Fujifilm XF 33mm F1.4 R LM WR Review
The new Fujifilm XF 33mm 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 33mm 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 20cm comes in very handy when including a foreground interest in the image.
There are some optical negatives of note. Vignetting is a slight issue, although that's something that is is true of most fast lenses, chromatic aberrations are noticeable in very high-contrast situations, and flare can be pretty bad when shooting directly into the sun.
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 £699 / $799 this isn't exactly a cheap lens, although fans of the 50mm 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 33mm is twice as heavy as the XF 35mm F1.4 and 50% longer, so fans of small lenses would be better off sticking with the older lens.
This is predominantly because it features a more complicated optical construction than the XF 35mm 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 35mm F2, which is even smaller and lighter than the XF 35mm F1.4, and therefore much more so than the new XF 33mm, 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 33mm F1.4 R LM WR may not be the natural replacement for the venerable XF 35mm F1.4 that everyone was expecting, but it is undoubtedly a great lens and ultimately a more than worthy addition to the Fuji X-system lens range.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4.5|