So, I can now finally reveal that I had the chance to shoot with a pre-production version of the newly (now officially) announced Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 X-Mount lens back in December last year along with my friend Dave Kai-Piper who was shooting a range of images. I was given the opportunity to shoot some images of my own for this site to share with you all. Dave was shooting his own speciality of fashion, so I took some random shots of the surrounding location!
I’ve had a bit of time with the XF50-140 2.8 lens previously and was totally blown away with it. The 16-55 2.8 is designed to complement that lens and gives the professional those two classics, the 24-70 (ish) and 70-200 (ish) f/2.8 lenses that are the staple of so many professional dSLR shooters. I’ve shot with Nikon versions and owned a 70-200 VR back in the day, and these two lenses are, at worst, the equal of those and in my own opinion really do beat them both. I can see a lot of professionals loving these lenses. I could probably shoot almost everything I do with just the 16-55mm f/2.8 and never have to take it off a body!
I must stress that the version I was shooting with was a pre-production and therefore subject to minor changes before final production, so because of the fact that it was pre-production I’m not allowed to share full-res images or 100% views. The reason being that Fuji don’t want anyone picking apart images from a lens that isn’t actually a full production model. However, in my experience the lenses are generally pretty much fixed by the time the samples start being allowed to be used and may only vary by a firmware change. I will say that I shot these on my X-T1 without the inevitable firmware update that will add LMO and other lens correction support for the 16-55 2.8 lens.
Unlike the other constant aperture lens (the 10-24 f/4) Fujifilm have added marked aperture values to the aperture ring and hard stops at either end, which is much appreciated. Like the 50-140, I found the aperture ring to be the best of any lens in the range giving a superb quality feel with nice solid clicks between 1/3rd stop values and not too loose like some of the other lenses. Equally the zoom ring is well weighted with a very smooth action, again adding to the quality feel.
This pairing of lenses really do show a step-up in quality from Fujifilm and hopefully shows signs of things to come. It’s a logical progression that as the X-Series range have become adopted by more and more professionals that Fujifilm start to cater more to that market, and although I see the 16-55 and especially the 50-140 going against the idea of perhaps small and light, they are a necessary lens for many people and have been built with only the best quality design and optics in mind rather than size. We still have access to a wide-range of smaller prime (and even the 18-55 2.8-4 zoom) that offer small, light and portable should we wish.
It isn’t a particularly light lens and adds quite a bit to the body. On the X-T1 body alone it feels a bit too unbalanced, but with the addition of the Fujifilm battery grip, or my own PhotoMadd arca-swiss grip, the handling is much improved and makes holding the body with this lens far more comfortable. On the larger more solid X-Pro1 is feels less unbalanced.
So, lets get down to it. I know I keep saying it with pretty much every lens from Fujifilm, but this lens truly does blow you away with how good it is. Detail is simply incredible and I don’t know what they have done with the focusing of this 16-50 and the 50-140, but they really are snappy compared to all of the other lenses. Perhaps the larger size of the lenses is due to bigger, faster AF motors, I’m not sure, but there is definitely a more dSLR feel to the AF with these two lenses, even on my X-Pro1, although the X-T1 is the best, for obvious reasons of it being the latest body.
The filter ring size is 77mm which is perhaps a deliberate move aimed at people with the Nikon and Canon professional lenses, which both use 77mm as a standard for their 2.8 lenses and means that anyone invested in filters for those lenses do not have to invest in buying a new set. A great move!
Without having a lot more time with the lens I can’t say a huge amount more, so I’ll leave you with a small gallery of images I shot with the lens on the day.
To find out more about the lens, follow this link to the official Fujifilm page.