Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fuji's 16-55mm lens - a zoom lens that works like a a prime

I tested Fuji's 16-55mm f/2.8 zoom when it first came out, and wrote a review of it where I praised the versatility of its design for myriad uses, and noted that it was one of the few zooms I know where the optics are as good as a prime lens. What I hadn't done was pick one up for myself, pretty much because I would use if for lifestyle and I already had most of the faster aperture Fuji primes and this zoom would be redundant. With the advent of the new Fuji X-Pro2, however, I see myself needing a zoom with superior optics to match the upgraded IQ of its new 24mp sensor. Fuji's latest rebate offers tempted me to pick up the zoom this week.

This is the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens on my X-Pro1. Kind of gives me an idea of what it's going to look at on my new X-Pro2 when it arrives.
 A 16-55mm (24-83mm equivalent) focal length is a very versatile zoom lens that has been the staple of photographers ever since zooms became available. What adds to the versatility of this lens is its exceptional optics that, even wide open, can match the quality of most prime lenses. For me this extends the usage range of this lens. It is no longer just a convenient do-everything lens for walking around, With image quality this good coupled to a fairly fast f/2.8 fixed aperture the lens serves well for portraits, landscape photography, even still life -- subject areas where I would only use the best optics.

Racked all the way out to 55mm, this makes a fine portrait lens of exceptional quality. 

The 16-55mm zoom can focus in quite close. With the added versatility of being able to change from wide angle to normal focal lengths you can pick a perspective look that works with a close-up subject, and the sharpness of the lens insures superb IQ, all of which makes it useful for shooting stills. 

I originally thought this lens was too bulky to carry around on a regular basis. Turns out it is about the same size an weight as the 18-135mm lens I normally use as a carry-around, and I'm finding it quite comfortable to use.

The only missing feature is lack of a vibration control mechanism. On a focal length range of this size I don't mind not having this. Perhaps that is because I'm used to using a Nikon 24-70mm zoom for years without any VR.

Fuji is offering a substantial $200 rebate on this lens through April 2nd. That brings the cost down to $999 from $1199 so, for anyone interested, now is a good time to consider picking one up.

Fuji XF 16-55mm (save $200): BHphoto  Amazon  Adorama


  1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, and again. Your images, and the lighting are freakin' fantastic!! Damn.

  2. I thnk you need to change the prices at the bottom of the post.. I belive you meant to write $1,199 not $1,999...

  3. Thanks. One of these days I'm going to have to learn how to type!

  4. Have you owned the kit 18-55?...is it that much better over that lens to justify the price? I love my xf 14 and have been seriously considering the xf 16...again would you choose the 16-55 over the 16?

  5. I do own the 18-55. The 16-55 is better, has an extended wide range, and fixed aperture of f/2.8. It is much larger that the smaller 18-55. Whether you want to carry the extra weight and pay the extra price is going to depend upon what you need the lens to do. I have both and use them for different things. When I need to obtain the highest over all image quality to make larger prints, I will bite the bullet and lug around the 16-55. For convenience while walking the streets of a travel location, the more compact 18-55 is nice to have.

    I do not have the XF 16mm because I prefer the shorter 14mm instead. Most primes will out-perform a zoom, but I prefer the 16-55 because of its versatility over a larger focal range and not just because of the 16mm focal length.

    1. Thanks Tom...this is helpful...the one reason I lean towards the 16 is that it supposedly does not tend to distort as much as the 14...lots to think about!!