Review: Fujifilm 16mm F2.8 R WR (The Adventurer’s Lens)

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR is a pretty great lens, but I still prefer the f1.4 version.

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is something I wasn’t expecting from the company; they already had a very good 16mm f1.4 R WR lens. However, considering the company’s philosophy of bringing things down to a more elementary audience in a more affordable, weather sealed form, it played out into being right in line with what they do. This is a lens that isn’t all that bad, but if you own the Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 R WR, you don’t need this. I’ll preface the review that way, but also note the very affordable price point of this lens.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Weather sealed
  • Fun to use
  • Affordable
  • Good for documentary work and travel
  • Incredibly fast autofocus

Cons

  • Not sure why there isn’t an effective manual focus distance scale for hyperfocal length shooting
  • It’s a wide angle lens with a relatively slow aperture for an APS-C camera system
  • You can get the 16mm f1.4 on eBay or used for good prices. And you also get two stops more of light and weather sealing in addition to snappy autofocus.

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens with the Fujifilm XH1 and Fujifilm XT2.

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR taken from the official Fujifilm press kit

TYPE FUJINON LENS XF16mmF2.8 R WR
Lens construction 10 elements 8 groups
(includes 2 aspherical elements)
Focal length (35mm format equivalent) f=16mm (24mm)
Angle of view 83.2°
Max. aperture F2.8
Min. aperture F22
Aperture control
Number of blades
Stop size
9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
1/3EV (19 stops)
Focus range 17cm and beyond
Max. magnification 0.13x
External dimensions: Diameter x Length (approx.) distance from camera lens mount flange 60.0mm x 45.4mm
Weight (approx.) (excluding caps, hoods) 155g
Filter size 49mm
Accessories included Lens cap FLCP-49
Lens rear cap RLCP-001
Lens hood
Wrapping cloth

 

Ergonomics

Taken from our first impressions post

Here’s the Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR mounted onto the brand new Fujifilm X-T30. That hood is a very curious looking one.

The Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR is very compact and features a minimalist design. The only thing you’ll find on the lens barrel are the focus ring and the aperture control ring.

You’ll find all of the usual suspects etched onto the front rim of the lens, including the focal length (16mm), maximum constant aperture (f2.8), as well as the filter thread size (49mm).

In case there was any confusion as to whether or not the Fuji XF 16mm f2.8 was weather resistant, Fujifilm even etched it onto the bottom of the lens barrel.

 

Build Quality

As you can see from the lead image of this blog post, the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is weather sealed. Granted, we’ve put our gear through much worse weather before. Fujifilm’s cameras and lenses, when stated to be weather resistant via the the WR designation, are often pretty great. During our usage of the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens, it never failed. However, Spring in NYC hasn’t yielded us a whole lat of rain so far. so we didn’t get to do a major torture test in a real world testing condition. Photographers who mount this lens to their camera for travel work will be happy to know about its sealing abilities. However, due to the size, it’s probably best suited for the X-T3 and Fujifilm X Pro 2 than it is for the X-H1. The XH1 tends to be chunky, and so the 16mm f1.4 R WR could be better suited to it ergonomically.

The exterior of the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens feels every bit as solid as many of Fujifilm’s other lenses. On top of that it is lightweight, which translates into your back potentially needing less of a massage after a nine mile hike with this combo.

 

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is an autofocus lens first. Just mount it into a camera, point, shoot, and enjoy the photo. With that said, Fujifilm didn’t add in a zone focusing scale with the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens. Perhaps because the lens is so small and, just like many of their other, small WR primes, it’s designed to be an autofocus lens first while being super small.

 

Autofocus

When mounted to the Fujifilm XT2 with the latest firmware, the autofocus of the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is pretty good. But when put on the XH1, it’s super fast–especially when it’s set to automatically choose the focusing points. You’ll experience slightly slower performance when you’re choosing the focusing point, but that is to be expected. For street photography, I’d probably still recommend the zone focusing abilities of the 16mm f1.4 R WR lens unless you plan to do the “photo wait” method and sit there until something photograph-worthy happens in the scene. But for documentary and travel work, I think that the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is more than quick enough to make you want to tote it along vs using your phone’s camera.

But here’s where I’m very proud of what the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens does with the Fujifilm XH1. When using it side by side with the Leica Q2, the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens and XH1 were able to gain autofocus on her face in the scene but the Leica couldn’t. That’s amazing to me! To that end, providing that all your firmware is up to date, you should have no major qualms with autofocus.

 

Image Quality

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens has pretty decent image quality overall. It is a sharp lens, but to me there is nothing that really sparks magic from its images. If anything, the great image quality comes from the sensor output. When used with Velvia, Classic Chrome, or Provia, the image quality will be gorgeous. However, in every way, I feel the Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 lens outdoes the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens except when it comes to controlling purple fringing. In fact, that’s the only place where this lens beats the 16mm.

Bokeh

To get any sort of meaningful bokeh from the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens, you’ll need to shoot with it wide open and focus closely. What that means is that in situations where you might want to use this for portraiture, you’ll be pretty out of luck with separating the background. To speak candidly, phones can do a better job using computational photography. For this reason, it might be best to use this lens for content like food, products, or other random objects/things like your dog. But it’s otherwise not my favorite.

Above is a photo from the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens and below is from the 16mm f1.4 R WR. See how big the difference can be? It’s pretty evident the further you go away from the subject what two more stops of light can do for creating a smoother bokeh. At the APS-C camera level combined with wide angle lenses, you’ll need all the extra aperture you can get.

Chromatic Aberration

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens doesn’t suffer from extremely problematic distortion issues that we can see. Is it there? Yes, but it’s mostly around the outside edges. Above is a photo pretty much straight from the camera and below we can see Capture One 12’s correction. The difference is honestly only apparent when you put them side by side. However, you’re not going to have major complaints about it otherwise.

Notice the distortion correction around the edges

Color Rendition

As with any other Fujifilm lens, the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens relies heavily on the sensor output and the specific exposure that the photographer snapped. This is due to how the X-trans sensor works. To that end, Fujifilm’s newest line of prime lenses leave a look that is very digital and not analog in appearance. With that said, the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is indeed capable of rendering beautiful colors.

Sharpness

While the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is capable of rendering sharp images at f5.6, this lens isn’t really anything to write home about when it comes to sharpness. We saw similar with the Fujifilm 23mm f2 and Fujifilm 35mm f2. We think that part of the sacrifice of not getting the bigger lenses is arguably worse optics. Again though, you won’t see the results unless you’re specifically pixel peeping. Arguably, this helps to add to that “film effect” that folks are so crazy about.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Small size
  • Cheap price
  • Autofocus speed

Dislikes

  • I’m not sure it really needed to be created with the exception of delivering a more affordable wide angle lens option.

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR isn’t at all a bad lens, but I just feel like this is synonymous to the Nolan Batman Trilogy vs Batfleck when comparing it to the 16mm f1.4 R WR lens. The latter movies had their good moments that were entertaining all the same, but at the end of it all you’re left scratching your head. For a user like me, I’m not going to move away from my Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 R WR lens, which I gave a fair amount of praise to. But when I look at the Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR, I know that this is a lens for the user who wants an affordable autofocus lens with weather sealing. And for that user, Fujifilm is delivering. Just know that you’re probably going to be looking longingly at its older sibling.

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR receives three out of five stars. Want one? You can snag one on Amazon.