Fujifilm XF 16mm f1.4 verdict:
The Fujinon XF 16mm f1.4 is a high quality wide-angle prime lens for Fujifilm X-series bodies. The 24mm equivalent field of view is an eternal favourite with landscape and architectural photographers, capturing more wider and more dynamic compositions than a 28mm, but without the distortion of an ultra-wide.
The optical quality is very good, with consistent sharpness across the frame. The lens may peak in sharpness around f5.6, but performs very respectably even wide-open at f1.4 where there is only a minor increase in softness and vignetting. Anyone shooting outdoors in inclement conditions will also appreciate the weather-sealing, and I’m pleased to find it on an increasing number of new Fujinon lenses.
For me what makes a lens particularly compelling though is if it can perform double-duty in some regard, and for the XF 16mm, that would be a surprisingly useful turn as a macro lens. The minimum focusing distance of 15cm lets you get very close to your subject, and coupled with the maximum f1.4 focal ratio you’ll enjoy a shallower depth of field than you might expect for a typical wide-angle lens. Indeed some of my favourite shots with the XF 16mm f1.4 were with it wide-open at close to its minimum focusing distance. Close the aperture down and it’ll also deliver attractive diffraction spikes when pointed at bright point sources.
The bottom line? I find myself saying this with every X-series lens I test, but I really enjoyed my time with the XF 16mm f1.4. I knew I’d like the 24mm equivalent coverage, but it was the bright aperture and close focusing that made it really useful. I enjoy macro photography with wide lenses and the XF 16mm does it very well indeed. This additional flexibility capability takes it from a recommended to a highly recommended lens, and while I always miss having stabilisation, it’s not as critical on a bright, wide lens, and of course the presence of weather sealing is a very nice bonus.