Fuji 23mm f/1.4
Fuji Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 ASPH for X-mount cameras (metal 62mm filter thread, 10.4 oz./296g, 0.9'/0.28m close focus, about $899). enlarge. I got mine at Adorama and this link to it at Amazon is also a great place to get it. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use that or these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Never buy at retail, since unlike milk or DVDs which are sealed, Fuji doesn't seal its boxes so you can't tell if it's a used lens or missing accessories. Thanks for your support! Ken.
Sample Image Files (more throughout the review)
At f/6.4: Canary Island Palm, 20 May 2014, 1:30 PM. (Fuji X-T1 at Auto ISO 400, Velvia mode, +2 color saturation, XF 23mm f/1.4, 1/400 at f/6.4, Perfectly Clear.) Full-resolution file from camera-original JPG.
At f/1.4: Canary Island Palm, 20 May 2014, 1:30 PM. (Fuji X-T1 at Auto ISO 400, Velvia mode, +2 color saturation, XF 23mm f/1.4, 1/400 at f/1.4, Perfectly Clear.) Full-resolution file from camera-original JPG. Remember that very little is in perfect focus at f/1.4; that's why things are soft at the top left especially.
This Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 is an extraordinary aspherical 35mm-equivalant normal to wide lens that only works on Fuji X-mount cameras. As the world's newest ultra-speed mid-wide lens, this lens has superior optical performance.
This Fuji tele has no visible distortion, is super-sharp right out to the edges at f/1.4, has no lateral color fringes, and has no visible light falloff even at f/1.4 as shot on the Fuji X-T1.
Not only is it ultra-sharp, it focuses ultra-accurately and nearly instantly, and has outstanding bokeh and sunstars. I've never used a better 35mm-equivalant lens, and on the Fuji system, this lens is only about 2/3 the size of the mostly plastic Nikon 35/1.4G ($1,620 and 21.2 oz./600g) or Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II ($1,320 and 20.5 oz./582g). This Fuji lens is half the weight of the Canon or Nikon lenses.
The only gotcha with this Fuji lens is that there is no instant manual-focus override. You have to push or pull the focus ring forward or back to get to or from manual focus mode.
The Fuji X-Mount Lenses are all extraordinary. What most photographers don't realize is that Fuji has for many decades, just like Canon and Nikon, also made far more advanced optics, like binoculars for the military and for use in space, as well as lenses for motion pictures and television with six-figure price tags at discount. Unlike mud brands like Sigma and Tamron (or even LEICA), Fujinon has loads of experience actually supplying optics that cost more than some people's houses, and puts that same know-how into these lenses.
Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4. bigger.
Fuji 23 f/1.4 at f/1.4.
Fuji calls this the Fujinon Aspherical Lens Super EBC XF 23mm f/1.4 R, or XF23mmF1.4 R.
Fujinon is Fuji's brand name for their lenses.
Aspherical means specially shaped lens elements for better sharpness.
Super EBC is Electron Beam Coating, also known as multicoating or HT-EBC coating.
XF is Fuji's line of lenses for their X-mount cameras.
R means approved by Rockwell.
∅ 62 means it takes 62mm filters.
Fuji 23/1.4 internal diagram.
11 elements in 8 groups.
1 aspherical element.
7 rounded blades.
Stops down to f/16 in 1/3-stop clicks.
When used on the X-mount cameras with their 1.52x sensors, it sees the same angle of view as a 35mm lens sees when used on a 35mm camera.
When used on the X-mount cameras in their 1:1 square crop mode, it sees the same angle of view as an 80mm normal lens sees when used on a 6x6cm (2¼"square) medium-format camera. This is about the same as a 42mm lens sees when used on a 35mm camera.
See also Crop Factor.
Angle of view
DC coreless AF motor.
No external movement as focussed, so little to no air or dust is sucked in.
0.9 feet (0.28 meters) in normal or in Macro modes.
Fuji specifies only to 2 feet (0.6 meters) in normal mode, but my X-T1 focuses as close in both modes.
Maximum Reproduction Ratio
Metal 62mm filter thread.
Plastic petal-type bayonet-mount hood included.
2.83" diameter x 2.48" long.
72 mm diameter x 63 mm long.
10.450 oz. (296.2 g), measured, lens only.
Fuji specifies 10.6 oz. (300g).
05 September 2013.
Front and rear caps.
"Lens wrapping cloth."
Box, Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4.
Inside the micro-corrugated cardboard box are pulp-formed cardboard holders for the plastic-wrapped lens and hood. A small folded tray of microcorrugated cardboard lies on top to hold the manual and lens wrapping cloth.
$899, introduction - May 2014.
When I get as fantastic a lens as this to review, it makes my life much easier since there's much less to say other than to try to find new superlatives.
Autofocus is fast, and it's also perfectly accurate, especially at f/1.4. It's nearly instantaneous on my Fuji X-T1.
Fuji's focus system is closed-loop, read directly from the image sensor, so it automatically compensates for any mechanical errors.
