Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR first look preview

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

DSCF2282
X-T3 | XF16-80mm f/4 @ 80mm f/4

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.

DSCF3228
X-Pro2 | XF16-80mm f/4 @16mm f/4

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.

DSCF1656
A very good balance on the XT3 – perfect fit.

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.

DSCF3270
X-Pro2 | XF16-80mm f/4 @ 23mm f/5.6

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!

Image Quality

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.

DSCF2220
X-T3 | XF16-80mm f/4 @ 56mm f/4 | Sharpness in Emils right eye is incredible!

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.

DSCF2123
X-T3 | XF16-80mm f/4 @ 16mm f/22

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.

Samples

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.

 

jr050680

50 thoughts on “Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR first look preview

  1. I really like “small …not too small” with cameras as I get older. So I have found that my XT1 stays in the cupboard much of the time when I am walking … I take my X-T100 or X100F.
    When taking the former this is going to be so perfect. Thank you for a great review

  2. Hi, excellent description. I don´t care much for sientific reviews or charts. I´m also just taking photographs – so you did deliver all it needs to find out if this is the walk around and travel lens I have been waiting for since none of the smaller and lighter Fujizooms – except my fragile kit lens – had enough wideangle for me. I hope this will pair with a nice Kit offer for the X T3 so that I can upgrade from my X T 100, which is excellent with the 15-45 kit but has no weather sealing at all.Thanks very much for your contribution and keep on shooting these extraordinary photographs that proof that a good camera is usefull but it still is and always will be the eye of the one who releases the shutter who makes the difference between a snapshot and a welll thought and seen picture.
    Have fun.
    Tom

  3. Hi. I have read a lot of your reviews and am fan of what you do, you are great and you motivate a lot of us, the “fuji customers” 🙂 thanks for this. Reading your reviews, people do not look for tech details or photos made by a specific lens, I think, because basically you do great photos using any lens (be it fuji or not fuji lens), people look for great reading.
    Having said that, this one review is not spectacular and does not have that Rask in it 🙂
    But thanks a lot for motivating us all! Waiting for next one.

    1. Hey man. Thank you for reading along. Sorry you feel that way about this writeup. Maybe it was because of summer-heat. – But I know exactly what you mean. It can be a little tough to find new subjects to photograph all the time, so maybe that’s it. I had a lot on my plate with the GF50mm as well. But we’ll see with the next writeup. Again, thank you for stopping by

  4. I use the 50 F2 and the 23 F2 on my XT-3 and love the IQ especially with my portraits on the 50 F2 lens. Is it worth selling both of my lenses to get this New zoom. I never shoot under f4 . Thanks Dennis Just so I dont have to keep changing lenses

  5. Jonas thanks for great write up as usual. In it you say “ Shooting handheld at 80mm at 1/4 sec, and even 1/2 sec is absolutely no issue whatsoever.“
    Can you post a few sample shots at these ss’s?

  6. “Just so I dont have to keep changing lenses” you are writing.
    But Dennis, this is exactly what you are asking, to give you advise to change your lenses into the new one 🙂
    Just kidding. I think you know it yourself, there cannot be unique answer. Some people like zooms, some not. Some people like only small tiny lenses (it is what you have currently) and they do not like big heavy lenses (and in my opinion the new one is already on that big side). And and and. There is no way to get a good answer to your question.
    Try it (or even a similar lens, like 18-55? or an another one. rent it for a day or two).
    Have a nice day!

  7. Nice review and great images! You mention images were processed with Adobe Lightroom or Capture One. Why are you using both? What makes you decide which to use?

    1. Convenience, mostly. I have loads of presets in Lightroom, that I have not yet pasted over to CO. It’s easier for me for large amounts of images.

      1. Thank you! Are you sharing or selling your custom presets? Would you recommend any to buy?

          1. your photos are fabulous and I love the color settings! I wait desesperement to know your settings … I usually use Astia or Provia that I focus on Lightroom but the rendering is unparalleled with your colors … I leave next week in Corsica and I do not know what use. make an article on vis presets or sell them, our absolutes will be delighted!

  8. Thank you for your feedback. I love the IQ on the 50 and I don’t need convenience. I think I will stay with my 2 primes. GREAT reviews Thanks Dennis

  9. Excellent review. Very succinct, easy to understand and focused on what really matters. As always with great pictures.

  10. Nice review and nice photos. I have a recently bought X-T3 and have been looking for a good every use lens. I was almost decided on the 18-135 and now this happens. This lens seems amazing, but still loses a lot on the long end of the focal length (80 to 135 is not irrelevant). Help? How does sharpness compare?

