Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 vs. XF 16mm F1.4 WR vs. XF 18mm F2, a detailed comparison of Fuji’s broad angle primes.
June, 2015: Originally published
June, 2020: Updated and revised
For the first few years of Ten-mount, information technology was relatively like shooting fish in a barrel to make up one’s mind between Fuji’s broad bending prime offerings. There was the really wide, full(er)-featured, king of landscapes, the XF 14mm F2.8 (Review), or the smaller, faster, lighter, more portrait and street-focused XF 18mm F2 (Review). In that location was enough of a variance in focal length to brand choosing unproblematic, or owning both perfectly viable.
Fuji threw a large wrench into the purchase determination with the release of the XF 16mm F1.4 WR (Review). Information technology packs all the features of the XF 14mm F2.8 plus adds weather sealing, an even faster aperture than the XF 18mm F2, but comes with a pregnant penalization in the size and weight department. This article will hopefully aid you decide which broad angle prime number(south) are right for you, if any.
|XF 14mm F2.8||XF 16mm F1.four||XF 18mm F2|
|Announced||September 6, 2012||April 16, 2015||January 9, 2012|
|Released||January, 2013||May, 2015||February, 2012|
ten elements, vii groups
2 aspherical, 3 extra low dispersion
13 elements, 11 groups
ii aspherical, ii extra depression dispersion
8 elements, vii groups
ii aspherical elements
|Angle of View||90.8°||83.two°||76.5°|
|Aperture Range||F/two.8 – F/22||F/1.4 – F/16||F/2 – F/16|
|Focus Range||18cm (Macro) – Infinity||15cm (Macro) – Infinity||18cm (Macro) – Infinity|
|External Dimensions||65mm diameter 10 58.4mm long||73.4mm bore 10 73mm long||64.5mm diameter ten 33.7mm long|
273g with caps and hood
424g with caps and hood
138g with caps
149.5g with caps and hood
|XF 14mm F2.viii||XF 16mm F1.4||XF 18mm F2|
|Button/Pull Clutch Focus||Yeah||Yeah||No|
|Engraved Depth of Field Markings||Yes||Yeah||No|
|Nano GI Coating||No||Yes||No|
|Brass Lens Mount||No||No||No|
Fuji refined the build quality of their lenses until late 2015, and the age of the XF 14mm F2.eight and XF 18mm F2 is evident compared to the XF 16mm F1.4 WR, which features a nice tight aperture ring, and relatively smooth focusing ring in all the samples I’ve handled.
My XF 14mm F2.8 actually has a reasonably tight aperture ring, compared to the one I exchanged information technology for soon after buying it. A gentle breeze could have inverse the aperture on that lens. Still, the re-create I take has a trend to slide out of the aperture I’ve gear up. Every bit I’ve mentioned before, the focus ring is peachy, if a little rough, and the knurls are crazy grippy and precipitous. The XF 16mm F1.4 WR is better on both counts.
The aperture ring on the XF 18mm F2 doesn’t slide out of place much, but it’s not specially pleasant to plow. Compared to the XF 16mm F1.iv WR, the damping is terrible. This is more a testament to how good the xvi is, rather than a shot at the eighteen. And finally, the focus ring on the XF 18mm F2 can having varying amounts of play to them. The one I have is skilful, but the focus band on both the other lenses is improve.
My communication for whatsoever lens you buy is to store from an online vendor with a liberal return policy, or check the rings in-store before you buy.
I prefer using either the XF 14mm F2.viii or XF 16mm F1.4 WR considering of the push/pull clutch focus machinery, and their engraved depth of field markings. Both these features makes zone focusing for street, or setting hyperfocal distances for landscapes easy.
