The New Zooms

For those who haven’t yet noticed, detailed handling comparisons of what I’ve called “Standard Zooms” and “Telephoto Zooms” are online. I have a good start on comparison images as well, but it’s been difficult with the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing in Canada recently. Comparison crops are in the works though, and will be posted as soon as possible. In the meantime, check out my impressions of these new lenses and how they compare as far as handling and build quality is concerned.

Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8

Fuji Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8

Fuji has announced their pro standard zoom, the FUJINON XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR. This is a lens a lot of us have been waiting for, myself included. While I, along with many other people didn’t particularly love their standard zoom lenses from Canon or Nikon, they are workhorses, built for taking photos. Lots of photos. And with their weather sealing, standard zooms can quickly find themselves being the only lens in a photographer’s bag.

The big question will not only be how this lens stacks up against other standard zooms on the market, but how it will perform compared to Fuji’s other zoom offerings in the focal range, the 18-55mm, and 18-135mm. These are already great pieces of glass, but as we know, there is a pretty wide gap between the humble kit lens and the at least one prime. I’m very curious to see if the 16-55mm f/2.8 closes that gap, and you better believe I’ll be finding out as soon as I can get my hands on one.

We can already make some “on paper” comparisons between the new 16-55mm f/2.8 and other zooms. Let’s have a look.

Preorder the 16-55mm f/2.8 at Amazon US, B&H Photo, or Aden Camera.

Lens 16-55mm 18-55mm 18-135mm
Announced January 6, 2015 September 6, 2012 June 16, 2014
Released February 2015 December, 2012 August, 2014
$1,199 $699 $899
Lens Construction 17 elements
12 groups
3 aspherical
3 extra low dispersion
14 elements
10 groups
3 aspherical
1 extra low dispersion
16 elements
12 groups
4 aspherical elements
2 anomalous dispersion lenses
35mm Equivalent 24 - 84mm 27 - 84mm 27 - 205mm
Aperture Range ƒ/2.8 - ƒ/22 ƒ/2.8 - ƒ/22 ƒ/3.5 - ƒ/22
Maximum Aperture Constant 2.8 Variable 2.8 - 4 Variable 3.5 - 5.6
Focus Range 0.3m - Infinity 30cm wide, 40cm telephoto - Infinity 0.45m - Infinity
External Dimensions 83.3 diameter x 106.0mm - 129.5mm 65mm diameter x 70.4mm - 97.9mm 75.7mm diamtetre x 97.8mm - 158mm
Weight 655g
Approx. 712.5 with caps and hood*
346g with caps and hood
529.5g with caps and hood
Filter Size 77mm 58mm 67mm
Weather Sealed Yes, 14 points No Yes, 20 points
Nano-GI coating Yes No No
Optical Image Stabilization No Yes Yes
Autofocus Speed 0.06 seconds Slower 0.10 seconds

*Unfortunately, the weights we have so far exclude the caps, and hood. I can weigh both the rear cap and 77mm front cap via the 10-24mm f/4, but I have to estimate the hood’s weight. I used the 21g of 10-24mm f/4 as my estimate.

Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8 vs. 18-55mm vs. 18-135mm weight

Here’s how the weights stack up in chart form:

Fuji Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 18-55mm 18-135mm weight

Yep, that 16-55mm f/2.8 is gonna be a beast. That’s what a constant ƒ/2.8 aperture gets you though.

Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8 vs. Canon and Nikon

Next we’ll compare Fuji’s 16-55mm f/2.8 to its full frame equivalents, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L, and the Canon 24-70mm f/4 L.

Fuji Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 vs. Nikon 24-70 f2.8 vs Canon 24-70 f2.8 vs Canon 24-70 f4 weight

Even though the 16-55mm f/2.8 is one of Fuji’s heftier lenses, it’s still significantly lighter than the f/2.8 zooms from either Nikon or Canon. Remarkably, it’s actually heavier when compared to Canon’s f/4 standard zoom. I’ll have to compare the build quality between those two zooms.