  11. Hi Jonas! I was looking forward to this lens, as I’m still searching for a studio allrounder, where I as of now am constantly changing between the 35/1.4, the 56/1.2 and the Rokinon 85/1.8. In Studio I always stop down to 5.6 or 8. What’s your thoughts on that? Do you think I’d be trading in image quality of I shot my studio stuff with the 16-80?

  12. It’s ridiculous how good your photos are. It’s almost like you’re toying with the rest of us. Great write up as always.

  13. I have been waiting for this lens too, but based on this set of images, I am not buying it. I have 18-55 now, hoped for 16-80 to add range at each end and keep the quality AT LEAST as good as 18-55 (far from stellar -but definitely better than 16-80). The problem is, based on the images above, it does not deliver. I am disappointed Fuji keeps on giving us average lenses at premium prices (EUR 800 asked for this lens is what Canon RF 24-105 costs here right now!). And this lens is NOWHERE close as good as RF 24-105 … Yes, Fuji lenses are mostly nice metal, but the metal parts do not make the IQ, the glass parts do.

    I am surprised you are all aaa-hs and ooo-hs about this lens while the images are only about average (I mean IQ, not your photography) – you may want to look at that bokeh again. For it is lot lovely at all, it is all nervous and muddy.

    Too bad for me, as I am already invested in two Fuji bodies. So I may be selling this kit and go where lenses are ;-( bigger and ;-( heavier but at least they deliver prime results so much sought after by my clients.

  14. Wow, 6 stops of OIS! Does that also work in conjunction with the IBIS of the X-H1 to achieve even more stability as well?? Sounds very impressive.. thank you for your review.

  15. What do you this about this len compared with the 16-55 f/2.8? I have the 16-55 f/2.8, what is for you better between OIS or f/2.8?

  16. Thank you for putting this new lens in the spotlight. I wish I would have had this lens on my recent trip. I would have saved my back from packing multiple lenses!

  17. Seems kinda redundant on a fuji body. What’s the point of an interchangeable lens camera if you reduce it to a single lens. Might as well use a compact cam.

    Rather have a proper wide, medium and tele than a lens that tries to do everything and does nothing really well.

  18. This is great stuff. I’m tired of people raving on about how great the crappy kit lens is. It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries – up there with ‘did we really land on the moon’? I had three copies of that thing over as many years, looking for the optical Nirvana that everybody spoke of. I finally saw the light and bought the beautiful 16-55. What this lovely little lens does is now give an alternative to folk who don’t want the crappy kit lens, but also don’t want the weight and price of the 16-55. Kudos to Fuji!

  19. Great review. I’m a gear-head but I appreciate non-technical reviews so this was refreshing and I can’t wait to buy this lens. Unfortunately, it won’t be available for my upcoming Europe trip so I’ll probably stick with my two primes. BTW, I love the look of your blog. Do you mind sharing what you use for hosting? Self-hosted WordPress theme, Zenfolio, or other? I’m looking for a similar minimal style for my expensive hobby.

  20. What a year. Fuji is really on a roll. I think as soon as the XF16-80mm F4 and the GF 50mm F3.5 are out, my new travel combo will be the X-T3 with the 16-80mm F4 and maybe the 56mmF1.2 (for that sweet F1.2) and the GFX50R with the GF 50mm F3.5. A great combo and the best of both worlds.

  21. Great review. I used to love prime kits, but as my photography has evolved zooms have just started to make more sense for the work I do and I find myself really keeping the 18-55/2.8-4 on my X-E3 most of the time. I never would have imagined getting excited about an f/4, but I am actually very interested in this lens.

  22. Hi Jonas, I have the 18/55 and 55/200 as my travel lenses. As most of my photos are taken in the 18/80 range, I am considering this lens to replace both, but I do not want to miss not even a drop of IQ…is the IBIS compensating the lack of aperture and the glasses offering at least the same IQ of my two lenses in the 18/80 range? Thank you.

  23. You are such a great photographer. The beauty of the photographs you produce in such a short time with the lens and on top of all your other responsibilities, is remarkable. You make me realize I need to take far more photos than I do right now. Ever since my kids became teenagers and therefore camera shy my family photography output has dropped significantly. Thanks for the inspiration.

  24. Some superb images here, you have a wonderful eye. Maybe I’ll be able to get to your level one day if I keep working on my photography. This looks like it will extremely versatile lens that can produce some great images. I often find the 18-55 doesn’t go quite wide enough or quite long enough, so this is looking very tempting as a walkabout lens. The OIS is the cherry on top.

  25. I use the 16-55 as my primary lens. I love it. But for travel I want just a little more on the longer end so I can stick to one lens.
    Have you used the 16-55 and if so, how do you find it compares (obviously in the 16-55 and f4 and up range)? Any noticeable pros or cons? Both in use or image quality (particularly on the wider and and for printing larger).
    Thanks!

Leave a Reply to Keith Grafton Cancel reply