A wider angle with the Fujinon XF16mm

I’m a prime shooter and I live at 50mm (full frame terms). When I switched to Fujifilm, the XF35 1.4 filled that spot with ease. It’s my goto lens, I love the images it produces, how it makes me feel and, how I even loved to hate that ugly lens hood. The rest of my kit consists of the the XF23 (35mm) & XF56 (85mm)… That is what I roll with on any given wedding. The XF35 (almost) never leaves my primary camera body. The other body gets fitted with what I think might come in handy.

The XF23 is there as my wide angle … to be honest, it’s not my thing … I can’t explain it. It’s supposed to be my storyteller lens but I feel that it never completely tells the story or I can’t frame it like I want it … because it’s not wide enough or perhaps because it lives too close to my comfort zone (50mm) and it doesn’t push me enough. Watching a lot of photographers produce great images with a 24mm focal length , I wanted to try myself …

I do own the original XF18 2.0, while this is a great little compact lens and the perfect travel companion I always felt it lacks the color & sharpness of my main 3 lenses to use it for wedding work.

Enter the Fujinon XF 16 mm f/1.4 R WR
Don’t expect too technical stuff here. I choose a lens because of how it makes me feel and for what type of images I can produce with it. These are the things that stand out of me.

The good:

  • Focus is accurate/quick & silent.
  • Built like a tank, weather sealing (living in Belgium that might come in handy in once and a while…).
  • Distortion is very acceptable.
  • It produces crisp images, corners are sharp (pixel peeper TIP: You can compare the XF18 & XF16 on http://fujifilmxmount.com).
  • Paired with the 24Megapixels of the X-PRO 2 it allows me to crop to 35mm in post production so I don’t have to switch lenses when there is no time for it.
  • Close focusing distance.

The Bad:

  • Unfortunately the extra buck also buys you a lot of added weight compared to the XF18. And paired with the XPRO2 .. well it’s a bit bulky and a rather heavy combo.
  • Colors are a bit less virbrant than other lenses. (XF23,XF35 & XF56).
  • The standard lens hood doesn’t really protect the glass that well and the LH-XF16 hood is a 100$ expensive *kuch*

Before I bought this lens it was obvious that it should outperform the XF18 in every way. The most important question I had about this lens was if I could adjust to this new focal length well enough and make it “mine”. I have it in my kit for two months and now I’m surprised by how much I have been using it. Having a new focal length to play with has been really fun and pushes me to try different things and step out of my comfort zone.

X-PRO2 / XF16 Combo

 

XF18 Vs XF16
XF18 Vs XF16
XF16 – XF23 – XF56 Above pictures are taken playing around with a blue led panel and an X100S…
XF16 – XF23 – XF56
Above pictures are taken playing around with a blue led panel and an X100S…

Some sample pictures, a mix of work & personal pictures

 Simple distortion / straight line test. (yes that is an actual crooked ceiling in the upper left corner…)
Simple distortion / straight line test. (yes that is an actual crooked ceiling in the upper left corner…)

Close focus distance!
Close focus distance!

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  • Jeff

    Hi, interesting article!
    I’ve been waiting for the 23mm f/2. I already have the 35mm f/1.4 which is my favorite lens also.
    But since reading your article, I’m now second guessing my needs. It’s true that the 23mm is often not wide enough and it’s somewhat close the the 35mm. I also like the “effect” the 16mm gives.
    If they could make a cheaper one at f/2 I’d probably jump on it. And being cheaper, I could probably get the 23mm F/2 as well 😉
    So I’m not sure if I should thank you or not for making my decision more difficult 😉 LOL

  • pszilard

    Interesting article. However I simply HATE the clutch focus thing. I have that on my 23mm f/1.4 and would not buy another lens with this design, but that’s just me. I do, however have the 16-55mm f/2.8 which obviously provides the same angle of view as the 16mm albeit 2 stops slower. I don’t mind that as with wide angle lenses I like deep DOF. I wonder if you had tried the zoom yourself, and how you would compare them?