Fast and wide: Fujifilm releases XF23mm F1.4 R for X system

Fujifilm has announced the FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R, a premium fast wideangle lens for its X system mirrorless cameras. It offers the same moderate wideangle view as the fixed-lens X100S, but with an extra stop of brightness. The overall design approach is similar to the company’s recent XF14mm F2.8 R, with distance and depth of field scales for manual focusing, and fully optical (rather than digital) correction of distortion. The 23mm F1.4 will be available in October 2013 with an SRP of $899.95 / £849.99. 

Some X system users might wonder why it’s taken so long for Fujifilm to launch a 35mm equivalent lens – after all, it’s a classic focal length to complement the rangefinder-esque X-Pro1. Cynics might suggest that it’s been purely to protect sales of the X100 / X100S, which use a 23mm F2 lens, at least until the X system became more established on the market.

The explanation we’ve been given by Fujifilm’s own representatives is slightly more prosaic. They felt that early buyers of the X-Pro1 would likely own an X100 already, so making a 23mm prime for the X system immediately would count as unnecessary duplication. Instead they decided to concentrate on producing a set of lenses with focal lengths around the X100’s, to make a more flexible overall system. Once that was done, it was time to build the 23mm F1.4.

The new lens obviously doesn’t just replicate that on the X100. It’s a full stop faster, and therefore rather more complex, with an 11 element / 8 group design compared to the X100’s 8 elements / 6 groups. This means it’s also a whole lot larger – 63mm (2.5″) in length, compared to 54mm (2.2″) for the thickness of the X100 lens and body combined. So there could still be a place for both the XF23mm F1.4 and X100S in a photographer’s bag; the former for its speed, the latter for its portability and silent operation.

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Press Release:

FUJIFILM LAUNCHES ULTRA FAST FUJINON XF23MM F1.4 R WIDE-ANGLE LENS 

New lens features outstanding speed for stunning photography, even in low light

Valhalla, N.Y., September 5, 2013 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced the new FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R, a premium wide-angle lens designed to work seamlessly with the award-wining line of X-Series compact system cameras.

The FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R has a focal length equivalent of a 35mm lens, and is ideal for a wide range of applications including portraits and landscapes, as well as everyday photography. The fast maximum aperture of F/1.4 allows users to shoot hand-held in low light conditions and achieve sharp images, while also delivering beautiful bokeh for artistic images.

“Fujifilm is committed to expanding the X-Series line of high quality FUJINON lenses, and today’s announcement brings the total number of available lenses to nine,” said Manny Almeida, senior vice president and general manager, FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “The new XF23mm gives photographers everything that they want in one lens: speed, performance and versatility, and we know this new lens will exceed our users’ expectations.”

Ideal Lens for Everyday Photography 

The new FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R provides enhanced resolving power with crisp contrast to draw maximum performance out of the highly descriptive X-Trans CMOS sensor. The fast F/1.4 aperture allows the user to reduce blurring in low light conditions and achieve stunning shallow depth to field photography.

The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R features a camera-to-subject distance indicator and a depth-of-field scale on the barrel. Both are useful when manually pre-focusing to capture a fast moving subject, or minimize the shutter lag to capture a fleeting moment.

Lens distortion has been reduced to an absolute minimum using only optical rather than digital correction, thereby delivering the highest possible picture quality. The rounded seven-blade diaphragm ensures smooth bokeh even when shooting portraits or product shots at a medium aperture to maintain reasonable depth-of-field.

High Speed Autofocus

The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R uses an internal focusing system which incorporates a lens group consisting of three cemented lens elements and one aspheric lens element in order to keep weight down. Additionally, the built-in high-torque DC coreless motor delivers ultra-fast AF performance for the most demanding shooting opportunities. 

All lens elements are treated with Fujifilm’s multilayer HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) which delivers enhanced durability and ensures an even spread of light across the sensor.

Compact Size and Premium Design

The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R weighs 10.6oz and measures just 2.48” in length making it the most compact and lightweight lens in its class. Metal parts are used for the focus and aperture rings, which are designed to give just the right amount of torque and feel.

FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R key features

  • 35mm equivalent F1.4 lens
  • Fully compatible with FUJIFILM X-Mount
  • 1 lens group consisting of 3 cemented lens elements and 1 aspheric lens element
  • Built-in high-torque DC coreless motor
  • Seven round-edged aperture blades, which offer 22 stops in 1/3 EV steps
  • Lens elements treated with Fujifilm’s multilayer HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating)

The FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R will be available in October 2013 for $899.95.

