Review: Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR (Fujifilm X Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (2 of 25)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0

Fujifilm’s 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR is a lens that was missing from the company’s lineup for a little while, but has since surfaced. The equivalent of the more professional grade f2.8 general zoom lens, the Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR incorporates weather sealing, a real aperture ring, and a bunch of awesome features.

The lens features 14 weather seals, nine aperture blades, and three ED and Aspherical elements. For a standard zoom lens with a constant aperture it has a lot going for it–not to mention being in front of Fujifilm’s excellent X Trans Sensors.

For most photographers that use Fujifilm’s system professionally, this is a must-have. But for the rest of us, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: Fujifilm sponsors our Xpert Advice series that appears monthly on this site; but out reviews are still our own opinions.

Pros and Cons

ISO 200, 1/500th, F2.8

ISO 200, 1/500th, F2.8

Pros

– Solid image quality

– Nice bokeh, sharpness, and color rendition

– Weather sealed

– Fujifilm’s best general zoom lens yet

– Fujifilm gave this an actual aperture ring instead of what they did with their previous kit lens zooms and gave the user a switch.

Cons

– Feels weird in the hand even with the XT1

– An internal zooming mechanism would have made this feel better in the hand

– A steep price

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR with the Fujifilm XT1, X Pro 1, Pocket Wizard Plus X transceivers and the Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight 180WS.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the product

Performance
Focal Length 16 – 55mm
Comparable 35mm Equivalent on APS-C Format Focal Length: 24 – 82.5 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/2.8
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Fujifilm X mount
Format Compatibility APS-C
Angle of View 83.2° – 29°
Minimum Focus Distance 11.81″ (30 cm)
Magnification 0.16x
Elements/Groups 17/12
Diaphragm Blades 9, Rounded
Features
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread Front:77 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.28 x 4.17″ (83.3 x 106 mm)
Weight 23.10 oz (655 g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (6 of 25)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

The Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR is one of the company’s more premium optics. With a constant F2.8 aperture, weather sealing, and a lot of surface area to grip onto it makes a lot of sense.

We start out the ergonomics tour by showing off the lens as you look down at it without the lens hood. The hood makes things a bit larger than it should be, but it’s a vital part of the shooting and protection.

When you look down at the lens, you see the zoom ring, aperture ring, and the numbers corresponding to focal lengths and aperture numbers.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (4 of 25)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0

The lens zooms externally, so that means that that big petal hood will probably stick someone in the eye when you get up close. Luckily, the lens doesn’t double in size when zoomed all the way in.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (5 of 25)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

This lens features a very large 77mm front filter thread, which is what you’ll need to know for extra weather sealed protection from the elements or if you choose to shoot videos, landscapes, or want to kill more ambient lighting with a filter of some sort.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (3 of 25)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0

We took this lens out into the snow and the rain during our review period. It shrugged off all of what Mother Nature tossed at it with ease. For the photojournalist using this lens in rough conditions, you don’t need to worry at all. In fact, there seems to be a lot of you who would also want to take this out into the street for capturing candids. You can rest assured that if someone spills coffee onto the lens, all you need to do is wipe it down.

As it is, this is one of Fujifilm only weather sealed lenses currently on the market as of the publication of this article. On a personal note, you go to this system for the small, fast primes that feel so perfect in the hand–not so much for zooms like this.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR is pretty simple to use for photographers that are either experienced with the Fujifilm system, shot with the Leica R system years ago or that are overall very experienced. Zooming in and out can be controlled by turning the specific ring and aperture is controlled via the according aperture ring positioned closer to the body. Fujifilm and Zeiss tend to do this while Panasonic and Leica place the aperture ring closer to the front of the lens.

If you want to use the zone focusing method, you’ll need to opt for the electronic system that Fujifilm has.

The very cool thing to do is see how the framing changes when using the Optical viewfinder on the X Pro 1.

Autofocus

During our tests, we found this lens to consistently and quickly nail accurate focusing except in situations involving very low contrast. As is the norm with Fujifilm’s autofocusing system, the focusing becomes more precise but slower if the autofocusing point is made smaller. Just keep that one in mind.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (15 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

ISO 400 1/60 sec at f2.8. Two artificial lights were used to illuminate this image for the Graham.

The Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR is a lens that excels in every single way you can possibly think of when it comes to image quality. Fujifilm is right up there with Zeiss, Sigma and Olympus as being premiere lens manufacturers for the mirrorless camera world–and there is very little to complain about when it comes to the image quality here.

