Fuji vs. Fuji’s FUJINON XF 16mm F/1.4 WR Review
Originally Published: March, 2017
Fuji’s FUJINON XF 16mm F/1.4 WR answered a need for a wide angle prime with better lowlight capabilities than any of the other lenses available for the X-mount. It is a no-compromise optic that takes almost all the best qualities of the 14mm and 18mm to create an exquisite lens. It can deliver faster shutter speeds in challenging lighting conditions, or exceptionally sharp images even in unfavourable weather conditions.
|Lens Construction||13 elements 11 groups
(2 aspherical and 2 extra low dispersion elements)
|Focal Length (35mm format equivalent)||16mm (24mm)|
|Aperture Range||f/1.4 – f/16 in ⅓ stop increments|
|Aperture Type||9 blades (rounded diaphragm opening)|
|Focus Range||Approximately 15cm - ∞ (infinity)|
|External Dimensions||73.4mm diameter × 73.0mm long|
424g with caps and hood
453.5 w caps LH-XF16 accessory hood
|Weather Sealing (WR)||Yes|
|Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)||None|
|Focus Motor||Standard + two-group Floating Focus system|
|Push/Pull Clutch Manual Focus Ring||Yes|
|Nano GI Coating||Yes|
The most recently released XF wide angle prime just so happens to have the best build quality. The aperture ring is tighter than previous releases, the focus is smooth and the ring knurls more forgiving. It’s my favourite wide prime to use.
Size & Weight
By far the biggest drawback of the XF 16mm F/1.4 WR is its size and weight. At 375g it weighs as much as the two other wide primes combined. And while it isn’t a large lens, its size will get you noticed more than something like the XF 18mm F/2 will.
Autofocus speed is fast, even in low light, making this an excellent choice for concerts and events.
Pull the manual focus ring in towards you and you’re focusing manually. I love this, but unfortunately there are just three lenses in Fuji’s lineup that offer it, with the XF 14mm F/2.8 and XF 23mm F/1.4 being the others.
Engraved Depth of Field Markings
Another feature restricted to just the XF 14mm F/2.8, XF 16mm F/1.4 WR and XF 23mm F/1.4. The more I use lenses with a proper depth of field scale, the more I miss them on lenses that don’t have them.
The hood that ships with the XF 16mm F/1.4 WR is pretty big. Big enough that it makes me want to use it less. Fuji has made an LH-X16 accessory hood.→ It’s quite a bit more compact—and, let’s face it, looks pretty cool—but it’s another $70 on top of a lens that’s already $1,000, and it adds even more weight to what is already the heftiest prime. <30g doesn’t seem like much, but it’s noticeable, and enough that it makes my gripped X-T2 tip over when the hood is on. Still, I prefer it to the plastic one when I want to avoid flare or just some added protection.
Outside of the XF 16-55mm F/2.8 WR, this is the only other option we have for weather sealed wide angles. It’s a big part of why I choose it over the XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS.
The XF 16mm F/1.4 WR is another wide angle prime that offers all kinds of sharpness in close up photography and sweeping landscapes alike. It’s fantastically sharp, edge to edge, especially once stopped down to f/4, and has the least aberrations of the wide angles. Diffraction starts to set in by f/11, and gets objectionable by f/16 for RAF shooters.
Remarkably minimal. Horizons and architecture lines are kept mostly straight, and distortion isn’t complex. I haven’t had any issues shooting RAW.
With its wide f/1.4 maximum aperture, the XF 16mm F/1.4 WR is capable of some pretty serious background separation, especially when you exploit it’s crazy close minimum focus distance. The quality of the bokeh is pretty great, but not quite excellent, depending on what your background is.
Vignetting is noticeable from wide open to about f/2.8.
Flare and Ghosting
Despite having a Nano GI coating, it is still possible to get flare on the XF 16mm F/1.4 WR. With the sun at the edge of the frame, you could find yourself with some light leaks. Either of the hoods help here. Where the GI coating might be helping is when shooting towards the sun, where ghosting is almost non-existent.
Chromatic aberration is very minimal, even wide open.
Conclusion and Rating
The only reasons I could give for not recommending this lens as a buy would be if you already have either of the zooms that cover this focal length, especially the XF 16-55mm F/2.8 WR because it at least is weather sealed. Even then, the XF 16mm F/1.4 WR has a lot to offer with a much wider aperture, and close-focus capabilities. It’s not unreasonable to have this lens along with one of the the zooms. In that case, I would definitely pick the XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS so you have the best of both worlds, ultra wide with OIS, and weather sealed with a fast aperture.
This lens is so versatile though—from landscapes to close-up work to astrophotography—you could easily get away with it being your only lens wider than 23mm (35mm equivalent). Personally, my days of drooling over the widest of the wide lenses are behind me. I top out at 20-28mm, and this lens just so happens to sit squarely in the middle.
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