The current Fujifilm lens family includes the following FUJINON XF and XC lenses: 

  • XF 14mm F2.8
  • XF 18mm F2.0
  • XF 27mm F2.8
  • XF 35mm F1.4
  • XF 60mm F2.4
  • XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 OIS
  • XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS
  • XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS

Fujifilm FUJINON XF 23mm F1.4 R specifications

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Canon reveals EF-S 55-250 F4-5.6 IS STM kit-friendly zoom lens No compromise? Zeiss blogs about its new lens line and the 55mm F1.4 Panasonic announces Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 (again) Fujifilm adds XC50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS to X-mount lens roadmap
Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R

Comments

qwertyasdf

Optical correction of distortion is such a novelty these days, kudos Fuji!

qwertyasdf

I mean for mirrorless.

Jogger

Great addition to the line.

Petka

The mechanical manual focus coupling certainly makes MF more precise and gives a solid feel, but my experiences with the same system in 14mm lens was not 100% joy only: the focus ring has often moved to MF position inadvertently when changing lenses (pushed back when placed in the camera bag). This has meant maybe a few dozen missed shots, camera (and me) on AF, lens on manual. After a few times I learned to push the focus ring forward every time after attaching the 14mm on XPro1, just in case. Some kind of lock would be nice.

About lens sizes: f/1.4 23 lens for APS-C (or any other smaller than 135 format) can not be much smaller than a same focal length lens for FF, the maximum aperture dictates the smallest possible lens diameter, no matter what the image circle is. Slightly smaller, yes, because smaller image circle means less image corrections = less lenses and lens groups. This mostly makes the length of the lens shorter, not so much smaller diameter.

viking79

Spot on Fuji, they really understand their customers. The price is great next to the $1100 US Sony 24mm f/1.8, size looks right (buy x100s if smaller lens is needed).

audijam

it looks beautiful

JackM

Wonderful news. Fuji really “gets it”. However I’ll caution anyone about buying this for blurred backgrounds. I owned a 35/1.4 on Full Frame for about a year. It doesn’t blur the bg as much as you might think. If you can get close to your subject it will blur the bg quite a bit, but at typical shooting distances it’s not so dramatic. The speed is the bigger story here. Great looking lens though. Very lustworthy.

DDWD10

Those looking for killer bokeh should wait for the 56/1.2. I’m hoping that excellent wide-open IQ is what will set this lens apart.

Petka

You can not really get much shallow DOF effects with wide-angles, except at very close focus. I do not think that would be the main reason for most people to by this lens. More lens speed is often nice to have in low light situations, even if the low light performance is as good as it is with Fuji. With better high ISO performance and faster lenses we seem to find darker and darker places to photograph in…

DDWD10

Photographyblog hands-on pictures confirm it’s “Made in Japan”.

GabrielZ

A handsome quality looking product. Resembles Leica’s M series lenses a little, which is no bad thing and maybe even deliberate!

JackM

Agreed. Fuji gets it.

Griffo 155

Lens looks lovely, bigger than I expected it to be in terms of dimensions.
Would I buy it?
Tough call that with the 18-55mm lens I have do I need it?
Another tough call…
Oh alright then! It’s on my shopping list to Santa!

or do I get the XF 18mm f2.

attomole

Interesting to compare results with the RX1, in similar lighting and for DOF control given that this is a significantly faster lens on a smaller sensor

Expat Nomad

“So there could still be a place for both the XF23mm F1.4 and X100S in a photographer’s bag; the former for its speed, the latter for its portability and silent operation.”

Or for me, a new lens, or a new X100.

Nice looking lens. I’m sure it will sell pretty well.

Rod McD

It should be very good. Let’s see how user experience and the reviews pan out. Personally I’m hoping that the extra stop (over the 23mm f2) hasn’t compromised other aspects of IQ like flare resistance and contra light performance…..

Marek Rucinski

“fully optical correction of distortion” is the newspeak of the month…

Daniel from Bavaria

Finally!
Ok, a bit on the expensive side, but if it is near to perfect I am fine with it.

And yes, I know several people not buying into the Fuji System because that lens was missing – some of them are lost now.

