Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR

 
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8-16mm $1,999
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Updates:
01/28/2018: Field Test & Gallery Images added

 

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Field Test

Very good optical performance at a high cost

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 01/28/2019

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/8.0, 0.7s, ISO 160.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Back in January of 2014, Fujifilm released the XF 10-24mm f/4 wide-angle zoom lens, which offers a 15-36mm equivalent focal length. While a great lens, the maximum f/4 aperture can be limiting at times and f/2.8 ultra-wide zooms have proven to be very popular among competing camera systems. Fujifilm now has a f/2.8 ultra-wide zoom of their own with the new XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens, a pro-grade ultra-wide zoom with a constant f/2.8 aperture.

With a complex optical formula and Fujifilm's latest technologies and features, the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens combines high-end performance with rugged construction, delivering a special lens well-suited to many types of photography. Let's take a look at how the lens performs in real-world testing.

Key Features and Specifications

  • High-end ultra-wide zoom lens for X Series cameras
  • 12-24mm equivalent focal length
  • 20 elements in 13 groups
  • Four aspherical elements
  • Three Super ED elements
  • Three ED elements
  • Nano-GI coating
  • Weather-sealed construction
  • Weighs 1.77 pounds (805 grams)
  • Costs just under $2,000

Lens Design and Handling

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens shares the same styling and overall form as other high-end XF lenses. This means that it has an aperture control ring with a ridged metal surface, which is then followed by the zoom ring and then the focus ring towards the front of the lens. The zoom ring has markings at 8mm, 10mm, 12mm and 16mm and goes through its full range with a very short rotation. There is a good amount of resistance; it doesn't feel loose and is not easy to accidentally rotate.

The focus ring, on the other hand, has quite a loose feel to it. Fortunately, if you rotate it slowly, you can make precise adjustments. The amount of focus throw depends on the speed with which you rotate the ring in addition to the distance traveled, so it ends up working fine for small and large adjustments alike. Like other XF lenses, it is focus by wire, so that can make manual focus a little challenging at times, but the lens worked well overall with manual focus in my experience.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review -- Product Image

The XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens is quite large for an X Series lens but still smaller than a 14-24mm f/2.8 or 11-24mm f/4 lens for full-frame DSLR cameras. The XF 8-16mm f/2.8 weighs 1.77 pounds (805 grams). The lens is 3.46 inches long (88 millimeters) and has a maximum diameter of 4.78 inches (121.5mm). A disappointing aspect of the lens, like most other ultra-wide lenses, is that the lens does not accept screw-on filters as it has no filter thread and a built-in petal-shaped lens hood. This is understandable but nonetheless unfortunate. The bulbous front element also moves quite a bit as you zoom in and out, and moves out very close to the lens hood at 8mm.

As evidenced by its rugged and weather-sealed design, the XF 8-16mm is a pro-oriented lens. Specifically, the lens is sealed in 11 distinct places, including with a rubber gasket around the lens mount. It is resistant to dust and moisture and can be used in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 Celsius), something I experienced during my hands-on time with the lens. The lens was certainly up to the task of winter weather, and I suspect it will hold up to the same rigors as Fujifilm's best XF lenses.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review -- Product Image

Overall, I like the build quality of the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens. It feels like a very well-built and robust, professional-quality lens. However, it is large and heavy. That's to be expected for a high-quality wide-angle performance and we will see in the next section, the XF 8-16mm definitely delivers great image quality.

Image Quality

From an optical construction standpoint, the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 is a complex lens. It has 20 elements in 13 groups and includes an array of special optics. There are four aspherical elements, three Super ED elements and three ED elements. The lens also features Fujifilm's special Nano-GI (GI stands for Gradient Index) coating, which alters the refractive index between glass and air with the aim of suppressing lens flare and ghosting, specifically for diagonal incident light.

Sharpness

Note: The crops below are from raw files converted in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) using default sharpness settings. Personally, I think that ACR sharpens files from the Fujifilm X-T3 a bit too heavily, but I wanted to ensure a level of standardization with other lens Field Tests I write. You can download the original raw and JPEG files for all images in this Field Test by clicking the caption links or heading to the Gallery.

The XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens is very sharp throughout its focal length range, particularly when considering the central portion of the frame. At 8mm and f/2.8, the lens has great resolving power in much of the frame. When you get to the extreme corners, there is some dropoff, as to be expected. If you want to ensure sharp corners at 8mm, I'd recommend stopping down the aperture to f/5.6 or f/8. There is still some softness, but it is not noticeable unless you are pixel peeping.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/5s, ISO 160.
This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/5s, ISO 160.
100 percent center crop from the above image. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/5s, ISO 160.
100 percent top left corner crop from the above image. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1.9s, ISO 160.
100 percent center crop. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1.9s, ISO 160.
100 percent top left corner crop. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