Size and Weight
Where weighting is concerned, all these lenses balance brilliantly on an X-T, X-H, or X-Pro. All three are perfectly serviceable on an X-E body or X-Txx, but the XF 16mm F1.4 WR feels right on a larger body. The body and lens lay affluent on a surface when mounted on an X-T whereas a grip or Fifty-plate would required for an X-E. I can easily shoot one-handed with whatsoever of these lenses mounted on whatever of the mentioned bodies.
With that written, there is a weight penalty that’s inherent with f/1.iv and weather sealing. Make no mistake, the XF 16mm F1.4 WR is bigger and heavier, but considering the advantages it brings to the table, Fuji has done a remarkable job keeping the lens size nether control.
Weight in grams
The XF 14mm F2.8 ships with a fairly big petal-shaped hood that’s labelled
It does brand me wonder how much the hood has been optimized for the prime. As function of Fuji’south
trio of lenses, the XF 18mm F2 ships with a cool metal hood that is highly optimized for non only the lens, but also the optical viewfinder on the 10-Pro. At present, the XF 16mm F1.4 WR ships with a large petal-shaped plastic hood that rivals the 14mm’s, just Fuji released an accessory metal hood, the LH-XF16→ that is sold separately. I accept 1, and I quite similar it as it reduces the overall size of the hooded lens considerably as the expense of a little added weight. The folks at Vello have released their own LHF-XF16 Dedicated Lens Hood→ at half the price of Fuji’s. Saving money is cool an all, merely it’southward worth noting that Vello haven’t released this mode of hood for whatever lenses that Fuji hasn’t already. Probably because in this example, Fuji has really honed the metal hood.</p
Beyond the push/pull clutch focus mechanism and their engraved depth of field markings, the only other feature of annotation is the Nano GI coating, that was previously only found on the
Zooms. The presumed furnishings of this coating are demonstrated below.
Field of View
First, nosotros’ll take a look at what kind of difference in perspective one tin can expect in selecting whatever of these lenses. While their focal length demarcations are separated past a mere 2mm, the difference in field of view is quite remarkable.
Beginning upwardly, a series of images captured from the same location. Click to enlarge and apply your arrow keys to chop-chop wheel through the images.
The difference betwixt 14mm and 16mm is greater than the difference between 16mm and 18mm, which is to exist expected equally single digit differences in focal length become more than and more apparent the wider you get. The former would definitely enter into my purchase conclusion as a landscape or architectural shooter, whereas the later wouldn’t be plenty to tradeoff a significant savings in size and weight, all else being equal.
Next, an image where the camera’due south position has been adjusted.
Once again, the difference is more extreme in comparing the two wider angles, but go along an heart on the slide when switching between the XF 16mm F1.four WR and XF 18mm F2. See how much it elongates?
And finally, a shut-upward where the camera’s position has been adjusted.
You can see how much more dynamic a perspective the XF 14mm F2.8 can get you when you’re less than a meter from your subject. The difference between the XF 16mm F1.four WR and XF 18mm F2 is certainly worth noting though if your focus is on portraiture.
I recollect reading somewhere I won’t link to that the deviation betwixt 16mm and 18mm on APS-C isn’t that noticeable. That’s nonsense. Gaining or losing 2mm of width should absolutely cistron into your purchasing determination, along with the kind of shooting you intend to do.
This department, along with Bokeh, are likely to be the most referred to. Because of this, I decided it was fourth dimension to add another element to my testing. Testing sharpness at broad angles can be challenging because of their wide field of view. While the centre of the frame is perfectly in focus, the edges and corners could very well exist outside of the depth of field afforded by wider aperture. Sure, I could always capture a bunch of unlike images with my focus point in various parts of the frame, but that adds to my workload, which hinders my power to get content online that hopefully helps you fine people tin make your purchasing decisions. So, I’ve decided to add a test chart chemical element to my Versus articles in hopes of making speeding upwards the procedure of comparison lens sharpness.
sharpness will yet be examined equally I already have done in other sections of the comparisons. With that out of the mode, let’south get to information technology.
Permit’s first compare the maximum apertures these lenses.
