Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R Review

4.5
November 1, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Fujifilm XF 23mm f1.4 R is an ultra-fast, moderately wide-angle prime lens for Fujifilm X-series compact system cameras. Offering a classic focal range of 35mm in 35mm terms, is the Fujifilm XF 23mm f1.4 R a worthy addition to the XF lens range? Read our Fujifilm XF 23mm f1.4 R review to find out...

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R is a fast new prime lens in Fujifilm’s XF line-up. The 23mm F1.4 lens boasts an angle-of-view similar to that of a 35mm lens in a 35mm system, making it suitable for street photography, landscapes and reportage. Other highlights include an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, an optical formula that comprises 11 elements arranged in 8 groups, a built-in high-torque DC coreless motor delivers ultra-fast AF performance, a HT-EBC coating to reduce reflections, a camera-to-subject distance indicator and a depth-of-field scale on the lens barrel, and aperture and focusing rings. The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R lens is available in black for £849.99 / in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R is a relatively compact prime lens, at least when compared to its DSLR equivalents, but it's still quite a bit bigger than a comparable Micro Four Thirds lens, weighing 300g and measuring 63mm in length. As you can see in the pictures below, it complements the top-of-the-range Fujifilm X-Pro1 very well, not feeling at all front-heavy and more than matching the body in terms of its build quality.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens attached to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens attached to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens attached to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens attached to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R lens boasts a metal mount, high-grade metal barrel and non-rotating 62mm filter thread. The focus ring is generously wide, smooth in action without being loose, and has a ridged, rubberised grip band. There are “hard stops” at either end of the 28cm-infinity focus range.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Top of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Bottom of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Side of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Side of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R lens features both distance and depth of field scales on the barrel, making it suitable for manually pre-focusing if you find that the autofocus system is slowing you down. The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R has a manual focus collar. When the focusing ring is pushed forward, the lens is locked into autofocus mode. When the focusing ring is pulled back, the focusing distance scale with depth-of-field markings is revealed and you can manually focus with the lens - very neat.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Front of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Front of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Rear of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Side of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Side of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R lens has a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps, complete with aperture markings on the lens barrel. The aperture is also shown in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen. The rather thin aperture ring is nicely damped and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting, although it's too easily moved when stored in a pocket or bag. The aperture ring toggles between auto aperture control (the ring is set to A) or manual aperture control (the switch is set to one of the aperture values).

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens in-hand

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Front of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens, lens hood fitted

In terms of accessories, the lens ships with a large plastic petal-shaped hood.

Focal Range

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens has a wide angle of view of 63.4 degrees.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4

Distortion

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 doesn't exhibit any barrel distortion, as you can see in the photo below, and vignetting is very well-controlled too at f/1.4.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4

Focusing

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens has an internal focusing (IF) system with quite an audible high-torque coreless DC motor. In practice, we found the auto-focus to be quite fast and accurate. Thanks to the IF mechanism the front of the lens does not rotate on focus, which is very good news for anyone looking to use the lens in conjunction with a polariser or graduated neutral density filter.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are exhibited by the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 lens in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4
   
Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4  

Macro

The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 is not a macro lens, with the close-focus point at 28cm from the sensor plane and a maximum magnification of 0.1x. The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash card.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4Close-up Performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. Fujifilm have paid attention to this aspect of lens use, employing a 7-segment diaphragm with rounded blades for pleasing bokeh. In our view, their efforts have been largely successful for a standard prime lens - see the examples below.

Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4
   
Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Entry Tags

review, photos, samples, images, wide-angle, lens, test, fujifilm, sample images, fuji, prime, wide angle, x-e1, f1.4, xf, x-pro1, x-m1, 23mm, x, x-a1, Fujifilm XF 23mm f1.4 R, 23

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