Using the new Fujifilm XF 16-80mm F4 R OIS WR zoom lens

Hello, my name is Thomas Ettle, living near Washington, DC. Photography and travel have long been my hobbies starting with my military service time. Carrying an SLR with large zoom lenses became heavy and tedious (50 ounces!).

After much soul searching and tugs of brand loyalty, I moved to the Fuji X series and have enjoyed the easy, familiar and smooth interface and compact size and weight as well as great lenses and JPGs. After each trip, I upload photos and assemble photo albums on the online Shutterfly service.

Fuji has developed a new 16-80mm F4.0 lens, which covers the 35mm range of 24mm to 122mm. This lens is, of course, larger than the 18-55 F2.8~4 and smaller than Fuji’s 18-135mm. I was able to get a copy of the lens last September and take it on a trip. As my lens was an early lens, software updates will likely continue to improve the performance of this lens. How did it perform?

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF16-80mmF4 @16mm . f/5.0 . 1/1000″ . ISO 800

First, a few facts. The lens is being offered as a kit lens with the new X-T4 camera, which reduces the package price somewhat. The filter diameter is 72mm, a large but standard size. This is similar to the filter on the 10-24mm lens, which allows it to share filters between the two lenses. These filters include graduated filters, polarizing filters, stopper filters, and closeup filters (which can be used in series).

Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF16-80mmF4 @34.20mm . f/5.6 . 1/400″ . ISO 200
Fuji X-T2 . Fuji XF16-80mmF4 @16mm . f/22 . 1/1800″ . ISO 12800

For my trip, I carried a Fuji X-T2 and an X-Pro2, the 16-80mm and a 23mm F2. The 23mm was to allow a light combination when walking about after a day’s touring and I usually used either 23mm or the zoom, but not both, and carried only one body. The main combination was the X-T2 with the zoom lens, which I relied upon almost entirely. With improved ISO sensitivity, I did not find the F4 to be a serious limitation.

The photos I am including show some of the lens’ capabilities. At close focus, I found it was able to fill the frame about a postcard size image (see photos of eyes taken at closest focus point). The 16mm focal length places the lens between wide and ultra-wide, which allows it to perform the functions of both.

The 80 mm focal length (roughly like a 135mm lens in function) provides a very useful addition beyond 55mm. There were times I could have used more width or more length but they were rare. The lens is weather-sealed and has an optical image stabilizer.

In carrying, the lens is solid and tends to lean the camera forward. It feels chunky but balances nearer to the body than longer zooms. It would be more difficult to handle on a small camera body like the X-E3. As the only lens carried with the X-T2 it was a light and versatile combination.

I used a small camera bag (small Billingham Hadley) to hold just the camera and lens, spare batteries and SD cards and cleaning supplies, and a few maps and papers. The camera has a small petal-shaped lens hood, which I often left off. A compact square lens hood is available from third parties.

The trip went from Hong Kong to Taipei and several ports in Japan.

Thomas Ettle is a retired civil servant and passionate Fujifilm photographer living in Washington D.C.. He travels frequently around the world and produces bound Shutterfly albums of his travels. He enjoys photographing people, culture and landscapes.

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your insight using the 16-80 F4 lens. You hear so much negativity about the lens yet every time I see photographers real-world shots I’m amazed at the quality.

    I enjoyed your article and beautiful photographs, when I upgrade to the T-4 it will be with this lens.

    Thank You

    1. Thanks Mark. Initially, I heard a lot negative about the 16-80 too. It is of similar range to popular Nikon and Canon zooms. I am not a pixel peeper but do like the lens. Software upgrades will improve any aberations. I found it to be a great lens!

  2. I have the terrific 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and while it is much better than the “kit lens” moniker that it is labeled with, the 55mm end is often too short. So I was looking forward to the 16-80mm having used a 24-120mm on my full frame Nikon and knowing that it could make for a perfect “do it all” range of focal lengths.

    As stated above, I was let down by the early reviews and have held off on getting the new lens. Your images certainly make me think I have been to quick to dismiss the lens.

    Now I have some thinking to do.

    1. We’ll be seeing software upgrades and more lens reviews with sample images to help you make your decision.

  3. It has been hit and miss for me. I don’t know if I’m pixel peeping too much but most of my shots have got micro jitters or camera shake at some shutter speeds. Even at 1/125 on a steady subject. And I don’t know if your copy is the same but the front barrel wobbles a bit when fully extended. Like you can feel it move when you nudge it intentionally.

    1. My barrel doesn’t wobble. In my case, I can hold steady. Not sure if your lens needs adjustment. Try looking at another one in a store to appraise it.

  4. I am looking at these fotos. And think i could get same results with 16-135 f3.5-5.6 as this one 16-80. am i missing something?

    1. I thought your lens was 18-135 (?). You have a longer but not as wide lens (I believe). My lens is smaller and has a standard F4.0 atmosphere, which some prefer. If you are satisfied with your lens, the difference probably wouldn’t justify going to the 16-80, in my opinion. Compared to an 18-55, I think my lens offers more, but more weight.

    1. Haoge LH-X18 Bayonet Square Lens Hood for Fujifilm XF 16-80mm F4 R OIS WR Lens

      I saw it on EBay but couldn’t get the photo to copy. Make sure you specify 16-80 lens, as there are others that may not work due to vignetting. I this one is quite flat rAther than deep. It is in the $40-$50 range and made in China.

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