Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 18mm F1.4
- Weight: 13.1 oz/370 Grams
- Weather Sealed: Yes
- Filter Size: 62mm
- Angle of View: 76.5 Degrees
- Focusing Distance: 7.9″/20cm
- Max Aperture: F1.4
- Minimum Aperture: F16
- Image Stabilization: No
- Mount System: Fuji X
- Price: $999
Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 16mm F1.4
- Weight: 13.23 oz/375n Grams
- Weather Sealed: Yes
- Filter Size: 67mm
- Angle of View: 83.2 Degrees
- Focusing Distance: 5.91″/15cm
- Max Aperture: F1.4
- Minimum Aperture: F16
- Image Stabilization: No
- Mount System: Fuji X
- Price: $999
Table of Contents
Who are the Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 & 16mm F1.4 for?
The Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 is not Fujifilm’s first attempt at creating a lens with a 27mm full-frame equivalent focal length. After all, the 18mm F2, was one of Fujifilm’s first XF lenses with a release date of 2012!
There are two target audiences for this lens, the first is Fujifilm video users. The autofocus is excellent, and it is a surprisingly good focal length for that application. The second category is those who wish to purchase into the new Fujifilm prime ecosystem. (18mm F1.4, 23mm F1.4, 33mm F1.4, and the 56mm F1.2 WR) These lenses excel in regards to sharpness across the entire frame, are weather resistant, and have multi-functional purposes.
Meanwhile, the 16mm F1.4 is a fairly common focal length. A 24mm lens is usually the widest a standard zoom will go. For about ten years, the 16mm F1.4 was the gold-standard for wide-angle primes within the XF ecosystem, too. This lens is more designed for photographers and people who a fully manual photography experience due to the manual focus clutch.
What other Wide-Angle lenses exist?
The 8-16mm F2.8’s price has recently been lowered to $1,499. On the used market, it can be found for less than $1,000. Although it is difficult to purchase accessories for, the sharpness from center to corner is better than other lenses with this wide of a focal length.
I’ve carried around the 10-24mm F4 for almost two years at this point, and there are a couple of things you should know. It performs better on the wider-end than on the longer-end. (Around 20mm is when the lens starts to struggle.) It’s not actually the best Fujifilm lens for video, as the OIS is good but not great. Finally, it’s great for daytime photography. F4 is not enough light for anything at night.
- Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8
Along with the 18mm F2, this is one of those XF lenses that is not widely reviewed or acclaimed. Some people in Facebook forums swear by it, however.
- Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4
I own this lens, too. For a while, this lens was iconic. It is sharp, has a close minimum focusing distance, and the manual focus clutch installed intrigue for those who adopted Fujifilm for the manual control feeling. It continues to be an excellent lens for photography,
- Fujifilm XF 16mm F2.8
A pocketable lens for the smaller, XF bodies, the 16mm F2.8 has quick autofocus. Plus, the sharpness is good enough from what I hear. I have not had the pleasure of testing this lens out, as I already own the 16mm F1.4. However, I intend to review it shortly.
- Fujifilm XF 18mm F2.0
One of Fujifilm’s first attempts at creating an XF lens. This lens is one of the smallest within the entire XF ecosystem. I don’t hear a lot about this lens in various forums, nor do I really read any reviews about it, either.
Dials, Switches, Buttons, and More
The 18mm F1.4 has an aperture-lock, while the 16mm F1.4 does not. However, the 16mm f1.4 has a focus clutch, which has a shorter throw than the 18mm F1.4 manual focus ring. Both have clickable aperture rings that are marked.
18mm vs 16mm FOV
The 16mm FOV has a degree radius of 83.2 degrees, while the 18mm F1.4 has a slightly narrower FOV of 76.5 degrees. Both allow for plenty of information to crop, and these focal lengths are similar to most phone manufacturers.
The 16mm F1.4 and 18mm F1.4 have very similar building materials. However, the 18mm F1.4 just felt a bit more… solid. The aperture ring on the 16mm F1.4 is a bit looser than the 18mm F1.4. The 16mm F1.4’s manual focus is actually extremely easy to bump or slide, meaning your subject may accidently get out of focus.
Honestly, holding the lenses side by side, besides the different filter threads (18mm F1.4 has a filter thread of 62mm; 16mm F1.4 has a filter thread of 67mm), I don’t know if I would be able to tell the lenses apart based on materials besides the paint. The 16mm F1.4 is a bit more slippery in high-humidity environments. But both are solid.
I suppose the only other difference is the center of gravity on the 16mm F1.4 is closer to the lens mount, as the 18mm lens is just shaped a bit more like a soda can with an equal weight distribution.
