Fuji 16-55mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Top Fujifilm XF Lens Review

The Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8 is an incredible lens and is highly recommended for travel photography. It ticks all the boxes for its versatility and sharp images.

The ultimate Fuji 16-55mm F/2.8 lens review for travel by a travel blogger

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Fuji 16 55mm F2.8 Lens Specs

While you may be able to find a more budget-friendly Fuji lens for travel, this is the top option for those who really want their travels to be captured perfectly.

Let’s look into what makes this lens worth its price tag. Spoiler alert I am absolutely in love with my Fujifilm 16-55mm lens (the hype is real), and I don’t regret dropping the $$$$ I paid for it.

Overall, it receives a positive review from me. Below, I dive into the lens specs, compatibility, features and offer recommendations on capturing the best travel photos with your Fuji 16-55mm lens.

Fuji 16-55mm F/2.8 Lens Specs

Fuji 16 55mm F2.8 Lens Review 1

The lens consists of 17 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical lens elements to control spherical aberration and distortion.

It produces edge-to-edge sharp images thanks to three ED glass lens elements which reduce lateral chromatic aberration (wide-angle) and axial chromatic aberration (telephoto).

Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
  • Optically designed to draw out the maximum image quality of a flagship standard zoom lens Angle of view 83 2°- 29°
  • Focal length(35mm format equivalent) f=16-55mm (24-84mm) Focus range Normal - 0 6m - ∞(whole zoom position) Macro - 30cm - 10m (Wide) 40cm - 10m (Telephoto)
  • High-speed, quiet auto focus thanks to the Linear Motor Weight, excluding caps and hoods 1 44 pounds (655g)
  • Weather resistant design with 14 sealing points dust-resistant and -10 Degree low-temperature operation
  • Nano-Gi coating technology 9 rounded blade aperture diaphragm help create smooth and circular bokeh Max Magnification 0 16x (telephoto)

In layman’s terms, the 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens contains lots of high-quality glass alongside great technology.

It produces incredibly sharp images with low or no distortion across a range of focal lengths. All these factors contribute to it being a suitable lens for the demands of travel.

Features of the Fuji 16 55mm F28 Lens

Lens Compatibility

The Fuji X-mount is a type of interchangeable lens mount designed by Fujifilm for the X-series of camera bodies (I own the X-T2 and X-T4 bodies). These lenses were created to be used with a 23.6mm by 15.6mm APS-C sensor.

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens is a fast zoom lens with exceptional optics compatible with Fujifilm X mount mirrorless cameras.

While the Fuji X-mount lens can be used on an APS-C sensor mirrorless camera from its competitors, Canon or Nikon, it does require a smart adapter.

Unfortunately, adapters increase the distance between the sensor and the optics, increasing the effective focal length and can introduce distortion and vignetting at lower focal lengths.

Fuji 16-55mm Review

The 16-55mm lens offered by Fuji for their X-mount cameras is a compelling accessory. It was introduced in 2015 and features great build quality and technology.

While it is more expensive than the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens (its nearest alternative), it delivers great images and is worth the price tag. If you buy the Fuji X-T camera body and lens combo, you’ll usually get the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens.

This was my first set up and I loved it. I think is also great for new Fuji users or beginner photographers on a budget.

Features of the Fuji 16-55mm F/2.8 Lens

  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the zoom range
  • Fast and silent autofocus
  • 17 elements in 12 groups

Pros

  • Sharp throughout the zoom range
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • No distortion
  • Weather-sealed

Cons

  • No optical image stabilisation
  • Minor colour fringing at 16mm
  • Large filter size
  • More expensive
  • Heavier than other Fuji lens
  •  

Click here to buy on Amazon

Handling / Build Quality

Fuji 16 55mm Review

Fuji has a reputation for quality, and this lens is no different. It stands above similar lenses from Nikon and Canon.

But you may find that the lens feels off-balance when paired with the camera body, even the newer X-T4 making it awkward to use at times.

Fuji’s 16-55mm uses more advanced technology than its competition to reign as the superior lens. The lens quality is often compared to industry leaders like Leica.

The 16-55mm features an aperture ring, which is marked with different aperture settings.

The detent lets you feel a bump at each ⅓ stop of exposure from f/2.8 to f/22. Continue turning the aperture ring past f/22, at which point it should be smooth until you reach the furthest point, aperture priority mode (automatic aperture).

