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Lens review

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16 mm f/1.4 R WR

12 August 2015
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros
  • solid and sealed casing,
  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • sensible image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • low distortion – noticeably lower than the results of the rivals,
  • very low astigmatism,
  • good performance against bright light,
  • silent, fast and accurate autofocus.

Cons:

  • too high longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • distinct vignetting,
  • significant coma,
  • some problems with spherical aberration.
The Fujifilm company took on a very difficult task. Producing a small lens with an angle of view exceeding 80 degrees and an aperture as fast as f/1.4 means raising the standards very high indeed; so high that no other mirrorless system is able to offer a similar combination of parameters. Voigtlander tried to combine very good aperture fastness and a wide angle of view but they failed spectacularly. Fujifilm on the other hand fared much better. Of course there are slip-ups: even though you could expect high vignetting levels the slip-ups concerning weak coma and longitudinal chromatic aberration correction weren’t that obvious.

Still despite those shortcomings the Fujinon XF 16 mm f/1.4 R WR should be assessed positively. It provides useful images already from the maximum relative aperture, gives you a high resolution level on stopping down and it corrects geometric deformations noticeably better than its rivals; what’s more its performance against bright light is good. If you add to that a solid, sealed casing and a good autofocus you get a very comfortable tool to take your photos with, a tool which equivalent cannot be found among the line-ups of direct rivals.

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By the way that’s why I like the Fujifilm system so much. Perhaps they don’t manage to produce a perfect device all the time and often their prices are exorbitant but they follow their own path, offering from the very beginning advanced optical constructions with interesting, original parameters. They stick up in a positive way; small wonder their system enjoys a very good reception among photographers. Will they have enough courage and possibilities to continue it that way? I keep my fingers crossed.