Est. 2020

Fujifilm 16-55 vs 16-80mm F4

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Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8

  • Weight: 1.44 lb/655 Grams
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Filter Size: 77mm 
  • Angle of View: 83.2 to 29 Degrees
  • Focusing Distance: 11.81″/30cm
  • Max Aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: F22
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Mount System: Fuji X
  • Price: $1,199
  • Zoom: Extension

Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 16-80mm F4

  • Weight: 15.52 oz/440 Grams
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
  • Filter Size: 72mm
  • Angle of View: 83.2 to 20 Degrees
  • Focusing Distance: 1.15 ft/35 cm
  • Max Magnification: .25x
  • Max Aperture: F4
  • Minimum Aperture: F4
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Mount System: Fujifilm X
  • Price: $799

Table of Contents

Why compare the Fujifilm 16-80 versus the 16-55?

Fujifilm 16 55 vs 16 80

What other XF lenses exist with this focal length?

Links to the full reviews. 

Zoom Lenses

  • Tamron XF 17-70mm F2.8
For the most part, I think people will be happy with the performance from the 17-70mm F2.8. I used it for a weekend, and I much prefer the 16-55mm F28 over the 17-70mm. I felt like the IBIS of the X-Series lenses and the OIS of the 17-70 fought against each other. The 17-70mm F2.8 is lighter. 
  • Fujifilm XF 18-55 F2.8-F4.0

The standard kit lens. A used copy can be purchased for around $300. 

I had high hopes for the 18-120, but there is one major problem for its intended video use. 

Another direct competitor of the 18-120, this 18-135 is Fujifilm’s other one-stop lens. This lens does have OIS! However, it struggles in low light with an aperture of F5.6 on the long-end. 

Prime Lenses

An instant classic. The XF 23mm f1.4 is sharp, has beautiful sunstars, and it’s bokeh is magical. This might be my favorite lens by Fujifilm. 

Everything I said about the 23mm, but at the 33mm f1.4 ‘s focal length. Additionally, it is not my favorite lens that Fujifilm makes. 

One of the few F1 lenses in the world that also has autofocus. However, with that 75mm FF focal length, you are going to have a very shallow depth of field. It suffers from heavy vignetting and color fringing. 

A refresh of the original 56mm f1.2. This lens is now weather-resistant and has a closer focusing distance. (50cm) The audible motor and speed are noticeably worst than most modern-day lenses. 

Build Quality Comparison

Overall, the build qualities are excellent. These days, almost every lens that is made by the big 5 (Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm) is built well. However, there are a couple of things to note, namely in regards to the 16-80mm F4. 

Firstly, the lens creep is rather noticeable on the 16-80. This isn’t to say that the 16-55 does not suffer from this phenomenon as well. However, as the lens is both bigger and heavier, it takes much more to extend it inadvertently. 

Cosmetically, the 16-80mm does seem to be built of the same material. However, it just seems to get dirtier quicker. For example, the paint seems to live fingerprints. Finally, the lens element is very, very difficult to clean. Water seems to leave streaks, and this makes me believe that there might be different coatings on the front lens element. (Now, I am fully confident in the weather sealing of the lens.) 

For the 16-55mm F2.8, the manual focus ring is much tighter than the 16-80mm F4. (It is not unusable, however.) Finally, the zoom ring on the 16-55 just seems to be a bit more rubberized.

Dials, Switches, Knobs, and Feet

Upon reading an article the other day (Sorry, I cannot remember which one to give credit..) I didn’t realize that Fujifilm had specifically designed all zooms that have a fixed aperture to have a marked aperture ring. Honestly, that is something that is that obvious is embarrassing to admit. So, both the 16-55 and 16-80 have marked aperture rings. 

Everything such as the 16-80mm F4’s OIS must be turned on in the camera body. 

Finally, the other cosmetic difference is the red XF on the side of the 16-55. This denotes the red-badge. (The only other three with this distinction are the 8-16mm F2.8, 200mm F2, and 50-140 F2.8.)

How Far is the FOV?

Here is what the field of view looks like, with corrections turned off. As you can see, the difference between 16 and 35mm is much larger than 50 (ish) and 80mm. 

Sharpness Test


  • Starting off at 16mm, this lens performs well. There was no noticeable improvement between F2.8 and F4. There might be a slight improvement at F5.6, but the details were microscopic. F8 performs about the same, but the fall-off with this lens at F11 is pronounced. 
  • At 23mm, again I did not see a huge improvement between F2.8 and F4. Nor did I see anything meaningful even stopping down to F5.6. F8-F11 repeats the same statement as before. 
  • At 35mm, (this lens is consistent) there is not a great improvement to the naked eye. 
  • But at 55mm, there is a slight degradation. However, the sharpness drop-off is less in the center than in the corners. 


  •  Within the corner of the 16mm range, F2.8 and F4 perform similarly. To me, there was an improvement at F5.6, with the drop-off being the same as the center. 
  • For 23mm, F2.8-F8 perform about the same. Same as before
  • I found the corner sharpness to be alright with F2.8, but with 35mm F4, I was extremely impressed. That being said, to me, 35mm was also the best performing focal length at F11. 
  • For 55mm, there was a pretty noticeable decrease in performance than on the narrower end. Additionally, I did feel like the drop-off at F8 and F11 was much more pronounced than at any other focal length, too. 

