Released in 2016 and available in either silver or black, the Fujinon 23mm f/2 R WR XF is positioned by Fujifilm as a cheaper alternative to its older 23mm f/1.4 XF R prime. While maximum aperture is a stop slower, the 23mm f/2 is noticeably smaller, and around 120g lighter, than its f/1.4 counterpart. Perhaps more crucially, it’s also around £300 cheaper. For anyone on a budget or just starting out with the Fujifilm X-Mount system, that’s a pretty hefty saving.
Despite the difference in price, overall build quality is every bit as good. In fact the 23mm f/2 even manages to outdo its more expensive sibling by offering full weather sealing – something the 23mm f/1.4 XF R lacks. We tested the two lenses side by side and found the f/2’s internal AF system to be much quieter than the f/1.4, and thanks the inclusion of a stepping motor it’s also noticeably quicker to acquire focus.
Our testing – both real-world and in the lab – also confirmed that the 23mm f/2 is fractionally sharper than the f/1.4 lens, with its ‘sweet spot’ (the point at which centre and edge sharpness are at their combined maximum) occurring at f/5.6. While professional photographers will undoubtedly still be drawn to the extra stop of the f/1.4 we’d be sorely tempted put our money in the direction of its better value, better performing f/2 baby brother.
Handling is excellent, with the large aperture ring at the base of the lens offering up enough resistance to prevent accidental shifts, but also clicking satisfyingly into place when rotated. The front element has a 43mm thread to accommodate filters or adapters.
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