Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II Review

Tips & Techniques

Fujifilm updated its XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS with the OIS II version in January of 2015. Sporting an all-plastic design, this compact and lightweight kit zoom lens was designed to be used with Fuji’s entry-level X-series cameras for everyday photography needs. It came in two different colors (silver and black) to fit different camera styles. Despite its decent performance as an all-around kit lens, Fuji decided to discontinue it in favor of the newer lenses like the XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ and XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS. In this review, we will take a look at the XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II in detail and compare it to other Fujifilm lenses.

Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II

I had a chance to shoot with both the original XC 16-50mm OIS and the OIS II version when it was released, so this review will cover both lenses.

Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II Review: Introduction

Fuji makes two different types of lenses for the X mount. The higher-end “XF” lenses have the solid build quality, metal construction, advanced optical design, and features like weather-sealing, while the lower-end “XC” lenses are much cheaper in comparison, featuring mostly plastic construction and decent performance. The Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II falls into the latter category. It was often sold as a “kit” zoom lens with cameras like the Fuji X-T20, but if you wanted to buy it separately, it was available for $400, which made it one of the cheapest X-mount zoom lenses available.

Fuji X-T20 Image Samples #30
X-T20 + XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS II @ 20.1mm, ISO 200, 1/3, f/8.0

Featuring a total of 12 elements in 10 groups (3 of which are aspherical and 1 ED glass element), built-in optical image stabilization, Fuji’s Super EBC coating, and a 7-blade rounded diaphragm, the XC 16-50mm OIS II is designed to yield high-quality images with solid sharpness levels. And at mere 195 grams, it is a lightweight and compact lens that couples really well with any entry-level Fujifilm X-series camera. I appreciated these qualities quite a bit when traveling overseas – it allowed me to take the camera kit everywhere I went without having to worry about adding more weight to my camera bag.

Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II Specifications

  • Mount Type: Fujifilm X
  • Focal Length (35mm format equivalent): 16-50mm (24-75mm)
  • Lens Construction (Elements / Groups): 12 / 10
  • Special Lens Elements: 3 Aspherical, 1 ED
  • Angle of View: 83.2°- 31.7°
  • Number of Diaphragm Blades: 7 (Rounded)
  • Maximum Aperture: f/3.5-5.6
  • Minimum Aperture: f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance (Normal): 0.6m
  • Minimum Focus Distance (Macro): 0.15m – 10m (Wide), 0.35m – 10m (Telephoto)
  • Max Magnification: 0.2x (Telephoto)
  • Weight: 195g
  • Size: 62.6mm x 65.2mm (Wide) / 98.3mm (Telephoto)
  • Filter size: 58mm

Detailed specifications for the lens, along with MTF charts and other useful data can be found on the Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II page of our lens database.

Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II vs XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS

The original XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS was released in June of 2013 as a kit lens for the Fuji X-M1. It was widely available for sale as a kit or separately until 2015 when Fuji replaced it with the OIS II version. While the optics of the two lenses stayed basically the same (manufacturer-provided MTF charts were identical), Fuji engineers were able to reduce the minimum focusing distance of the lens from 0.3 meters to 0.15 meters on the wide end, and from 0.4 meters to 0.35 meters on the telephoto end. Interestingly, the original XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens announcement showed a rendered image of the lens with a metal mount. In reality, the final production version of the lens, as well as its successor only had plastic mounts.

Fuji XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS Image Sample #7
X-M1 + XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS @ 28.2mm, ISO 200, 1/300, f/8.0

Lens Handling and Build

As expected from a cheap kit lens, the build quality of the XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II is nothing to rave about. The whole lens is made out of plastic – from the front filter thread and both rings, all the way to the plastic mount. But don’t let that discourage you, as the plastic is quite tough and that’s what helps make the lens so light.

The lens is obviously not weather-sealed, and there is no rubber gasket on the mount, so you will need to be careful when using this lens in harsh conditions. Although my lens samples did just fine in light rain when traveling in New Zealand, I made sure to wipe off the water as frequently as possible and avoid keeping the lens out for too long in extreme humidity.

Fuji X-T20 Image Samples #1
X-T20 + XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS II @ 16mm, ISO 200, 1/210, f/5.6

The focus ring feels smooth to rotate. Since the lens features a stepping motor and uses a focus-by-wire system, there is no hard stop on either end of the focusing range. The zoom ring has markings at 16mm, 23mm, 35mm, and 50mm focal lengths, and also feels quite smooth to operate, although my second sample had a little more resistance on the wide end. As you zoom in towards 50mm, the lens extends quite a bit from 65mm to a little over 98mm. When extended, the front part of the lens wobbles a little, but not too much to be concerned with.

As I have already pointed out, being such a lightweight and compact lens makes it a great candidate for traveling light. Although I had a number of different lenses with me when traveling, I found myself often going back to the XC 16-50mm – it was easy to carry around and shoot with, and provided decent performance when stopped down a little.

Fuji X-T20 Image Samples #29
X-T20 + XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS II @ 41.8mm, ISO 200, 1/450, f/8.0

The XC 16-50mm OIS II comes with a plastic petal-shaped hood, which easily attaches to the lens. It can be reversed to reduce the lens footprint when storing it in a camera bag.

Autofocus Performance

Unlike Fuji’s higher-end lenses, the XC 16-50mm OIS II does not come with a linear motor. Instead, it has a lower-grade stepping motor, which does a decent job at providing fast, quiet, and accurate focusing. I did not have any problems with autofocus speed and accuracy when using the lens on Fuji X-M1, X-T20, X-T1, and X-H1 cameras. Although the lens did struggle a little when shooting in low-light conditions at 50mm, it is something I expected to see from a “slow” kit lens. As you can see from the sample images, I primarily used the lens for travel and landscape photography. However, I also used the lens when shooting a wedding. I am happy to say that the lens performed as expected, with little to no hunting, and very few out-of-focus shots.

Fuji X-T20 Image Samples #7
X-T20 + XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS II @ 17.5mm, ISO 200, 1/340, f/5.6

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