16-55mm help!

Started 4 weeks ago | Discussions thread
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theBaron01 New Member • Posts: 1
16-55mm help!

Hi all, first time posting and was wondering if I might be able to get a bit of advice regarding my latest acquisition. Also, apologies for the long post.

About two weeks ago I managed to pick up a new 16-55. Took it out the next day for the first time and shot a few images at sunrise and sunset before and after work around my town (shot on an xt2 I have had since new)- all seemed good, and while not technically perfect photos they seemed OK for the quick muck-around that I did. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to use it again for a few days, however when I did I was able to walk around for several hours straight, from afternoon well into the evening (on my second-hand xt2 body). The daylight shooting was all hand held (I've been shooting for 20 odd years and am more than used to shooting non IS lenses) and the night time stuff on a tripod. After reviewing the images it seemed like anything zoomed in a bit or at close range was fine, but landscape/infinity shots especially at 16mm seemed to be lacking in sharpness with a general 'mushy' sort of feeling to them. I tried to convince myself it was just poor technique as the tripod stuff stopped down seemed ok (but all fairly close range so not conclusive), or maybe even something to do with the second-hand body (wouldn't be the first time I've seen a lens perform better on one body vs another).

Of course I did a bit of googling and it was then I found mixed reviews of the lens (that I certainly hadn't seen before) regarding de-centering issues and noticeable field curvature, which seemed at odds with the many glowing reviews of how sharp the lens is wide open for so many people.

I then was worried I might have a dud copy (something that's not happened to me before) so began testing. I'll post some photos of what I have so far, but in a nutshell my feelings about my copy are:

  • lens sharpest at all focal lengths at f5.6, with noticeable diffraction starting at f8 (especially at wide end)
  • at 16mm noticeable soft edges (obviously worse at f2.8 but still there when stopping down) - field curvature?
  • at 16mm difficult to nail infinity focus (not so unheard of I guess for wide angle)
  • at 16mm general perceived lack of sharpness/image quality (kind of hard to describe - the lens just resolves better at the long end)
  • perceived increase of image quality as zoomed in. At 55mm it is approaching my 50-140
  • autofocus very accurate close up/within say 10m, but a bit hit and miss approaching infinity
  • shooting a star chart test pattern would suggest the lens is NOT obviously decentered
  • shooting a normal test chart bears out the soft edges at 16mm f2.8

I had a family portrait session lined up last weekend that I used it on, and everything close range, or zoomed in, came out brilliantly (barring a couple of mis-focussed shots which were likely to just be me), but again, while not awful, the wide end just left me wanting. I realise this is considered a portrait lens, but it would be nice for it to double duty for landscapes - maybe I'm just expecting a wide angle to resolve more detail (especially for a zoom) than it can.

I know I am the sort of person that can obsess about things if I worry, but I'm now second-guessing myself so much after getting such inconclusive results and reading reviews online. I have a mate at the shop I bought it from, so I have no problem returning it for another copy (will just have to wait) or even getting them to send it to fuji for checks (again, will have to wait and might have to happen a couple of times from other people's experience), but I guess for now I'm just looking to hear other people's views on this lens, an opinion of my copy, and a sanity check as to whether I should try a new one or just suck it up and shoot.

I have posted a few example shots at the following imgur link (https://imgur.com/a/apMPITU) Let me know if these jpegs or rafs should be uploaded in another way.

Cheers.

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