Size and Weight

The lens measures 83.3mm in diameter and 106mm in length. It extends to 129.5mm when it’s used at a 55mm focal length.

In use, the lens can feel front-heavy as it weighs 655g. For comparison, a Fujifilm XT-4 body weighs 607g, including the weight of the battery and memory card.

This is, however, still a light lens considering the quantity of great glass inside.

Weather Sealing

The WR label on the Fuji lens is an indication that the lens is designed to survive moderate amounts of water and dust without damaging the lens, camera sensor, or any other interior parts. This is an important attribute to have in a travel lens.

Each portion of the lens is sealed, advancing its weather resistance and dust resistance. The lens is capable of being operated at temperatures as low as -10°C.

The metal mount is bolted on the metal shell with rubber gaskets on the side to prevent dust from making its way into the camera body.

The Fuji X-T3, X-H1, X-T2, X-T4, and X-Pro2 camera bodies all offer weather sealing, making them suitable partners to the 16-55mm lens. Moreover, a weather-sealed camera and lens are essential when visiting London in winter.

Focusing

Focus allows your image to be sharp by changing the distance of the lens to the sensor. When the light converges at the plane of the sensor, the image is in focus.

Fuji uses a focus system that automatically compensates for mechanical errors. It works in a closed loop and is read directly from the image sensor.

This focusing is superior to other brands in its accuracy; however, it is not as fast as a comparable DSLR lens.

As with all Fuji X mount lenses, it uses a fly-by-wire system, where the focus ring is not mechanically attached to the lens element. The camera body electronically controls the elements.

When using the focus ring manually, a focus scale is displayed inside the viewfinder and the rear LCD as there are no markings on the lens.

Lens Construction

Lenses are made of optical glass or plastic and typically contain a number of elements specially grouped to converge the incoming light onto the sensor.

The materials used in a lens’ construction are a great determiner of the quality of the image it can produce.

The 16-55mm lens from Fuji has an outer barrel made from anodised aluminium. The metal construction gives you peace of mind, knowing this lens has been made to last a photographer’s lifetime.

As a zoom lens, the groupings of glass can shift depending on the focal length and focus.

The diaphragm is a component of the lens with metal blades that shift to open and close the size of the opening, allowing light to reach the sensor.

On lenses with a machined ring on the outside like the 16-55mm, the aperture is selected using a variable iris diaphragm that forms the shape of a circle.

Price Range

The Fuji 16-55mm offers photographers a sharp image across a variety of focal lengths, making it a great value for money. The price can range from £979 on the Fujifilm store on Amazon to £992 from other retailers.

Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
  • Optically designed to draw out the maximum image quality of a flagship standard zoom lens Angle of view 83 2°- 29°
  • Focal length(35mm format equivalent) f=16-55mm (24-84mm) Focus range Normal - 0 6m - ∞(whole zoom position) Macro - 30cm - 10m (Wide) 40cm - 10m (Telephoto)
  • High-speed, quiet auto focus thanks to the Linear Motor Weight, excluding caps and hoods 1 44 pounds (655g)
  • Weather resistant design with 14 sealing points dust-resistant and -10 Degree low-temperature operation
  • Nano-Gi coating technology 9 rounded blade aperture diaphragm help create smooth and circular bokeh Max Magnification 0 16x (telephoto)

To achieve a similar coverage of the focal length with prime lenses would require three (if not four) different pieces of gear.

This is more expensive, takes up more space, and is time-consuming changing between optics and is impractical with on a destination where you are constantly moving from one location to the next.

This X-mount lens is delivered at an affordable price range compared to the GF 32-64mm R LM WR lens used on Fuji’s medium format GFX camera bodies.

Image Quality

A camera lens has a greater impact on the produced photo or video quality than the number of megapixels the camera can produce. This is due to the lenses direct effect on background blur, sharpness, and depth of field.

The 16-55mm lens produces flawless colour science and sharp details throughout the image. It is even capable of producing sharp images in low-light conditions thanks to the f/2.8 aperture.

Sharpness

This lens produces ultra-sharp images throughout the aperture range and across various settings.

The maximum aperture of f/2.8 helps produce sharper images in low light conditions by allowing lots of light to reach the sensor.

