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Fuji 23mm f/1.4
XF23mmF1.4 R (35mm equivalent)
© 2014 KenRockwell.com. This page best with Corporate S regular and bold activated.

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Fuji 23mm f/1.4 XF

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.

 

July 2014    Fuji Reviews   Fuji X-Mount Lenses   LEICA Reviews   All Reviews

Why fixed lenses take better pictures

 

Sample Image Files (more throughout the review)

Shell Station, 20  May 2014

At f/1.6: Shell Station, 20 May 2014, 7:49 PM. (Fuji X-T1 at Auto ISO 400, Velvia mode, +2 color saturation, XF 23mm f/1.4, 1/140 at f/1.6, Perfectly Clear.) Unprocessed Camera-Original © file.

 

Canary Island Palm

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.

 

Canary Island Palm

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.

 

Brick Wall

At f/16: Brick Wall, 20 May 2014. Fuji X-T1, Fuji 23mm f/1.4, f/16 at 1/110 at Auto ISO 200, Athentech Perfectly Clear. Full-Resolution.

 

Introduction       top

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

Compatibility

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.

 

Compatibility       intro      top

This is a Fuji X-mount XF lens that works only on Fuji X-mount cameras.

 

Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4

Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4. bigger.

 

Specifications        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

 

Name

Fuji 23 1.4 front

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.

 

Optics

Fuji 23mm f/1.4 internal diagram

Fuji 23/1.4 internal diagram.

11 elements in 8 groups.

1 aspherical element.

Internal focus.

 

Diaphragm

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/16 in 1/3-stop clicks.

 

Focal length

23mm.

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

63.4º

 

Autofocus

DC coreless AF motor.

Internal focus.

No external movement as focussed, so little to no air or dust is sucked in.

 

Close Focus

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

1:10 (0.1x).

 

Filters

Metal 62mm filter thread.

 

Hood

Plastic petal-type bayonet-mount hood included.

 

Size

2.83" diameter x 2.48" long.

72 mm diameter x 63 mm long.

 

Weight

10.450 oz. (296.2 g), measured, lens only.

Fuji specifies 10.6 oz. (300g).

 

Announced

05 September 2013.

 

Included

Lens.

Hood.

Front and rear caps.

"Lens wrapping cloth."

Paperwork.

 

Packaging

Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4

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.

 

Price

$899, introduction - May 2014.

 

Performance       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

Overall   Auto and Manual Focus    Bokeh    Distortion

Ergonomics  Falloff  Filters  Flare & Ghosts  Color Fringes    Macro

Mechanics    Sharpness   Spherochromatism   Sunstars

 

Overall      performance      top

The Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 ASPH is optically just about perfect, excelling at sharpness, falloff and distortion, as well as mechanical quality.

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.

 

Auto and Manual Focus      performance      top

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      performance      top

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.

Ryan at Rubio's.

Ryan at Rubio's, 20 May 2014. Fuji X-T1, Fuji 23mm f/1.4, f/1.4 at 1/125 at ISO 500, Athentech Perfectly Clear. bigger.

 

Distortion      performance      top

Brick Wall

Brick Wall, 20 May 2014. Fuji X-T1, Fuji 23mm f/1.4, f/16 at 1/110 at Auto ISO 200, Athentech Perfectly Clear. Full-Resolution.

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.

 

Ergonomics      performance      top

Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4

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.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)      performance      top

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 falloff

Fuji 23mm f/1.4 shot at f/1.4 on Fuji XT1.

 

Filters, Use with      performance      top

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.

,

Flare and Ghosts     performance      top

Ghosts

Ghost, 1:28 PM, 20 May 2014. Fuji X-T1 at Auto ISO 400, f/8 at 1/680, Athentech Perfectly Clear. bigger.

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.

 

Lateral Color Fringes      performance      top

There are no lateral color fringes as shot on the X-T1 as JPGs.

 

Macro      performance      top

it doesn't get very close. This is as close as it gets:

macro

Omega Constellation at close-focus distance. f/16 at 1/450 on X-T1 at AUTO ISO 400, Athentech Perfectly Clear.

 

Mechanics      performance      top

Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4

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.

 

Hood

Plastic bayonet.

 

Filter Threads

Anodized aluminum.

 

Hood Bayonet

Anodized aluminum.

 

Barrel

All parts are anodized aluminum.

 

Focus Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Focus Scale

Only marks for ∞, 5, 1, 0.5 and 0.28 meters and 8, 2.5 and 1 feet.

 

Infinity Stop

No; you have to use the AF system.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale

Yes, but with such a sparse focus scale I don't know that it's helpful.

 

Internals

Seem like metal.

 

Aperture Ring

Anodized aluminum.

Third-stop clicks.

 

Mount

Dull-chromed metal.

 

Barrel Markings

Engraved and filled with white paint.

 

Identity Ring

Front ring, laser-engraved.

 

Serial Number

Laser engraved on rear of lens barrel.

 

Rain seal at mount

No.

 

Noises When Shaken

None! A solid brick.

 

Made in

Japan.

 

Sharpness      performance      top

Warning 1: Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens.

Warning 2: Lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers.

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.

 

Rated MTF:

MTF at 15 cycles
MTF at 45 cycles
MTF at 15 cyc/mm (10 cyc/mm equiv.)
MTF at 45 cyc/mm (30 cyc/mm equiv.)

 

Spherochromatism       performance     top

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.

 

Sunstars      performance      top

Sunstars

Sunstars, 1:27 PM, 20 May 2014. Fuji X-T1 at Auto ISO 400, f/8 at 1/500, Athentech Perfectly Clear. bigger.

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.

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

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.

Thanks for your support!

Ken.

 

More Information        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

Fuji's 23/1.4 page.

Fuji's 23/1.4 press release.

 

Help me help you         top

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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21 May 2014