Finally, it’s important to note that the size of the new 18mm F1.4, 23mm F1.4, and 33mm F1.4 are all structured similar. With this in mind, I think it’s conceivable that you would not have to rebalance your gimbal if you are just rotating through this set of prime lenses.
The 16mm F1.4 bokeh just felt… off. I don’t know if busy is the best word to describe my overall impressions, or just the focal length and aperture of F1.4 on this crop-sensor body provide for some weird transitions.
The transitions of the 18mm lens were smooth, and I think they almost felt natural. (Much more than the 16mm…)
I think what helps with the 18mm and 16mm is we know the exact amount of bokeh we are going to receive thanks to the smartphone cinematic and portrait features. However, the bokeh looks much, much better on the camera.
The one out-of-focus category in which the 16mm F1.4 wins easily. From F1.4, the corners are exceptional. Because the bokeh balls start off so well, we do introduce the aperture blades polygonal shape relatively quickly as we stop down.
Meanwhile, the 18mm F1.4 joins the 23mm F1.4 and the 33mm F1.4 which leans heavy cat’s eye in the corners at F1.4. Thankfully, as I stopped down the lens, the 18mm F1.4 does round out, and there are useable apertures for round bokeh balls across the entire frame. The bokeh balls are smaller, however, which is common as we stop down.
The 16mm F1.4 is significantly worse than the 18mm F1.4 in regard to color fringing. I am not quite sure if this is due to the lens formula, a difference in coatings, or what exactly, but the green fringing is there. Plus, it is hard to get rid of. Let’s take, for example, this photo of me in Iceland. The top right cliff shows major fringing.
It’s weird that there was not any purple fringing, as this typically shows up at the same time as the green fringing.
Now, the 18mm F1.4 performs somewhat like this…
- @F1.4: In darker scenes that involve brown or black bokeh, I really don’t think anybody will notice. However, with something that is silver, this might be the most noticeable color. There was a slight, slight amount of fringing at F1.4
- @F1.6: Not even a full-stop away, the color fringing is about halved. Wow…
- @F2: There is no color fringing that I noticed.
Using both lenses for portraits (the focal length is similar to many camera manufacturers, so this actually helps in post-processing), I think both lenses are reasonable for single-shot photos. (And even more so if you are focused on just landscapes and street photography.
However, if you are looking at continuous autofocus tracking the human eye or face, the 18mm F1.4 quickly wins. The 16mm F1.4 looks like it is keeping up with the subject via the green box on the back, but it’s not when reviewing the photos taken. Meanwhile, the 18mm F1.4 is just a faster lens overall. For example, let’s look at two similar videos showing the focusing speeds.
Beyond the speed of the linear motors of the 18mm F1.4 is quieter, too. And it is a bit more confident from this minimum to infinity test. I think if I was to rely on one lens for video production, the 18mm F1.4 is my go-to.
Manual Focus Experience
The manual focusing experience of these two lenses are very, very different too. As one of the first Fujifilm XF prime lenses, this lens joins a few other XF lenses that have manual focus clutches. (Along with the 23mm F1.4 and 14mm) However, this manual focus clutch on the 16mm F1.4 is loose. It only takes a bit move from the minimum focusing distance to infinity, which might be bad if you are using an aperture of F1.4. The distances are marked on the lens, however.
Meanwhile, the 18mm F1.4 does not have a clutch but just a manual focus ring. To get from the minimum focusing distance to around fifteen feet, it does take a bit of effort. Then, it is quick to get from the medium focusing distance to infinity.
If comparing the lenses for focus pulls, I think the 18mm was a bit smoother.
Neither lens has any major distortion which is worth writing about.
Macro Performance and Max Reproduction Ratio
When thinking about the macro performance of these two lenses, it is interesting that the wider lens has a closer focusing distance than the other one. The 16mm F1.4 was always a bit more advertised in the promotion as a semi-macro lens, too. The minimum focusing distance of the 16mm is 5.91 inches/15 centimeters. Meanwhile, the 18mm F1.4 has a focusing distance of about two inches longer at 7.9 inches/20 centimeters.
Their maximum reproduction ratios are .21x (16mm) and .15x (18mm) respectively.
Within the XF mount, the closest lens dedicated macro lens to either of these is the 30mm F2.8.
I suppose the 16mm F1.4 does win this category, and it does so by default. I think this lens may allow for some food photography, and also unique distortion feel portrait sessions.
The 18mm does have better sunstars, but the bigger point is that sunstars are achievable with both lenses.
Ghosting & Flaring
I think the 16mm might have a bit less if a problem with ghosting than the 18mm F1.4.