Want great bokeh? Sure, no problem.

Want superb sharpness? Yeah, you’ve got it–and even more so when you add in flashes to bring our more specular highlights.

Want no purple fringing to complain about in DPReview’s forums? Guess what…you’ll need to go through the awful process of finding something else to purposefully argue about with the other trolls living under the bridge.

Indeed, we found very little to complain about with this lens. What I very personally wasn’t for is just how cool it renders images–I often needed to warm them up in Lightroom but that’s a very personal finding.

Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (16 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

When it comes to sharpness, we have to say that Fujifilm’s 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR can surely hold its own with many other lenses. In our opinion, it is a tad sharper than many of the company’s primes with the exception of their 56mm f1.2 lens. It gets exceptionally sharp down to f5.6 and beyond that there is no reason to stop down anymore. In fact, most of the time we shot with this lens wide open at f2.8 or stopped down to f4.

If you’re getting a lens like this, don’t bother stopping it down anymore.

Bokeh

f2.8

f2.8

With nine aperture blades in the design, you’d expect some beautiful, right?

Yeah, you’ve got it–and that’s why we believe that you shouldn’t bother stopping it down a heck of a lot. This lens exhibits beautiful bokeh that is hazy at best on the wide end and beautifully creamy on the more telephoto end. It’s more than overall good enough to use for professional work such as headshots or commercial work.

Color Rendition

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review night street images (2 of 2)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Considering that this is Fujifilm, you’ll want to set the color rendition and forget about the rest. When working in Adobe Lightroom, you’ll want to set the color rendition accordingly when editing. The lens gives colors very true to the film renderings but sometimes it’s a bit too saturated for our liking with the standard Provia and Astia settings.

Color Fringing

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (8 of 19)ISO 4001-15 sec at f - 2.8

In our tests, we couldn’t find any color fringing issues with SOC images or JPEGs. Even when we cranked up the contrast in our RAW files, we didn’t find anything worth crying about or immediately visually present.

Extra Image Samples

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review portraits (6 of 7)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review night street images (1 of 2)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review image apartment (1 of 1)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (18 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (17 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (12 of 19)ISO 16001-60 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (10 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (6 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (5 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (4 of 19)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 3.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (2 of 19)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (1 of 19)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (24 of 25)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (23 of 25)ISO 2001-640 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (22 of 25)ISO 2001-900 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (21 of 25)ISO 2001-950 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (20 of 25)ISO 2001-600 sec at f - 8.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (19 of 25)ISO 2001-2900 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (18 of 25)ISO 2001-2400 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (17 of 25)ISO 2001-2400 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (16 of 25)ISO 2001-480 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (15 of 25)ISO 2001-280 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (14 of 25)ISO 2001-350 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (13 of 25)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (12 of 25)ISO 2001-210 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (11 of 25)ISO 2001-1700 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (10 of 25)ISO 2001-600 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (9 of 25)ISO 2001-480 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (8 of 25)ISO 2001-600 sec at f - 2.8

Conclusions

Likes

– Excellent image quality

– Weather sealing

– Lots of zoom versatility

Dislikes

– A bit too big and odd feeling in the hand. Sometimes, we felt like we were handling one of those big lens mugs that you use for coffee, but packed filled with glass.

The Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR is an exceptional lens in pretty much every way when it comes to the image quality. The lens is sharp–sharper than most of the company’s primes in fact. It also gives us great bokeh, excellent colors and everything that a photographer could ask for including weather sealing. But where we felt that it was a bit too much has to do with the ergonomics. A good lens for a mirrorless camera system will be light, small and something that you want to tote around with you everywhere. As it stands, With both the X Pro 1 and the XT1, all we want to do is bring small primes. They’re smaller, have a wider aperture, and give really amazing image quality.

However, this one lens can outdo the performance of many of the other lenses, but as I type this I’m only all too excited to slap the old 35mm f1.4 onto the X Pro 1.

Is this a great lens? Absolutely, but it’s one that we’d keep in our camera bag and relegate to special needs purposes when we really need a zoom lens.

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR receives 4 out of 5 stars. Want one? Check out B&H Photo’s listing.

Recommended Cameras and Accessories

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (1 of 25)ISO 4001-15 sec at f - 2.8

Fujifilm X-T1: The company’s only weather sealed camera feels best with this lens on it. Leave the primes to the more rangefinder styled camera bodies.