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Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR Review | Travel Photography with Photo Samples

Updated: Mar 11

The Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 has always been in the shadow of the 16mm f/1.4 variant and most recent fast wide angle Fujifilm 18mm f/1.4, but it shouldn't. Being the most compact of the three it has that ace up its sleeve for those that don't need the faster aperture and value compactness. This 24mm equivalent lens is a gem for photography and video.


Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 I view of Toronto from CN Tower
Aerial view of Toronto Ontario Canada from the CN Tower

My experience with the 24mm equivalent


Personally I haven't always loved the 24mm equivalent focal length, probably because I haven't forced myself to use it. I've always bypassed it even on zoom lenses that started at 24mm . I've always used the 28mm or 35mm for one prime lens travel and general photography purposes.


On my last trip to Toronto, Canada I decided to take the Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 along with the 35mm f/2 for tighter work. My reason for taking it was to do some vlogging as well as photography. I had the Fujifilm X-S10 as my primary hybrid camera and would usually have the 23mm f/2 for other trips. Although great for photography it wouldn't work for vlogging because once I turn the camera around it would be too tight of shot.



My initial apprehension was using the 16mm for photography. Would it be too wide at a 24mm equivalent? Thankfully I was able to make it work and I was very pleased with the results.


As a family man I'm always very close to my subjects and a 35mm or wider is always a must. I use to think 28mm was the limit but 24mm is good too.





Aperture of f/2.8


Most will look at the alternative 16mm lenses mostly for the faster aperture, but do you really need it? We all clamor for a zoom lens to be f/2.8 but why not a prime? The benefit for this lens is the size. I personally value size as it doesn't hinder my bag or give me an excuse not to want to use it because of weight or bulk.


One thing to keep in mind with Fuji cameras is that high ISO is really decent. I have no problem going up to 6400. In most cases with a 2.8 aperture I rarely go above 3200.


Here is a weight comparison of the Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 versus other similar lenses:

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Now none of these lenses are exactly heavy, but they are bigger and more than twice the weight of the f/2.8 lens. The smaller lens really keeps the camera body small and light and less cumbersome for long travel days where you're holding the camera in lots of positions for photography and video purposes.



Vlogging


Another benefit is being able to use it for vlogging and photography. I use to love the Fuji 18mm f/2 but the downfall was that it was terrible for video and its not quite wide enough to vlog with. The 18mm doesn't have a proper autofocus motor for video the way the Fujicron f/2's (23mm, 35mm, 50mm) were made thereafter. They all have fast and silent autofocus motors and are great for photography and video. The 18mm was from the first generation of lenses that were not meant for video work.


The 16mm isn't an f/2 obviously, but is made in the same way as that f/2 generation with silent and fast autofocus. And being a 24mm equivalent, it was just wide enough for me to turn the camera around and vlog with the X-S10 with no issue. Ideally I think a 20mm equivalent would be the sweet spot for vlogging but then 20mm is not so great for general photography. That can be too wide and therefore I settled on that 24mm is a great vocal length for me.


Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 vs Fujifilm 10-24mm f/4 for vlogging


I also own the Fujifilm 10-24mm f/4 version 1 and when it comes to hybrid photo and video they do share some duties. However, both have their pros and cons and I consider them complements and rivals at the same time.


Photography


When it comes to photography there are three main differences: size, aperture, focal range.


- The 10-24mm is 385 grams versus 155 grams of the 16mm

- The 10-24mm has a constant f/4 aperture vs the 16mm's f/2.8

- The zoom range of the 10-24mm is equivalent to 15-36mm while the 16mm is 24mm equivalent


What you value most will matter. When I need the versatility in good light then the 10-24mm will be my choice. When I want compactness and low light capabilities the 16mm will be my go to.


Video


I use both for video and where the 10-24mm is most useful for me is when I shoot indoors for my YouTube channel or talking head stuff. In those situations I'm controlling the lighting and the f/4 aperture is not an issue for me. Before I owned it I did use the 16mm in the same way but the wider ability of the 10-24mm just helps in smaller spaces.


When traveling I prefer the 16mm since I can handle dual purposes pretty well. I has a fast enough aperture, its wide enough to vlog with, and not to cumbersome on the camera body.


The Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 R WR | The best lens for travel photography and vlogging



Conclusion


The Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR has good image quality especially when stopped down. Its small, lightweight, weather sealed, fast and quiet autofocus which is excellent for video, and a 24mm equivalent that great for street, travel, interiors, and landscapes. It fits well into the f2 prime lens collection even though its a f/2.8 but that helps make it a bargain.


For me, its the perfect hybrid lens for my Fujifilm ecosystem and will remain in my travel bag for the forseeable future.





Fuji 16mm f2.8 Photo Samples



My name is Jason Logan. I'm a photographer and content creator from Jersey City, NJ

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