The 23mm focal length or 35mm in the full frame equivalent, is my favorite perspective. It’s highly boring. Not much of a compression either, nor it’s wide enough for any drama in the world of photography. So; why is it my favorite everyday perspective?
To me it always liberating to have this lens on the camera body. I learn to enjoy and take advantage of its neither here nor there focal length. A very general perspective. But! If I have to take a lens to travel the world or rather, to travel within one’s country due to Covid; it’s the 23mm focal length for me. This focal length gives me enough space without being too wide. And its also generally perfect for documentary work and some documentary portraits.
This brings me to the new Fujifilm XF23mm F1.4 LM WR lens. Together with its other sibling;The XF18mm F1.4 LM WR and XF33mm F1.4 LM WR; these are lenses that rises above therest. To me; they belong to the 2nd generation of XF lenses line-up.
I love the new XF23mm F1.4 LM WR. The auto focus speed is certainly faster, silent and lock on to the subject with more accuracy. Next; it’s a WR lens. Weather resistant does gives the photographer greater confidence to overcome his or her elements. The MFD has also been reduce to a mere 19cm from the sensor. This is certainly refreshing. Now we are able to photograph our subject much closer and thus giving lovely bokeh and also more pop to that shot.
This last point will be my favorite for this new lens. The optics. When it comes to lenses; good glass matter most. And this lens will not disappoint. I am blown away by the sharpness of this lens.
So how does it compare with its other 23mm siblings? If one were to stop down;they are generally all good at F5.6 to F8. Below are two sets of photos shot with five different lenses. All shot with their widest aperture. The five 23mm lenses are, X100F. Which share the same 23mm F2 lens form the original X100, X100S, X100T and X100F. Second lens is from X100V. Which is the new updated 23mm F2 lens. Next is the fujicron, the small, fast and light XF23mm F2 WR lens. Fourth; XF23mm F1.4. My fav 23mm lens. Many loves the pull and push autofocus clutch system. Lastly the new XF23mm F1.4 LM WR.
Below are the same set of five photos but at 100% zoom. Here is where one start to see the differences.
Here is the 2nd sets of SOOC photos.
Below are the 100% zoom photos. All SOOC.
After seeing all these two sets of SOOC unscientific photos; I can now finally say that optically, the winner is XF23mm F1.4 LM WR. No surprise for that as you can see. Almost zero chromatic aberration and it’s the sharpest. Surprisingly the 2nd place goes to X100V. A very well control and sharp lens. XF23mm F1.4 takes 3rd place. 4th will be XF23mm F2 WR and last will be the lens from X100F; which is famous for being soft. As always; once you stop down to F2.8; things do get sharper.
Having said all these, all lenses has it advantages and disadvantages. The best part; there will always be one lens that is suitable for your photographic journey. As we travel and discover more; our lens selection will always change. So I hope this little blog post helps you look for that right 23mm lens.
As for me, will I buy the new XF23mm F1.4 LM WR? Even though its a little taller vs the original XF23mm F1.4. I certainly will add this lens to my set-up. This is a future proof lens in the Fujifilm eco-system.
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Great writeup as always. I’ve used all of these extensively except for the new WR… You’ll notice sharper versions tend to mean less smooth bokeh quality. This is evident as the X100F and the 23 1.4R both have slightly smoother bokeh rendering. The 23 F2 WR surprisingly has relatively rough bokeh. I’ve found in my 1:1 tests between the 23 F2 WR and X100V that the V at times felt it had relatively busy bokeh compared. In your test though the 23 F2 WR shows to have the “worst” bokeh. Although in the real world, I wouldn’t hesitate to use any of these lenses. Yes the X100F (old X100 lens) has the oldest and softest lens, but at 3-5+ feet out, even wide open, the sharpness is very comparable to the old lens. It’s just inside that 3 foot window wide open does the X100F get soft. So in theory, the X100F could actually compete with the X100V as long as the subject has a bit of distance… and you’re not looking too deep into the corners 😉 The performance advantages of all the lenses is very situational dependent. I love them all!
Thanks for sharing.
Could be just me. I noticed the Bokeh of the older 23 1.4 pops more and is more blurred giving it quite a unique character. The new 23 1.4 WR isn’t far from the 23 f2 bokeh wise. I noticed this immediately I received my copy of the 23 1.4 WR when compared to 16 1.4 too. That’s why I am not selling the 16 1.4. I may return the new 23 1.4 WR in exchange for the older version. Awesome review nonetheless.