Review: Fujinon XR 23 f/1.4R | Matt Brandon

Last Friday I received a package from my friends at Fujifilm Malaysia. They were kind enough to send me a pre-production Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4R for a week of running it through it’s paces. I gotta tell you this is a great piece of glass. The XF 23mm on the Xpro-1‘s cropped sensor is the full frame equivalent of a 35mm lens. The most frustrating thing about this lens has nothing to do with it’s technical features. It is simply that I rarely use this focal length and so it became a stretch for me. I gravitate to much wider focal lengths in my work. As readers here will know my go-to-lens is a 16-35mm. When I do shoot this lens it is almost always at the 16mm focal length. That’s not to say I can’t use and appreciate a 35 mm focal length lens. The first thing that strikes you about this lens is the weight and feel. At 10.6 oz (301 g) it is not light. Mainly because it’s made of 11 glass elements and a metal body. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t heavy like the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 at 22.93 oz (650 g) or even the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 at 1.28 lb (58 g). It just feels significant, like it is made to last. The metal housing gives it a feel of quality and substance you don’t get in many other lenses. The lens is pretty straightforward like all the other XF lenses. It has an R after it’s name meaning it has an aperture ring. This is something that got lost in the digital world. Aperture control has always been digitally controlled in the camera or with a dial. But the XF lens brought all that back. The aperture ranges from f/1.4 to f/16. The f/1.4 gives the photographer a really nice milky bokeh. Not as nice as the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4, but close. The aperture is controlled by a 7-blade rounded diaphragm. This lens is sharp. Maybe even as sharp of the XF 35mm f/1.4 and that lens is crazy sharp. Without shooting some high tech scale, this lens seems sharp all through the aperture range. And yes, even at f/1.4! You can see the sharpness in this series of images of a hotel on the beach behind my house……..

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Fujifilm Fujinon XF 23mm F1.4

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