Mirrorless vs. DSLR zooms

What is equally interesting for me is how a complete, mirrorless zoom kit fairs against the DSLR systems available from the big guys, Nikon and Canon. For these next charts, I chose the lightest 35mm camera available from each brand at the time of writing, the Nikon D610, and the Canon 60D.

Fuji Fujifilm vs. Nikon vs. Canon weight

For reference, here are the lenses included in each kit:

Nikon 35mm Slow: 16-35mm f/4, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/4
Nikon 35mm Fast: 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 35mm Slow: 16-35mm f/4, 24-70mm f/4, 70-200mm f/4
Canon 35mm Fast: 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8

As you can see, Nikon’s offerings are a little less complete than Canon’s, and weight a little more. I apparently had chosen the wrong brand when it came to weight before moving to mirrorless. Even compared to Canon’s lightest option, a complete zoom kit from Fuji will still run you almost ¾ of a kilogram, or over a pound and a half in weight. The reduction in weight only gets better compared to the other options. I also opted for the “heavy duty” support setup on both of the “Fast” versions for 35mm due to their increased weight. You can read more about those in my Heavy Issues article which will updated to include the 16-55mm f/2.8 shortly.

Mirrorless vs. DSLR APS-C

I’m sure there are some out there ready to take me to task for comparing Fuji’s APS-C-based system to 35mm DSLRs. As it turns out, things don’t get much better for the chunky DSLR by moving down to the APS-C bodies, assuming comparable lens quality and capabilities are a necessity.

Fuji Fujifilm vs DSLR APS-C weight

For these kits I’ve chosen:

Nikon: D7100 body, 10-24mm, 17-55mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/4
Canon: 70D body, 10-24mm, 17-55mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/4

A 50-140mm equivalent no APS-C DSLRs doesn’t exist, so I’ve opted for the lighter option, the 70-200mm f/4. Arguably this isn’t the most accurate option, but once the crop factor is taken into account, the bokeh-factor should be mostly balanced out. In any event, we’re still looking at ½ to ¾ of a kilogram in weight by moving to mirrorless.


So there you have it. I must say I’m a little surprised by how heavy the 16-55mm f/2.8 is, but ultimately, these pro zooms are intended to be workhorses, or as means of replacing multiple primes. I can very easily see myself traveling with two X-T1s, with the 16-55mm f/2.8 attached to one, and the 50-140mm f/2.8 attached to the other. The kind of travel I do often means extended hiking in inclimate weather. Not having to change lenses, being totally weather sealed, and weighing less than what I would have been carrying in my DSLR days with only a single body is pretty appealing.

Preorder the 16-55mm f/2.8 at Amazon US, B&H Photo, or Aden Camera.

Fuji X series portrait lenses compared

Damien Lovegrove over at Prophotonut has posted a great comparison of Fuji’s portrait lenses.

This is not laboratory science, it is a real world A/B comparison where the results are subjective and open to interpretation. I’m not one to read MTF graphs and I believe all professional lenses made today should be reasonably sharp so my attention as always turns to how pleasing is the rendering of the scene? I want to asses both the in and out of focus bits.

Damien modestly calls this a ”mini test,” but it’s plenty to sink your teeth into. Can’t wait for my 50-140mm ƒ/2.8 to arrive at my doorstep!

Of note, Damien drew a similar conclusion as I did on the 56mm f/1.2 APD. The difference is subtle, but it’s there. I also love his 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens hood modification to combat the issues it has with flare that I too have experienced. Lots of great stuff over there.

The “Best” X-Trans RAW Converter

Aperture vs Capture One vs Iridient Developer vs Lightroom vs LightZone vs Nik Sharpener vs OnOne vs Photo Ninja.jpg

Perhaps my most fussy article to date, I’m going to great lengths to determine what the “best” RAW converter is for X-Trans sensors. As it stands, I’ve only examined how these applications treat a typical wide angle image shot with a FUJINON XF 14mm ƒ/2.8 on an X-E1. I will add more images as time permits.

See for yourself what the best RAW converter for X-Trans is.