Having previously experienced 23mm focal length with the X100s which I just didn’t take to, the prospect of the Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 lens hasn’t really struck a particular chord truth be told. It’s a focal length I’ve tended to skirt around with the old, now departed 18-55mm zoom lens, but with the 18mm and 35mm my thinking was that I had enough in reserve to cover what I needed it most situations.
However, having recently bought the 56mm f/1.2, the opportunity to purchase a used 23mm from the same source at a really great price, started me thinking. I have no doubt the focal length could be lived without, however, the thought of owning a lens which is highly regarded as one of the best Fuji lenses available was too much to resist, and with a little research into it, I was pretty much sold on it.
Overall, I love it. In a similar vein to the 56mm, I love the feel and physical size of it. It’s a relatively (for CSC systems) solid lump, and with the ability to shoot apertures as low as f/1.4, it’s a cracker of a lens.
Now most of the time I talk about equipment, I’m not really looking from a technical perspective. I’m simply looking from the point of view of how it appears to operate, it’s size ratio to camera, and of course the results - the images. I have to say, looking hard at the full sized images from the 23mm, it’s as good as anything else Fuji produces, and that includes the 56mm f/1.2 which I am almost in heaven about!
It’s focussing speed on the XT-1 is snappy - and unlike the venerable 35mm f/1.4 it’s quiet. It has a more solid feel to it than the 35mm, including the aperture ring that moves far more positively and smoothly than the 35mm. However, in fairness to the 35mm, it was one of Fuji’s first prime offerings, and with each iteration of lens release the quality appears to get better and better.
One area of use I’m not altogether convinced with is the manual focussing ring. Sure the distance scale is nice, but as yet, I’ve not been able to figure out using manual focussing with back button focus and then being able to tweak off the focus ring at max magnification. This works perfectly on the 56mm, and the idea of a push/pull collar seems an interesting option. I believe the 14mm also features this set up, although as a wide angle lens used for more landscape type work I can understand this more so on this lens than the 23mm.
However, when all said and done the 23mm is a cracker of a lens. The IQ is simply breathtaking, and in time I can see me and the 23mm becoming best of friends and never too far away from each other!