The Good. Fujifilm’s flagship XF standard zoom lens — the XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR — is a reliable, multi-talented beast that’s designed for professionals yet fit for hobbyists and casual shooters. Across the board sharpness—especially at the widest angle, nine aperture blades for smooth bokeh, and a constant F2.8 aperture make it an excellent, versatile lens. That’s just to start. With three ED glass lens elements, three aspherical lens elements and a Nano-GI coating, there’s minimal chromatic and spherical aberration as well as very little distortion and virtually no signs of ghosting and flare. Using a twin linear motor, Fujifilm also guarantees a quiet and high-speed autofocus. And finally, they slapped on 14 sealing points for dust, weather and low temperature (down to 14°F) resistance to ensure that it performs beautifully in the field.
The Bad. There’s not a lot to complain about. The XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is big in size, but not heavy or overly bulky. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s not overly expensive either. There’s some softness at the smallest aperture (F22), but that is best avoided by stopping up. One thing we found lacking is the optical image stabilization, which the cheaper, albeit inferior, XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS has.
The Bottom Line. The XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is perhaps Fujifilm’s best performing standard zoom lens. It produces clear, sharp images and nice bokeh, and it boasts superb weather sealing, making for a versatile glass that’s great for portrait, landscape, nature and street photography. If you’re traveling and prefer to travel light, this is an excellent lens to take.
Pick This Up If… you need a terrific standard zoom lens to round out your gear or if you’re constantly on the road and need a multipurpose lens. Admittedly, Fujifilm has cheaper alternatives, but none of those compare to the image quality the XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR produces.
(F2.8, 1/5800, ISO 250, 22mm)
Though Fujifilm has a couple of standard zoom lenses that are considerably cheaper, their image quality just doesn’t compare to Fujifilm’s flagship XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR. It’s professional grade with a professional-level price tag, but its performance and number of features are worth a casual shooter’s investment.
Admittedly, it’s not perfect. It’s slightly on the bigger side; it doesn’t have, for some reason, the optical image stabilization that its less expensive peers boast; and there’s some noticeable softness at F22. But we think that its features and performance more than make up for these inadequacies.
It’s a great travel companion, if you want to pack light, due to its versatility, and you can use it to capture beautiful portraits as well as remarkable landscape, street and travel photos. If you’re a pro, it’s a valuable, high-quality addition to your arsenal.
(F2.8, 28 sec, ISO 800, 17mm)
We testing the XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR alongside the new X-H1 (and a couple other lenses), both of which were loaned to us by Fujifilm for review purposes. Stay tuned for our other lens reviews. In the meantime, check out our X-H1 review HERE.
- Model: 16443072
- Fits: X-mount cameras
- Focal Length: 16-55mm (24-84mm)
- Maximum Aperture: F2.8
- Minimum Aperture: F22
- Angle of View (diagonal): 83.2°- 29°
- Lens Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups (includes 3 aspherical and 3 extra low dispersion elements）
- Minimum Focus Distance: Normal 0.6m – ∞ (whole zoom position), Macro 30cm – 10m (Wide), 40cm – 10m (Telephoto)
- Maximum Magnification Ratio: 0.16x (Telephoto)
- Filter Size: ø77mm
- Maximum Diameter: ø83.3mm
- Length: 106.0mm (Wide) / 129.5mm (Telephoto)
- Weight: 655g
- Diaphragm Blade Number: 9 (circular)
- Image Stabilization Performance: none
- Standard Accessories: hood, front and rear lens caps
(F2.8, 1/4400, ISO 250, 22.7mm)
A black, all-metal finish encapsulates this big (ø83.3mm x 106.0mm on wide), weighty (23.1 ounces) yet well-balanced glass that incorporates several features for excellent image quality. It might feel a bit off with the smaller Fujifilm bodies, but it actually felt great on the X-H1 with and without the battery grip. The ribbed rings are apparently made of polycarbonate material (not rubberized), which means they’ve got a nice feel and lint-repellant.
XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR’s weather sealing definitely deserves a spotlight. Fourteen sealing points on the barrel not only makes it weather and dust resistance, but also able to function in low-temperature situations down to 14°F (-10°C). We didn’t get the chance to test it out on a rainy day or in snow. However, we were able to take it out to a couple of sand dunes as well as outdoors on a windy day, and it fared as well as expected.
Additionally, the HT-EBC + Nano-GI coating on the lens surface considerably reduces ghosting and flare.