Open-loop systems of DSLRs and LEICAs can't compensate for these errors and sometimes have focus errors (offsets) which we don't have in the Fuji system. Bravo!
Bokeh, the softness of out-of-focus areas, not how far out of focus they are, is very good. Of course backgrounds never go that far out of focus with lenses this short.
Distortion is completely invisible, at least as shot as JPGs on my Fuji X-T1, whoo hoo!
Fuji claims the lens is this good and it's not being corrected in the Fuji X-T1 on which I shot it.
It's so low I can't even measure it. Whatever it might be, if there is any distortion it would require less than ±0.1 in Photoshop's lens distortion filter to correct.
Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 for X-mount cameras.
Ergonomics are great! It feels great to have a real metal lens in my hands. The only other real metal lenses made today are almost exclusively from LEICA; Nikon and Canon have been churning out mostly plastic since the 1980s.
The dedicated aperture ring is also mandatory for real photography, but absent on most other brands of lenses.
A petty whine about the aperture ring is that it needs a deeper detent or an easily-released lock at A, otherwise it's easy to knock it to f/16 by accident.
It has third-stop clicks. I'd rather it only had clicks at full stops and was settable in-between.
Light falloff is completely invisible, even at f/1.4, as shot on the X-T1 which is probably correcting it automatically.
Even shooting gray fields wide-open at f/1.4 to exaggerate it, it's still insignificant:
Fuji 23mm f/1.4 shot at f/1.4 on Fuji XT1.
There's no problem with vignetting, even with several stacked filters!
The filter ring doesn't move.
The all-metal filter ring is a pleasant surprise compared to the plastic rubbish from more expensive lenses pushed by some other brands. Nikon's 35/1.4 G is plastic, while Canon's 35/1.4 L has a metal filter thread.
There's no problem with ghosts.
Even under the most devious conditions I could devise, all I got was one dim blob.
No problems here.
There are no lateral color fringes as shot on the X-T1 as JPGs.
it doesn't get very close. This is as close as it gets:
Rear, Fuji X-mount XF 23mm f/1.4. enlarge.
The Fuji XF 23 1.4 is built much better than anything from Nikon or Canon today. It's built as well as LEICA lenses, with much newer technology to boot.
It's all anodized aluminum, not cheesy plastic.
All parts are anodized aluminum.
Only marks for ∞, 5, 1, 0.5 and 0.28 meters and 8, 2.5 and 1 feet.
No; you have to use the AF system.
Yes, but with such a sparse focus scale I don't know that it's helpful.
Seem like metal.
Engraved and filled with white paint.
Front ring, laser-engraved.
Laser engraved on rear of lens barrel.
Rain seal at mount
Noises When Shaken
None! A solid brick.
With these caveats, the Fuji XF 23/1.4 is as sharp as Nikon and Canon's 35mm f/1.4 lenses.
This Fuji lens is super-sharp out to the edges even at f/1.4 as shot on the 16MP X-T1, and Fuji's claimed diffraction compensation (lens optimization) really does keep it just as sharp at every aperture including f/16!
The only visible defects if shot at the test range at infinity are some slight coma (rotational edge blurring) at f/1.4, but you'll never see this in actual photography. It's the same as seen in the Canon 35/1.4 L.
If you can't make a sharp photo with this lens, you're doing something wrong.
I saw no spherochromatism (called color bokeh by hobbyists). This means that out-of-focus highlights remain neutral and don't take on any slight color fringes.
The 7-blade diaphragm makes exquisite sunstars from f/8 and smaller.
The rounded blades make the points soft at f/5.6 and gone at f/4 and wider, and they sharpen up further at f/11 and f/16.
The Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 ASPH is an extraordinary lens. When a lens is just about optically and mechanically perfect, there isn't much to say, other than to go get one.
This is an extraordinary short normal lens. Its extreme sharpness and freedom from optical imperfection render it wonderful for any kind of photography.
There are no better lenses to use on the Fuji system at any price. Forget slumming with LEICA or other off-brand lenses; you can't get anything sharper and any other lens won't autofocus or autoexpose or log data or be optimized by the camera's DSP, and no other lens will have a diaphragm that opens and closes automatically as needed for focus and shooting.
I'm very impressed. Fuji has created a set of real lenses for use by pro photographers for its mirrorless system, while other brands like Sony have little to nothing. Let's be serious: with Sony when you use a $30 adapter to use an $8 lens on a $2,000 camera, you wind up with an $8 camera. With Fuji, you've already got a full system of brand-new pro grade lenses not available on any other brand mirrorless system.
If you've found my research here helpful, my support to run this free website comes from when you use these links to approved sources, especially this link to it at Adorama and this link to it at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Please always use these links when getting any of your gear so I can continue to share what I know; it's what supports me. If you take the chance of buying elsewhere, remember that Fuji doesn't seal its boxes. Unlike a bottle of milk or a DVD, buy your 23mm lens elsewhere or at retail and you'll not only cheat me out of the work I've done here to help you, you run the risk of getting a lens that's a customer return or been used for store demos.
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21 May 2014