For this kind of system and the adressed clients, the 35mm equiv. is the most important lens, if not the only one which counts.

Now bring fast and in sufficient quantity into the shops and everything is fine.

Daniel

P.S. And please do it right with the apperture-ring, so that we can avoid discussions as we had them on the 14mm lens (too loose etc.)

comet suisei

you can find tons of articles comparing Zeiss or Leica lenses with the Fujifilm X series, do your really think this lens is expensive?

SeeRoy

Jewellery is usually a bit expensive.

PatMann

Yeah, when I can get an equivalent for my D300 for only $2,000, that weighs 1.4 pounds, and uses 77mm filters, why would I look to Fujifilm for an APS-C system with a 35-equivalent f/1.4 given the excessive price of this Fujifilm lens?

Petka

New Sigma 35mm f/1.4 in Nikon mount is less than $1000 I believe… And it is one of the sharpest lens ever available for FF cameras.

sproketholes

Im excited about this lens. If their 35/1.4 is anything to go by and the rave reviews of the 14/2.8 then I have little doubt that this thing will be the Summilux ASPH of the Fuji X series. I am still blown away by the 18/2 ~sharp at every aperture..

Craig Atkinson

the 18 isn’t a great lens I don’t think. It’s ok. The 35 is amazing.

Petka

If this 23mm is like the 14mm and 35mm, you are going to be pleasantly surprised: 18mm is merely good compared to those excellent lenses.

autoy

The 18mm f2 is a much better lens than reviews would make you believe. It’s just not as stellar as the 35mm with its off-the-charts sharpness, but overall it’s way ahead of what Canon and Nikon offer at 20mm (sorry, no 18mm primes, only crazy-expensive 14mm), to put things in perspective.

Craig Atkinson

The lens on the Ricoh GR is all round better than the fuji 18, slightly more expensive but you get a pocket camera. xpro1 + 23mm & 35mm (35 / 50) alongside ricoh 28mm / 21mm. Win

Hubertus Bigend

Fuji seems to do everything right, as of now. The whole X sytem makes the impression of a completely different (higher) level of perfection than the other mirrorless systems, better thought-out and much more consistent. Why do Olympus or Sony fail to design such lenses? They have nothing comparable, and what they have sometimes is still even more expensive.

On the other hand, the X system bodies do feel slightly plasticky in hand, and while the X system lenses look nice and solid, their internal mechanical parts are completely made of plastic (i’ve seen several cut-in-half lenses on display), so we don’t know yet whether the stuff will be as durable as it looks.

don_van_vliet

Fuji’s system does look compelling, and well thought out with regards to the needs of photographers. I don’t think you should discount Oly/Pany/Sony’s offerings though, as they do some things significantly better than Fuji (e.g. size, focus, IS etc). Everything is a compromise.

shigzeo ?

I don’t think that ‘perfection’ can be improved upon. Fuji’s stuff is interesting and certainly unique today, but it is still early. I love the X-Pro but it is a very compromised system, and, unless X is going to stay around for 30 years, requires a bit of faith in order to invest in.

The price on the bodies has fallen over 50% in Japan in less than a year. That is the biggest problem. Fuji are not protecting the market. They build for an instantly obsolete market point.

No perfect or professional-leaning product should do that. Nikon (god bless them) don’t even do with their cameras that seem to get bigger and heavier every iteration.

I think Fuji need: to fix AF speed for AF users; to allow visual focusing via the OVF (patch or emulated image match); get professional support service; up quality build; up speed; and protect their products from instant market value obsolescence.

Those fixed and I will agree: in the mirror less market, at least in their niche, they’ll be perfect.

don_van_vliet

All mirrorless cameras lose value quickly (at the moment), as the technology is developing so rapidly. Nikon’s 1 series is one of the worst in this regard. In my opinion nobody should buy a mirrorless camera as an investment, or with the expectation of a good resale value (unless selling very soon after buying). Buy it to take photos with and you should be happy, however.

comet suisei

@shigzeo i couldn’t find the 50% of price fall in Japan

mferencz

Shigzeo? that has to be the most absurd thing i’ve read in a while ‘unless X is gonna stay around for 30 years, it’s a bit of a leap of faith in order to invest’. Put it this way, if your around in 30 years you are NOT going to be using what your using now. Unless you have some fascination with using relics or giant lenses from the past. That I know for sure. What I don’t know is if Fuji or M43 or FF is going to be around in the next 10 years, and if so how.

shigzeo ?

