Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 Lens Review: A Versatile All-Rounder

Amy Davies is a journalist and photographer. As well as being a Features Editor for Amateur Photographer magazine, she also writes about cameras and associated technology for a range of publications and websites, including T3, Photography Blog, Stuff, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar, Camera Jabber, ePhotozine, Expert Reviews and our own Fujiholics. Amy is also one of the judges in the Fujiholics Photographer of the Year competition.

Setting you back under £350, the new XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR Lens is a great addition to any Fujiholic’s kit bag.

Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 Product Shot

Weighing in at just 55g and measuring only 45.4mm in length, it’s a small, light and discreet lens that actually has quite a lot of practical applications. Thanks to the crop factor when using a 16mm lens on the Fuji’s APS-C sized sensors, the equivalent focal length is around 24mm.

The 16mm f/2.8 lens joins the existing 16mm f/1.4 R WR XF lens already in the X lens line-up. Thanks to a narrower maximum aperture, it’s much lighter and smaller – but crucially it’s also less than half the price (the f/1.4 version will set you back around £819 at the time of writing).

Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 Product Shot

 

Using the XF 16mm f/2.8 Lens

I’ve been using the lens for a little while paired with an X-T3. It works well with a camera like this, but thanks to its small size and shape, it’s also ideally suited for us with Fuji’s smaller cameras like the X-T30, X-T20, or even entry-level models such as the X-A3. The flatter shape of the X-Pro models would also be well suited to this small lens, too.

24mm is a very versatile focal length and works well with a number of different subjects including:

  • Landscapes
  • Street
  • Environmental Portraits
  • Architecture
  • Travel

In terms of handling, the 16mm lens is very simple and easy to operate.

Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 Product Shot

Like many other X series lenses, it features a dedicated aperture ring which you can use to choose an aperture in 1/3 steps, while full steps are marked.

You can easily attach a filter to the front of the lens, and thanks to the type of focusing mechanism used for this lens, it does not rotate at all – great news if you’re using a graduated filter for landscape shooting.

Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 Product Shot

Speaking of focusing, it is quick and accurate, while also being pretty much silent. This is a lens you can take into discreet situations – such as inside quiet buildings or while shooting on the street – and not worry about a noisy focusing mechanism giving you away.

 

The lens is weather and dust resistant, as well as promising to work in temperatures as low as -10 degrees celcius. That makes it a great option for outdoor photography work – especially if you are pairing it with a weather-sealed camera like the X-T3.

 

What are the results like – should you buy one?

This is a £350 lens, which is relatively cheap as far as Fujifilm optics go. However, I was very impressed with the performance it put in when shooting with the X-T3. Although f/2.8 isn’t a super wide aperture, it still produces attractive shallow depth of field effects, while the overall impression of sharpness across the frame is also very good.

Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8 Product Shot

I’m a big fan of Fuji’s range of compact prime lenses – all of them are small, light, available at a good price and when used as part of a set make for a very versatile set-up. The other lenses offer a slightly wider aperture of f/2, but facilitating a wider angle necessitates an f/2.8 setup and shouldn’t make a huge amount of difference in most ordinary settings.

If you only have the budget for one of the small primes, there’s a lot to like about this new 16mm. It is a very versatile focal length that you might find useful for a wide range of different subjects. It’s a fantastic walk around lens for your camera that allows you to grab shots that you see out and about, as well as being useful for more considered landscape photography and so on.

Considering this lens costs less than half the price of the f/1.4 version, and comes with the added benefit of being a perfect travel lens, it’s easy to think of the 16mm f/2.8 lens as a bit of a bargain. If you do a lot of very low light shooting you may well crave that extra wide aperture, but for most situations, the f/2.8 version is more than adequate.

This highly flexible lens comes highly recommended – are you tempted?


Fujifilm GFX 50S vs 50R: which medium format camera is right for you?

Amy Davies is a journalist and photographer. As well as being a Features Editor for Amateur Photographer magazine, she also writes about cameras and associated technology for a range of publications and websites, including T3, Photography Blog, Stuff, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar, Camera Jabber, ePhotozine, Expert Reviews and our own Fujiholics. Amy is also one of the judges in the Fujiholics Photographer of the Year competition.

Fujifilm’s GFX cameras have done so much to bring medium format to the masses – no longer are these super sized sensors the preserve of the rich professional with money to burn.

Let’s not pretend the GFX cameras are cheap – they’re not – but they are far more within the realms of affordability, and, thanks to both second-hand availability and camera hire services, are something that more and more amateurs and enthusiasts are likely to use with increasing frequency.

Fujifilm announced the GFX 50S at Photokina in 2016 and it was a real highlight of the show. It followed this up two years later in 2018 at Photokina with the GFX 50R, which was smaller and lighter than its predecessor – and crucially, cheaper.

In this post we’ll have a look at some of the key differences and similarities to help you make a decision about which one to use (or if you’re really lucky – buy).

Fujifilm GFX 50S vs 50R: Similarities

There are actually lots of similarities between the two models.  With much of the internals staying the same between the two cameras, image quality and focusing ability should be the same no matter which you decide to go for.