At 12mm, the consistency of sharpness across the frame is improved. The center of the frame when shooting wide open remains very sharp, but the corners are a bit better. They are still a little soft wide open, but impressively good for an ultra-wide angle zoom lens.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
12mm (18mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/4s, ISO 160.
This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
12mm (18mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/4s, ISO 160.
100 percent center crop from the above image. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
12mm (18mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/4s, ISO 160.
100 percent top left corner crop from the above image. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
12mm (18mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1.5s, ISO 160.
100 percent center crop. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
12mm (18mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1.5s, ISO 160.
100 percent top left corner crop. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The good news continues when you reach the longer end of the lens. At 16mm, sharpness when shooting wide open is stellar in the center and very good in the corners.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
16mm (24mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/4s, ISO 160.
This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
16mm (24mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/4s, ISO 160.
100 percent center crop from the above image. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
16mm (24mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/4s, ISO 160.
100 percent top left corner crop from the above image. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
16mm (24mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1.9s, ISO 160.
100 percent center crop. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
16mm (24mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1.9s, ISO 160.
100 percent top left corner crop. This image has been converted in Adobe Camera Raw using default settings and exported as a JPEG file. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The Fuji XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens is a very sharp lens throughout its focal length range, even when shooting wide open at f/2.8. It's an impressive accomplishment in terms of optical performance. It is not a flawless performer, but it's close and for the most demanding X Series photographer who wants an ultra-wide zoom lens, it is the lens to have.

Vignette and aberrations

While there is some vignette when shooting the lens wide open, I don't view this as too big of a concern. As is the case with other lenses, any falloff is pretty easy to correct if you so desire. With respect to chromatic aberrations, Fujifilm has done a great job of limiting these issues with the XF 8-16mm lens as I didn't run into problems with purple fringing or other aberrations.

Overall

I certainly expect a lot from a $2,000 XF lens with respect to sharpness and overall optical performance. To that end, the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 meets my expectations and then some. The lens is very sharp throughout its impressively wide focal length range, even when shooting wide open. While there is some corner softness at 8mm and f/2.8, the overall performance is excellent. Distortion is generally well-handled considering the wide field of view of the lens and Fuji has done a great job of limiting aberrations. In short, the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR is an excellent performer.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/8.0, 0.6s, ISO 160.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Shooting Experience

The XF 8-16mm is a fast-focusing lens. It has a Linear Autofocus motor that delivers quick and quiet autofocus. As it is a wide-angle lens, super-fast focusing is not often a necessity, but if you wanted to capture action with the lens, it should perform well.

No lens is perfect nor well-suited for every kind of shooting. Regarding focus, the minimum focus distance is 9.84 inches (25 centimeters), which results in a maximum reproduction ratio of only 1:10. This is not particularly impressive, but is generally not a big deal considering the type of lens.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
16mm (24mm equiv.), f/8.0, 3s, ISO 160.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

An issue which is more of a concern given that the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 is so well-suited for landscape photography is that the lens does not have a filter thread. While you can reasonably replicate the effect of a graduated neutral density filter -- one of my favorite tools for landscape photography -- during post-processing, other filters are very hard, if not impossible, to recreate on a computer. A solid neutral density filter can be replicated to some extent provided you have a tripod and can stack multiple exposures, but a polarizing filter is not something you can add later in Photoshop. You can make a blue sky bluer, sure, but you cannot easily reduce reflections without a physical polarizing filter.

It is worth pointing out that various ultra-wide zoom lenses which lack a filter thread, such as the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, have had third-party solutions arrive after release. For example, there are large, square filter holders, such as Lee's SW150 system, that you can place around the built-in lens hood. The results are often mixed, but it is possible that the Fujifilm XF 8-16mm will have some such solution. Of course, this will have an associated financial and usability cost, but it will potentially allow for the use of polarizing filters, which is important.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
16mm (24mm equiv.), f/14, 1.5s, ISO 160.
The lack of a filter thread meant that for this shot, I could not get a shutter as slow as I would like and I was unable to use a polarizing filter to cut down on reflections on the surface of the water. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The lack of a filter thread is no problem for night photography. Compared to the XF 10-24mm f/4, which is an otherwise really good wide-angle zoom, the new 8-16mm is better-suited for night sky photography. There are different considerations for lenses when shooting the night sky. Vignette is pretty important, although often easily corrected, but more important are various aberrations. In particular, comatic aberrations, which can turn small circular points of light (such as stars) into odd and unnatural blobs, are concerns for night sky photography. With its constant f/2.8 aperture, the 8-16mm lets in plenty of light for night sky photography and fortunately, its optical performance is really good too. It's definitely a solid choice for night sky shooting.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/2.8, 8s, ISO 6400.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/2.8, 8s, ISO 6400.
100 percent crop from the above image. This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/2.8, 8s, ISO 6400.
100 percent corner crop from the above image. This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

My overall shooting experience with the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens depended heavily upon which type of image I was attempting to capture. For low-light photography, it's a great lens. However, when photographing moving water, I lamented the lack of a filter thread as I wanted to cut down reflections and also slow down the shutter. For general walking around, the 8-16mm f/2.8 lens is a pretty heavy optic. It is not unwieldy, but it is not nearly as compact or light as the XF 10-24mm f/4 lens.

