Fuji's latest X-series 23mm (35mm equivalent) has been a greatly anticipated lens -- a favorite of street shooters, low-light shooters, photojournalists, videographers desiring shallow depth of field with a wide angle, candid shooters, shooters only wanting to carry one fast aperture lens with them, and me. It is the focal length that Fuji put on its first X-camera, the X100, the one that started it all, and the same focal length Sony chose for its full-frame RX1.
|The moderate wide angle Fuji 23mm f/1.4 lens shown on an X-Pro1.|
|Brandon, the Fuji rep, with his X-E2 and 23mm f/1.4 swapping portraits with me.|
|A Fuji 23mm f/1.4 lens on the new Fuji X-E2 body.|
|Showing a size comparison of Fuji lenses: 18-55m zoom on the left, 35mm f/1.4 in the middle, and 23mm f/1.4 on the right.|
The lens feels good. It focuses fast, is comfortable to hold, and due to its large size fits nicely on my X-Pro1. If anything, I am not a fan of scalloped lens shades. They seem unnecessarily large on short focal length lenses. I already found myself leaving it off when there was no absolute need for it. That is the only negative thing I have to say about my experience using this lens, which says something in and of itself.
|A real attraction for a 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens with a very fast aperture is its ability to deliver wide angle bokeh at f/1.4, as this shot and the one below demonstrate.|
|Click here to download a high res version of this file.|
|With their lens hoods on, the 23mm Fuji lens (on the right) is even larger in size than the 18-55mm Fuji zoom (on the left).|
|This f/1.4 image deliver both appealing background bokeh and sharp detail in the foreground tree where it is focused. Click here to download a high res copy of this image.|
|The larger size of the 23mm lens is a perfect fit for the X-Pro1.|
|A sharpness test. Click here to download a high res version of this image shot handheld at f/5.6|
|The Pond in New York's Central Park.|
|Another bokeh example shot at f/1.4. Click here to download a high res version of this file.|
|Want to see what this lens can do? Check out the high res version of this photo shot hand held at f/5.6.|
|Taking the same scene as the one above you can capture it in a complete different way by changing the angle, and opening the lens to f/1.4 for a shallow depth of field. Click here to download a high res version of this file.|
|F/2.8 allows me to keep most of the foreground sharp yet still render the background quite soft.|
|This is a good shot to show off the sharpness of this lens. It was taken at f.2,8, closed down enough to improve sharpness but not so much not to keep the background soft. Download the high res version here to see just how sharp The Bard can be at f/2.8.|
For me, the series of images below were the most revealing. I took the lens mounted on an X-Pro1 with me to the studio. We had a shoot featuring a character model where we were going to reel through many blue-collar scenes. Normally I shoot this on a Nikon D4 with an 85mm f/1.4 lens or 70-200mm zoom. As I began shooting, I realized it might add more realism to the situations if they were done with a moderately wide angle lens instead. I didn't have one handy for the Nikon, but I did have the X-Pro1 and 23mm lens with me. This allowed me to get in much closer and the f/1.4 aperture still allowed me to keep the background soft while the model was in focus, all of which resulted in a more casual look to the situation.
I was very happy with the results. The Fuji not only delivered an exceptional image with very accurate color, but the lens was always sharply focused at f/1.4.
|Focus point here was on the face and eyes. Everything else is in a varying degree of softness. Once again, it was shot at f/1.4 so I was able to achieve a wide angle effect and get in tight while still keeping everything else soft.|
Photographers who have been using the X-cameras from the onset have begun to expect big things from Fuji, relying on them to deliver a product that is excellent and coupled with a follow-up support that corrects mistakes immediately and makes improvements as technology advances. It is little wonder the X-cameras have attracted a cult following, me included. The latest addition to the optical X arsenal, the 23mm f/1.4 is yet another excellent addition to a growing complement of support optics. Making a great camera is one thing, supporting it with well thought out, high quality accessories is another matter. Fuji seems to be working to such a plan, one that has been working well and keeps gaining followers. The 23mm lens is yet another step in the right direction -- high quality optics, speedy and accurate functionality, comfortable ergonomics.
This lens mounted on a Fuji X camera is as good as it gets.
If you are planning on purchasing this camera or lens, you can help support this site at no extra cost to you by purchasing from one of our affiliate sellers listed below -- and thanks for your support.