Fuji Fujinon Super EBC XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS

Fuji Fujinon Super EBC XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS

Fuji has been releasing been on a roll with lenses, but how does their cheapest lens on their cheapest camera perform?

My first impression of this lens was that it looked nice, but was cheaply made. The barrel is all plastic, including the mount. The zoom mechanism is a little tight turning and the lens extends way out. However, there is an included hood, and the kit actually came with a body cap and rear lens cap (cheap push on type), which is better than most inexpensive kits today.

The zoom range is an impressive 16-50mm, where the slightly wider view is a nice improvement over most kit lenses. The plastic makes the kit lens very light weight, weighing in at only 195g it uses a pretty advanced lens design with 3 aspheric elements, 1 low dispersion element, with 12 total elements in 10 groups. It has an average for class magnification of 0.15 at a minimum focus distance of 0.3 m. It uses 7 rounded blades for the aperture.

Considering the price of X-A1 camera with this kit lens, how good could the lens possibly be? Lets find out.

Optical Performance

16 mm

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Please click on the tab you want to view. Only 1 tab may be active at a time. MTF, Distortion, and Lat CA data acquired using Imatest

28 mm

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DSCF0298_28.2 mm_1-5 sec at f - 5.6_YBR50_18_multi_cpp
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Please click on the tab you want to view. Only 1 tab may be active at a time. MTF, Distortion, and Lat CA data acquired using Imatest

50mm

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Please click on the tab you want to view. Only 1 tab may be active at a time. MTF, Distortion, and Lat CA data acquired using Imatest

Comments on the Results

Fuji has been excellent at making minimal compromise lenses, and for a cheap kit lens this is the best one I have ever used. It is sharp across the frame at all apertures and focal lengths, but my copy does have some decentering. This means that if I focus on one side of the frame wide open at 16mm, the other side of the frame will be soft. I can mitigate this by stopping down to f/5.6. By f/8 it is pretty much not an issue at all. I bring this up because it only shows up for distant subjects wide open. So when you review my sample pictures keep this in mind.

Distortion is pretty minor and ranges from 0.8% barrel to 0.5% pincushion, and is neutral somewhere between 30 and 50mm. Lightroom corrects out pretty severe barrel distortion at 16mm, but the corners remain good after corrections. If you shoot with some RAW converters that don’t support lens corrections, you might have to deal with distortion.

Lateral CA is well controlled except at 16mm where is is noticeable, especially in the corners. At other focal lengths it is negligible.

Flare resistance: very good, typical for small aperture modern zoom.

Field curvature: Minimal. My sample benefits focusing in the center due to the decentering.

Measured Focal length at 16mm and 1:53 is about 17 mm, corrected.
Measured Focal length at 50mm and 1:53 is about 53 mm, corrected.

Pros and Cons

Effective Resolution 16mm X-A1 Sample 2

HD Video = 2 MP, 4k Video = 8 MP

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
f/3.5
13.3 MP
16+ MP
9.5 MP
13.9 MP
f/8
14.1 MP
16+ MP
11.0 MP
16+ MP

Effective Resolution 16mm X-M1 Sample 2

HD Video = 2 MP, 4k Video = 8 MP

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
f/3.5
13.2 MP
16+ MP
11.5 MP
7.2 MP
f/8
14.1 MP
16+ MP
13.4 MP
8.6 MP

Effective Resolution 35mm X-A1 Sample 2

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
f/5
10.6 MP
10.9 MP
10.7 MP
8.7 MP
f/8
11.9 MP
12.3 MP
11.9 MP
10.6 MP

Effective Resolution 35mm X-M1 Sample 2

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
f/5
12.1 MP
13.1 MP
12.1 MP
8.3 MP
f/8
13.9 MP
14.3 MP
14.3 MP
11.1 MP

Effective Resolution 50mm X-A1 Sample 2

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
f/5.6
12.8 MP
16+ MP
10 MP
8 MP
f/8
13.6 MP
16+ MP
11.7 MP
9.7 MP

Effective Resolution 50mm X-M1 Sample 2

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
f/5.6
13.2 MP
16+ MP
11.6 MP
6.9 MP
f/8
14.4 MP
16+ MP
14 MP
9.4 MP

Bottom Line

Tested two copies, both are similar. The other I tested at 35mm instead of 28mm, and it appears performance dips down a little around 35 before increasing again by 50.

Step it down to f/5.6-7.1 and you will get a nice sharp lens across the range. This makes it a great lens to take on a trip and take landscape shots, and other general purpose shots. For shallow depth of field the 50mm f/5.6 end is okay, but at close focus it gets a bit soft and f/5.6 isn’t ideal for shallow depth of field, so the 18-55mm is the better lens for that purpose. Kit lenses don’t come optically better than this Fuji 16-50mm, and the wider wide end is icing on the cake.

This sample is a review sample from Amazon Vine and Fuji, please support by buying through Amazon: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black)
You can buy the lens by itself as well, but not nearly as good of a buy.

Gallery

Default light room settings, and beware that my copy is decentered, so on the 16mm f/3.5 shots expect better results if you have a good copy. Mild decentering doesn’t show up with how I test my lenses as I focus at all 4 corners and the sharper corners tend to average out the softer corners.

The gallery images are © 2013 Eric Tastad, and may only be used for personal evaluation of the lenses. Click the play button and click “visit gallery” in the upper right to go to Zenfolio, to download full size images click on an image, hover over an image, and hover over menu, download, and click all originals.

2 Comments

  1. This is an amazing 195-gram zoom, seems like in and of itself it could justify purchase of the X-A1 camera. Thanks Eric.

  2. […] XC 16-50 review here: “I give this lens a blue rating since it is a superb value. Step it down to f/5.6-7.1 and […]