Alternative options: Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS lens

Speaking of the XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS lens, if you are a Fujifilm shooter looking for a wide-angle zoom lens, the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 is the newest option, yes, but it is not the clear-cut obvious choice in every situation. The XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS remains an excellent option, and the two lenses each offer relative strengths. I've shot extensively with the 10-24mm with various X Series cameras, so I wanted to briefly discuss how the two lenses compare in a usability and overall shooting experience context.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
12.3mm (18mm equiv.), f/10, 1/4s, ISO 160.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The XF 10-24mm f/4 is not as sharp as the XF 8-16mm f/2.8, especially wide open. Given how impressive the performance of the 8-16mm f/2.8 lens is, that is not surprising. However, for landscape work, I'm often at the f/5.6-f/11 range and the gap between the two lenses here is not as dramatic as it is when shooting wide open. Granted, "wide open" on the 8-16mm is a full stop brighter than it is on the 10-24mm lens. So, for low-light work, the new XF 8-16mm is a clear winner.

It is also worth considering that you get a 12-24mm-equivalent focal length with the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens. This is a fair bit wider than the 15-36mm-equivalent range offered by the 10-24mm f/4 zoom. It may not seem like a lot, but that extra field of view at the wide end can be quite dramatic in practice.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/2.8, 5s, ISO 5000.
The constant f/2.8 aperture means you can shoot in low light easier with the new XF 8-16mm lens than the older 10-24mm wide-angle zoom. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

With respect to usability, I prefer shooting with the XF 10-24mm in most situations because it allows for the use of a screw-in filter -- namely, a polarizing filter -- and it is lighter and easier to use. Further, it has built-in image stabilization, which is nice. The Fujifilm X-H1 has built-in stabilization, but the rest of their X Series cameras don't have IBIS, so you rely on the lens for stabilization.

There is also cost to consider. The XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens is a very impressive feat of optical engineering and its price reflects that. It costs $2,000, double the price of the XF 10-24mm lens. For some photographers, the extra $1,000 may very well be worth spending, but it is far from obvious that the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens is better in every situation than the XF 10-24mm lens. Granted, they are different lenses and their use cases are slightly different, but for a lot of X Series shooters looking for a wide-angle lens, both lenses warrant consideration.

Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Field Test Summary

A very sharp ultra-wide zoom lens with some usability concerns

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
10.1mm (15mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1/8s, ISO 160.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

What I liked:

  • Very good build quality
  • Impressive sharpness throughout the focal length range, even when shooting at f/2.8
  • Fast constant aperture
  • Widest XF zoom lens
Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
8mm (12mm equiv.), f/8.0, 0.5s, ISO 160.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

What I didn't like:

  • No filter thread
  • No built-in image stabilization
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens is a very good lens. If you don't need a filter or don't mind shelling out extra money for a cumbersome filter holder setup, you will be rewarded with very good sharpness and overall optical performance at every focal length, even when shooting at f/2.8. Further, having a constant f/2.8 aperture is great.

However, this sharpness comes at a cost. The XF 8-16mm is fairly heavy and expensive, weighing nearly two pounds and costing $2,000 USD. That's a lot of money, especially when you consider that Fujifilm also offers the XF 10-24mm f/4 lens, which easily takes filters and offers built-in image stabilization at half the cost and with less weight.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
9.1mm (14mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1/20s, ISO 160.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

If you value image quality across the frame and want something very wide, the minor shortcomings of the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 may not be relevant, or at the very least are outweighed by other considerations. The performance of the lens is simply phenomenal.

 

• • •

 

Product Overview

(From Fujifilm lens literature) FUJIFILM North America Corporation has announced the new FUJINON XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR Lens, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens with a constant maximum aperture of F2.8 and focal length equivalent to 12-24mm (35mm format). Capable of providing outstanding edge to edge image-resolving performance, this lens is perfect for landscape and architecture photography such as interior and nightscape, and astrophotography.

FUJINON XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR Lens r Product Image

The new XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR features an optical construction of 20 elements in 13 groups, including 4 aspherical lens elements to control distortion and spherical aberration, and 6 ED lens elements including 3 super ED elements to control lateral chromatic aberration, a lens design that produces advanced image-resolving performances across the entire zoom range. Featuring a floating lens element that adjusts according to the position of the zoom, the XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR achieves edge-to-edge sharpness, and corrects field curvature that is typically found in ultra-wide angle lenses. The lens barrel is lightweight yet robust, sealed at 11 points, designed to be weather and dust-resistant and capable of operating in temperatures as low as 14°F/-10°C.

FUJINON XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR Lens r Product Image

FUJINON XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR Key Features:

  • FUJIFILM X Mount is compatible with all FUJIFILM X Series interchangeable system cameras
  • Weather-sealed at 11 points for weather and dust-resistance; operates in temperatures as low as 14°F/-10°C
  • 20 elements in 13 groups including 4 aspherical elements, 3 ED elements and 3 super ED elements
  • Uses linear motors for quiet and ultra-fast AF
  • Nano-GI coating applied to rear surface of two front lens elements to eliminate ghosting and flare caused by oblique light

Availability and Pricing

The new FUJINON XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR Lens will be available in late November 2018 in the U.S. and Canada for USD $1,999.95 and CAD $2,599.99.

 

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR

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