Bokeh Review

You can get “more” bokeh with the 16-80mm at 80mm with an aperture of F4 than you can the 16-55mm at 55mm with an aperture of F2.8. 

That being said, I think the F2.8 is just a bit better for portraiture. And if you want the longer focal length, there are excellent third-party options such as the 75mm F1.2 

I think that one extra stop of light is helpful. 

Bokeh Balls

Regarding the F4 lens: The bokeh balls were good-enough for me. 

Regarding the F2.8 lens: As you stop-down, the polygonal shape does become apparent at F5.6. At all focal lengths, there is an onion-ring effect. 

Distortion Test

Both lenses suffer from distortion on the wider-end. However, at about 30mm or so, the distortion has turned into a pincushion type for the 16-80mm. For the 16-55,  I didn’t notice anything.

Meanwhile, at 50mm or so, both lenses have pincushion distortion at this point. The 16-80mm F4 is worse, however. (Yes, it is worse after 55 millimeters, too.)

Autofocus Test

The 16-55 seems to be a bit faster than the 16-80. (Despite it being larger and having more glass to move.) Additionally, I really don’t like the breathing the 16-80 lens exhibits when switching from minimum to infinity. 

If I was doing video work, I think speed is paramount. However, for photography, the 16-80mm F4 is good enough for 95% of subjects. 

Manual Focus Experience 

The 16-55 is a bit larger than the 16-80mm F4, so the manual focusing ring is a bit further out. That being said, the manual focus rings are a different tension, as mentioned above in the build quality section. It just depends on which you prefer, one that is more loose or has more resistance. 

Personally, I don’t think that it is going to affect functionality, whatsoever. We are already dealing with a larger depth of field than full-frame cameras, on top of the larger aperture. So, we should be good if the focus is slightly knocked.

Focusing Distance & Macro Performance

Out of each category I test, the one in which I was surprised the 16-80mm F4 performs the best is the macro-performance. It’s not everyday that a 24-120 full-frame equivalent has a focusing distance of .35 meters, which results in a maximum reproduction ratio of .25x. With this and a focal length of 80mm, you certainly can get a few beautiful macro-eque shots with enough bokeh. 

Now, the 16-55 is just average for macro. It has a minimum focusing distance of .30 meters, which is not too far off from the 16-55. However, the max reproduction ratio is just .16 due to the focal length. (Full-Frame is 24-82.5mm) The 16-80mm is much, much better than the 16-55. However, neither are going to lose any points in this category. If you need a macro lens with this focal length for the XF mount, I recommend looking at the 30mm F2.8.

Fujifilm 16-55mm 16mm at F2.8 (Macro Test)
Fujifilm 16 80mm F4 Macro 1


Both lenses can create sunbursts, which is a nice effect to have. 

I think the sunstars appears earlier in the aperture range with the 16-55 mm. 


I did notice a vignette with the 16-80mm F4 in the corners, especially along the wider end. (RAF file with no camera corrections.) I think there is a bit with the 16-55, but it is a bit less noticeable. 

However, both the 16-55 and 16-80mm have numerous ways to correct it. 

Color Fringing

Both lenses have minimal color fringing, but it is there at their respective minimum apertures. Thankfully, it is gone with each of the lenses only one full-stop, later. So, there is no color fringing with the 16-80mm at F5.6. The color fringing is gone with the 16-55mm by F4. 

Why should I pick the 16-55 over the 16-80mm F4?

Why should I pick the 16-55 over the 16-80

  • Performance (Sharpness) 

In almost every category, the Fujifilm performs better than the 16-80. However, the one which matters the most to me is sharpness from center to corner. Because of that, it’s the one I would pick. 

  • Easier to Clean

Again, I don’t know if it is due to user error or a difference in fluorine coatings, but the 16-55 is much easier to clean. 

Why should I pick the 16-80 over the 16-55

  • Price 

It’s hard to argue against the 16-55 at $1,199 is a bit much for non-pro photographers. One potential option is to purchase the 35mm F1.4 and 16-80mm F4 instead of the 16-55. If you purchase used copies, they should be about the same cost. 

  • OIS vs No OIS

Most Fujifilm cameras in circulation now have some sort of internal body image stabilization. Which is nice as the 16-55 does not have it. It’s really a trade off, OIS with an aperture of F4 against an F2.8 with none. 

On a side note, it’s almost always better to have camera stabilization over lens stabilization.

