As some know, I am an official Fuji X-photographer, and for the last month I have had the highly anticipated Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 lens on loan for testing and shooting promotional material for Fuji Japan. At the same time, Charlene Winfred has made a promotional movie featuring me using the lens, click here to see it.
We were in Singapore during the making of this project and naturally, my 1st choice for a music venue to shoot in was Zouk Singapore. Zouk Singapore is a legendary nightclub that is rated as one of the top 5 nightclubs in the world and I was dying to shoot there. Fortunately, Zouk was incredibly forthcoming and supportive of the project. This project was made over two nights of shooting at Zouk. Many thanks to Zouk for the access, and to Ethan Jones of Elixr Group for the introduction.
Today, I will post my first impressions and 3 images. Stay tuned this week for more in depth thoughts on the lens and the project and more pictures. Many thanks to Fuji Japan, Fuji Nordic and Zouk Singapore.
All sample images are Jpegs straight out of the camera
Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 first impressions
I should preface all of this by saying: I am a music photographer. I do not make usual promotional shots in controlled environments. These are real life images of working as a photographer in dark night clubs with next to no light at all, we’re talking shooting wide open always at iso6400 to make images. The Fuji X cameras and lenses are awesome for this, read my review of the X-T1 for music photography. But don’t except razor sharp iso200 images in perfect light, it’s not what I do. Now for the initial impressions of the 16-55:
- I normally use Fujinon prime lenses such as 23mm, 35mm and 56mm for working in nightclubs because of their very fast F1.2 or F1.4 aperture. Shooting with a F2.8 zoom lens was a new experience. Most of the time I was fine with 2.8. The main room at Zouk was ok with 2.8, but I struggled in the smaller extremely dark Velvet Underground venue as it really is close to pitch black. Fortunately the image quality from this lens is so good, the images can be pushed a stop or two easily.
- The autofocus is blindingly fast. And quiet. Fast. Did I mention fast! Maybe the fastest of any Fuji lens I have tried. OK, most of the time in a nightclub I have to use manual focus (focus peaking is nice here) but when I can I do trigger the autofocus using backbutton focus and it is soooooo fast on the 16-55mm.
- The build quality is outstanding. The lens just feels amazing. The zoom ring and the focus ring are of exceptional quality.
- Compared to the primes I normally use, it’s big. And heavy. OK, compared to the classic 24-70mm f2.8 lenses it is small and lightweight, absolutely. And it never felt heavy using it during the nights at Zouk. Still, it’s a big lens on a small camera.
- Image quality? Prime quality. End of story. It is really a zoom that behaves like a prime, outstanding sharpness even at F2.8 (I don’t think I have shot the lens at anything but F2.8 come to think of it!). Sharp, contrasty, colourful, this lens behaves like a prime!
- It really is an amazing all-round lens. I am amazed it works for my job, I was not expecting that. I would still prefer to use my primes in a nightclub, just because of the 1.4 aperture. But if I had to, I could do my job with just this lens, it’s that good.
More pictures, impressions and indepth story about the project coming over the next days (all good things to those who wait, I’m a bit slow). EDIT: Read the followup post on the XF16-55mmF2.8 here.
Do watch Charlene’s movie about the lens!