Fuji XF 14mm f/2.8 R Fujinon on X-A1
The long awaited wide angle for Fuji has arrived, was it worth the wait?
The new Fuji XF 14mm f/2.8 R was a new style of lens for the X mount system. It has a sliding focus ring which reveals a distance scale underneath and automatically places the camera in manual focus mode. This focus ring has a distinct manual focus feel to it, and it actually is the first focus by wire system to fool me into thinking it was manually coupled. It is in fact focus by wire, but has much better feel and can easily set infinity focus, and focus will be held at that point.
Fuji advertises this lens as being optically corrected, and sure enough it is. Opening the files in dcraw and they look undistorted and low in lateral CA. Is this an advantage? We will find out later.
The build quality of this lens is excellent, heavy metal construction, and compact size matches extremely well with the Fuji cameras. The focus ring is smooth turning and responds virtually instantly to focus adjustments (listening very closely with your ear up near the lens you will hear the focus motor adjusting focus as you turn the focus ring). The hood is shared with the 18-55mm and is a bit difficult to get on and off and doesn’t lock very positively.
The aperture ring turns loosely, and has light catch points at each 1/3 stop. There is no raised finger index point so the lens is difficult to mount by feel. The focus ring is well weighted, but is still focus by wire.
The lens has 10 elements in 7 groups with 2 aspherical and 3 low dispersion elements to reduce CA. The lens is fairly heavy (mirrorless UWA) at 235 g (8.3 oz), but is well weighted (doesn’t feel too heavy). It has a typical to good for the class minimum focus distance of 18 cm (7.1 inches). It has a 7 round bladed diaphragm, for smooth bokeh, but won’t make nice star bursts if that is important to you. I was able to stack 3 Hoya ND filters on the 58mm threads without noticeable vignetting.
So, does Fuji deliver professional results for your X series camera?
Wait, what is new with my charts you ask? I set the MTF 20 chart to go to only the vertical resolution of the sensor. Anything above that is meaningless. The MTF 50 chart I set based on a ratio of where f/16 appeared for several lenses and the vertical resolution. You should note that 4k video is 2160 LW/PH and HD video is 1080 LW/PH, for MTF 50 this could be allowed to be somewhat less than that. So consider minimum for HD the red/yellow boundary and the minimum for 4k the Yellow/Green boundary. The green/blue boundary or above is where a good photographic lens will lie, but decent is anything yellow/green border and up. If you can’t see the colored borders, for MTF 20 Red: ~1200 LW/PH, Yellow: 2160, Blue: 2700. MTF50 values are 800, 1500, and 1900 LW/PH.
Comments on the Results
What is not to like? Sharpness and resolution are excellent. The lens is excellent from f/2.8 to f/11 across the frame. There is some improvement mainly in the corners from f/2.8 to f/4, but after that it really doesn’t matter where you shoot, just select based on depth of field and available light. On a 16 MP APS-C you will start to notice notable drop in resolution above f/8.
Astigmatism is present, not not strong. There is some smearing of out of focus stars radially in the star field shots, and maybe some coma.
Distortion is not present in RAW files, either from Lightroom or dcraw.
Lateral CA is well corrected.
Flare resistance: Good flare resistance, even shooting low light with no hood and a street light overhead and the lens didn’t flare much. You will get some aperture ghosts as with most lenses if you included a bright light point in the frame, but these are pretty tame.
Measured Focal length is 16mm at 1:53 magnification, this makes it only slightly wider than the 16-50mm (after barrel distortion corrections the 16-50mm measures 17mm).
Autofocus: The focus is smooth and positive, and very fast even when it hunts end to end.
Pros and Cons
- Sharpness/Resolution at all settings
- Overall Image Quality
- Build Quality
- Flare Resistance
- Focus feel for by wire system
- Hood (so-so plastic and not positive feeling)
- Aperture Ring, too easy to bump
So which would I buy, the ZEISS 12mm f/2.8 or the Fuji 14mm f/2.8? That is a really tough choice. I prefer the look and feel of the Fuji, matches the cameras much better, offers faster focus, and better manual focus feel. However, the Zeiss is notable wider and I don’t zone focus or use manual focus much if I don’t have to so it comes down to focal length decision for me. Both give pro quality results, it is hard to tell difference in sharpness between the images.
I highly recommend this lens.
Buy on BH to help support the site: Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle Lens
Or Amazon is always a good choice: Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 Lens Wide Angle Lens
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