Anton Bosman Reviews the Fuji XF 16-80mm f/4 Lens

A practical trial of the XF 16-80mm f/4

The first image I took was a wide-angle shot of the lighthouse and its surrounding dunes and I was impressed when I viewed the image through the viewfinder on my X-T3. Thereafter, I decided to take a closer cropped image using the beautiful patterns in the small dune as a leading line up to the Lighthouse.

From there, we moved further down the beach to test the lens’ slow shutter speed capabilities. I set up my tripod and pushed the exposure as far as possible, narrowing the lens down to f/22. Why f/22? I firmly believe that Fujifilm’s lenses defy the laws of physics and man-made beliefs in the case of diffraction at these narrow apertures. (I learned this very quickly shooting with my beloved Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4.)

We managed to capture beautiful colour in the sky as well as some afterglow of the setting sun. By this point I was completely in love with this lens – it’s compact, lightweight, very well built and delivers quality imagery.

We stepped out that Saturday morning and made our way to the beachfront – it was a rather chilly morning and once again, a cloudless sky. We actually wanted clouds because when you’re shooting into the sun, it becomes difficult to balance the shadows with the highlights. Clouds make a natural “scrim” and add extra dimension and depth to the overall presentation.

Regardless of the “not so perfect” conditions, I put on my big boy pants and proceeded to do some seascapes. After all, it’s not everyday one gets to test a new lens before it’s official release. This time I decided to add a 10-stop ND filter to create some long exposures. (I love long exposures for mood and drama.) Again, this lens did not disappoint and I hope that the images here reflect that.

Once we were done with the seascapes, we discussed the lovely depth of field when used for people/portraits at 80mm and f/4. I wondered how this lens would stack up against its bigger brother – the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 –  taken at the same focal length at a max of 55mm. Barry was my willing model so we positioned him with the harbour behind him. I took a photo with the 16-55mm at f/2.8 and then with the 16-80mm at 55mm and f/4. There is a noticeable difference in the depth of field and one can see that the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens does give a shallower depth of field, therefore more bokeh (blurred background).

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