@Don: it’s not resale value I’m worried about. I’ve never sold a camera. It’s that a ‘pro’ labelled camera that sold new for 1700$ was in six months selling for 1000$, and then for 800$ a few months after that.

Fujifilm could protect their market by setting a firm price for all distributors. (I used to work for audio/video distributors in Japan and found that companies that built only to sell millions with no other care let the market only dictate the price. Conscientious makers would set a price that their distributors had to follow. Barring black market stuff from factory, prices fell when the company felt the should.)

That way, every distributor in the same country sat on equal footing, offering service, not barrel scraping deals. The brand is also more respected and becomes less a commodity.

Fuji should fix that if they want their image to remain ‘high’ or whatever it is. They are treading dangerous water though and may find themselves in a race to the bottom if not careful.

Cane

Great cameras for shooting sleeping turtles. Unless they can figure out how to appeal to more than the street and landscape shooter, they won’t last.

abortabort

Also quite large because it is fully optically corrected rather than digitally like so many mirrorless lenses these days. Even Sony dropped optical correction in favour of smaller digitally corrected lenses.

tjbates

Nicely written!

“Cynics might suggest that it’s been purely to protect sales of the X100 / X100S, which use a 23mm F2 lens, at least until the X system became more established on the market.”

This may sound a little cynical – but I still find it far more realistic and less cynical than Fuji’s explanation.

Note to Fuji – consumers may have held off buying into the Fuji system until the release of the XF 23mm f1.4 lens.
Meanwhile these same potential customers may have discovered that the micro 4/3 system meets their needs (faster auto focus, smaller form factor etc) and have abandoned the idea of purchasing Fuji altogether.

Marketing spin is amusing.

autoy

No fast wide primes for micro four thirds, no contest there sorry.

Raist3d

Awesome lens for 35mm shooters.

SeeRoy

What do you think the unboxing experience will be like? Equally awesome?

Craig Atkinson

ha, you’re joking. Must be joking…?

Stealthy Ninja

This is the lens I’ve been waiting for. 23mm is about 35mm on FF and that is my favourite focal length. The current 35mm lens I have (equivalent of 50mm on FF) isn’t my personal favourite length on the x-pro 1. I find 50mm (FF) a little long for most things (I’d prefer 85mm if I’m going to go long).

shigzeo ?

I bit large (I’m used to rangefinder lenses), but looks like a solid release for X users. I am an X-Pro 1 user, but I think I will keep with M mount stuff simply because it is smaller, lighter, and practical for a number of different cameras.

If I didn’t have the M and LTM stuff, I would definitely jump.

samhain

11 elements + aspherical element.
Very nice! Definintley on my to-buy list.

Alexander Barus

Fujinon to die for…

J D Tranquil

As an owner of a Fuji X system camera, I would like a fast, constant-aperture, zoom lens in the lineup, 24-70mm f 2.8 to be exact. Or even f1.8 like the Sigma zoom (f18-35), that’s even better.

Jens_G

24-70 is more suited to a ff lens. On aps you want one starting at 17/18mm and going to 35 / 50 / 55 / 70mm. Aperture will determine lens size. F/1.8 would be too big for this type of camera, imo.

Paul JM

The current 18-55 zoom equates to the ff equivalent focal lengths that u desire. Would I trade the current lens for a constant 2.8 if the trade off were a vast increase in size ? Probably no

shigzeo ?

Jens_G is probably right, however, the 24-70/80 length is typical for SLR style cameras. AS the X system obviously is trying to imitate a rangefinder look/feel, a 24-70 might not be bad.

Most rangefinder lenses fall into the 35-90mm range, so a ~35mm – ~105mm equivalent zoom may not be a bad idea. And if made for a small image circle, it wouldn’t have to be THAT big. That said, Fuji’s lenses are quite large for their speed/focal length.

I’d rather an F4 zoom or a variable 2,8-4 as the body isn’t heavy/sturdy feeling enough to support a beast.

I use the 28-70/2,8 ED AFS for extra-studio work with a D800. It is a bit too much. But the focal length is great for tight events.

Raist3d

I sure don’t. It would be a HUGE lens and defeats the purpose of the system. This is a system based on primes with reasonably fast/medium sized zooms.

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