First Impressions: Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR (X Mount)

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Editor’s Note: This is a syndicated blog post from photographer David Kai Piper. These and the images in this post are being used with permission. Additional BTS images are from Matthew Maddock.

The Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR was just announced, and photographer David Kai Piper has been playing with it for a little while now. Here are his thoughts in addition to extra images that David allowed us to use not originally featured in his blog post.

Quick overview:
‘This is the new ‘must have’ lens for any Fuji photographer who is a working photographer or someone who wants a ‘go anywhere, shoot anything’ lens.  One of the best X-System lenses made so far.’

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Me shooting with the 16-55mm lens – photo by Matthew Maddock

 

Release Date: February 2015 – Full Link to the Press release.
Onsale for near $1.199

  • Weather-resistant design with 14 sealing points
  • 0.06 seconds autofocus speed and nearly silent operation
  • Uses 17 elements in 12 groups, including 3 aspherical lens elements to control spherical aberration and distortion, and 3 ED glass lens elements to reduce lateral and axial chromatic aberration
  • Nano-GI coating alters the refractive index between glass and air to reduce ghosting and flare
  • Nine rounded aperture blades create a smooth, circular bokeh.
  • 1/3 EV steps
  • Minimum working distance of less than 12 inches

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Fuji Press Statement:-
FUJINON XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR, a weather-resistant standard zoom lens with a 24-84mm equivalent that offers users the classic zoom range with a constant F2.8. The XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WRuses 14 sealing points for a durable, weather-resistant and dust-proof design that make it the perfectcompanion for photojournalists who do not want to compromise when weather conditions are the most challenging. Whether shooting wide angle landscapes or medium-telephoto portraits, the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR delivers ideal image results from edge to edge.

 The XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR delivers on its promise of extremely high resolution and stunning bokeh for professional-grade results when paired with the FUJIFILM X-T1, or any X-Series CSC. The XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR also uses the newly-developed Nano-GI (Gradient Index) coating technology to effectively inhibit ghosting and flare, producing clear images from edge-to-edge.

 The XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR uses a light weight Internal Focusing System and a Twin Linear Motor for high-speed autofocus (AF) and whisper quiet AF as fast as 0.06 seconds. When combined with the near-silent shutter sound of the FUJIFILM X-T1, photos can be taken unnoticed in quiet and sensitive locations.

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Image of the 16-55mm sitting on a Fuji X-T1 with a handgrip  & 3 legged thing Tripod

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Image of the 16-55mm fitted to a Yellow Fuji X-Pro.

At first glace the thing that comes to mind is the sheer size of this new lens. It is very much nearly the same size as a DSLR 24-70mm f2.8 lens, and this new lens really does have the performance to match. The first thing you will notice when you shoot with it is that this really is an astonishing lens in every way.

(Full gallery of higher res 16-55mm related images (NSFW –LINK)

Up until now – the only mid-range zoom was the wonderful 18-55mm f2.8 -4 XF lens, which was and still is a great lens but seen as many as a ‘kit’ lens. The new wider 16mm, constant f2.8 version is fully weather sealed and has a much better build quality, barrel design and sports a massive 77mm filter fit (which means it can use the full size Lee Filter kit over the smaller Seven5 kit).

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The size of the new lens is much bigger is every manner, which I really like and approve of to be honest. The handling of the lens is perfect and the balance of the camera, with a grip + flash trigger is wonderful. Each part of the lens can has a different feel to it, meaning you can quickly work your fingers around the lens to adjust the focus, zoom and f-stop without your fingers slipping like on a Zeiss lens.

The new 16-55mm side by side to the 18-55mm ‘kit’ lens.

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Sharpness – As you might expect and all the following blogs will no doubt confirm, this lens is among the best Fuji have made. I have not done a science based test, but, this lens is totally good enough for me and I might have to cry when I send this pre-production back to Japan. I love this lens that much.

Focus – Again, as you might be starting to tell, I like this lens and one of the best elements so far is the speed of which this lens works on the X-T1.  Pretty much faultless and among the best Fujinon lenses to date.

Overall, would I buy this lens. Yes 100% over any lens, aside the 35mm this is the best lens Fuji have made, but as always, this is only my thoughts put together around my style of shooting.

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Wedding Photographers – This could be your dream lens. Combined with the 50-140mm  your wedding kit is complete. Maybe with addition of something like a 35mm f1.4 or 56mm rolling around your pocket for when you need something faster than f2.8.

One thing I get asked a lot is, ‘if you could only have one lens, what would it be?’ Up until now, it has always been the 35mm but, I would like to say the 16-55mm is impressive too.
I have really enjoyed shooting wide open at 16mm and this lens is amazing in the studio too at 55mm too. It is great from edge to edge with very little fall off.

Range of shots taken on the 16-55mm lens at f2.8 –
Shot in Classic Chrome mode & shot JPEG in camera

16mm : f2.8 : 1/100 sec : iso 250 : Fuji X-T1 : Jepg : Classic Chrome

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22.7mm : f2.8 : 1/100 sec : iso 250 : Fuji X-T1 : Jepg : Classic Chrome

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33.2mm : f2.8 : 1/100 sec : iso 250 : Fuji X-T1 : Jepg : Classic Chrome

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55mm : f2.8 : 1/100 sec : iso 250 : Fuji X-T1 : Jepg : Classic Chrome

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Below are the images that we shot for Fuji using the pre-production lens at the stunning Kenilworth Castle estate thanks to the English Heritage.

Photographer: Dave Kai Piper

Styling: Ideas & Images
Make up & Grooming: Penny Grimley
Location: Kenilworth Castle with thanks to English Heritage
Assistants: Matthew Maddock (bts photos) & Darren Lee
Camera – Signature Fujifilm X-Pro Cameras
Bags – Domke Camera bags

Models: Luke Grimley @ W Athletic, Bronte Sumner @ Boss Management

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Thank you to Matthew Maddock for the backstage images

Bronte wore:

Chi Chi London Premium Embroidered Lace Prom Dress with Bardot Neck
Michelle Keegan Loves Lipsy V Neck Pencil Dress with Lace Trim
ASOS TALL Mesh Insert Fit & Flare Dress
ASOS Lace Maxi Slip
Agent Provocateur Lingerie

Luke wore:
Helen Anthony double breasted yellow and black check long coat,
Helen Anthony two button slim fit check suit, crafted from wool and mixed fiber
Helen Anthony one button red suit. crafted from elegant red velvet.
Shoes – models own
Trousers – models own

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