Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show continues to throw surprises at us this year. And who better to offer up a surprising announcement than Fujifilm? No other camera company has seen such rapid success following the introduction of a new interchangeable lens system. Since the debut of the X-Pro 1, Fuji has churned out more lenses than I care to count. The newest one is a stunning example of Fuji’s commitment to the X system and high-end optics. Like Nikon’s recently-announced 300mm f/4 PF, Fuji’s new 16-55mm f/2.8 is not typically the type of product one expects to be unveiled at CES, but we’re certainly not complaining. It is a professional grade lens, a perfect compliment to the firm’s X-T1 mirrorless digital camera.
With a constant aperture of f/2.8 and a full-frame equivalent zoom range of 24-84mm, this lens combines a very versatile focal length range with great low-light ability. It is perfect for event photography, photojournalism, and travel and street photography. Designed with image quality in mind, the 16-55mm f/2.8 features three aspherical elements and 3 ED glass elements, as well as Fuji’s super-special-sauce lens coatings. It is a rather large lens compared to others for the system, but is also built for professional use with dust and splash resistance.
Another key feature of this new lens is its autofocus drive. Using what Fuji calls a Twin Linear Motor, and by removing weight from the focusing element, the lens autofocuses almost silently, and incredibly quickly. When paired with an X-series camera that offers phase-detection AF, focus can be achieved in as little as 0.06 seconds, according to Fuji. The performance gap between mirrorless cameras and DSLRs continues to disappear.
But the best part of this new lens? The price. And no, we’re not joking about this. At $1199.99, it’s certainly not an impulse buy, but when put in perspective, this lens is an incredible value. It has a longer zoom range than competing 24-70 f/2.8 models from Nikon and Canon, but is considerably less expensive. Fuji started off the X system with a few incredible prime lenses, but lately, especially with the introduction of this 16-55mm f/2.8, they’re proving they know how to do zooms, too.