I am going to be very upfront and honest about this. The Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is my favourite lens. I am going to share with you why this lens is well worth considering.
I have been fortunate enough to have owned or tried almost every Fujifilm X Series lens. And there are some crackers in the line-up. Seriously amazing glass.
But when people ask me for advice on what lens they should add to their kit, I don’t hesitate to tell them that they cannot go wrong with the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2. Mine is on my Fujifilm X-T3 90% of the time.
It is my primary lens for my many travels to Japan, and my go-to street photography lens. I have even used it to shoot more significant events such as weddings and engagement parties.
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is one of four newer lenses that Fujifilm have produced. The remaining three include the Fujifilm XF 50mm F/2, Fujifilm XF 35mm F/2, and the Fujifilm XF16 mm F/2.8.
All of these lenses have a similar design and compact size. All have snappy autofocus, and they are all excellent value for money.
Another benefit of Fujifilm releasing lenses such as the XF 23mm F/2 is that consumers are offered more choice. More substantial and older lenses of similar focal distance are far more expensive and have slower autofocus.
Recommending the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 to anyone is easy – it provides a great focal distance for everyday use and for specific genres. It gives a wide enough field of view suitable for landscape photographers and captures enough background story for street photography.
Overall, it’s a great everyday lens that anyone can shoot with and enjoy. So let’s have a closer look at it with my Fujifilm 23mm f/2 review.
Table of Contents
Fujifilm XF23mm F/2 Specs
- Size and weight
- Autofocus performance
- Image quality
- Value for money
- Fiddly lens cap
- Odd lens hood
- Slight softness wide open
- Focal Length: 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent)
- Fujifilm X Mount
- Aperture: f/2-16
- Filter Size: 43mm
- Size: 60.0mm x 51.9mm (2.36″ X 2.04″)
- Weight: 180gm (6.35 oz)
- Motorized Zoom
- Weather and dust resistant
Build & Ergonomics
It would be pretty rare for someone to say that a Fujifilm lens was of poor quality. They just make great, solid lenses for the Fujifilm X Series camera system. The Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is no exception.
The 23mm F/2 lens has an incredibly sturdy and robust build quality. The all-metal body and mounting plate give the user the assurance that this lens can deal with rugged use. On the lens itself, there are no plastic parts at all.
It is tiny to hold, while still providing a comfortable level of control. The base of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is only slightly bigger than the lens mount plate and also includes a seal that makes the lens dust and weather resistant.
Most Fujifilm lenses feature an aperture ring that sits close to the camera body when mounted. The aperture ring is easily accessible and has a firm clicking turn from F/2 to F/16 and then onto A for Auto.
The manual focus ring sits comfortably toward the front of the lens and has a smooth and silent glide with just the right amount of resistance.
The ‘WR’ in the full name of the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2 R WR stands for ‘Weather Resistance’ – check out the video above where Mark puts this to the ultimate test, when attached to the X-T2. While I don’t recommend you try something similar, it does illustrate just how well manufactured the lens (and camera) actually are!
The only plastic element of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is the lens cap. The lens cap uses a pinch-release system, but given its size can feel a little clumsy to attach it securely -especially if you have big fingers like mine.
The hood is made of metal, but it is a genuinely odd little accessory. It hardly stretches beyond the filter thread. There is, however, a better aftermarket lens hood available for this lens.
When the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is attached to any Fujifilm X Series body, it feels like a perfect match. This size and weight balance well, since most Fujifilm X Series camera bodies are more compact than a lot of brands, even in the mirrorless market.
I use a Fujifilm X-T3 , and with the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 attached, I have full control over my shooting experience. Both hands on the camera while controlling the aperture and focus of the lens.
When it comes to autofocus performance, the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 will never disappoint. In both low light and daylight, the autofocus is snappy and leaps from subject to subject without pause.
This lightning-quick autofocus of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is one of the fastest in all of the Fujifilm X Series lenses. It is especially evident when compared to some of the older Fujifilm lenses of a similar focal distance.
Given that the lens has an overall weight of 180gm(6.35oz), there is far less mechanical demand to shift internal glass to capture focus. The motors are not working as hard as in larger lenses. This also has a benefit to battery longevity when out on a shoot.
I pair my Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 with the Fujifilm X-T3 and have never experienced focus hunting even in poor light conditions. I have shot with this camera are many indoor and outdoor night events and have only had positive outcomes.
Many would agree that Fujifilm makes excellent quality and well-built lenses for the Fujifilm X Series cameras. Lenses that produce exceptional image quality. The Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is undoubtedly no exception.
This tiny lens produces excellent image sharpness, especially from around F/4. Wide-open at F/2, the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 has some softness, especially with subjects that are too close to the lens. Personally, I have never really noticed an issue with image sharpness for the style of photography I shoot.
Whether I am shooting an event, landscape or street photography, I get the sharpness and softness where I expect it to be. Especially given that in most of those situations I would be shooting at around F/8.
Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 Sample Images
Check out these sample images taken with the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2:
Value for Money
One of the greatest things about the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 is its amazing value for money. By introducing this lens to the line-up, Fujifilm has given consumers more choice and flexibility without compromising on quality.
The Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 retails currently for around US$650. The equivalent focal distance lens from Fujifilm is the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/1.4 lens, which currently retails for about twice the price. That is quite a price difference, but at least consumers have a choice.
Undoubtedly, the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/1.4 is known to produce exceptional image quality. However, it is an older lens with far slower autofocus and is known to focus hunt in low light conditions. More significant elements require the interior drive motors to work harder with more resistance.
Value for money is one of the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 lens’ most significant attributes. It is a fantastic everyday lens that comes in at half the price of the bigger, heavier and slower predecessor.
Fujifilm XF23mm F/2 Review | Conclusion
As I mentioned at the start of this Fujifilm 23mm F/2 review, I love this lens.
On my last trip to Tokyo, I only took this single lens attached to my Fujifilm X-T3 . I have found it to be the perfect one-size-fits-all lens for my street photography work and just about every other kind of photography I choose to enjoy.
And that is another key feature of this lens – it is really enjoyable to use. When paired with a Fujifilm X Series camera body, the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 delivers ease of operation and the ability to have full manual control of the lens functions at your fingertips.
Its tiny size and weight also mean that having this lens on your camera all day, or in your kit bag, is not going to weigh you down. You will hardly even notice it is there… and still, it will allow you to capture great images.