My XF16 Story Part Two

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Last week (click here if you missed it) I told you about Fujifilm lending me the XF16 and how, although clearly an amazing chunk of glass, it wasn’t my preferred way to look at the world!

Leaving Fujifilm’s offices, I began the long and hot walk back into town, eager to take some shots with my unexpected loaner lens

I’m a bit dreading to type this up… I know a great many of you are into wide angles, and landscapes and cityscapes – I’ve seen some truly jaw dropping photos taken with wide lens.

So in no way, shape or form am I suggesting that wide angle lenses are bad or that wide angle photography is bad.

I’m not suggesting that no one should shoot wide – I’m not even suggesting that 16mm (on APSC) is even that wide of a lens. I know many Fuji users enjoy the 10-24 or even something like a Samyang 8mm 🙂

Power to you, keep making images that I’d never even dream of.

But equally, it’s just not my bag. We each have our tastes and preferences and mine… well mine just don’t extend that wide 🙂

So if at all possible, try to resist telling me off for not loving wides!

Now where was I?

Ah yes, walking along the south banks of the Douro, sweating profusely and itching to try the XF16.

The light was binary, so hard that you’d think it grew up in the Favela as seen in the movie City of God

I paused at a place I knew well, and snapped the following.

See?! I told you I had no eye for this.

I’ve shot this scene with a few different lenses, as I have to walk past it twice whenever I go to Fujifilm.

You can certainly see what a lovely lens the XF16 is!

But I PERSONALLY just struggle to make scenes like this look how I’d like.

I tried to think about more about my lines and angles

A bit better… (YMMV) but I’m still struck by how much raw detail is in this scene, and how very far away it all looks

I was starting to enjoy just how much I could fit into an image.

Places that I know well, where previously I’d had to pick out the parts I wanted in the photo, could now all be in the frame.

This wasn’t without charm.

More field curvature anyone?!

Not being a regular user of wide glass, I don’t have the eye, the discipline or the skill set for them. For example, too many times I look at a shot I’ve taken with a wide angle (and I did own the XF18 for quite a while) and I despair at my inability to hold the camera in a way to negate field curvature.

Out of my comfort zone, I started doing the worst thing…. I started trying to bend and hammer the XF16 into my way of working with longer focal lengths.

Trying to use a 16mm like a 23 or 35 means getting very, very close

Dude. Seriously? Either stick on the 35mm and go stand over there or just sod off – but either way get out of my face.

I even tried a street portrait with the XF16 🙂 🙂

Why is that man with a camera sitting on her lap?

So, all in all I was a little – well not underwhelmed – the XF16 was clearly another fantastic Fujifilm optic. But I was frustrated in my inability to use it.

I didn’t have the eye or the discipline for standard wide shots and I couldn’t force the 16mm to do what I normally liked to shoot.

Was I destined to simply never get it to work in a way I was happy with?


For the answer came in getting out of my comfort zone, but only a little bit.

I like to shoot people. I like environmental photographs.

The way forward was to combine the two.

People and their surroundings. This became what I liked to do with the XF16mm (YMMV)

I hope you join me next time as I finish this series off and explain how I found my groove with the XF16mm


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The X-Pro Series Content: Referenced and All In One Place

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