I have had plenty of time now with Fujifilm’s new XF23mm f/2 since it started shipping to really fall in love with Fujifilm’s latest compact prime lens. But a consistent question I was always asked, and one that I was curious about myself was regarding how the new f/2 23mm compared to the f/1.4 model which many Fujifilm photographers were in love with.
So I used my connections and was able to get my hands on a 23mm f/1.4 to use while I was in New York for Photo Plus Expo this past week. I was able to use both lenses in a variety of situations, from street, to cityscape, to boudoir and today I wanted to share my impressions having used both 23mm lenses die by side over the course of the last several weeks.
The majority of my most comparable shooting was done in the boudoir setting, so here are a few shots from the 23mm f/2 during my boudoir shoot with model Stephanie Manescu:
Now, this dark, grainy, moody thing is my preferred style. Compared side by side, you may see a slight increase in the blur with the 23mm f/1.4 images, this is due to the wider aperture, as well as I was a little closer to my subject when I shot those images, which contributes to the slightly more blurred bokeh of the background.
In terms of actual performance while using these two lenses, in all honesty they performed really similarly. The AF speed was roughly the same, with each lens shooting faster and slower than the other at times throughout the shoot. The f/1.4 was a little faster in the lowest of light thanks to the brighter aperture, but the f/2 version seemed to be consistently around the same speed throughout the shoot regardless of light (with the one exception being in extreme low light, and by extreme I mean a dark room with a window 80% covered with curtain, where the lens and X-Pro2 combo slowed down considerably — the 1.4 slowed down a lot as well, just not quite as much).
Overall, I would say that based on my use in this particular case, neither lens really set itself apart in one way or another. Since I already own the f/2 version I am happy with that and will be sticking with it, just as I would say anyone with the f/1.4 should do (based on performance alone). If you have neither one yet, and want to get one, the question becomes more about what is important to you — faster good light focusing and WR or slightly better bokeh and low light performance. Both lenses are a great option and you really can’t go wrong with either one.
Here are some more shots taken from both lenses as I had my adventure through NYC this pas week. (EXIF data is intact, so if you want to know which is which. These below are SOOC jpegs resized/exported via LR)