Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 Review
Despite the number of amazing lenses in the Fuji lineup, something was always missing. Namely, a versatile zoom lens with a 24-70mm equivalent focal length that could fit their mirrorless range.
That all changed with the introduction of the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR.
An obvious choice for those wanting to cover a range of situations without having to swap lenses, this is a high-quality, weather-resistant piece of glass – but one that’s not without its shotcomings.
So what are the pros and cons? And can it be added to the list of the best Fuji lenses?
Good question: Let’s dive in and take a closer look.
Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Specs
- Heavy-duty build
- Excellent image quality
- Very useful focal length
- The weight is on the heavy side
- High price point
- Focal Length: 16-55mm (24-84mm -> 35mm camera equivalent)
- Lens construction with 17 elements and 12 groups
- Number of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
- Aperture Range: f/2.8- f/22
- Focus range (normal): 0.6m – ∞
- Focus range (macro): 30cm – 10m (Wide), 40cm – 10m (Telephoto)
- Weight: 655g
- Filter size: 77mm
Build & Ergonomics
Full metal gear! Because it’s made of metal, this lens feels tough, looks kind of cool, and is practical without a complicated framework. Adding a protective lens filter to the front gives it complete protection.
The focus and aperture rings are very responsive and easy to navigate, and while I was using the lens I didn’t find myself accidentally changing the settings.
At 655g, the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 is noticeably heavy – especially when combined with smaller X-series cameras.
There is also the chance it will throw the whole setup off-balance if you’re not using a battery grip for the camera.
Due to its sheer size and weight, the only time I would choose this lens for my travels would be if I could combine it with something like the 55-200mm or 70-140mm in order to cover all the useful focal lengths.
That way I wouldn’t run the risk of hurting my back during a day-long trek. I might choose to add an extra 56mm just in case, for shallower depth of field.
I have tested this lens in all different lighting situations and I didn’t notice any hunting: the focus is pretty accurate and fast enough for my photographs, which are mainly travel and documentary works.
It’s one of my preferred Fuji lenses for landscape photography too, offering such a versatile focal range. and being built to withstand the elements.
With the 1.52X sensors of Fujifilm X-series cameras, the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR has a focal length of around 24-85mm (in terms of a 35mm camera), which is similar to the well-known lenses with a 24-70mm focal range from Nikon and Canon.
Autofocus is internal, which means there are no externally moving components and no dust gets sucked in. Personally, I love this…
I tend to throw my camera around everywhere, so having a lens like the Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 that’s tough and weather-resistant means I can stop caring so much about how I treat it and worry more about the actual image-making.
Also, with a close focus distance of roughly 30cm and a fixed aperture of 2.8, taking photographs of street food during my travels becomes a more comfortable affair – and I can still quickly turn, pan, and shoot that cyclist in Penang, thanks to the adequately fast focus.
The Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR has nine rounded blades, which give it beautiful rounded bokeh.
Keeping the aperture at f/2.8 and zooming in with the lens makes the background more creamy and attractive.
As is usual with Fujifilm lenses, the optical quality of 16-55mm f/2.8 is absolutely fantastic. Images are sharp corner to corner; there’s no noticeable distortion or chromatic aberrations.
There’s minimal light falloff which can be easily corrected during post-processing. Personally, I’m not bothered by it anyways.
Overall, this lens saves a lot of time which otherwise would have been wasted on post-processing.
Moreover, if you’re good with white balance and exposure there is nothing much to post-process anyway, other than a bit of cropping if needed.
Value for Money
At around $1,500 AUD / $1,000 USD, the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR seems to be pretty expensive when compared to the other X-series lenses from Fujifilm.
I would strongly advise you to buy this lens if you are looking for the convenience of having a mid-range zoom lens instead of carrying four Fujinon prime lenses to cover the whole focal range.
This is important if you frequently cover fast-paced events, sports, etc. You cannot apologise after missing the shot and say it was because you were just changing the lenses.
If you have all the time in the world to chill and photograph then get the faster, cheaper, high-quality primes from Fujifilm.
Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 Review | Conclusion
This is a great lens – there is no doubt about it. It is optically superior, has a good autofocus mechanism and is well built.
It’s a whole package that doesn’t miss anything.
As I mentioned above, there is a high price tag (though going for the zoom can work out cheaper than combining a couple of primes), and the weight is pretty steep, particularly when using it on a small mirrorless camera.
That said, there is no other lens that can match this for a beginner or hobbyist who just wants to carry a camera body and one or two lenses.
For a professional or for serious amateurs, this will save you from carrying multiple lenses. Instead, attach one lens and concentrate on moments rather than changing lenses.
I also found that I spent less time post-processing thanks to the lens’ excellent image quality and accurate AF.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.
Bhagi Siva is an award winning travel and documentary photographer based in Sydney with work published in National Geographic, lonely planet, Getty images, Fujifilm Australia and more.