Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR
Lab Test Results
July 12, 2015
by Andrew Alexander
The Fujinon XF 16mm ƒ/1.4 R WR was released in May 2015, offering a 24mm-equivalent field of view with a very fast aperture. The lens also boasts weather resistance with 9 seals in 8 areas of the lens.
The lens uses the XF mount and works with Fuji's X-series of digital cameras. The lens ships with a petal-shaped hood, accepts 67mm filters, and is available now for around $1,000.
The Fujinon 16mm produces very sharp images, though its sharpest performance is only obtained when the lens is stopped down to ƒ/2.8. Used at its widest aperture of ƒ/1.4, the resulting image has a central area of sharpness in the middle of the frame, with moderate but not severe corner softness out at the edges. Stopping down reduces the impact of corner softness; stopping down to ƒ/4 produces results which are almost tack-sharp, and these results are essentially the same with the lens stopped to subsequently smaller apertures. Diffraction limiting begins to set in at ƒ/8, but overall sharpness isn't really impacted until ƒ/11, where edge-to-edge sharpness is just slightly soft. Fully stopped-down at ƒ/16, the lens produces images that are somewhat soft, but not exceptionally so.
Results for chromatic aberration were excellent; looking at the sample images, I'm hard-pressed to see any color shifts at all.
When used at ƒ/1.4 there is some light corner shading when using this lens: we note extreme corners are almost 1/2EV darker than the center. However, when set to ƒ/2.8 or smaller, corner shading isn't really significant.
There is a slight amount of barrel distortion (around +0.2%) for images shot with the Fujinon 16mm ƒ/1.4, which isn't all that surprising for a wide-angle lens.
Note: It should be noted that the X-E1, our Fuji test camera, does feature in-camera correction of CA, vignetting and distortion, and it's important to note that our results here were taken from RAW files. However, when converted with Adobe Camera Raw, as it our usual procedure, ACR carries over these in-camera corrections. It was only by converting the same RAW images with DCRAW (which does not convert the images with these corrections) that we were able to confirm this.
The Fujinon 16mm ƒ/1.4 R focuses very quickly with an electrical motor housed in the lens. The lens focuses from infinity to close-focus in less than a second: it's fast, and locks on to your target easily. The front element does not rotate, making life that little bit easier for polarizer users.
Maximum magnification is only 0.21x, and it's very wide angle, so it's not really suited for macro work; however, it has a minimum close-focusing distance of 15cm (just under 6 inches) which allows for some very interesting close-up shots.
Build Quality and Handling
The Fuji XF 16mm ƒ/1.4 R is a well-built lens, harkening back to the days of metal rangefinder cameras and has a textured satin black finish. It's significantly larger and heavier than the other prime lenses available for this camera system, but the lens still handles very well on Fuji cameras big and small.
There are two rings for this lens: a focusing ring, and an aperture ring, something of a rarity in modern digital cameras, but a standard feature for most Fuji X-series lenses. The aperture ring sits closer to the lens body, around 3/8'' wide, with click-stops between aperture settings in 1/3 EV increments. There is a selector which allows you to choose between manual aperture selection, and automatic aperture selection.
The focusing ring is about 3/4'' wide, made of polycarbonate with deep grooves that offer excellent tactile feel. The X-series camera concept uses a fly-by-wire system in its lens focusing method, so the focusing ring is not actually directly connected to the lens elements in a mechanical way. Rather, turning the focusing ring moves the elements electronically. Unlike the other prime lenses in the series, the 16mm uses hard stops at either end, offering around 150 degrees of turning action, and there is no lens extension when it's focused.
It's worth noting that the manual focusing system is engaged by sliding back the focusing ring, which also reveals a distance scale and a depth-of-field scale.
The 16mm ƒ/1.4 R lens hood is a plastic, petal-shaped hood that attaches by a bayonet mount. The hood can be reversed for storage, and its interior is ribbed and painted a matte black to reduce stray light. The hood is 1 3/4'' long, adding about 1 1/2'' of length to the lens when attached. A premium metal lens hood will be available in September 2015 called the LH-X16.
Fujinon XF 14mm ƒ/2.8 R ~$900
The 16mm may not be as wide as the 14mm, but it's two stops faster. Optically, they are almost equal in quality, with the 16mm just a hair sharper.
Fujinon XF 18mm ƒ/2 R ~$600
While not as wide as the Fujinon 16mm, the 18mm is only a stop slower. Optically, the lenses are both of very high quality, however, the 16mm is unquestionably better: it's sharper, has greater tolerance to chromatic aberration, vignettes less, and has less distortion.
Fuji users are well-served with prime lenses, with focal lengths available from 14mm to 90mm. The 16mm is an excellent example and is well worth the money, especially for those shooting in low-light thanks to that fast f/1.4 aperture.
* See our Real-world Sample Images on our Flickr page *
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR
Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by coma (23 reviews)absolutely stunning image quality, optically corrected, sharp all across the frame, very nice bokehthere really is nothing I can think of
I got this lens (and compared it against a Batis 25mm) and was absolutely amazed. It's incredible. Very sharp and nice rendition.reviewed June 15th, 2016 (purchased for $999)
The minimum focal distance is really small (just a few centimetres infront of the lens) and bokeh (with a wide angle!) is nice too.
Then I came here and saw the measurements and was surprised. I had expected the lens to be (much!) better. Imo it's on par with the superb 23 and 56mm and is even a tiny bit sharper than the Batis 25mm.
I did a few more comparisons and realised: Fuji seems to have optimised this lens for documentation. So if you are shooting people, this lens is ideal. Environmental portrait, documentation and even street - this lens it incredible. At infinity it get's a bit weaker but still is very strong. Stop it down and you have a superb landscape lens.
Oh, now I can think of one Con: the lens has very visible coma at the corners (wide open). So it's not the best lens for shooting the stars. Or just do a panorama and it's ok.
(I still think that the lens imaging-resources tested wasn't really good, because my personal comparisons show it perform much better!)
Everyone owning the Fuji system should go for this. And everyone thinking about a mirrorless system: go for this one. At most things it's better or on par with the Batis 25mm and FT has absolutely nothing to offer at this focal length.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by nikpearson (1 reviews)Reasonably compact and light with great image quality.None
This is an excellent lens and although quite expensive is worth every penny. Lovely build quality and feels great to operate. It's pretty sharp wide open with only a little softness at the edges and stopped down a little you get sharpness right across the frame.reviewed August 13th, 2015
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Festus (1 reviews)Tack sharp, close focus, versitalNone
Fuji nails it again! This is my sixth Fujinon lens and they just keep getting better and better.reviewed June 3rd, 2015 (purchased for $1,000)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Rod (1 reviews)Super sharp, low distortion, nice bokehnone
I have FX 23mm 1.4 and 56mm 1.2. This lense is the same top level.reviewed May 28th, 2015 (purchased for $999)