FUJI XF16-55mm F2.8 WR, the new PRIME zoom?

The new Fuji XF16-55mm F2.8R LM WR. Can this be the ultimate “fix on” lens on your camera for any photographer. I meant the ultimate zoom lens to fix on your Fuji camera? Especially mated with the XT-1. Together they form the ultimate all weather duo!

16-55mm WR + XT-1

16-55mm WR + XT-1

Be it a street photographer shooting at the Songkran festival. Capturing the fun on the biggest street water fight festival celebrated by the whole people of Thailand. An adventurer, exploring the dense amazon rain forest in Brazil. Or loving grand father shooting his cheeky little 3 year old grand daughter playing with her food. Last but not least even for a commercial photographer like myself. Can I shoot fashion, annual reports, food,  interior and still be on par with the those award winning Fujinon prime lenses?

F2.8, 1/1400, EV+0.7, ISO 200, @ 55mm

F2.8, 1/1400, EV+0.7, ISO 200, @ 55mm

Will this be the lens for photographers who need a standard zoom with prime lens quality? Personally I love this focal length of 24mm to 84mm of the 35mm format equivalent. At 24mm I am able to capture lovely landscape to amazing architecture. At far end; its almost perfect as a standard portraits lens.

I have in hand a pre production lens from the kind people of Fujifilm Singapore. This lens have a filter size of 77mm and weighting a beefy 655gm. When fitted on the XT1 it feels a little front heavy. Once I attached the battery grip on it, the balance is much better. AF is quick and accurate.

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DSCF8998

DSCF8618 1

I am no Mr. Explorer living in the modern city state of tropical Singapore. So recently during one of Singapore coldest winter, Maybe its about 24 degree! I brought my 4 years old daughter to a Christmas “snow” event outside a mall along the famous Orchard road shopping belt. It started to snow or should I say foam and later it foam so much it feel like a blizzard. To top it all it begin to rain. As mention mated with the XT-1; I am as free as a bird. Totally weather sealed; I just concentrate on shooting and not be bothered what will happened to my gear. Below is a picture of the camera after the event. Ho ho ho…. we all survived.

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ISO 200, @55mm, F2.8 , 1/120

ISO 200, @55mm, F2.8 , 1/120

ISO 200, @55mm, EV-1, F4, 1/210

ISO 200, @55mm, EV-1, F4, 1/210

Many have mention that the new 16-55mm is a very “big” lens and thus the weight. I will agree with all but let me put things in perspective in regards to this weighty issue. Below is a list showing some popular FF and APS-C camera + a standard zoom.

Canon 5D Mk III + 24-70mm F2.8      : 860g + 805g = 1.65KG
Nikon 750D + 24-70mm F2.8              : 750g  + 900g = 1.6KG
Sony A7ll + 24-70mm F2.8 T*             : 556g  + 980g = 1.53KG
Canon 7D Mk ll + 17-55mm F2.8       : 910g  + 645g = 1.55KG (incl batt)
Nikon D7100 + 17-55mm F2.8            : 675g  + 755g = 1.43KG
Fuji XT-1 + 16-55mm F2.8                   : 440g  + 655g = 1.095KG (incl batt)

Why is this lens so big? Especially compare with the XF18-55mm F2.8-F4? I think the reason is in the Fujinon glass. Just like its bigger sibling, the XF 50-140. As mention on the web; “Microcontrast exceeding XF56mm. Sharpness on par with the best Canon L series primes.” Here is the link :
http://www.fujirumors.com/xf50-140-prime-quality-microcontrast-exceeding-xf56mm-sharpness-on-par-with-the-best-canon-l-series-primes/
So is this lens as good as the other Fuji primes lens? Here are some comparison. As the widest is at F2.8 for the 16-55mm. I will compare it with the prime lenses at F2.8 too.

