Field Test: Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

The Fuji 16-35mm f/2.8 is a monstrous lens: it’s got 17 elements and weighs 655 grams. One thing it is not is a lens you’d want to take with you on vacation. It’s not the perfect all-rounder you want to keep on your camera either, like Panasonic’s 12-35mm f/2.8. It’s too unwieldy to carry around for casual street photography and perhaps a bit too short at the long end for portraiture if you like super out-of-focus backgrounds. What it is is incredibly sharp, and it’s got beautiful rendering. Like all Fuji lenses, it is constructed completely of metal and glass, with build quality that doesn’t pale in comparison to Voigtlander or Zeiss. As to whether it is worth four times the cost of Fuji’s 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens ($300.00 USD when purchased with camera), the answer is probably no. But it does have higher resolution in the center and corners.

Fuji’s Astia Soft is supposed to be flattering for portraiture, and since people is pretty much all I shoot, naturally that was the first film simulation I shot with: but it looks kind of like when I used to process Ektachrome, with rich colors and high contrast – but over or underexpose by as much as a 1/2 stop and either the highlights are blown out or the shadows are crushed. Tomorrow, I’ll try shooting with boosted shadows and highlights turned down a notch and see if that helps any. Also, although in-camera sharpening is turned all the way down to -4 in these clips, the image looks way over-sharpened to my eyes.

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