Is the smaller and lighter 23mm f/2 R WR XF a match for the older but faster 23mm f/1.4 XF R? Michael Topham finds out
Fujifilm XF23mm f/2 R WR review: Features
The 23mm f/2R WR XF is the widest lens in Fujifilm’s current series of f/2 primes and costs £30 less than the new Fujifilm 50mm f/2 R WR XF, but £70 more than the XF 35mm f/2 R WR. Some photographers might tell you a lens that’s equivalent to 50mm is the best prime you can pack in your bag, but a lens that offers a focal length equivalent to 35mm is incredibly versatile and can be used in wide variety of different situations to capture a range of subjects. What I particularly love about using a 35mm prime is the way it forces me to interact more with what I’m photographing and think carefully about the composition and readjusting using our feet.
Although the lens we’re looking at is a stop slower than the older Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 XF R, there are benefits to be had from manufacturing the front element smaller and limiting the maximum aperture to f/2. Most significant is its compact size – something that has been achieved by developing a new optical formula, which sees ten glass elements arranged in six groups. Two of the ten elements are the aspherical type and feature as part of the focusing group in an effort to minimize performance fluctuations between different focal distances. The optical construction isn’t as complex as the eleven elements in eight group arrangement as found within the Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 XF R, but it does feature nine aperture blades as opposed to seven, so you can expect it to render attractive, spherical bokeh at wide apertures.
You’ve probably picked up on the fact that the lens has the abbreviation WR in its name. This indicates that it’s one of Fujifilm’s weather-resistant lenses. Unlike the more expensive 23mm f/1.4 XF R that doesn’t feature weather sealing, this optic can be used in wet, dusty, or humid environments at temperatures as low as -10°C. Weather sealing can often be taken for granted. What we shouldn’t forget is that it gives us the reassurance we need to keep shooting when going gets tough and can sometimes be the difference between keeping our camera out and getting a shot and having to stow it away for the fear that it might get damaged
The lens’s internal focusing system prevents the front element from shifting back and fourth and you’ll find it accepts filters and adapters via a 43mm thread. This is the same size thread as that found on the XF 35mm f/2 R WR. The other thing to consider is that filters and adapters will be cheaper than those you buy to fit the larger 62mm filter thread on the Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 XF R. Whereas the older but faster 23mm f/1.4 XF R has a minimum focus distance of 28cm, this lens lets you focus slightly closer to within 22cm of a subject.