I’m a big fan of wide-angle lenses. So I was intrigued to try this lens out with Fujifilm’s latest camera in their X-T series: the X-T5. It’s a camera that Fujifilm is pitching as a return to an emphasis on stills photography rather than video. (You can find my review of the Fujifilm X-T5 here.)
Like its predecessors, the X-T5 has an APS-C cropped sensor. So that means that the 8-16mm zoom of this lens is equivalent to around 12-24mm would be on a full-frame camera.
Lens Name & Codes
Like just about every other camera lens manufacturer out there, Fujifilm packs a bunch of codes into their product names.
This lens’s formal name is Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR. So let’s unpack what all those letters mean.
The XF refers to Fujifilm’s range of lenses specifically designed for their X-series cameras. Lenses in this series are designed to complement the X-Trans CMOS sensor used in X-series cameras and eliminate the low-pass filter to maximize sharpness.
The 8-16mm is the zoom range. Fujifilm X-series cameras have APS-C sensors with focal length multipliers of 1.5. So if you’re converting this to a 35mm equivalent, it has the perspective of a 12-24mm lens on a full-frame sensor.
The ƒ/2.8 shows, firstly, that it’s a relatively fast lens and, secondly, that it has a constant maximum aperture throughout the zoom range.
- R stands for aperture ring. What that means in practice is that you rotate the ring to change the aperture rather than using a dial on the camera itself. Some lenses do not include this separate aperture ring and rely entirely on the aperture being controlled by the camera itself. This lens has both.
- LM stands for linear motor, which refers to the mechanism driving the focus. This is the better of the two methods used in Fujifilm lenses.
- WR stands for weather resistant. The lens is sealed against dust and splashes of water. It’s not waterproof against submersion or sustained water exposure. I have more detailed information on this below.
- Nano-GI. This isn’t technically in the model name, but it is printed on the lens itself. It refers to Nano Gradient Index, a special lens coating used to reduce specific types of ghosting and flare. You can find more on it here.
There are also some codes that aren’t there but are nevertheless core characteristics of this lens.
- It’s an autofocus lens. It also has a full-time manual focus override.
- It’s an aspherical lens. What that means is that it doesn’t suffer from the typical lens distortion that you’d get at these very wide angles that bends lines that should be straight and creates a bulging look (like a fisheye lens, for example). More on this below.
Build & Handling
Like every other camera and lens I’ve used in Fujifilm’s X series, the overall build quality of this lens is excellent.
It feels solid to hold and shoot with. I haven’t run into any creep or slackness in the zoom rotation. And while I’ve mainly been using it in autofocus mode, the focus ring is also smooth and precise.
It has a small lens hood attached permanently to the lens body. (i.e., you can’t remove it).
Given that it’s such a wide field of view, it’s only a very slim profile hood–anything more would interfere with the lens’s field of view. So its light-shielding power is pretty small. But it does add a little bump and scratch protection to the bulging front glass element.
The fixed lens hood means that a standard snap-on lens cap wouldn’t work. Instead, it comes with a dedicated lens cap that goes over the top of the hood. If you need a replacement, it’s model FLCP-8-16.
Standard screw-on filters aren’t compatible with this lens. As with most lenses this wide, the front glass element is bulbous, so a flat filter wouldn’t go on. And there’s nothing to attach one to, anyway—there isn’t a filter thread. And it doesn’t have a rear drop-in filter slot.
But several manufacturers have made dedicated filter holders for this lens for 100mm and 150mm plate filters. You can find them here.
This lens is weather sealed against dust and moisture. That’s what the “WR” in its name refers to.
Of course, that makes the most sense with a weather-sealed body like the Fujifilm X-T5 that I’ve been using it with. Fujifilm doesn’t seem to publish a specific IPX rating. But this is what they say about the level of protection:
Dustproof and splashproof lenses with WR in their names can be used in light rain or in dusty environments by attaching them to a dustproof and splashproof camera. In addition, if you continue to use it while it is wet for a long time, water may seep inside, so if it gets wet due to rain, etc., immediately wipe off the water droplets and store it.
Constant Maximum Aperture
It has a maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8, which is around the typical maximum aperture for zoom lenses that are considered “pro-level.”
And that maximum aperture is constant throughout the zoom range. That’s worth mentioning, because that’s not always the case with zoom lenses–some have a shifting maximum aperture depending on the level of zoom. But a constant maximum aperture is often a sign of a higher-end zoom lens.