56mm APD vs 55mm; Both at F2.8
35mm F.14 vs 35mm; Both at F2.8
23mm F1.4 vs 23mm; Both at F2.8

56APD

55mm

35mm@

35mm(1655)DSCF9309

The 16-55mm WR lens is not for everyone for sure. Especially those photographer who can’t live without OIS. Like the lenses of yesteryears where OIS is unheard of; taking that extra effort to hold your camera well will payoff with its IQ of the 16-55mm lens.

The weight may be down side for street photographer. There is always 2 side to a coin. For example; will you take option 1, a XT-1 + 56mm, 35mm, 23mm and 14mm. Or option 2,  XT1 + 16-55mm WR. For option 1 the total weight is 1.56KG vs for option 2; which is at 1.095KG. Below are my views on the pros and cons…

Option 1, XT-1 + 56mm, 35mm, 23mm and 14mm.
Pro : All prime lenses, thus great picture especially in low light. IQ at its best.
Con: Weight, lens not weather seal and thus limit the photographer. Need time to change lens and thus losing the “shot”, maybe.

Option 2, XT-1 + 16-55mm WR.
Pro : No need to change lens; thus higher chance of getting the “shot”. WR means you could shoot in any condition. IQ quality is pretty close to prime. Lowercost.
Con : Heavy compare to prime option. widest at only F2.8. compare to the primes lenses which have a wider F-stops.

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ISO 200, F2.8, 1/800,, @16mm

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/800,, @16mm

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/280,, @55mm

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/280,, @55mm

ISO 200, F8, 1/18000, @55mm

ISO 200, F8, 1/18000, @55mm

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/1900, @55mm

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/1900, @55mm

Below is a simple example of what I think how Fuji have cater to all type of photographers.

Street photographers
X100T + WCL + TCL

Street photographer who prefer interchange lens system
XT-1, Xpro1, XE-2, XE-1, XM-1.
14mm, 18mm, 23mm, 35mm and 56mm. + 18-55mm

Nature; Outdoor, Events, wedding and Commercial Photographer,
XT-1
10-24mm, 14mm, 18mm, 23mm, 35mm, 56mm, 56mm APD, 16-55mm WR + 50-140mm WR.

Why is Fuji producing bigger and heavier lenses in recent times? My take is , Fujifilm wanna cater to all photographers. Like all camera manufacturers; its all about market share. In conclusion; there is always a great fujinon lens for every genre of photographer! Fat, Skinny, BIG, small, Tall, short and also sexy lens. So take your pick my fellow X-shooters.

Last but not least; do like my Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/IvanjoshualohX/

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There are 25 comments

  1. Lumen

    I think you’ve forgotten the weight of the batterygrip in the comparisons, which is 220 grams incl. battery !
    The images are great, on par with the primes at f/2.8 ! Thanks.

    Like

    1. Mark

      Nikon D750 + Nikkor 24-85/2.8-4 = 1195g. Whole 100g more 🙂 Check FF Sony A7 line with Zeiss 24-70/4…
      The lens itself produces nice output for sure, but even author said that’s uncomfortable with such small camera.
      This lens (together with 50-140) shows the truth; to have great IQ you have to carry similar weight as DSLR.
      Fuji, you are doing it wrong.

      Like

  2. Hal

    If the 16-55 is as good as the 50-140 comparison with FF 2.8 is correct because the 50-140 has better IQ than the Canon and Nikon 70-200 f2.8 and they have better IQ than the 70-200 f4

    Like

  3. CA.V

    As far as the weight comparisons, the comparisons to full-frame cameras with f 2.8 zooms are incorrect. Keeping in mind equivalence, the proper comparison using a full-frame camera would to use an f/4 zoom on the full-frame camera. Even that benefits the Fuji a bit, because the light gathering ability between the two formats is not a stop, but more like 1.3 stops.

    Like

  4. Hal

    APS-C f/2.8 is equivalent to f4.2 (2.8 x 1.5 crop) but I meant that if you want similar image quality (excluding the option of smaller DOF) you need to compare to the Nikon/Canon f2.8 because their f4 lenses are not as good.

    Like

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