When combined with the camera body’s lens modulation optimiser (LMO) technology, it corrects diffractions to produce images with edge-to-edge sharpness.

Autofocus and Manual Focus

It features a twin linear motor for quick and near-silent autofocus. The reduced weight of the focus lens enables the fast autofocus speed of 0.06 seconds (when combined with phase detection).

Like all Fujinon XF lenses, the manual focus is controlled electronically and not mechanically. The camera’s AF mode switches to manual focus, allowing you to move the focus ring.  

Bokeh

The shallow depth of field in high focal lengths creates sharp images with beautiful smooth bokeh. The shallow depth of field and smooth bokeh makes the subject of your photograph stand out from the background.

Focal Length

The lens has a versatile focal length of 16-55mm with is great for travelling. It is the equivalent of a 24-84mm lens when using a full-frame sensor. This makes it suitable for portraits, landscapes, and macro photography.

Angle of View

The angle of view narrows from 83.2° to 29° across the focal range. The widest angle is offered at 16mm and allows you to capture striking environmental portraits. The narrowest field of view is offered at 55mm and produces the strongest separation between foreground and background when shooting at the maximum aperture of f/2.8.

Diaphragm

The number of diaphragm blades contributes to the lens’ quality. With more blades, the out of focus areas have a soft circular shape that photographers desire.

And thanks to its nine rounded blades, this lens produces a smooth, circular bokeh.

Optics

The 16-55mm features great technology in its optics. It has 17 glass elements in 12 groups, three extra-low dispersion elements with HT-EBC multi-coating, and Nano GI coating.

Nano GI describes when one surface is covered in Fuji’s sub-wavelength nano variable-index-of-refraction anti-reflection coating.

Close Focus

The closest focus distance is normally 60cm and switches to a distance of 30cm in macro mode.

The distance increases to 60cm towards the longest focal length. There are better lenses for macro photos as the 16-55mm only produces a 0.16x magnification.

Filters Thread

The lens works with 77mm filters. A polarising filter is a great addition to your travel gear. It allows you to remove unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as water and glass.

A UV filter is also a great addition as it helps to absorb ultraviolet rays which can make your photos appear hazy and indistinct.

Distortion

When used at 16mm, the lens displays slight barrel distortion. The barrel distortion is less apparent from 22mm onwards.

Diffraction sets in around f/13. The image is sharp at even the maximum aperture of f/2.8.

The vignetting or falloff is not visible, even on the widest angle of view. However, if vignetting did occur, it is likely the Fuji camera body will automatically correct it.

Ergonomics

This is a real metal lens and feels great in your hand. It offers naturally positioned functionalities like a dedicated aperture ring, which is missing in most modern lenses.

While the aperture ring has detents every ⅓ stop, it would be easier to know what setting you are on if the full stops had a more pronounced bump.

Versatility

This is a versatile piece of gear and is ideal for travel thanks to the focal lengths and maximum aperture of f/2.8.

Using the short focal length of 16mm provides you with a wide field of view, helping you to capture excellent portraits, macro images, landscapes, and sharp street photos.

When used at a 35mm focal length, the lens is equivalent to 50mm – using a full-frame sensor.

This length is a favourite among photographers when used with a shallow depth of field to create striking portraits.

Using the lens at its longest focal length of 55mm is the equivalent to using 84mm with a full-frame sensor.

This focal length is great for capturing landscapes or for creating a focus on the subject while leaving the background out of focus.

Depth of field

With a constant aperture of f/2.8 throughout the zoom range, this lens provides great depth of field.

When hoping to capture the foreground and background, the smallest aperture of f/22 helps bring everything into focus.

This is ideal for capturing your portrait in front of the Eiffel Tower or similar landmarks during your travels.

Let’s Gear up With the Fujifilm 16-55 Lens and Get Capturing

Choosing to travel with the 16-55 Fuji lens is a great way to minimise your camera gear needs.

This versatile lens, as discussed above, offers the best of both worlds when it comes to producing a wide or narrow field of view.

The lens’s maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout its focal range offers incredible depth of field.

It allows you to capture sharp photos while in low light areas such as those you may encounter on a Shoreditch walking street art tour.

Whether you are an amateur photographer dipping your toes into the world of mirrorless cameras, or a professional photographer looking for a compact alternative to prime lenses, this is a great piece of glass for you.


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