Fuji 16-80mm Review
George Theodore, October 22, 2019
The Fuji 16-80mm, f/4 R OIS WR
I’ve had this lens for four weeks and got to use it in my workshops in Colorado’s San Juan Range and Maine’s Acadia National Park. All I can say is “wow!”. With the exception of ever so little softness around the edges at f/4, this lens is sharp, sharp, sharp! On top of that, the out-of-focus elements (bokeh) are a pure joy. A third big plus for infrared fans – no hot spot.
The lens is a 24-120mm “full frame” angle-of-view equivalent and is the perfect walk around lens. Though it doesn’t carry Fuji’s “Red Badge” given to it’s “pro level” lenses, this is a serious addition to Fuji’s lineup. Its minimum focus distance is 14 inches which allows for nice close-ups at 80mm with very nice bokeh.
The zoom damping is excellent. I took several images looking straight down and found no creep in the zoom. The specs call for a six-stop stabilization and a couple of images taken at 1/8 second were acceptably sharp and, for me, that’s pretty good. Steadier hands (or better field technique) will get sharper results. It rained at Acadia and the lens stood up very nicely to its WR spec. And you have to be verrry quiet to hear it auto-focus.
I used the lens on three camera bodies; the X-T3, X-H1 and the X-T30 (my infrared converted camera). I used it hand-held (a lot) with the X-H1 – that’s a 5-stop IBIS body plus the lens’s built-in OIS - and got great results. Normally, I would turn lens OIS off when tripod mounted but Fuji says don’t do it. Hah! You can’t. There’s no on-off switch for lens OIS; a slight negative perhaps. But the lens performed very well on the tripod with all three camera bodies.
For infrared, I went through the entire range of f/4 to f/22 a stop at a time at 16, 23, 35, 50 and 80mm (the actual markings on the lens) and detected no hot spots. This is great news for infrared enthusiasts.
At home, I compared this lens to the 16-55mm, f/2.8 – one of my favorites, at f/4, f/8 and f/16. I detected no difference in sharpness when zoomed to 100%. The 16-55mm is much heavier due to its f/2.8 capabilities. Yes, we lose a stop. But, for me, the lightness makes up for it. Given my two metal shoulders and a tender lower back, that’s a big deal.