Fujifilm 23mm f2 Review + 28 Sample Images

Fujifilm 23mm f2 Review and Sample Images
Fujifilm 23mm f2 Review
Fujifilm 23mm f2 Review

Looking back through my archive to dig out photos for this review has reminded me of my love for this lens. It’s not my most used lens. That title goes to the Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8. Nor is it my favourite lens because the focal length is a little wide for my day-to-day use, but the Fujifilm 23mm f/2 has a lot going for it and makes a great companion for travel photography.

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Fujifilm 23mm f2 Review

I’ve owned the Fuji 23mm f/2 for a long time. It’s been so long, I don’t remember when I bought it. But I know it’s been to plenty of places with me – Waddesdon Manor, Lincoln, Plymouth, Porto, Milan, London and many other places.

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I find the focal length of the 23mm a little wide for how I like to shoot, which is why it’s less used than most other lenses. However, over the years, I’ve found it particularly useful when shooting indoors, and it’s served me well because it produces good results.

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In a nutshell, here are the pros and cons of the Fujifilm XF23mmF2 R WR lens before we get into the meat of the review:

Pros

  • Solid build quality and weather-resistant construction
  • Fast maximum aperture of f/2
  • Fast and accurate autofocus
  • Good price point

Cons

  • No image stabilisation
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And if you’re wondering, these are what the letters mean in the lens name:

R = Ring – the lens has an aperture ring

WR = Weather Resistant – the lens has weather-sealing components

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Build

The Fujifilm 23mm f2 is rock solid. It’s a tiny lens that’s well-built. The metal construction feels high-quality and gives a sense of robustness. The lens is fitted with an aperture ring, which is a bonus. The aperture ring is one of my favourite things about Fujifilm’s lenses because of its operability. I almost exclusively shoot wide open, so the aperture ring gives me a quick and easy way to know I’m wide open instead of using a command dial.

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The aperture ring is missing on the equivalent Sigma 23mm f/1.4, which I miss on the Sigma 56mm f1.4. The lens is also weather and dust-resistant, so it can handle a little bit of what mother nature can throw at you, provided it is mounted onto a suitable body, such as the Fujifilm X-T5. According to Fujifilm, the lens can operate in temperatures as low as -10°C, although I’ve never shot in anything lower than -6°C.

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It’s worth noting there’s no image stabilisation in this lens, but given it’s regarded as a wide-angle lens, you will cope without stabilisation. I’ve noted it as a con for the lens, but it’s not much of a problem unless you have an unsteady hand and you’re shooting on a body without In-Body Image Stabilisation. I can handhold comfortably at a quarter of a second with this lens on the X-T5 because of the IBIS of the camera body.

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Performance

Optically, it’s not the best lens I’ve ever used, and in my inventory, it’s been largely superseded by the Fujifilm XF16-55 f/2.8. Optically, that’s a better lens, and despite the bulk it brings, it’s worth the extra weight for the improved quality. The lenses aren’t directly comparable, which I appreciate. I bought the Fuji 23mm f2 long before the 16-55, and it has served me well, but the 16-55 offers more flexibility and better quality. The one area in which the Fuji 23mm trumps competitors is size and weight. Coming in at 180gm, it’s the perfect lens to put in your jacket pocket.

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The 23mm f2 performs well for a compact, light lens. As I hope you can see throughout the pictures in this post, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the quality of the lens – it is as good as you’d expect from a first-party lens. I’ve noticed chromatic aberration, but in specific circumstances – when shooting white things, such as the white numbers on Fuji lens barrels. But for the most part, you won’t notice any problems.

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In terms of autofocus, it’s excellent. I’ve not experienced any issues with it at all. According to Fujifilm, there’s a “stepping motor to drive lightweight focusing elements for silent and fast autofocus. When combined with the phase detection AF system of FUJIFILM X-Pro2 and X-T2, the lens can focus in an astonishing 0.05 seconds.” Measuring the speed is difficult, but I can confirm it’s lightning-fast, even in low light.

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It’s hard, and almost pointless, to talk about colour rendition, flare, bokeh, or contrast, mainly because it makes no real difference to why you should or would buy this lens. I rarely shoot anything but wide open, so the bokeh will always be round, and the bokeh is a product of depth of field (affected by a combination of distance to subject, aperture, and focal length).

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And for the colour and contrast – these are edited to taste in post-processing. As for the flare – I welcome it because flare can add some interest to a picture. If there are any problems with these elements, I’ve not noticed them. You shouldn’t worry too much, and don’t let them cloud your decision to buy the Fuji 23mm.

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Specifications

For anyone who is interested, below is a table of specs for the Fujifilm 23mm f2.

Lens configuration10 elements 6 groups (includes 2 aspherical elements
Focal length23mm (35mm in 35mm format equivalent)
Max aperturef/2
Min aperturef/16
Aperture blades9
Step size1/3 EV
Focus range22cm – ∞
Max magnification0.13x
Dimensionsø60.0mm x 51.9mm
Weight180g
Filter size43mm

Verdict

The Fujifilm 23mmf2 is a great lens that’s served me well over the years. This could be the one for you if you’re after a prime lens that’s small, light, optically sound, and reasonably priced. My major interests with any lens lie with the sharpness and autofocus, and the Fujifilm 23mm f2 is sound in both areas. As far as a lens for travel photography goes, this is the perfect companion and could suit well to anyone interested in minimalist travel photography gear. It’s a handy lens to use while indoors and lends itself well to a bit of street photography, too.

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Fujifilm 23mm f2 Sample Images

Here are the Fujifilm 23mm f2 sample images. Each file has been processed through Adobe Camera Raw and saved as 12 inches longest side at 300ppi and sharpened for screen, with a max file size of 1500kb. Click any picture throughout the post (apart from the headline shot), and it will open in a new window. The uploads are 2560 pixels longest side, which has been resized by Wordpress. Each image on this page is resized to 800 pixels longest side for the web.

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Fujifilm 23mm f2 Review

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