One of the most significant releases for a photographic company at CES was the Fuji XF 16-55mm F2.8. The new zoom lens released by Fujifilm is a stepping stone for the company. The first professional grade all-around lens, like Canon and Nikon have been producing for decades. In every serious manufacturer’s line-up there is an uncompromising f/2.8 zoom lens that covers ultrawide angle and portrait as well. Many professionals use this type of lens because it is useful in many different situations. Weather it covers group shots and portraits for an event photographer, close-ups and wide landscapes for a nature photographer or even detail and ensemble for a food photographer. Basically every niche of the photography spectrum can find this lens useful.
Because Fujifilm cameras use a crop sensor, 1.5x times smaller than 35mm, the design of the lens allows for a bit more range. Unlike Canon and Nikon’s zoom lenses which cover 24mm up to 70mm, giving them an effective zoom range of 2.9x, the Fuji XF 16-55 is equivalent to 24mm to 82mm, making it a 3.5x zoom. So it goes in a little closer and weighs about two thirds of what its Nikon and Canon equivalent lenses do.
Professional photographer already use mirrorless cameras for high paying gigs, proving that there is a sure future for the high-end mirrorless market. The Fuji XF 16-55mm f2.8 is already up for pre-order at 1200$, which is pricey for a crop sensor camera, and even pricier for a mirrorless lens. But it does promise to deliver great results. Fujifilm already has a very dedicated fan-base and is growing every day. Their strong suit is the color rendition. Using classic film looks makes photographers shooting in jpeg format crave it. Unlike “portrait”, “nature” and other picture styles used by most manufacturers, Fuji’s cameras have “velvia”, “provia” and “chrome” effects – all simulating gelatin films of the olden days.
The Fuji XF 16-55mm f/2.8 has a few very attractive features like nano crystal coating, called Nano-GI. This type of treatment is used by Canon and Nikon on their newest high-end lenses, and those usually cost over 2000$. If you think about it, it’s actually a bargain. But you must keep in mind this lens is designed for a crop sensor, so the price reduction is quite justified. A unique feature on this lens, along with other Fujinon lenses is the presence of an aperture ring on them. It’s not the same as old lenses, it doesn’t mechanically move the aperture, it’s done by wire, but it’s somewhat more convenient, placing this function away from the already small bodies produced by Fujifilm. Fuji also promises focus times as small as 0.06 seconds, but only in combination with the Fujifilm X-T1, Fujifilm X-T1GS and Fujifilm X-E2. Sorry X-M users, the smaller price tag for the camera body does mean less features. The weather sealing goes a step further into making this the ultimate lens for the Fuji X-T1 which also benefits from this feature.
Fujifilm really challenges market concepts by introducing high-end products for a crop-sensor mirrorless cameras. Their lens line-up and roadmap include some lenses you’d only expect to see on the seasoned veteran manufacturers. A 23mm f/1.4 lens and a 56mm f/1.2 lens make a very interesting choice for a relatively new line-up. But we applaud them and can’t wait to see more innovation and bold products on the market. In a very short Fujifilm has made a reputation for itself as a premium producer of camera gear. They took their film heritage (which already is a dead industry) and quickly developed a whole new line-up of cameras and lenses. The tests and comparisons proved the cameras and lenses can perform on par with the established choices of the professionals. The fact that it has a great reputation in such a short time already proves they are committed to producing the best quality products they can. Launching the Fuji XF 16-55mm f2.8 is just the cherry on top. This is the statement that reads “we’re here, and we know exactly what we’re doing”.