Here are some of the features which the two share:

Sensor & Processor
Both the GFX 50S and the 50R use a medium format 51.4 million pixel sensor. Because the sensor is larger than full-frame, you need to take this into account when thinking about lens focal lengths – for example the 32-64mm f/4.0 “kit lens” equates to roughly 25-51mm in the usual 35mm format thanks to a 0.79x crop factor. Both the cameras use an X Processor Pro engine. Image quality should therefore be the same from both cameras.

AF System & Frame Rates
Here’s another area which the two cameras share – both use a 425-point contrast detection AF system. Focusing is not as amazingly swift as we see in some mirrorless cameras, but it generally gets the job done in a quick enough fashion for still (or reasonably still) subjects. Neither camera is really designed for action photography as such, but you can shoot at 3fps with both.

SD card slots
Both the GFX 50S and the 50R have dual SD memory card slots. You can use the card slots in a number of ways, including back-up, overflow, or separating out file types (i.e. raw on one card, JPEG on the other).

Battery
Both cameras use the NP-T125 lithium ion battery which promises a 400-shot battery life. You can probably eke out more than that if you use careful power management – and should you find yourself in the fortunate position to be using both cameras, being able to swap batteries between the two can be useful.

Video
Movie recording is restricted to Full HD with both cameras. That may be off-putting to high-end videographers in a world of 4K, but for stills photographers who may want to just grab the occasional video clip it’s less problematic.

Fujifilm GFX 50S vs 50R: Differences

Most of the differences between the two models come down to handling – there is no right answer as to which you prefer, which is why it’s worth getting your hands on both models if you can before making a decision.

Size and weight
Both cameras are not exactly what we’d call “small”. If you’re so far used to shooting with Fujifilm’s X series of cameras, it may come as a bit of a shock to make the transition to GFX. However, for the extra bulk and weight you get a mammoth sensor, which is important to remember – and it’s important to remember that the body size is still comparable to many full-frame DSLRs. However, if you’re keen to keep size down, the 50R is much more compact, lighter and discreet (relatively), especially if you use it with one of the smaller GFX prime lenses. On the downside, having a smaller body means the grip is less pronounced – that can make it feel a little unbalanced when working with one of the larger GFX zoom lenses.

Viewfinder
With the GFX 50S, the viewfinder is not built in to the body, but rather can be attached via the hotshoe. There’s also an option for a tilting viewfinder which can be useful when shooting from top-down angles. Meanwhile, the GFX 50R’s viewfinder is built in to the body itself – which is another factor which helps keep the size down. Both have the same resolution, but magnification of the GFX 50R’s is slightly lower – in isolation you’re unlikely to notice too much of a difference though.

Screen and Top-Plate LCD
Both the cameras have 3.2-inch touch-sensitive, 2,360k-dot screens. They’re great for composing from all manner of different angles – but while the GFX 50R’s can tilt up and down, the 50S also has the functionality to tilt to the side for help when portrait shooting. As an additional bonus, the GFX 50R has a top-plate LCD which displays a number of key settings and can be useful for quickly judging your settings without having to refer to the main screen.

Handling and button layout
We’ve already mentioned the difference in the camera grips, but there are also some differences in button placement that can have an effect on how you use the camera. For example, while both models have a joystick which you can use to set the AF point or move around menus, only the GFX 50S has a four-way navigational pad. There’a also no ISO dial on the GFX 50R, but you do get an exposure compensation dial in its place. Overall it’s worth having a play with both if you can to see which button layout you prefer – there is no right or wrong answer as it all comes down to personal preference. Another point worth making is that there is a battery grip available for the GFX 50S which boosts battery life and adds portrait-format controls – no such grip is available for the 50R.

Price
Here’s where things get really interesting. At the time of writing this post, the difference in price between the two is about £1,000 – the GFX 50S costs around £4,999 (body only), while the 50R can be picked up for £3,999 (again, body only). Prices vary if buying as part of a kit with a lens. The 50S has dropped in price by around £1000 since its launch, so we can expect the 50R to also follow the same pattern and create an even more pronounced price difference. Still, the 50R makes for the more affordable option while promising the same image quality as its sibling.

Fujifilm GFX 50S vs 50R: Which one should I get?

As with so many things, the answer to this really does come down to personal preference. Some will prefer the larger and bulkier GFX 50S thanks and find it a more comfortable shooting experience – especially when used in conjunction with zoom lenses. The GFX 50R meanwhile is small enough to be more suited even to subjects like travel and documentary – giving you medium format goodness in a body which is not ridiculously large.

Whichever one you choose, image quality is stunning.

With fantastically detailed images and gorgeous shallow depth of field effects, you’ll probably find it hard to go back to smaller sensors once you’ve become accustomed to medium format.

If you decide to take the plunge – let us know how you get on.


Should You Buy The Fujifilm X-T30

Amy Davies is a journalist and photographer. As well as being a Features Editor for Amateur Photographer magazine, she also writes about cameras and associated technology for a range of publications and websites, including T3, Photography Blog, Stuff, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar, Camera Jabber, ePhotozine, Expert Reviews and our own Fujiholics.

