Fuji XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR Lens Review
Optically the Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR is incredible. It comes weather sealed and boasts a macro like close focusing distance which promotes creative shots and angles. For many the only drawback will be the focal length – 16mm (23mm equivalent) is awkward - it’s hard to fill that much frame wisely.
I’ve heard there are a few lenses in Fuji’s lineup that are “must-owns” (the 90mm and 35mm spring to mind) and you can include the 16mm f/1.4 as well. It is a metal and plastic lens that makes me think quality every time I pick it up. For a Fuji lens it lands on the larger and heavier side than most other XF lenses, but as compared to a full frame lens is very compact for both it's focal length and aperture. A clicky aperture ring accompanies a clutch-style manual focus ring: pushed forward it locks into place and makes it auto-focus only while pulled back switches it to manual mode. It’s a feature I wish other lenses would incorporate more often.
This lens ships with a petal lens hood which works great, but if you have the cash there's an outstanding square style lens hood that imparts a wonderful retro look. It'll set you back about $60 direct from Fuji or around $30 for a third party variant.
Picture quality is out of this world and creates magical stills with excellent contrast and sharpness. With an aperture of 1.4 you also get wonderful bokeh and low-light capability, which on a wide-angle is simply awesome. Subjects will jump out of the frame when shot wide open, especially when you get in close. Distortion is noticeable but well controlled. With a few clicks in post you can have most shots fixed and this allows for architectural shooting if that’s your thing.
The lens is great, but the focal length will be challenging if you aren't familiar with wide angle photography. I struggle to frame shots with this lens and often it becomes an exercise in frustration, before I change tack and approach the frame from a different
angle. This lens will force you to completely rethink how to capture your subjects. Varying the angle and playing with depth of field will lead me to a more interesting and focused picture in the end. It is a lens that makes you think and for me that’s great.
Many have written excellent reviews of this lens and I suggest this video review as well. In addition the gallery below includes a bunch of photos taken with this lens. As always I'm showing the final picture. Some include some minor distortion correction, but many I have left as taken.