Why do I need a 16mm f 1.4 lens?

chevy by bill fortneyIf you already own the Fuji 10-24 f 4 XF lens, or the Fuji 16-55 f 2.8 XF lens, why would you invest in the new Fuji 16mm f 1.4 lens?? I just got a new production copy of the 16mm f 1.4 XF lens and I was wondering the same thing!!!

First let me dispel what many people believe about extreme wide angle lenses, that they are designed so we, as photographers, can take in more area in our images.  It is true that the wider the lens, the wider the angle of view, and thus; more stuff in the image. That’s not the most effective way to use a wide angle lens though!  A very effective way to use a wide angle lens is to move in close to your main subject and make it the sharpest thing in the image, and then allow the background to either be equally sharp, by stopping down to a very small aperture setting like f 11 – 16 or 22, or to make the background “very” out of focus, by opening the lens to its largest aperture setting.  Therein lies the value of a f 1.4 wide angle lens, the depth-of-field is extremely shallow when shot wide open (f 1.4) thus making the background a very dreamy out of focus!!!

violets by bill fortney

An important part of the photographer’s bag of tricks is to use shallow depth-of-field effectively, to focus the viewer’s eye on a main subject, letting the rest of the image go out of focus.  I went over to my neighbor’s garden and then down to a used car lot that had a very interesting 1949 Chevy wrecker I had been wanting to photograph.  All images were shot at f 1.4 to show the effectiveness of a shallow area of sharp focus.

old truck by bill fortneySo how does the news Fuji 16mm f 1.4 XF lens do?  I will let you judge.  But at 100% on my computer screen, the in-focus areas are razor sharp.  The color quality of the new lens is outstanding and the build quality is rock solid.  The 16mm also has a clutch focusing mechanism that allows smoother and deadly accurate manual focusing, however the autofocus is among the fastest and most accurate yet!

black beauty by bill fortneyOK … I already own the 10-24 and the 16-55, but this one is staying in my camera locker, for very special assignments that requires its lovely abilities!!!

Well done, Fuji … another Five Star Winner!

~ Bill Fortney

For more information, visit www.billfortney.com

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Bill Fortney, NPS
email: billfortney@earthlink.net

One thought on “Why do I need a 16mm f 1.4 lens?”

  1. Great post. I’ve been debating about getting the 16mm 1.4 lens. The only problem I see with f/1.4 is during bright sunlight. My X-T1 only goes to 1/4000 sec. There is the 1/3200 sec electronic shutter option. Have you personally used the electronic shutter for situations like this? It’s either that or get a ND filter.


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