Today, August 25 2016 the new XF 23mm f2 R WR lens is reality! The announcement didn't come as a complete surprise as it already showed up on the latest X-mount Lens roadmap, a few months ago.
Fujifilm Middle East, was kind enough to lend me a pre-production copy of the 23mm f2 a bit more than a week ago. Although a bit shorter than normal, I was still able to shoot the lens during a Street Photography walk in Paris and Dubai. All images shown here were shot on a pre-production X-T2 body. Although pretty close to final production, it is still a pre-production copy of the lens and small changes might occur between now and the release date. A new lens firmware is likely to be released over the coming month(s).
Just like the 35mm f2, it does not have a depth of field scale on the lens barrel; likely in an effort to keep the lens as compact as possible. Beside the standard black, the lens is also available in silver.
- It has a standard bayonet fitting that clicks into place and not a "screw in the filter thread" solution like the standard one that came with the XF35 f2. Happy with that!
- Its shape is odd; I've given it some time to get used to it, but I really don't like it. I guess it might just be a personal thing.
Can be summarised in two words; "Very Fast and Silent". Its 3 year old predecessor, the 23mm f1.4, isn't the fastest lens when it comes to autofocus; so it is probably better to compare it to the newer 35mm f2 lens again.
Fujifilm states the following about the lens construction: "The lens consists of ten elements in six groups, including two aspherical elements. The optimum positioning of the aspherical elements, ensures flatness of the image plane, for edge-tot edge sharpness". A bit of a sales pitch, but it pretty much seems to be right on!
One of the items that surprised me most on the lens, is the close minimum focus distance. While Fujifilm has 22cm as a minimum focus distance, I did find it being just over 18cm; yes I did measure from the focal plane to the subject. It is not as close as the great XF16mm f1.4 (my review here) minimum focus distance, but is not far of!
For the bokeh fans; the circular aperture blades consists of 9 sheets.
|XT-2, ISO 500, 1/250, f2.0|
A great advantage will also be for the ones using the lens on an X-Pro1 or X-Pro2 body with the Optical Viewfinder (OVF). The shape of this lens obstructs the OVF far less than the "classic" 23mm lens; which again is good news for Street shooters.
|XT-2, ISO 640, 1/250, f5.6|
|XT-2, ISO 200, 1/50, f5.6|
|XT-2, ISO 2000, 1/250, f10|
XT-2, ISO 200, 1/420, f5.6
|XT-2, ISO 200, 1/250, f11|
|XT-2, ISO 3200, 1/40, f4|
|XT-2, ISO 320, 1/250, f5.6|
|XT-2, ISO 500, 1/250, f8|