Its configuration is with 20 elements in 13 groups. that includes 4 aspherical elements, 3 ED elements, and 3 super ED elements. (The ED and Super ED parts refer to what’s known as extra-low dispersion glass, which is a specially formulated glass used in lenses to reduce ghosting and chromatic aberration.)
It has an angle of view ranging from 121° when fully zoomed out to 83.2° when fully zoomed in. I’ve posted separately some visual examples of what this means in practice.
It has a maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8 throughout the zoom range, and it has a minimum aperture of ƒ/22.
It has 9 rounded blades. In theory, that helps make for a nice, rounded, smooth bokeh. But in practice, an ultra-wide lens like this is hard to get any meaningful bokeh.
On the other hand, an ultra-wide lens like this is also very forgiving with focus because of the naturally deep depth of field.
This is an aspherical lens, meaning that it uses optical design to compensate for the natural bulging lens distortion that you’d get with a non-aspherical lens this wide.
The optical side of it is good. But it’s not perfect. There’s still some optical distortion, although it’s not much.
In reality, you’re going to get the best results from a combination of the lens’s physical optics augmented by some digital magic. And you’ll find that the camera applies that digital magic automatically to the images to process in-camera. If you dig down to the unprocessed RAW capture, you can see that the aspherical performance of the lens isn’t all you see in the images coming out of the camera. They’ve been “fixed” without you seeing the pre-corrected version.
It’s not a small or light lens, by any means. But it’s a nice lens to shoot with. Here are some shots I’ve taken with it. I’m also putting together a larger selection with more examples.
These were all originally shot in RAW and have only been lightly processed in Lightroom. What I have not done is apply any post-processing optical corrections, although normally I would add some on some of these.
Things Worth Knowing
- If your lens seems to be stuck in manual focus mode, it’s an easy fix. But unlike some other lenses, the switch isn’t on the lens itself–it’s on the camera. Precisely where to find the camera’s focus mode switch will vary by camera model. On the Fujifilm X-T5, for instance, it’s a small switch on the front of the camera that has M (Manual Focus), C (Continuous AF), or S (Single AF).
- This lens has an aperture ring. So you can change the aperture using that ring. But you can also slip the lens into Auto aperture mode so that you can control the aperture on the camera or put it functionally into the equivalent of P mode. You do that by turning the aperture ring to the A setting.
- To get P mode equivalent, turn the aperture ring to A, turn the shutter speed dial on the top of the camera to A, and set the sensitivity/ISO dial to A.
- You can find the instruction manual here [PDF].
What’s in the Box?
- Front lens cap (dedicated, model FLCP-8-16)
- Rear lens cap (RLCP-001)
- soft wrap
Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Specs
|Model||FUJINON XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR|
|Lens configuration||20 elements 13 groups (includes 4 aspherical, 3 ED, 3 super ED elements)|
|Focal length||f=8-16mm (12 – 24mm in 35mm format equivalent)|
|Angle of view||121° – 83.2°|
|Aperture control||Number of blades : 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)|
|Step size 1/3EV (19 steps)|
|Focus range||25cm – ∞|
|Max. magnification||0.1x (telephoto)|
|External dimensions: Diameter x Length (approx.)||ø88mm x 121.5mm|
|Accessories included||Lens cap FLCP-8-16|
Lens rear cap RLCP-001
I haven’t found much not to like about this lens. Sure, it’d be nice if it was smaller and lighter. But the laws of optical physics have quite a lot of say in that (as does wanting a solid lens that’s not so fragile as to break every time you take it on location).
The 8mm end, in particular, adds a lot of drama to grand interiors without the distracting bulge of a fisheye lens.
I’ve found it to be reliably sharp across the frame and to perform very well overall. As I said, I’ve really found nothing to complain about. It’s a premium lens, and it’s priced accordingly, but I’ve found it to live up to the expectations that come with that.
This is not going to be a one-and-done everyday lens for a lot of photographers. It’s very wide, and it’s not much good for a “normal” or telephoto perspective. Wide portraits capturing context can work well, but it’s not much good for traditional portraiture, even when zoomed in fully. It can be very good for landscapes and general travel photography, but, again, you’ll probably want to have a longer focal length in the bag you can reach for when the 8-16mm is just too wide.
Fujifilm is rumored to be releasing an 8mm prime sometime soon, but as of the time of writing, it hasn’t been officially announced yet. It should be cheaper, in part because it’s not aiming for Fujifilm’s premium red badge (i.e., Pro) series.
Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Price & Availability
Fujifilm has set an MSRP of $1499 for this lens.
Check the latest price and availability at: