Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR Review
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR is a fast moderately wide-angle prime lens for Fujifilm's X-series range of APS-C format mirrorless cameras.
It joins the older XF 23mm F1.4 R lens in the range, which was first released back in 2013. There's also the slightly slower, more compact XF 23mm F2 R WR lens to consider.
The Fuji 23mm provides a focal length which exactly matches that of a 35mm optic in a 35mm full-frame system, making it a classic wide-angle prime lens.
It has an optical formula comprised of 15 elements in 10 groups including two aspherical elements to help limit distortion and spherical aberrations and three ED elements to reduce flare and ghosting.
Key features include built-in weather-resistance, a physical aperture ring complete with markings and an A (Auto) Position Lock, and a minimum focusing distance of 19cm.
There's also an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, Fuji's proprietary HT-EBC Coating to reduce lens flare and ghosting, a powerful linear motor for quick AF response, and a metal mount and focusing ring.
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR lens is available in black only priced at £819 / $899 in the UK and the US, respectively. The XF 23mm F1.4 is manufactured in the Philippines.
Ease of Use
The XF 23mm F1.4 weighs 375g / 0.84lb and measures 67mm x 77.8mm with a perfectly reasonable 58mm filter size
The new XF 23mm is slightly heavier and bigger than the lens that it effectively replaces, the old XF 23mm F1.4 from 2013, which weighs 300g and measures 63mm in length.
This is predominantly because it features a more complicated optical construction than the original XF 23mm, plus it offers built-in weather resistance and a more sophisticated and faster auto-focus system.
The new XF 23mm F1.4 is a much larger lens than the alternative XF 23mm F2 pancake, which weighs a mere 180g and measures 52mm in length, due to having a one-stop faster maximum aperture plus a more complicated optical construction.
The newcomer to the Fuji lens range is still relatively compact and light enough to feel well-balanced on the X-S10 camera that we tested it with, though, which is one of the smaller X-series bodies currently available.
The new 23mm is very similar to the 16mm, 18mm and 33mm f/1.4 lenses - together they would make a great set of F1.4 primes, although some people may prefer just having the 16mm and not bothering with the 18mm, or vice versa.
Weather-resistance has been built-in to the 23mm F1.4 lens to help protect it against water and dust and allow it to fully operate in temperatures down to -10°C (14°F).
In testing it complemented the new Fujifilm X-S10 camera very well, forming a well-balanced and lightweight package and more than matching the body in terms of its build quality.
The Fujifilm 23mm lens boasts a metal mount and focusing and aperture rings, metal lens barrel and non-rotating 58mm filter thread.
As with most Fuji lenses, the XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR lens has a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps, complete with full aperture markings running from f/1.4 to f/16.
The aperture is also shown in the camera's viewfinder or on the LCD screen as you turn the ring.
The aperture ring is nicely damped and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting, and it's stiff enough to prevent it from being accidentally turned when stored in a camera bag.
It 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 have also included an A (Auto) Position Lock button. When the aperture ring is set to the A position, it's automatically locked into place until you hold down the A (Auto) Position Lock button and turn the ring to select one of the aperture values.
The focus ring is smooth in action without being loose, although it has no “hard stops” at either end of the focus range, making it more difficult to focus on infinity.
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR lens has an internal focusing (IF) system that uses a linear motor, which results in fast, accurate, and virtually silent auto-focusing on the X-S10 camera that we tested it with.
You certainly won't miss many shots when using the AF on this lens.
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.
The Fuji 23mm F1.4 has a smooth manual focusing ring that is focus-by-wire, rather than using a mechanical clutch-based focus ring, but that's also true of every other Fuji X-series lens.
The focus ring on the 23mm F1.4 does at least have a nice feel as the components in the manual focusing ring assembly have been specially engineered to respond with more precision, especially when the focusing ring is moved slightly.
We're not really sure why, but for some reason Fujifilm have decided not to include the manual focus collar/clutch that's on the 16mm and 23mm F1.4 lenses (but not on the 18mm and 33mm F1.4 lenses).
On those two F1.4 primes, 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.
It would have been great to have seen this feature included on the new Fuji 23mm F1.4 - it's a real shame that it's missing.
In terms of accessories, the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR ships with standard lens and mount caps plus quite a large plastic circular-shaped lens hood which snaps into place. There is no bag or case included with this lens.
The 23mm focal length provides an angle of view of 63.4 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not too much a problem with the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR lens, except in areas of very high contrast.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is some light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR doesn't exhibit any barrel distortion, as you can see in the photo below.
Sunstars and Flare
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR is capable of producing quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16, as shown below, and flare is well controlled even when shooting straight into the sun, as you can see in the following photos.
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR is not really a macro lens, but it does offer a usefully close-focus point of 19cm / 7.48in from the sensor plane and a maximum magnification of 0.2x.
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 close attention to this aspect of lens use, employing a 9-segment diaphragm with rounded blades for some very pleasing bokeh.
In our view, their efforts have been successful for a moderate wide-angle prime lens - see the examples below to judge for yourself
In order to show you how sharp the Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.