From the looks of it, the flaring is purple with the 16mm F1.4, while the 18mm F1.4 is green.
This difference might be to differences in coatings or something. I am not quite sure.
Both lenses handle flaring well.
At F1.4, the 18mm F1.4 starts strong in the corner. So much so, the only difference between F1.4 and F2 is an ever-so-slight increase in contrast. (Really, I might not have seen any marginal improvement.)
At F4, this lens is perfection. I cannot find any fault with this lens in regards to sharpness. And it will continue on this way until about F11. I didn’t even feel like at F11 or F16 the image was that bad, either, which is impressive considering it usually falls apart.
The corners are noticeably less sharp than the center, but more than usable for 99% of your photographs.
At F1.4-F2.8, the lens performs amicably, and I would rate it a solid 8.5/10. It gets incrementally better until you reach around F4, which is when I think the corner sharpness is around the same as the center. Really, from around F4-F5.6, this lens is amazing. I think at F8 is certainly great too, and it is around F11 that diffraction becomes evident. F16 is a decrease in image quality, too.
Yes, I am nitpicking. But the drop-off of the 18mm F1.4 from center to corner is still better than every Fujifilm zoom lens that has been made, so far….
Starting off at the minimum aperture (F1.4), the 16mm F1.4 starts off excellent. And it slowly gets better at F2 and F2.8. I think peak sharpness for the enter of the frame performs the best from F2.8 until about F11 or so. Additionally, we really don’t see the same drop off at F11 in the center as we did in the corner. F16 is passable.
The corner starts off more good than excellent at F1.4, but it is excellent by the time you reach F2.8.
Why the 18mm F1.4 is better than the 16mm F1.4
In almost every category, the Fujifilm 16mm F1.4 is dominated by the 18mm F1.4. (Especially for the most important category in my opinion, sharpness.) For me, the only major category in which the 16mm F1.4 performs better is…. Bokeh balls in the corner of the frame.
It might only be five grams, but the 18mm F1.4 being lighter than the 16mm F1.4 is kind-of amazing. Plus, as much as I keep harping on this, the ability to switch between three different lenses without balancing a gimbal due to their similar structure and weight is amazing.
Why the 16mm F1.4 is better than the 18mm F1.4
Since the 16mm F1.4 is an older lens than the 18mm F1.4, the used market is certainly more saturated. The increase of lenses available has reduced the overall cost, and you can now find a 16mm F1.4 in “good” condition for less than $500.
- Full Manual Experience
Some Fujifilm photographers just appreciate a fully manual experience, and they adopt the system for that. Marked Aperture Rings, all the dials including ISO, shutter speed, a good manual focus peaking experience, etc. etc. And if you would like that type of experience, I recommend the 16mm F1.4. It has that clutch, no buttons so there is a bit of character in regard to the handling of this lens, and it renders somewhat of an old-school bokeh vibe.
Will the 18mm F1.4 replace my 16mm F1.4?
There’s a bit to note here, as I think that my use case for a lens like this is a bit different than most.
First off, if I was adopting into the Fujifilm ecosystem today, I would absolutely purchase the 18mm F1.4 over the 16mm F1.4. All around, it is a better lens optically, lighter, and is only a couple of hundred dollars more than the 16mm F1.4 on the used market. It is also future proof for everything in the twenty-first century.
However, I have limited use cases for the Fujifilm XF mount besides camera lens reviews and the occasional street photography experience. (Which I prefer the 24mm focal length for, anyway.) There is also the aspect that I purchased the lens for more than it is currently worth, so the sunk cost is there, too.
So, no. My 16mm F1.4 is not replacing the 18mm F1.4.
Sample Photos of the 16mm and 18mm
My Final Rating
Priced around $999, this lens is a bit steep. However, it is the same launch price as the 16mm F1.4, which launched around 2015. Given the recent increase in new camera gear, it would have made sense that this lens would cost a couple hundred dollars more. I think the pricing is a win, and it only loses .5 a point.
I don’t foresee any potential issues with this lens. It should do about everything you need it to.
There is a lost of half-a-point for the ghosting.
The build quality, from the weather gaskets to the paint, all appear premium. Additionally, the size allows switching between the new Fujifilm prime lenses without the need to rebalance on gimbals. It’s solid.
Overall: 19/20 or 95%
With the MSRP holding at $999, this lens is too expensive compared to the newer Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 WR.
On the bright side, this does mean you can get an excellent copy for less than $600 sometimes.
We lost half-a-point for the green fringing. And another half-a-point is lost for the autofocus concerns on both the older and newer bodies.
-.5 for the manual focus clutch being pretty loose.
Total: 17.5/20 or 87.5%