This blog is about photography and traveling. It’s about going to distant places but sometimes you don’t have to go far to find something interesting.
If you are lucky your own backyard can be a wonder world especially for close up photography. But from time to time you have to compromise and go shopping or even worse to Ikea or some other furniture store because you better half requests so. Again if you are lucky the place is something more than just the average furniture store. Like this one. It’s located in an old castle and every room is beautifully designed and decorated and it is just a 20 minutes drive away from my home.
When I came here the first time I was shooting with my Canon 6D and my back then new Canon 24-70/2.8 II L. One of the best zoom lenses money can buy. On a full frame sensor it acts like a bunch of fast primes in on single lens.
But I already sold camera and lens so this time I brought my Fuji X Pro-2 plus the fantastic Fuji XF 16/1.4 WR. It even gives you a shallower depth of field and the Bokeh is even creamier than on the Canon on its wide end. Image quality is excellent andeven though the lens is quite big and heavy by mirrorless standards the whole setup is much smaller and lighter than my Canon gear.
Of course the Canon setup had a very versatile 24-70 zoom and now I was shooting with a wide angle prime lens. You know what? I didn’t feel limited at all. The XF 16/1.4 WR is fast enough to let you isolate a subject from its background like in the image above and the one below and Bokeh is really nice for such a lens. Sometimes I wished for a wider lens. My Fuji XF 10-24/4 OIS would allow different images but you can’t shoot everything t 10mm. It is too wide and it gives a wrong impression. Real estate people shoot everything with super wide lenses to make you think that the small cabin you gonna buy is a castle.
But I didn’t miss my super wide angle zoom. I prefer the look I get from my XF 14/2.8 R. To me this is the perfect balance. It is wide but not too wide. The 16mm is too narrow sometimes but I love the f1.4. And of course the built quality of the XF 16/1.4 WR which is easily the best of the three lenses. The quality is just superb. There is no loose aperture ring like on my 14mm and there is no funky, smelly rubber zoom ring like on the 10-24. The rectangle metal lens shade is great too. It just looks beautiful. AF is fast and reliable too on the X Pro-2 which makes this combo great fun to shoot with.
So both built and image quality is 10 out of 10, the lens has an aperture of f1.4 that can be used without scarifying IQ and AF is fast and silent.
What’s not to love? Some will say the lack of OIS but I’m not in this group. All outstanding lenses I ever used had no IS. Even the Canon 24-70 II has no IS and I think there is a good reason for it. It compromises image quality. Why build the perfect lens and than spoil it all because of IS. There was a world before IS and it is not that hard to take sharp images without it. If you look at the EXIF data underneath the images you will see that shutter speed was 1/60s.
This is the minimum shutter speed I choose even if I shoot with my 14mm lens because of: 1. to have some leeway for error (sloppy shooting style) and 2. and even more important: to stop motion. There are no people in all those images of this blog post but usually my images in Asia are full of people. IS is useless on a wide angle lens if you shoot images that contain people. Just try to take images at 1/15s in a temple.
But there is one drawback of the lens I have to mention: weight! This is a rather heavy lens and together with the X Pro-2 it is a quite substantial combo. It’s light compared to a full frame DSLR with fast lens but it is heavy compared to an entry level DSLR with kit zoom. Mirrorless is not always small and light.
Just in case you ask yourself why there are not more people in a beautiful shop like this: The side board in the second image from the top of this blog post is 11.000.- EUROs.