This is the second time in a very short period that Fujifilm has pleasantly surprised me with a piece of equipment that is apparently aimed at a non-professional audience. The first time was with the X-T30, with which I was able to tackle a complete — and complex — report on the Trans-Siberian railway, in Russia, and the second time was with this new zoom.
At first glance, what stands out is its appearance and the construction of the lens, which is superior to what is expected from lenses that are not among a brand’s brightest. Mounted on the X-T3, the result is a compact piece of equipment that I can carry in the small bag I usually take to work and that does not attract too much attention, although I’ll comment more on this later.*
The versatility of the focal range, the wide-angle telescopic lens, has meant that I didn’t miss any of the other lenses I have: with a single lens, I can tackle a travel report in which there was a little bit of everything, portrait, architecture, gastronomy, landscapes and night photography.
I like the fact that it is sealed. Many times I have to work in environments that are not precisely friendly, with dust, rain or high humidity, like in the case of this trip to Asturias.
The sensor on the X-T3 produces so much quality at high ISO that the fact that the light was F4 posed no problem. I didn’t miss the gain of brighter lenses at any time, and I could take night photos — during the blue hour — with a raised hand, with excellent results.
Another option I liked is that it maintains the diameter of the other lenses I have in my equipment. This lets me share elements like polarized filters that I use in landscape photography.
In terms of the things that I did not like so much, just to mention something, because the test was very satisfactory, I could point out that I wish the zoom had a button to activate the stabilization on the lens itself, like on the XF10-24mm. Since it is an option that is activated on the menus of the X-T3, on several occasions, I forgot to deactivate it in scenes that required this; I think it is better for it to be more accessible. The same thing goes for the diaphragm lock button. Since the outer construction is identical to the XF10-24mm, I suppose it wouldn’t be any problem to add both buttons to the XF16-80mm.
*Discretion and weight is one of the factors I consider the most when choosing equipment. As far as weight goes, I have no objection; it is very reasonable, considering the wide focal range. But as I go to more telescopic focal lengths, the part of the lens that comes out makes it less discreet. I understand that this wide range that I have comes at a price — external zoom — and that in order for the entire mechanism to be internal, we would be talking about a much larger and heavier lens.
In summary, I would say that this is what is known as a multipurpose lens that definitely has a place in a professional’s bag. In my case, I am sure that it will help me out on many generic reports that I do on assignment for different magazines.