Sibling Rivalry XF16mm F2.8 WR vs XF16mm F1.4.

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Been thinking of getting the XF16mm F1.4? Now with the new XF16mm F2.8 WR in the market; our life as a photographer gets a little more complicated if you are looking for a 16mm lens in the Fujifilm eco system. Or it’s easier now to make a decision? Speed, Price, Size, AF, WR…… the never-ending questions!
 
Let’s start with XF16mm F1.4. It’s been in the market for couple of years now. It’s in my set-up; and I owned one. I love it as it truly an amazing lens. Some even think it’s Fujifilm best XF lens. To some extend I do agreed. 
 
Price is a huge factor in this shoot out. The price difference is almost double. USD$749 for F1.4 and USD399 for the F2.8 version. Does this mean the F1.4 is twice is good? If only we could do a comparison base on dollar and cents vs quality. Life is such that is a lot more complicate. 
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XF16mm F2.8 mounted on X-T3

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This lens work beautifully with X-Pro2

 

What if you already own a XF16-55mm F2.8 lens? Is there a need for another prime 16mm lens? I always name the XF16-55mm F2.8; a prime zoom. The IQ form this lens is nothing short of amazing. In my older blog post I did a comparison of this lens vs prime lenses. If this interest you; here is the link :
 https://ivanjoshualoh.com/2015/01/06/fuji-xf16-55mm-f2-8-wr-the-new-prime-zoom/
 
First of all let me share a series of side by side comparison between two lenses. This is not any scientific test rather just a fellow photographer placing it on his dining table doing a simple test between the 2 lenses.
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XF16mm F1.4 @ F1.4, thus the results is more magical compare with its F2.8 siblings.

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Bokeh looks better in XF16mm F1.4 at F2.8

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At F4, XF16mm F2.8’s bokeh ball looks rounder. XF16mm F1.4 look sharper and bokeh is still creamier.

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At F5.6 this 2 lenses are about the same.

Minimum focus distant is 17cm for XF16mm F2.8 and 15cm for XF16mm F1.4. Is 2cm a big deal? Yes, it’s a big deal for me. First I am able to get closer and thus the bokeh effect will certainly be more obvious and creamier. 
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The box frame is shot with XF16mm F1.4. This is how much closer you could get vs the XF16mm F 2.8.

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XF16-55mm F2.8. Shot at minimum focusing distant at F2.8. Still a great performer.

Below are 3 shots from 3 lenses. Each taken at F2.8. Not at their closest minimum focusing distance. A little further away. I find the XF16mm F2.8 to be the sharpest from edge to edge. 

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Auto Focus speed. I would think XF16mm F2.8 is the winner here. Just by a bit. And it’s AF is also dead silent. Below are 2 video to demonstrate the AF in real situation. Both are mounted on a X-T3.
 
Weight and size. 155 grams vs 375 grams. It’s less than half of XF16mm F1.4 If you add a XF16mm F2.8 and XF35mm F2 the total weight is only 325 grams. As for the size; it’s a lot smaller for sure. 

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Finally, the winner is XF16mm F1.4 for me. It’s a brilliant wide-angle lens with WR and with a widest F-stop at F1.4. If you already owned a XF16-55mm F2.8 lens like myself and is looking at getting a 16mm prime lens, I would certainly recommend the XF16mm F1.4. This lens will certainly expand your shooting style. As for size and weight; I can live with it for the extra 2 stops. 
 
If size, price and weight is you priority, XF16mm F2.8 WR certainly shine brightest. And if street, landscape and travel is up your alley; this lens is certainly an essential piece of gear in the set-up. And of course AF is faster too. I am just glad we have options to find the right lens to fit our individual shooting style and budget. I do hope after reading this blog post I didn’t confuse you even more. 
Cheers.

IG @ivanjoshualoh

http://www.pigscanfly.com

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X-T30 + XF16mm F2.8 @F10

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X-T30 + XF16mm F2.8 @F5.0

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X-Pro2 + XF16mm F2.8 @F2.8

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X-T30 + XF16mm F2.8 @F3.6

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X-Pro2 + XF16mm F2.8 @F2.8

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X-Pro2 + XF16mm F2.8 @F2.8

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X-Pro2 + XF16mm F2.8 @F5.0

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X-T30 + XF16mm F2.8 @F22

 

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There are 7 comments

  1. Vic Chapman

    Good pictures Ivan and excellent review. I have the 16-55 f2.8 and 16mm f1.4 (a more recent purchase) and I’ve now ordered the f2.8 version for street (the f1.4 is too heavy to balance one handed – I shoot blind from the hip). Whether or not I hang onto the f1.4, I’m not sure.

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  2. Peter

    Thanks for the post! I haven’t found much on the new 2.8 so your perspective is really helpful. My one question is: how do you think it would do in astrophotography? I know you didn’t do a lot of intensive testing, but did you get any impressions re: chromatic aberration or coma?

    Like

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