Starting time and foremost, I’yard surprised—and quite disappointed actually—at the XF 18mm F2’s performance. I didn’t expect it to lucifer either of the other lenses, simply drift anywhere outside dead heart of the frame and image quality drops similar a rock.
Between the wider lenses, the XF 14mm F2.viii performs quite quite a bit ameliorate wide open up than than the XF 16mm F1.iv WR in the centre and the edges; a fiddling less then in the corners.
“Wide open up”
for the 14mm, however, is a full two stops slower. In the heart of the frame, the XF 16mm F1.4 WR appears a bit sharper than the XF 18mm F2, and much improve anywhere outside of center.
Next, let’due south run across what happens when we close the XF 16mm F1.4 WR downward to the XF 18mm F2’southward maximum aperture. I’ve repeated the maximum aperture images from the XF 18mm F2 for easier comparison.
Wow. Eye sharpness of the XF 16mm F1.4 WR at these apertures is incredible. That bottom border is looking pretty stellar too, merely the extreme corners are nevertheless a picayune soft.
The XF 14mm F2.viii performs meliorate wide open than the XF 18mm F2 does stopped down, but the XF 16mm F1.four WR clobbers both the other two.
Past f/4, all three lenses are nearing their peak functioning. Centre sharpness is exquisite beyond all iii, merely the XF 16mm F1.four WR remains ascendant in the corners, and at the edges.
By f/v.six, all three lenses reach peak performance. The XF 14mm F2.8 comes very close, but can’t quite match the XF 16mm F1.4 WR on the outskirts of the frame.
At f/8, diffraction just
starts to bear witness. It’s so slight it’s hardly worth noting. Landscapers, shoot at f/8 with impunity.
At f/11, there’south no change every bit far as the comparing is concerned, diffraction just starts to bear witness up a petty bit more. JPEG shooters demand not be concerned as Fuji’s Lens Modulation Optimizer almost entirely removes it.
At f/sixteen, diffraction is showing even stronger. Again, JPEG shooters have less to worry nigh. Diffraction is nonetheless nowadays, merely Fuji’due south f/xvi JPEGs come out of the camera sharper than unsharpened RAFs do at f/5.six, albeit with some small-scale halos.
Only the XF 14mm F2.viii closes downward as slow as f/22, simply as you can see, information technology’southward pretty much a diffraction-laden mess. LMO will assist, but unless you’re desparate to slow your shutter speed downwards, f/22 is best to exist avoided, JPEG or RAF.
As noted to a higher place, I expected more out of RAFs from the XF 18mm F2. It does well in the centre of the frame simply for anywhere else, the 18mm is outmatched just its wider siblings.
Between the other two, information technology’s a much closer call. The XF 16mm F1.4 WR
even so sharper edge to edge, but for those wanting the extra width, the XF 14mm F2.viii is awfully close to having no sharpness penalty at optimal apertures.
Broad angles and shallow depth of field tin be combined to create unique images. These kinds of lenses have traditionally been prohibitively expensive, so bokeh could be the category that seals the deal.
We’ll offset have a await at what these lenses can do when it comes to background separation in a busy scene, starting with each lens prepare to its widest aperture for maximum dreaminess.
As expected, the XF 16mm F1.4 WR with its faster f/1.four discontinuity achieves significantly shallower depth of field than the XF 14mm F2.eight. Ii stops makes a huge difference. When comparing the XF 16mm F1.iv WR and XF 18mm F2, the departure is less significant, and in some areas, I actually prefer the out of focus rendering of the 18mm. It might just exist the amount of blur, simply in the areas noted below, the XF 18mm F2 almost has an APD-quality about information technology, whereas the XF 16mm F1.4 WR looks more similar the regular XF 56mm F1.two.
Background Separation 2
Our second gear up of images takes the busy groundwork to some other level. Here, we’ll compare maximum apertures, and then neutralize them.
