The super fast Fujinon XF 23mm F1.4 has always been the default lens on any X-series camera that I bring along for my daily domestic photography mission. Like my endless trip to the supermarket, fetching my cheeky daughter from school or a trip to the lush Singapore Botanical Garden with my family. I love the XF 23mm because its a lens that fulfilled many of my needs in 1 lens. Not all but some. Its has quite a decent wide angle, AF is fast and the F1.4 glass is more then great!
Today I decided to widen my perspective by mounting the swanky new pre-production XF 16mm lens. It’s also a super fast F1.4 lens. Is it the new must have for X-series fujinistas? Its a 24mm in 35mm format equivalent. Let me take you through the paces and see if this is another a great Fujinon lens or its a let down?
First Look The filter thread is 67mm. Therefore when I place my trusty XF23mm along side the XF16mm; its a little bigger, a tad taller and also heavier. XF16mm weighting 375 grams vs XF23mm at 301 grams. The feel of this lens is the same as all Fujifilm XF lens. Well built and a classic aperture ring that I so love and definitely can’t live without.
Auto Focus The first generation XF lenses are famous for the wrong reason in the AF department. As with all things in life we learn and improve on it. Forging ahead, this current generation of XF lens’s AF are very close to the ability of any high end DSLR lenses. The XF16mm uses a Rear Focusing System for high-speed autofocus. The autofocus, as fast as 0.11sec is achieved by a built-in high-torque DC coreless motor driving the focus unit. This makes the lens ideal for street photography. Another lovely touch is the minimum focusing distant is a mere 15cm. By getting closer to a subject the bokeh is enhanced and perspective is more dynamic, which gives the wide-angle photographer greater fun, creativity and more punch!
Weather Resistant (WR) This is a plus point compare to the XF23mm. Weather Resistant(WR) is key especially to those fellow photographer who loves street photography. Mounted with the XT-1, which is also WR, they form a very formidable partnership.The weather-resistant structure features 9 seals in 8 areas on the lens barrel. These keep the lens protected from sudden rain, dust and splashes of water from the bikini babe that you are photographing. And the XF16mm F1.4 R WR features a design that absorbs the temperature difference between the outer and inner parts of the lens to minimize the impact on optical parts and also uses electronic parts that guarantee operation in low temperatures down to -10℃. Knowing one’s camera and lens that can withstand unpredictable weather condition does help the photographer to stop thinking of what is gonna happened to his or her camera and focus on nailing that award winning shot!
IQ I will leave the in depth explanation to the experts. For me its definitely on par with the XF23mm. Actually I hate to say this because the 23mm is one of my fav XF lens; I think the 16mm may be a tad sharper. And for those who thirst for bokeh; its is very creamy and dreamy. What more could I ask for?
Final Thoughts Having owned 2 wide angle lens, first the XF14mm and later XF10-24mm zoom; should I add the 16mm in my stable? Or should I sell one of the two to fund the XF16mm? After all its a super fast F1.4 wide angle lens! For those photographers who loves travel and street photography, I would dare say; this is a must have lens. The XF 16mm’s focal length is ideal for landscape and architecture photography. It may not be a portraits lens but its perfect for location and documentary portrait photography. Will the new XF 16mm dethrone my fav default XF23mm lens? My answer is no.
The new XF16mm is a add on to the fruition of the Fujinon quintet. Primarily the XF16mm, XF23mm, XF35mm, XF56mm and XF56mm APD. With these super fast 4 lenses in your bag; you are ready to conquer the street! All 4 lenses total weight is only 1268gm versus just 1 canon 85mm F1.2 which is already at 1025gm! I am just glad that I am DSLR-less now.
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