My Final Rating

Fujifilm 16-80mm F4

Price (3/5)

  • Is this lens fairly priced? (-1)
    • As part of the kit combination, this lens might* be worth the price. However, for the MSRP of $799, the 16-80mm F4 is disappointing.
  • Can this item be found on the used market for at least 20% off MSRP?
    • Yes. (+1)
  • How does the price of the 16-80mm F4 compare to the bodies in the ecosystem? (For example: It may not make sense to purchase a $4,000 lens for a camera ecosystem in which the most expensive body only costs $2,000.)
    • If looking at the XF camera mount, the used pricing is considered fair. The most expensive body retails for around $2500. (+1)
  • Overall Pricing Concern
    • During rebates and other summer sales, you can find the 16-80mm for less than $500. I don’t feel like that price impedes on most photographer’s budgets. (+1)
  • Price/Performance Ratio (-1)

Reliability: 2.5/5

  • Color Fringing, Bokeh Balls, Sharpness (including center sharpness and center to corner performance), Distortion, Vignetting, Bokeh Transitions
  •         -.5 for heavy distortion, sharpness (-1.5) for sharpness in the center and corners, -.5 for bokeh balls, -.5 for color fringing at F4

Functionality: 5/5

  • Is this a niche lens?
    • No. (+1)
  •  How is the autofocus experience? If it is a manual focus lens, what is this experience like?
    • This is not the fastest zoom lens, nor does it have the same motor speed as the red-badge zooms such as the 16-55 and 50-140. The results are useable, though. (Yes; +1)
  • Trade Offs
    • This lens is an F4 zoom, but it does have a capable OIS system. (Yes; +1)
  • Is it able to be used for what it’s designed for?
    • Yes +1

Style: 3/5

  • Does this lens look good? (+1)
  • How does the overall build quality feel? (-1)
    • Half-point lost due to the sticky aperture ring. I also was not a huge fan of the lens hood, but that was more personal than functional. Finally, the paint looked dirty at all times, and I am not sure why that is. The paint is what causes the additional half-point loss
  • If it’s designed to be waterproof, is it? (+1)
  • Will the lens last over time (-1)
    • There are two major concerns I have with the overall longevity of the lens, both deal with the extension zoom. 
    • Firstly, I just felt like the long extension, if done too fast and near the water, is just going to allow for particles to enter the lens. I am not worried about them entering the lens, but rather scratching the barrel. Finally, I am also concerned about the zoom creep. Just by knocking it over, it’s very easy to see that this lens will extend beyond the 23mm-ish focal length. I would have to be very careful when travelling with this lens.
  • Lens Body/Camera Balance (+1)
Total: 13/20 or 65%

I might have taken an extreme stance on this lens, at the very least compared to most other reviews. However, I just had high expectations for this lens, and I was pretty much disappointed. If I was to really pick a standard zoom lens for Fujifilm by Fujifilm, the only lens I would purchase is the 16-55mm F2.8.

Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8

Price (4/5)
  • Is this lens fairly priced? (+1)
    • The 18-55mm retails for  $699, the 16-80mm F4 for $799. Most Fujifilm prime lenses cost $899-$999. 
  • Can this item be found on the used market for at least 20% off MSRP?
    • Yes. (+1)
  • How does the price of the 16-55mm F2.8 compare to the bodies in the ecosystem? (For example: It may not make sense to purchase a $4,000 lens for a camera ecosystem in which the most expensive body only costs $2,000.) (-1)
    • When looking at professional zooms, the price is usually 1/3 to 1/2 of the pro-series body. This is not the case for Fujifilm, which most expensive body is $2,500. This is closer to 1/2 the cost than 1/3, which is the reason for a point loss. 
  • Overall Pricing Concern (+1)
    • The cheapest I have seen the 16-55mm F2.8 was $899 for a winter rebate. At that point, the used variation of the lens were selling for about the MSRP of the 16-80mm. 
  • Price/Performance Ratio (+1)

Reliability: 3.5/5

  • Color Fringing, Bokeh Balls, Sharpness (including center sharpness and center to corner performance), Distortion, Vignetting, Bokeh Transitions
  •         -.5 for barrel distortion, -.5 for onion bokeh balls, -.5 for color fringing at F2.8

Functionality: 5/5

  • Is this a niche lens?
    • No. (+1)
  •  How is the autofocus experience? If it is a manual focus lens, what is this experience like?
    •  The autofocus experience is good. Out of every Fujifilm zoom lens within this focal length, I think it might be the best. 
  • Trade Offs
    • This lens is an F2.8 zoom, but it does lack OIS. Because most cameras are now equipped with solid internal stabilization systems, I am not going to subtract a point. 
  • Is it able to be used for what it’s designed for?
    • Yes +1

Style: 4/5

  • Does this lens look good? (+1)
  • How does the overall build quality feel? (-1)
    • The overall build quality of the 16-55 is solid. It is well-build, with a nice paint sheen. One might complain about the stiffer manual focus ring. (It’s more than the 16-80mm F4.)
  • If it’s designed to be waterproof, is it? (+1)
  • Will the lens last over time (-1)
    • Yes. 
  • Lens Body/Camera Balance (-1)
On the larger X-H and X-T bodies, the 16-55mm F2.8 will balance well. However, on a majority of the smaller bodies such as the X-TXX, XPro, and XE lines, it will not. 
Total: 16.5 or 82.5%

Most of the stylistic attributes of this lens can be worked around. For example, the size can be counteracted with a grip. 

The reliability concerns are situational based, for example bokeh balls are generally more of a concern with prime lenses. 

This is a pro-series lens. For the most part, I found it to be excellent, and I highly recommend if you can afford it.