Even from the thumbnails, you lot can tell how exceptional the background blurring of the XF 16mm F1.iv WR is. You can also easily notice some pretty heavy falloff—particularly in the lesser corners—but it’s aught out of the ordinary for a high-speed wide-bending prime.
Again, I think I prefer the quality of rendering from the XF 18mm F2, but the divergence is marginal, and the XF 16mm F1.four WR offers an whole extra stop.
At that place’southward also this:
The XF 16mm F1.4 WR appears to be ever-so-slightly sharper at f/2 than the XF 18mm F2 is. And past
I mean if the XF 16mm F1.4 WR4 is a knife, the XF 18mm F2 is a purse of pucks. Sure, the XF 18mm F2 is broad open, merely still, that’s another impressive showing from the XF 16mm F1.four WR.
By f/two.8, the difference in focal length is having at to the lowest degree equally much an impact on bokeh, if non more of an impact than the lens design. The extra 2mm of width on the XF 14mm f/ii.eight make it incommunicable for it to achieve the same level of blur from equidistant shooting locations. This is almost evident in the areas of ground betwixt the ropes. In terms of quality though, I have a tough time picking a winner out of the 3. I simply prefer the incraesed blurring of the other ii lenses.
Now, this test wouldn’t be complete without some other quick look at sharpness.
In this case, focus on the XF 14mm F2.8 was fix just a hair forward of the other two lenses, then bear that in mind when making your comparisons. In summary, and as we’ve seen before, the XF 18mm F2’s weak spot is in sharpness. The XF 14mm F2.8 and XF 16mm F1.4 WR are in another league.
This will compare maximum bokeh ability past adjusting the camera’s position to be as shut as each lens tin focus, and yes, include a brief sharpness interlude.
The XF 16mm F1.4 WR blurs the background to unrecognizable levels, and yet maintains incredible sharpness at f/i.4, and focused crazy close. The XF 14mm F2.8 appears to be every bit sharp, if not a pilus sharper, just come on, it’s f/2.8 and non anywhere nigh every bit close. I almost experience bad for the XF 18mm F2 hither. Close focus at maximum discontinuity is not this lenses strong suit. It does manage to throw the background out of focus reasonably well though.
Our final comparison on the bokeh front end, will exist e’er-of import balls of bokeh. We’ll take a similar approach to the second background separation comparison; maximum aperture, followed by neutralized discontinuity.
In the case where defined points of lights are in the groundwork, the bokeh from the XF 16mm F1.4 WR comes out cleaner than in previous tests. Whether or not it’s better than the other two is a tougher call to make. The edges of the bokeh assurance appear clearer and with a slightly more than noticeable ring around them. Ultimately, I think I similar the wait improve in isolation, merely if you want your groundwork to fade abroad more, the XF 18mm F2 is a strong contender.
I intend to spend a fair bit of fourth dimension on this section since this comparison includes 1 lens with Fuji’s
“Nano GI Coating,”
which promised to
“seamlessly adjusts the differences in the refraction index betwixt air and drinking glass to forbid reflections and produce clear images with reduced flare and ghosting”.
Gauging the effectiveness of this coating is hard, if not impossible without having two versions of the same lens structure, ane including a Nano GI coated element, and one without. All the same, it’s interesting to compare equally we’d wait a premium lens with the best in coating applied science to perform better in terms of flare and ghosting than lenses without information technology.
Sun Exterior of Frame
In the images below, I intentionally captured the most amount of flare possible by positioning the sun off to the side of frame. It must be noted that I’m working pretty hard to get every bit much flare as possible, and not using a hood. The worst we’re seeing tin can exist easily avoided by using the included hood.
Every bit you can see, the XF 16mm F1.4 WR shows some serious JJ Abrams-like flare with the sun simply outside of frame. The only other Fuji lens I’ve used that shows this much flare is the XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS. That Nano GI Coating doesn’t seem to exist helping here, just Fuji specify that the coating is applied to the back side of a rear element; in the instance of the sun coming in at an angle, it has a bunch of other elements to reverberate and refract around earlier even reaching that specially coated element.
