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

The wide angle zoom that many of us have always wanted for the X series system is here in the form of the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R WR.

When using the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR on the Fujifilm X-T3, I was both enthused and confused. In some ways, it feels like a massive prime lens as the zooming mechanic is almost completely internal. But at the same time, it’s big. At f2.8 and with a ton of weather sealing, I can understand why though. This lens is designed for the photographer who needs the ability to shoot super but also access some zoom capabilities. If you’re the type of photographer who prefers prime lenses then you’ll be perhaps more delighted with a lens like their very good 16mm f1.4 R WR. However, I must admit that the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is an incredibly fun lens to use.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Solid image quality
  • Fast autofocus, which is expected
  • Lets you hand hold it to very low shutter speeds due to the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds
  • Weather sealed

Cons

  • This lens is pretty darned expensive at just under $2,000. I’m not quite sure I’m able to justify the price.

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR with the Fujifilm X-T3.

Tech Specs

Type XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR
Lens configuration 20 elements 13 groups (includes 4 aspherical, 3 ED, 3 super ED elements)
Focal length f=8-16mm (12 – 24mm)
Angle of view 121° – 83.2°
Max. aperture F2.8
Min. aperture F22
Aperture control
  • Number of blades 9(rounded diaphragm opening)
  • Step size 1/3EV (19 steps)
Focus range 25cm – ∞
Max. magnification 0.1x (telephoto)
External dimensions : Diameter x Length* (approx.)
* distance from camera lens mount flange
ø88mm x 121.5mm
Weight* (approx.)
*excluding caps
805g
Filter size
Accessories included Lens cap FLCP-8-16
Lens rear cap RLCP-001
Wrapping cloth

Ergonomics

The Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR, as you can see, is pretty big, but it’s a wide angle zoom so I’m willing to give it a pass for being this large. Additionally, most of Fujifilm’s zoom lenses are pretty big anyway. This is also a constant aperture lens. What you see here is the focus ring near the front, the zoom ring in the middle, and the aperture ring towards the mount. In the photo above, the lens cap is on.

The lens hood on the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is permanently attached to the lens. Thankfully, it doesn’t add too much overall size to the lens. Additionally, the front element is sort of bulbous.

Unfortunately, that means you won’t be able to use a lens filter with ease when affixing the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR to your camera.

Build Quality


During our testing, we took the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR out into some really heavy downpours and shared the video on our Instagram. As you can tell, it stood up to a heck of a lot of abuse. Now, how often would someone actually go out and shoot in the rain like this? Here in NYC I’ve been seeing more and more folks come out in the rain simply because of how beautiful the city becomes when it’s dark; all the neon signs are glowing are there are reflections galore.

We knew that the Fujifilm X-T3 was well sealed, but so too is the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR. This helps justify the price tag. You can see more of what we did to this lens in the lead image of this story.

Ease of Use

Of any lens like this, the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is bound to be one of the more difficult to use for some folks. When I say some folks, I mean specifically folks not used to the Fujifilm camera system or don’t know how to use aperture rings. If you’re grandfathered into the system at this point, then using the aperture ring will be second nature. Something that I wish Fujifilm did with this lens is give it the push/pull focusing ring to switch it immediately into manual mode. Now, one can argue that since it is such a wide angle lens, you sometimes may not need to focus it. But that’s not the truth at all. At f2.8, you’re going to get a whole lot of the scene in focus no matter what, but the lens still requires focusing.

Autofocus

The Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is a wide angle zoom lens with an f2.8 aperture. It’s bound to be fast to focus because of the laws of physics, and indeed it is. When using this lens with the X-T3 and the X-T2 we found focus acquisition in pretty much any lighting situation to be simple. It’s arguably a bit too wide for street photography, but we totally see this lens being used for landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, and travel work. For any of that, it’s going to be adequate enough to suit the needs of those photographers.

Image Quality

There are very few Fujifilm lenses where I don’t like the image quality all that much, and amazingly they all happen to be zoom lenses. The Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is a clear exception. The quality of the images are sharp, crisp, well colored no matter what film simulation you use, and just overall gorgeous. Throughout my time with the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR I created some images I ended up really, really liking. Knowing that I had a wide variety of focal lengths in my bag was reassuring.

Bokeh

As one would expect, the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is an f2.8 lens on an APS-C sensor camera. The best bokeh you’ll get is at the longer end of the lens and when shooting wide open while focusing closely. Essentially it’s null. You’d be a fool to buy this lens for the bokeh.

Chromatic Aberration

Besides the obvious perception distortion you’re going to get, the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR doesn’t have any issues in terms of color fringing or anything else. We’re quite pleased with how it performs even with the distortion anyway. (To be fair, I’ve been one to embrace distortion as a story telling element and I think that the rest of the industry should too instead of trying to make every image so incredibly clean and sterile.)

Color Rendition

The colors from the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR depend on what film simulation you’re using. In my case, Velvia, Astia, the newly revamped Provia and Pro Negative simulations on the X-T3 are really nice. Indeed, I think this lens sings hymns on the X-T3 when it comes to quality.

Sharpness

Are you kidding? It’s a Fujifilm lens and the sharpness is there no matter what. Full disclosure though, I’ve been using Fujifilm’s medium format camera bodies and once you get used to those, it’s tough to go back to APS-C.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Weather sealing
  • Variety of focal lengths
  • Fun to use
  • Fast autofocus
  • Image Quality

Dislikes

  • The price tag

The Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is meant to do serious work; it absolutely, totally can do that. It completes Fujifilm’s weather sealed, working zoom lens trinity and brings with it some major weather sealing and performance. In complete transparency, there isn’t a single thing wrong or awful with this lens at all. I can see so many photographers having fun with it while traveling, while working, etc. But on a personal note, I’m not sure I’d want to carry this with me vs a few weather sealed prime lenses that are smaller. We can talk for days about how you won’t need to switch out lenses, but the truth about that is that even if you have this many focal lengths in one lens, you’re probably going to default to only a few focal lengths anyway. Chances are you’ll also have two cameras on you. If you do, then your mind will probably only think in two focal lengths at a time.

However, the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is a very essential travel lens and if I were to bring any single lens from the zoom trinity, this would be it. The reason for this is because Fujifilm doesn’t any any really solid, super wide, weather sealed primes, with the exception of the 16mm f1.4 R WR. This can accompany the 35mm f2 R WR, 23mm f2 R WR, 50mm f2 R WR, and perhaps even the company’s 80mm f2.8 R OIS LM WR (though I’m personally not too partial to that last offering). Sure, you’ve got a whole lot of lenses with you, but they’re small and they embody the colloquial dream of mirrorless cameras–to be small and lightweight. The Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is light, but will still weigh down the camera when it is strapped across your chest. The quality you’re going to get is amazing for sure, but you’ll also need to justify a $1,999 price tag to yourself.

We’re awarding the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR five out of five stars.