Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR Review
The new Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR offers a winning combination of an ultra-fast f/1.4 aperture with nine rounded aperture blades for great bokeh, excellent sharpness throughout the aperture range, fast, precise and silent autofocusing, and built-in weather-resistance.
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR lens is remarkably sharp in the image centre and almost as sharp at the edges, virtually throughout the entire aperture range.
The fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 makes it incredibly easy to creatively throw the background out of focus, with the nine-blade iris diaphragm achieving some lovely bokeh effects.
There is very little optical distortion worth mentioning and the close-focus point of 19cm comes in very handy when including a foreground interest in the image.
There are is just one optical negative of note. Vignetting is a slight issue, although that's something that is is true of most fast lenses. Otherwise there's vert little to complain about.
As usual for a premium Fuji lens, the build quality is excellent. The lens mount and barrel are made of metal and, thanks to an internal focusing (IF) system, the front element and filter thread do not rotate on focus, which is very good news for those using polarisers and ND grads on a regular basis.
The linear motor auto-focus system is another strong-point, with hardly any delay before locking focus and a pleasingly quiet mechanism. It also offers a generously wide focusing ring and a very welcome aperture ring which makes it quick, easy and precise to set this key element of exposure.
Sadly, the innovative focus collar for quickly switching between auto and manual focus that is found on the 16mm and 23mm F1.4 lenses hasn't been included here. We're not really sure why Fuji took this decision, especially as those two lenses come complete with a focusing distance scale with depth-of-field markings that makes it easier to zone-focus.
Perhaps the only other real fly in the ointment is the price - at around £819 / $899 this isn't exactly a cheap lens, although fans of the classic 35mm focal length who have been very patiently waiting for Fujifilm to release an alternative to the original F1.4 version from 2013 will most likely snap it up.
Compared to its main "rival", the new XF 23mm is commendably only slightly heavier and longer than the original XF 23mm F1.4 that it effectively replaces, so fans of small lenses will be just as happy with this new lens.
This is despite featuring a more complicated optical construction than the XF 23mm F1.4, plus it offers built-in weather resistance, internal focusing and a more sophisticated and much faster auto-focus system.
The other lens to consider in this focal range is the XF 23mm F2 pancake, which is much smaller and lighter than the new XF 23mm, whilst still offering a weather-resistant construction. It is a whole stop slower, though, which will automatically put a lot of people off.
Overall, the new Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR is the natural replacement for the venerable XF 23mm F1.4, and a great lens that is ultimately a more than worthy addition to the Fuji X-system lens range.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4.5|