Fujifilm didn’t just release the GF50mm f/3.5 today which I wrote about HERE, they also released a little something for the X-series.
I remember back in may 2018 when I took the X-T100 with me to Crete to do the whole brochure imagery for Fujifilm. They had a wishlist of very specific lenses that they wanted me to test out on the camera. Among the listed lenses was the XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I never cared much for that lens, but I must admit I fell head-over-heels in love with it on that trip. I finally got to experience what a true travel-lens is. The variable aperture of that lens was however a little annoying. And the size of it is maybe a tad towards the large side. But today Fujifilm is announcing a lens with a little less reach, a little less size and a whole lot of raw image quality power.
The XF 16-80mm f/4R OIS WR
Before we get going for real, I need to do a couple of disclaimers just to set everything straight. Feel free to skip everything but number 3 😉
Disclaimer 1: I’m an X-photographer. That’s spelled brand ambassador for Fujifilm. I don’t get paid for doing these write ups (and I have been doing them even before getting involved with Fujifilm). I get sent the gear when I do the editorial packshots for Fujifilm Japan (and for this I get paid, just as I should be!) – So I get to play around with the gear a little bit when they’re around the house. This means that I’m just about as biased as I can get, and whether you choose to believe my views or not is entirely up to you. I expect you to be adults, capable of forming your own opinions based on presented information.
Disclaimer 2: All the images in this article has been shot using a prototype of the XF16-80mm f/4 lens. Image quality might therefore not be final.
Disclaimer 3: All shots with- and of the product has been shot by me, and is not to be used without my explicit permission.
Build and feel
The XF16-80mm f/4 is a very solid product. From the minute you pick it up, you notice the nice heft, the metal barrel, the smooth focusing ring, the nice aperture clicks. It really is a very nicely made product – just like all the newer Fujifilm XF lineup lenses are.
The zoom function is external, meaning that the barell will extrude when you zoom in to 80mm. It is quite firm, so it does not accidentally extrude when you have it slung around your body for a days work. No need for a locking mechanism.
The XF16-80mm f/4 is weather resistant, so you can bring it out into any conditions you desire. Most of the newer Fujifilm X-series bodies such as the X-T3, X-H1, X-Pro2 all feature weather sealing, so using this lens as a daily driver for any kind of condition with any of those cameras should be ideal in regards to weatherproof behaviour.
The specs of the lens are as follows:
- Lens construction: 16 elements 12 groups (includes 3 aspherical elements and 1 ED aspherical element)
- Focal length (35mm format equivalent) : f=16-80mm (24-122mm)
- Max. aperture: f/4
- Min. aperture: f/22
- Aperture control: Number of blades :9（rounded diaphragm opening)
- Focus range : 35cm～∞
- Max. magnification: 0.25x (telephoto end)
- Weight (excluding caps, hoods) 440g
- External dimensions: Diameter x Length: 78.3mm x 88.9mm
- Filter size Φ72mm
As you can probably tell from those specs, the lens is not a big lens. the XF16-55mm measures 83.3mm x 106.0mm, and the XF18-55mm measures 65.0mm x 70.4mm, so the new XF16-80mm f/4 fits right in between those two sizewise.
The weight is kept relatively low too. Nothing here that will strain your back too much.
The focusring is nice and dampened, and so is the zoom ring. The aperture feels very nice, and clicks in 1/3 stop increments from f/4 to f/22.
The focus is super fast and precise no matter what focal length you have it set to. I used it mainly on my X-T3, but also on my X-Pro2. On both cameras focus was flawless. I will say that I did not test it out for sports or anything like that.
The optical image stabiliser is the real show stopper with this lens. Fujifilm is promising a 6 stop OIS. But not only that, the OIS actually detect when you put the camera on a tripod, and adjusts accordingly. Very nice feature to have.
The OIS is such a great thing for lowlight shooting when f/4 can be a bit of an annoyance. Shooting handheld at 80mm at 1/4 sec, and even 1/2 sec is absolutely no issue whatsoever. Fujifilm sure has the OIS game down by now. It just works!
Obviously since this is not a red badge lens, nor a prime lens, you will not get that same performance as with those two types of lenses. However this lens did surprise me quite a lot. It certainly is no slouch when it comes to sharpness or rendering of out-of-focus areas. First of all, do not let the f/4 aperture on APS-C fool you. At 80mm, and with the very close minimum focusing distance you get with this lens you can completely obliterate your background.
The close focusing distance is a mere 35 cm throughout the entire zoom range! Yes – all of it. From 16 to 80 mm. Impressive, and very cool to play around with.
The bokeh rendering at 80mm is downright lovely. Nothing too busy, nothing too swirly. Just nice and creamy. The gallery below should showcase some examples of closeups at the near-limit as well as some portrait’ish stuff. Remember to click the gallery to get metadata and maximum quality.
Sharpness is very good too. It resolves perfectly, and feeds all the resolution needed for the X-series APS-C sensors. I didn’t notice any vignetting at neither the wide end or the far end, but to be honest I didn’t test for it in particular.
As far as distortion go, there is some at 16-21mm, it gets better as you move up the focal lengths, but the only reason that I could even tell, was because correction wasn’t being properly applied. After getting correct firmware it is corrected in the RAW files. Some would say that this is a huge issue since it’s not being done optically. I say it’s a non-issue. You be the judge.
Personally I found that I used this lens far more at the longer end of the spectrum. Even on the streets. I think it’s probably because I had the luxury of zooming, so I stood back a bit and zoomed. A bit of a trap, but I’m not street-photography purist, so I say use /do whatever you have to get the shot!
But the XF16-80mm f/4 does seem to work its absolute best from around 50-80mm. Image quality in this range is incredible. Sharp, no noticeable distortion and great out-of-focus areas. This is in contrast to the 18-135mm which I found worked best at the wider ends of the range.
At f/22 you get some goooood looking sun star flares with this lens. Not like the 8-16mm (which has INSANELY good looking star-flares) but still very very good looking. I seriously have a thing for those solar star flares. I don’t know why….it’s weird.
I shot some official sample shots for Fujifilm, so if you want straight out of camera shots from this lens, you can just click HERE
Conclusion and sample images
The XF16-80mm f/4 R WR OIS is without a doubt one of the new Fujinon XF classics. It is a phenomenal performer with great image stabilisation, and good IQ throughout the zoom range. Especially at 50-80mm. It’s sharp and has good looking out-of focus rendering. It focuses very fast and precise, and the build quality is fantastic.
Add to that a compact formfactor and a relatively low price at $799USD and you have an absolute powerpack of a lens. If zoom lenses are your thing, and you need a simple no frills setup, and XT3 and an XF16-80mm will be just what the doctor ordered.
I don’t shoot brickwalls. I’m not a reviewer, I’m a photographer. Thats why I don’t do SOOC comparisons etc. You can probably find those elsewhere.
Samples are from RAW files that I have made adjustments to using Adobe Lightroom CC or Capture One.
This is how I chose to use the XF16-80mm f/4, and it might differ somewhat from what you plan on using it for. I tried to test it in various settings, really pushing its capabilities like I always do.
Make sure to open the gallery for maximum quality! All metadata are in the gallery/files, and you can download the individual files at 3000px wide end.