Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 or 18-55mm f/2.8-4–Which one is for you?

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Fujifilm has officially announced its new XF 16-55m f/2.8. It was no surprise to the world since Fujifilm has already released a roadmap of its upcoming new lenses last year.

The new 16-55mm f/2.8 is a weather-sealed lens offering a 35mm focal length equivalence of 24-82.5mm, internal focusing and a twin Linear Motor AF system for exceedingly fast and near silent autofocus operation. The optical design incorporates three extra-low dispersion (ED) elements to control chromatic aberrations and three aspherical elements to reduce spherical aberrations and distortion throughout the zoom range. Additionally, a Nano-GI and HT-EBC coating has been applied to lens elements to minimize surface reflections, and prevent lens flare and ghosting. The lens adds weather seals to render it both moisture and dust resistant. Its minimum focus distance is 11.8″, and its 9-blade circular diaphragm helps to create pleasing out-of-focus areas.

The Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 is in the same category as the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 and Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  The price is set in between the two; $200 cheaper than the Nikon and $320 more expensive than the Canon.  The size of this lens is similar to the Nikon and Canon 17-55mm which is a bit disappointing, given that mirrorless camera lenses should have a smaller footprint. Despite of that, the build and image quality of this lens are superior and it shoots wider (16mm) than both Nikon and Canon which is limited to 17mm.

With the announcement of this lens, many will question how does this lens compare to the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 consider that the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is already a very good lens with superior build quality and one stop faster than most kit lenses. 

You can now pre-order the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 here (available Feb 2015).

The Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is now available here


First, let’s compare the specification of the Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 and 18-55mm f/2.8-4


Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4

Focal Length

16 – 55mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 24 – 82.5 mm

18 – 55mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 27 – 84 mm


Maximum: f/2.8
Minimum: f/22

Maximum: f/2.8 – 4
Minimum: f/22


Fujifilm X mount

Fujifilm X mount

Angle of View

83.2° – 29°

79.1° – 28.4°

Minimum Focus Distance

11.81″ (30 cm)

11.81″ (30 cm)



0.08 – 0.15x




Diaphragm Blades

9, Rounded


Image Stabilization






Tripod Collar



Filter Thread

Front:77 mm

Front:58 mm

Dimension (DxL)

Approx. 3.28 x 4.17″ (83.3 x 106 mm)

Approx. 2.56 x 2.77″ (65 x 70.4 mm)


23.10 oz (655 g)

11.64 oz (330 g)

The Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 is a premium lens specifically designed to pair up with the Fujifilm X-T1 , whereas the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is considered a superior kit lens. They both offer a similar focal length range but are targeted to different users.

First thing you will notice with the 16-55mm f/2.8 is its size and weight. It is 50% longer, 30% wider and weights twice as heavy as the 18-55mm f/2.8-4. It feels and operates like a DSLR lens rather than a mirrorless lens. On the other hand, the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is what I consider a mirrorless lens, its size is similar to most DSLR kit lens but it has a much more superior build quality and is 1-stop faster. The size of the 18-55mm is perfect on the Fujifilm X-E2, so I would imagine the 16-55mm will be too big for the X-E2 and anything below. Its size is more balance with an X-Pro 1 or X-T1. Having said that, if you really need that f/2.8 and extra 2mm on the wide side, it will still work perfectly on the X-E2, X-M1 or X-A1 except it will be front heavy.

In terms of optical quality, we won’t know until we get our hands on one but I am confident to say both 16-55mm f/2.8 and 18-55mm f/28-4 are pretty similar by looking at their MTF charts. The 16-55mm will suppress chromatic aberration a little better with the use of 3 ED glasses, but both lenses are expecting to produce superior image quality. The official price for the 16-55m f/2.8 ($1199 USD) is twice the cost of the 18-55mm,  but it is still cheaper than other DSLR lenses like the Nikon 17-55mm and 24-70mm. 

If you are looking for the best wide – mid zoom lens on Fujifilm X mount, then the 16-55mm f/2.8 has to be it.  My recommendation is to get this lens if you have an X-T1 or X-Pro 1 and you absolutely need the f/2.8 and extra 2mm (16-18mm), otherwise save the money and spend it on a nice XF prime lens like the 23mm f/1.4 or 35mm f/1.4. For those who travel, shoot casually, or simply wants to keep their camera system compact, the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is a better choice. Its build quality and image quality are equally impressive. 

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About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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