Assessment of my new 16-80mm f4: A mixed bag

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David Garth
David Garth Regular Member • Posts: 404
Assessment of my new 16-80mm f4: A mixed bag
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I’m a longtime part time professional who shot Nikon for 40 years before switching into the Fuji X system two years ago. I make large prints, I’m somewhat of a “pixel peeper” and lens quality is very important to me. I wanted a more versatile travel lens than my excellent 18-55, 10-24 and 55-200 when I wanted to travel light. I was excited about the 16-80mm but I almost didn’t order it because of the negative spin on the Internet. Here’s my evaluation after two weeks of tests and shooting. (Firmware 1.02.)

First the good news:

• Build quality: excellent; creamy smooth, tight, no wobble

• Handling: very good. Size and weight are well matched to an X-T2 or X-T3. The controls are well placed and feel right.

• Sharpness/image quality: Better than I expected. I never expect a 5:1 zoom to equal a 3:1 zoom or a prime. Surprisingly, the 16-80 is slightly sharper than my excellent copy of the 18-55 on all the focal lengths they share. It’s slightly less sharp than my beloved 10-24 at 16mm, but equals it at 20mm and 24mm. It’s slightly less sharp than my 55-200 at 55mm and noticeably less sharp at 80mm. (When I say “slightly” it takes a large monitor at 1:1 to see the difference.) Contrast, distortion, autofocus and flare resistance were equal to my other zooms. Overall, I consider this a very good showing for a zoom lens of this type.

Now, the bad news:

All of the results above were handheld with the electronic shutter. At shutter speeds around 1/25 to 1/250 the images are terrible when using the mechanical shutter. The differences are huge. This has to be shutter shock because the unsharpness only happens at medium shutter speeds, hand held, using the mechanical shutter. (Since I rarely shoot video and don’t zoom while shooting, I didn’t test the focus wobble issue .)

Conclusion: I really love this lens so I’m going to keep it. I can work around the shutter shock issue for a while, but I shouldn’t have to. Shame on Fuji for releasing this lens before it was really ready. My hope is that future firmware makes it better

David Garth

 David Garth's gear list:David Garth's gear list
Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 +6 more
Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T3
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