The XF 14mm F2.viii has a pretty interesting flare pattern. I’d prefer this for creative effect. The XF 18mm F2 actually does the best in this test.
As an added bonus, I captured video to actually illustrate the kind of flare y’all tin can expect to see from each of these lenses.
These images were captured with the sun in frame, and stopped down to the smallest discontinuity.
Where the Nano GI coating seems to assist is with the lens pointed straight at a calorie-free source. The XF 14mm F2.8 does pretty well too, but the XF 18mm F2 shows some pretty obvious ghosty blobs.
For an easy comparison of vignetting, note the brightness of the white areas in the test chart comparisons. The XF 14mm F2.viii has the least, the XF 18mm F2 has the most. Falloff is hardly worth noting on the XF 16mm F1.four WR past f/ii.8.
Again, those test charts come in handy. As y’all probably noticed, chromatic aberration is severe on the XF 18mm F2 when shooting RAW. Fuji’s in-camera correction obliterates it though. Simply clicking the
“Correct Chromatic Aberration”
button in your RAW converter of choice will as well practise it.
Aberrations on the XF 16mm F1.iv WR are almost uncannily well-controlled. The XF 14mm F2.eight doesn’t fair quite equally well in the corners, but information technology’s not even close to being reason enough to reject the lens.
One matter this comparison makes clear is just how good Fuji are at software correction. For an example, check out the before and later below. This is the XF 18mm F2 at f/4. It’s a bit of a mess in RAF form, just corrected by photographic camera, it looks pretty peachy.
Landscapes and Architecture
For the landscaper who wants to shoot RAW though, the XF 18mm F2 is a nonstarter. Not but is it by far the most optically inferior of the 3 in terms of acuity, information technology has loads more than aberrations, vignetting, and worse distortion characteristics.
Choosing between the XF 14mm F2.8 and XF 16mm F1.four WR is much more difficult. For the absolute top terminate optics and weather resistance, the XF 16mm F1.iv WR is the way to go, but the difference between 16mm and 14mm is pretty substantial, and sweeping landscapes so oftentimes call for wider lenses. I figured the XF 14mm F2.viii would pull alee in the sharpness arena at smaller apertures when depth of field is greater, making it a stronger option for landscapers, but diffraction bear witness upwards in equal amounts at almost the same discontinuity.
Portrait and Street
This is where a strong case tin still be made for the XF 18mm F2. Edge to edge sharpness and distortion-free images are far less critical here, and the 18mm’s compact size makes information technology the discreet selection for street photographers. The wider lenses offer push/pull clutch transmission focus and a depth of field scale for easier zone focusing. I think I would largely rule the XF 14mm F2.viii out from the category though. Information technology tin certainly be used for street, but yous have to be
shut if you lot desire to fill your frame with something. I’ve washed and so on the sly with Fuji’southward Camera Remote app, merely that can feel like a different sort of photography. Border distortion can besides become out of hand with a 21mm equivalent too.
$100 and 150g More
So I’ve narrowed information technology down to two lenses under each category, but just one of those lenses is in both, the XF 16mm F1.4 WR. This lens is extraordinary. My Ultimate Prime Kit has been revised to include information technology in place of the XF 14mm F2.8. It’due south that skilful. Certain, it’s a little more than expensive than the XF 14mm F2.eight ($150 at the time of writing, however the XF 14mm F2.8 has seen a cost increase making the XF 16mm F1.four WR just $100 more), and a footling heavier (about 150g), simply information technology’due south money well spent in my opinion for all the added flexibility of having one or 2 more stops of depth of field, weather condition resistance, and crazy close focus. For me, which wide angle prime number I’d choose is perhaps the easiest lens choice to make.