear distortion at 35mm focal length.
Rectilinear distortion at 55mm focal length.
16mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/85 second at f/7.1.
55mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/105 second at f/7.1.
16mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/140 second at f/7.1.
55mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/250 second at f/7.1.
Strong backlighting at 16mm focal length; ISO 160, 1/1400 second at f/5.6.
Strong backlighting at 55mm focal length; ISO 160, 1/8000 second at f/4.
Pet portrait; 50mm focal length; ISO 160, 1/3500 second at f/2.8.
Close-up; 16mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/3000 second at f/2.8.
Close-up; 55mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/3000 second at f/2.8.
Close-up; 55mm focal length, ISO 640, 1/1800 second at f/4.5.
Close-up; 55mm focal length, ISO 640, 1/240 second at f/4.5.
55mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/1000 second at f/8.
31mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/7.1.
39mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/27 second at f/8.
17mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/50 second at f/9.
Crop from the above image showing edge sharpness and absence of coloured fringing.
55mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/70 second at f/9.
55mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/500 second at f/8.
Bokeh in close-up at 16mm at f/2.8; ISO 200, 1/3000 second.
Close-up at 55mm at f/2.8; ISO 200, 1/4700 second.
Close-up at 55mm; ISO 200, 1/12000 second at f/2.8.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujifilm X-Pro3 camera.
RRP: AU$1799; US$1199.95
- Build: 9.0
- Handling: 8.9
- Image quality: 9.0
- Versatility: 8.8