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Fujinon XF 16mm F/1.4 R Wr

A full review of the two most versatile prime lenses from Fujifilm the XF 16mm F/1.4 compared to the new XF 16mm F/2.8. Today we’ll review the sharpness, rendition, contrast and overall usability of these two lenses. Therefore, we’ll determine what suits your photography requirements from a price vs image quality perspective.

In addition, as a full-time landscape photographer and travel videographer, I love the idea of having a versatile prime lens. The XF 16mm F/1.4 offers superb image quality, but for me, the best part of this lens if the versatility in low light filming and photography.

Fujinon XF 16mm F1.4 essential facts:

  • 16mm Focal Length (Equiv 24mm in 35mm format)
  • F1.4 Maximum Aperture & F/16 Minimum Aperture
  • 73.4 mm diameter x 73mm
  • Weight 375g (13.22 oz)
  • 67mm filter thread
  • Focus Range 15cm – ∞
  • 13 elements in 11 groups
  • 9 rounded blades
  • 83.2° Angle of View
  • Weather Resistant
  • Price €999.00
White Desert Sunrise - Egypt Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 @ F/8
Stabilisation

Firstly, Fujifilm primes don’t have IS built into their small, lightweight lenses. Therefore, pairing the 16mm f1.4 with the Fujifilm X-H1 makes complete sense due to the IBIS built into the system.

Secondly, an advantage of the f1.4 aperture means using this lens for low light photography counteracts the limitation of stabilisation. Having the IBIS in the X-H1 for filming and vlogging purposes but the X-T3 and its amazing low light capability paired with the F1.4 aperture make this lens an absolute weapon!

Fujinon XF Autofocus & Sharpness

Autofocus through this lens is old and a little outdated. Slower in comparison to the newer F/2.8 version, but this lens does hold an extra feature – clutch focusing. If you tend to use manual focus, the f1.4 makes this is SOO much more comfortable, accurate and smoother compared to the smaller focus ring found on the F/2.8.

The sharpness of the 16mm F1.4 is something you’ve probably heard numerous times mentioned in every vlog or blog about the “superior image quality.” Now, I’m not going to be the person to sit here and argue this! The lens is sharp wide open at F1.4 allowing for low light and portrait photography giving an extra string in its already well-strung bow.

A huge difference I noticed when bumped up 1 or 2 stops with centre sharpness and especially corner sharpness. Additionally, landscape photography’s frequently shot between F5.6 to F11 outclass any other lens in my camera bag!

FUJINON LENS XF 16mm F2.8 R WR

The Fujifilm XF 16mm F2.8 a prime budget lens from Fujifilm, welcome to the fujicron family. This lens is extremely lightweight, inexpensive and offers ridiculous sharp image quality.

Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 essential facts:

  • 16mm Focal Length (Equiv 24mm in 35mm format)
  • F2.8 Maximum Aperture & F/22 Minimum Aperture
  • 60mm diameter x 45.4mm
  • Weight 155g (5.46 oz)
  • 49mm filter thread
  • Focus Range 18cm – ∞
  • 10 elements in 8 groups
  • 9 rounded blades
  • 83.2° Angle of View
  • Weather Resistant
  • Price €399.00
Strmec Village - Slovenia Fujifilm XF 16mm F2.8
Stabilisation

Fujifilm primes don’t have IS built into their small, lightweight lenses. Therefore, pairing the 16mm f1.4 with the Fujifilm X-H1 makes complete sense due to the IBIS built into the system.

Although the F2.8 is two stops less than compared to the F1.4, this doesn’t dissipate your limitations. Increasing the ISO will allow you to achieve the same results compared to the F1.4 lens. By doing so, it will begin to introduce noise to the image, being evident at 6400 iso or higher – this is where fuji begins to deteriorate due to noise.

Fujinon XF Autofocus & Sharpness

Autofocus on this lens is a noticeable upgrade compared to the older and slower F1.4 version. Performance is a tad quicker, but the autofocus is noticeably quieter when directly comparing the two lenses on the Fujifilm X-H1.

Sharpness is something that left me asking all the questions. A €399.00 lens and it performs this bloody good, how? Between F/5.6 and F/11, where I shoot 95% of my landscape images I ‘couldn’t fault this lens at all. Wide-open at F2.8 ‘it’s a little soft in the corners which you need to expect with such a shallow depth of field.

The performance this lens produces massively outweighs its tiny price tag!

XF 16mm f1.4 VS XF 16mm f2.8 Comparison

  • Price (XF f1.4 €999.00 VS XF f2.8 €399 – September 2019)
  • XF f/1.4-16 VS XC F/2.8-22
  • 375g (13.22 oz) VS 155g (5.46oz)
  • Clutch Focus VS Focus Ring
  • Focus Marking VS No
  • 13/11 VS 10/8 (Elements/Groups)
Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 VS Fujifilm XF 16mm F2.8

What's the Best Fujifilm XF 16mm Prime Lens?

In conclusion, comparing these two lenses directly, it’s obvious there is no outright winner, the question you need to answer is

“What’s more important low light performance or weight?” 

Many factors need to weigh up for this conclusion. If performance is the number 1 priority and price isn’t an issue I would suggest the f1.4 because of the low light filming and photography, fast aperture and superior image quality. If weight is an issue and performance isn’t a high priority you can’t look past the f2.8, it’s tiny, lightweight and competes equally with f1.4 for image quality.

Now things begin to get interesting! If moneys an issue, filming isn’t your “thing”, and image quality is your number one priority. Therefore, I suggest the Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 for everyday use, but when the sun goes down, and stars come out, grab the manual focus Samyang 12mm F2. Yes, this will save you money, but the downfall of owning two lenses but the image quality will blow you away!

In conclusion, The only two downfalls that come to mind with the F1.4 version is the price tag, and the astrophotography coma issue at f1.4 (which I will touch on later) overcome the price tag, this is my recommendation. The F2.8 version is highly advertising adding it the already loving fujicron-range. It doesn’t suit my needs, mainly due to the low light filming and clutches focusing if this isn’t what you need the f2.8 will make you extremely happy!

DOWNLOAD THE RAW AND JPEG COMPARISONS HERE!