Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f2.8 review - Quality

Quality

To evaluate the real-life performance of the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 lens at 16mm, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a Fujifilm XT1 mounted on a tripod. My results at 24, 35 and 55mm are lower on the page. The XT1 was set to 200 ISO and the lens focused on the center of the composition. The corner and center crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles, right, and presented at 100%.

For my lens tests on other systems I normally shoot in RAW and process the files with corrections disabled to see what’s happening behind the scenes. But the more I shoot with the Fuji X system, the more I appreciate the out-of-camera JPEG performance, especially when using Lens Modulation Optimisation (LMO) on the XT1 with Fujinon lenses. I’ve also found few RAW converters which can do justice to the X-Trans sensor. So in line with my other XF lens tests, I’m going to present crops from unaltered out-of-camera JPEGs here (with LMO enabled as default) as I believe they show the lens in the best light. I did of course also shoot the scene in RAW and if I find a workflow which delivers good results in the future I’ll update this review with RAW comparisons as well.

Starting with the lens set to its widest 16mm focal length, there’s a little softness in the extreme corner at the maximum aperture, but if you look only a little closer in, the quality sharpens up. By the time you reach the central portion of the image, there’s a high level of detail even at f2.8. Close the aperture a stop to f4 and the extreme corner sharpness improves and by f5.6 it’s looking pretty good; indeed the sweetspot for detail across the image is between f5.6 and f8, although thanks to LMO, the f11 sample looks pretty good too. Only at f16 does some evidence of softening due to diffraction kick-in, and even then it’s only really a big problem at f22.

One thing that doesn’t clear-up as the aperture closes though is coloured fringing in high contrast areas when shooting at 16mm. In my tests it only appeared in the extreme corners, but it’s evident that the camera’s JPEG engine can’t or won’t correct it with the current firmware at the time of testing. That said, I tried opening the RAW files in Adobe Camera RAW and it was easy to eliminate it with the tools there, so I’m not overly concerned.

I should note though, when testing the XF 10-24mm alongside the XF 16-55mm, the former didn’t suffer from coloured fringing in the corners at 16mm, and it also managed to deliver similar degrees of real-life detail. To be fair though the 16mm focal length is in the middle of the 10-24mm range, whereas it’s an extreme end on the 16-55mm.

Fujinon XF 16-55mm corner sharpness
16mm on Fujifilm XT1
Fujinon XF 16-55mm center sharpness
16mm on Fujifilm XT1
16-55mm at 16mm f2.8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 16mm f2.8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 16mm f4, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 16mm f4, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 16mm f5.6, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 16mm f5.6, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 16mm f8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 16mm f8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 16mm f11, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 16mm f11, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 16mm f16, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 16mm f16, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 16mm f22, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 16mm f22, 100% crop from center

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f2.8 Quality at 24mm

To evaluate the real-life performance of the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 lens at 24mm, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a Fujifilm XT1 mounted on a tripod. My results at 35 and 55mm are lower on the page. The XT1 was set to 200 ISO and the lens focused on the center of the composition. The corner and center crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles, right, and presented at 100%.

Zoom the XF 16-55mm lens to 24mm for a 36mm equivalent focal length and any evidence of coloured fringing seen at 16mm has essentially disappeared. I’d say the corner performance is also a little better at the large apertures too with only minor softening evident at f2.8 and f4. Once again the maximum sharpness occurs at f5.6 and f8, with f11 also looking respectable. And again while LMO does its best to deliver a fair result at f16, there’s visible softening due to diffraction, which becomes significantly worse at f22.

I also tested the XF 10-24mm immediately afterwards at 24mm and found it delivered quite a soft result at f4, even in the middle of the frame. The XF 10-24mm only matched the XF 16-55mm at 24mm when closed to around f8. As noted above though, this is expected as 24mm represents the long-end of the 10-24mm, but sits in the middle of the 16-55mm range.

 

Fujinon XF 16-55mm corner sharpness
24mm on Fujifilm XT1
Fujinon XF 16-55mm center sharpness
24mm on Fujifilm XT1
16-55mm at 24mm f2.8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 24mm f2.8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 24mm f4, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 24mm f4, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 24mm f5.6, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 24mm f5.6, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 24mm f8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 24mm f8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 24mm f11, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 24mm f11, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 24mm f16, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 24mm f16, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 24mm f22, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 24mm f22, 100% crop from center

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f2.8 Quality at 35mm

To evaluate the real-life performance of the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 lens at 35mm, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a Fujifilm XT1 mounted on a tripod. My results at 55mm are lower on the page. The XT1 was set to 200 ISO and the lens focused on the center of the composition. The corner and center crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles, right, and presented at 100%.

Zoom the XF 16-55mm to 35mm for a roughly 50mm equivalent field of view and you can expect pretty good sharpness right into the corners even wide-open. Sure there’s a little softness at the larger apertures, but I’d still say this is pretty good, especially at f2.8 in the corners. There’s also no coloured fringing or other artefacts to mention.

As before, you can expect a boost in crispness and detail if you close to f5.6 or f8, and there’s little if any discernable loss at f11 due to diffraction. At f16 the details are becoming softer, but it’s still quite usable, although at f22 there’s visible losses in fine detail.

 

Fujinon XF 16-55mm corner sharpness
35mm on Fujifilm XT1
Fujinon XF 16-55mm center sharpness
35mm on Fujifilm XT1
16-55mm at 35mm f2.8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 35mm f2.8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 35mm f4, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 35mm f4, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 35mm f5.6, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 35mm f5.6, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 35mm f8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 35mm f8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 35mm f11, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 35mm f11, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 35mm f16, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 35mm f16, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 35mm f22, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 35mm f22, 100% crop from center

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f2.8 Quality at 55mm

To evaluate the real-life performance of the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 lens at 55mm, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a Fujifilm XT1 mounted on a tripod. The XT1 was set to 200 ISO and the lens focused on the center of the composition. The corner and center crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles, right, and presented at 100%.

With the lens at its maximum focal length of 55mm, there’s some softness in the extreme corners at f2.8. This gradually improves as you move away from the corner or close the aperture though. Staying in the extreme corner, you’ll need to close to f8 for the maximum detail, although it’s pretty good at f5.6. As before, diffraction begins to kick-in from f11, but doesn’t really become an issue until you’re fully-closed to f22.

Meanwhile towards the middle of the image, the XF 16-55mm delivers very crisp results at 55mm even at the maximum aperture. Sure there’s some benefit to stopping down a little if you’re shooting a highly detailed scene like this one, but for macro shots or portraits you’ll find the performance wide-open at 55mm is very respectable.

 

Fujinon XF 16-55mm corner sharpness
55mm on Fujifilm XT1
Fujinon XF 16-55mm center sharpness
55mm on Fujifilm XT1
16-55mm at 55mm f2.8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 55mm f2.8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 55mm f4, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 55mm f4, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 55mm f5.6, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 55mm f5.6, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 55mm f8, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 55mm f8, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 55mm f11, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 55mm f11, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 55mm f16, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 55mm f16, 100% crop from center
16-55mm at 55mm f22, 100% crop from corner
16-55mm at 55mm f22, 100% crop from center

 
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