The focal length sweet spot
Ever since I picked up the XF23mm f/1.4 version 1, it became a staple with my every day. I have used it in every possible scenario in my field. From shooting concerts, events, portraits, to having celebrations at home. It really feels like the sweet spot when it comes to lenses cause it is like our eyes, for me at least.
For some, having a 35mm equivalent lens can feel such a niche. But I always look up to creators and photographer from way back. When the only major focal length used was a 35mm lens. Pretty amazing to be honest.
Having the chance to test out the new XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR, I was blown away. One of the major updates that I loved the most is its new MOD, minimum object distance. With the new version, you can go real close and get finer details without much distortion, much like the XF16mmF1.4 lens, which was my favorites before this new XF23mm. I can’t stress enough how much this made me happy. Imagine having to tell a whole new story when shooting up close. How close? Up to 10cm. It’s ridiculous. In a good way, of course. Back with the old lens, I was very limited in going closer to my subject. But that changed obviously.
In terms of the quality, I found very minimal to no color aberrations with the new lens. Which, in retrospect, appears often with the older version. It wasn’t hard to miss, as I’ve shot images with both lenses. The bokeh or shallow depth of field was also more circular with the new XF23mm. It’s nice to have these, cause pair it with the new MOD, man, this lens is just on another level.
The focusing was fast and smooth both for photos and videos. I have filmed a few clips here and there. AF-C wasn’t lagging, or maybe it was? But it was definitely an upgrade from the previous version. The tack sharp linear auto focus when shooting photos was hands down impressive. Even while shooting with minimum lighting, and without any AF light assistance, the lens worked really well with my X-T4. Follow focus or continuous focusing was always on point.
Finally, the new Fujinon XF23mm is weather resistant. I’m not saying I haven’t tried using the older version under the rain, believe me, I have. But of course, it’s a huge difference knowing your lens is already made with it. This is one of the main reasons why I stuck with the XF16mm, but I know sooner or later they would officially add this to the new build. I think it’s very important that I know my equipment is well protected. Think of it as future proofing your gear. I was actually lucky enough to try it in real life. Went under the rain with my X-T4 plus the new XF23mm with no hesitations. This was surely a huge improvement from the previous generation. So I’m glad they added it, better late than never. Right?
While everything on from the glass inside are amazing, let me talk about it’s exteriors.
The new XF23mm has a real good metal build. Feels very premium I must say. It is significantly lighter and smaller than its predecessor. Sadly, the focus clutch is gone. I loved how the 16mm and old 23mm had that. The lens also features an aperture ring, ranging from 1.4 all the way to 16 and A (aperture mode). It also has an aperture lock, which helps when shooting on the aperture mode. You can give it a gentle push to unlock it and you’re good to go. The focus ring in the front of the lens is so smooth, it doesn’t feel it’s lagging when you adjust it in real time. And since it is fairly smaller, this 23mm has a lens diameter of 58. Yes, I know, it’s much like the, XF18-55mmF2.8-4. And when I say much like it, to my surprise, it ALSO looks like it.
Now, you can anything you want about the 18-55mm kit, I absolutely love that lens as well. But, I’ll be honest, it kind of felt a little too modern for me. Yes, I am a proud Fujifilm fan boy, and
yes, I like how I feel nostalgic shooting with my primes and focus clutches or square hoods. But I was surprised with this lens cause it feels very, 2021 now. Clean, sleek and small. I think I felt the same way when the X-S10 was released. Given the chance, if I were to choose how to design it, I’d say keep the body same but add everything on top. I’ll miss my square hoods. Well, that’s just me. I’m not making a big deal out of it, but I just know, I’ll miss my square hood. Maybe it’s time to move on from my past. Kidding.
With all that said, I really think the new XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR is a must have for all types of creatives. May it be film making or purely photography, or hybrid shooters, I feel that this lens is the way to go. It will forever be my focal length sweet spot. I hope you all can see what I see with the new XF23mm, just like what I said, it works as easy, fast and reliable like our eyes.