SLR Gear, an offshoot website of the Imaging Resource, one of the web's most-trusted resources for all things digital photography, has just posted an in-depth review of the new Fuji 16-50 f3.5-5.6 OIS lens, which can be bought as both a stand-alone or as a kit with Fuji X-mount cameras. On paper, this is the run of the mill kit lens, nothing more, or is it?
So, how does it do in practice? Short answer: very well.
Optically, the lens is really good. In terms of sharpness, the lens is good right from the get-go at its various apertures throughout the focal range, even in the corners The lens does not sharpen much when stopped down, but performance does not to soften due to diffraction until around f16. Come f22, diffraction really starts to take a toll on the image. As for vignetting and distortion, both are very well controlled and should not present any real problems in real-life shooting. If there is any optical shortcoming, it's the chromatic aberration, which can pose a little bit of a problem on the wide end.
Mechanically, the lens is almost all plastic, including the mount, as cost and weight-saving measures. However, SLR Gear notes that, for such a lens, it does feel well put together for what it is. In terms of operation, the rings are well-textured and operate smoothly.
As for focus, AF is via a focus by a “high precision stepping motor,” which produces fast, accurate focus, taking less than a second to rack from macro to infinity. Manual focus is controlled by a focus-by-wire system, which means that there is no AF/MF switch as this function is controlled on the camera.
Overall conclusion: praise at the highest level, especially considering that this is “just” a kit lens.
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