(F2.8, 1/2700, ISO 200, 31.1mm)
For a lens made for smaller, more compact bodies, the XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR does feel a little on the big and bulky side, especially next to the compact XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS. To be fair to it, however, it’s something you get used to and it doesn’t really get in the way of shooting. Additionally, it only goes from 106mm to 129.5mm max so it isn’t not that much bigger when zoomed all the way.
As with many X-mounts, it boasts three rings for zooming, focusing and aperture. The zoom and focus rings perform beautifully. On the other hand, the aperture ring, while decent, has a small flaw. It’s got a good tactile feedback, yes, but it doesn’t have enough grip on it to prevent accidental turns. During our tests, we found ourselves constantly adjusting the aperture because the ring turned too easily during our handling.
We hoped this was just an issue with that particular one. Unfortunately, we experienced the same issue with the XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR we were testing at the same time.
SPEED & FOCUS
(F2.8, 1/7500, ISO 200, 16mm)
The accurate, quiet (though not completely silent), and fast autofocus system, thanks to its twin linear motor, works great, especially with a body like the X-H1, which has 91 phase detection AF points. And apparently, the XF 16-55mm F2.8 has one of the fastest autofocus systems in the X mount family, with a top speed of up to 0.06 second.
(F2.8, 1/640, ISO 400, 34.2mm)
It’s not always consistently fast or accurate, as we experienced some hits and misses especially with moving subjects. However, it’s generally pretty reliable. You probably won’t be using it for fast action shots, but it works beautifully with less moving subjects and in even low-light conditions.
(F2.8, 1/950, ISO 400, 36.5mm)
(F2.8, 1/420, ISO 400, 47mm)
Thanks to its nine rounded aperture blades, the XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is designed to render smooth, circular bokeh.
(F2.8, 1/900, ISO 400, 55mm)
They’re not as clear on the wide end, but they get creamier and better defined at the longer end, with 55mm producing nice, well-defined ones at f/2.8. They’re not going to be the best and most beautiful bokeh you’ll ever get, but they’ll do the job for nice portraits.
(F2.8, 1/800, ISO 400, 55mm)
(F2.8, 1/480, ISO 200, 16mm)
Among the main things that really separate this camera from Fuji’s other standard zoom lenses is its excellent performance in image quality. The XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is known among Fuji fans for its sharpness, and we have found this to be true. Right off the bat, at F2.8, the first thing you will notice is a nice crisp image from corner to corner, even if it does show some signs of softness at F22.
Plus, thanks to its three ED and three Aspherical elements, spherical aberration is well kept to a minimum, and although we have seen signs of purple fringing, they are also minimal and very subtle.
(F5.6, 1/25, ISO 200, 20.6mm)
Another thing that impressed us with this lens is that we experienced very minimal flare it’s almost insignificant, and haven’t seen any signs of ghosting, resulting in crystal clear images with zero haze. It’s all thanks to the Nano-GI coating on the lens surface that reduces the reflected light.
Barrel distortion is kept at bay as well. Not that there’s none, but there’s very little of it, and most likely at 16mm. It’s also very easily adjusted in post, which is what we did.
Little to moderate vignetting might be more perceptible than anything else, with the corners noticeably darker than the center. But you can reduce it by stepping your aperture down a few stops when shooting during certain strong lighting conditions.
(F2.8, 1/480, ISO 400, 35.3mm)
- Corner to corner sharpness
- Weather sealing
- Constant aperture of f/2.8
- Minimal aberration, distortion, ghosting and flare
- Fast, quiet AF
- Aperture ring
- Bigger size
- Pricier than Fuji’s other standard zoom lens
- No OIS
(F3.2, 1/3500, ISO 250, 36.5mm)
The XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR might be steeper in price, but if we’re being honest, it’s a small price to pay for the much better quality it offers.
(F22, 1/80, ISO 200, 16mm)
Not only are you getting moisture, dust and low-temperature resistance, as well as a speedy, quiet autofocus and an aperture ring to offer you a better creative workflow, you also get that excellent image quality with zero to little image degradation, a constant F2.8 aperture in all focal lengths, and a whole lot of versatility.
(F2.8, 1/640, ISO 200, 16mm)
It’s got some flaws—it’s big size and the fact that it has no optical image stabilization—but these won’t have a massive or direct impact on its actual performance.
Overall, we vote for yes for this lens.
The XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is a versatile standard zoom lens with excellent features like weather sealing and fast, quiet autofocus.