The X-T30’s smaller size and weight than cameras like the X-T3 make it the ideal travel companion.

 

Although pitched as a “mid-range” camera, the specifications of the X-T30 are actually pretty impressive – in fact, it would be fair to describe it as a “miniature X-T3”. That, in theory at least, makes it great for a number of reasons – it’s available at a cheaper price than the X-T3, could make a great back-up to your main camera, and is worth thinking about as an upgrade from older models like the X-T20.

In terms of image quality and what goes on underneath the hood of the X-T30, it’s remarkably similar to the X-T3.

Both have the same 26.1 megapixel X-Trans IV CMOS sensor with a back-illuminated construction, a Quad Core X Processor 4, the same phase detection autofocusing system with 99% sensor area coverage and burst shooting of up to 20fps with zero blackout.

Spot the Difference

So where do the differences lie then? The X-T3 features a larger and more comfortable grip, it is weather-sealed and has dual card slots. It’s also possible to buy a battery grip for the X-T3 to boost power performance and gain an extra set of controls for portrait-format shooting. The X-T30’s screen tilts up and down, while the X-T3 also has the sideways tilting mechanism which is more useful for portrait-format images.

Sharing the same sensor and processor combination as the X-T3 means image quality is the same

 

While the autofocusing system is the same between the two cameras, the X-T3 boasts up to 11fps with the mechanical shutter, compared to 8fps with the X-T30. Both can reach speeds of 20fps when shooting with the electronic shutter. The X-T30 has a much smaller buffer (you’ll get 49 raw / 200 JPGs before the X-T3 needs to take a pause, compared with a much more modest 18 raw / 90 JPGs with the X-T30), so if you’re somebody who photograph a lot of sports and action, and likes to shoot extensive bursts, it’s something to think about.

There are also some slight differences with the button and dial layout. For example, there’s no dedicated ISO dial on the X-T30. If you’re thinking of picking up an X-T30 to be a second-camera for your X-T3, it’s something that might concern you as you switch between the two cameras, but if you’re using the X-T30 on its own, it’s likely to be less of an issue to think about. Being a little bit smaller (and lighter) makes the X-T30 something you might want to consider as a more appropriate travel or trip camera than the larger and bulkier X-T3.

The X-T3’s viewfinder is bigger and has a higher resolution – use the X-T30 in isolation and you may not realise what you’re missing out on, but working side-by-side with the X-T3 you might notice the difference. Either way, the X-T30’s viewfinder gives you a good view of the scene, and is great for those who prefer to compose in a traditional manner, rather than via the screen.

All of the images here are JPEG shots straight out of the camera – but the raw files are extremely malleable to get even more from that fantastic X-Trans sensor.

Stick or Twist

If you already have an X-T20 and are thinking of upgrading or replacing your camera with the newer model – there’s still a lot to like.

Much like the X-T30 uses the same sensor as the X-T3, the X-T20 features the same sensor as the X-T2. It’s got a slightly lower resolution, and doesn’t feature the same back-illumination construction than the X-T3/X-T30 sensor, but, you’ll be hard pushed to spot a huge difference when looking at images from the two cameras side by side unless you really pixel peep to the extreme.

The X-T30 has the same advanced autofocusing system as the X-T3, making it fairly easy to get shots of moving subjects. The buffer is more limited though, which is something to consider if you like to shoot long bursts.

 

However, there are some improvements which make actually getting your image a little easier than before – largely depending on the kind of photography you like to shoot. The biggest advance comes to autofocusing, with the X-T30 being speedier and more accurate – useful if you’re somebody shooting fast-moving subjects on a regular basis. You can also shoot at a faster frame rate with the X-T30 which offers 20fps with the electronic shutter (the X-T20 offers a still very usable 14fps). Additionally, the X-T30 has improved face and eye-detection, which is great for portrait, wedding, documentary, street and family photographers. If you’re somebody who is mainly concerned with static subjects, such as landscapes, you may not feel the upgrade is necessary.

Should you Buy?

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot with all of Fujifilm’s X-series compact system cameras and I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for this series (X-T10, X-T20 and now X-T30). To me, they represent some of the best of Fujifilm’s technologies in a more affordable, smaller and more streamlined body. A couple of years ago, the X-T20 would have been the camera I’d recommend to anybody looking for something which puts in a fantastic all-round performance, especially for those that don’t crave some of those extras like the dual-card slots and weather-proofing.

Pairing the X-T30 with the fantastic 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 lens makes for an ideal travel camera.

I’d recommend it to anyone who wants something small and light.

The same can now be said for the X-T30 – I’d recommend it to anyone who wants something small and light, but if you’re already shooting with an X-T20 I’d probably only suggest an upgrade if you’re keen to work with that upgraded autofocusing system. Indeed, now that the X-T30 is available, the X-T20 represents even better value for money than before. The X-T30 is also perfect as a back-up or second camera for those working with an X-T3 or even an X-T2.

Are you tempted?

Just like other X-Series cameras, the X-T30 benefits from a range of different Film Simulation modes – this is “Acros”.

Sample images taken with the Fujifilm X-T30