Mike Kobal

February 15, 2013

Fujinon XF 14mm (21mm) F2.8 R Lens: A Perfect Classic Super Wide, Part I

Filed under: Gear Reviews — mike.kobal @ 11:54 pm

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It finally arrived :) I got mine from Adorama. The Fujinon XF 14mm F2.8 R is the first Fujifilm lens featuring a mf/af clutch mechanism with a depth of field scale. (the first one out of the blocks was the Olympus 12mm, click here for my impressions shooting with the Olympus). A very useful addition, especially on a wide angle lens. There are two major advantages when we can prefocus a lens properly, a) minimizing shutter lag and silent operation (no AF motor sound) and b), confirmation of focus zone, especially important for interior/architecture and group shots.
Video and photos after the break

Af performance is bit of a mixed bag. The first time I got my hands on this lens it seemed to focus faster then my 18mm f2. After shooting with it for a couple of days however, I found AF speed to be right in between the 18mm and the 35mm. It sometimes struggles in extreme low light, just like the 35mm (latest firmware installed for all lenses and body). The 18mm is still the fastest focusing prime with the best low light focus acquisition in the Fujinon line up to date.

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Let’s remember the 14mm is a high performance, almost perfectly corrected aspherical super wide and not a low light monster. The sharpness and detail rendition is incredible at 2.8 and it gets better when we stop down a bit, especially the boarders sharpen up nicely. Nonetheless, I expected af speed to be a bit faster.
Capable of achieving insane depth of field when zone focusing: This is where this lens really shines, incredible depth of field already at f4 and it is possible to get everything “in focus” from 5 feet to infinity, the hyperfocal distance extends with smaller apertures. At f8, everything will appear “in focus” from infinity to about 2.5 feet.
This feature makes the Fujinon 14mm the King of Kings (Kaiser) in the modern era of sensible lens design.
I hope you enjoy the photos-everything was shot with the Fujifilm X-E1 and 14mm, I will update this post after a week of shooting :)

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Update: angle of view comparison between the 18mm and 14mm click here.

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21 Comments »

  1. Thanks for sharing Mike. A solid review with good shots.

    Can you share what accessories you were using on the X-E1 in the video? What’s that on the shutter button and in the hotshoe? :). How do these accessories make your shooting experience better?

    Comment by MK — February 16, 2013 @ 6:09 am

  2. Great shots! Seems to be a great lens too.

    Comment by James — February 16, 2013 @ 10:05 am

  3. I love your photos, but they are spoiled by there not being any space between them.

    Comment by Felix — February 16, 2013 @ 10:10 am

  4. Thanks Felix, fixed :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 16, 2013 @ 10:23 am

  5. Thanks James, yes, the lens rocks.

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 16, 2013 @ 10:24 am

  6. Thank you, MK, a soft release, makes it easier to shoot a very low shutter speeds handheld, the analog level on the hotshoe for low level shooting since the lcd isn’t articulated

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 16, 2013 @ 10:27 am

  7. Thanks Mike. Which models/brands are they? They look good on your X-E1.

    Comment by MK — February 16, 2013 @ 11:12 am

  8. Mike, I always love your street photos. I’m sick of seeing the same jam-my-Leica-in-your-face and ooh-a-bum photos taken while walking around NYC that every other web site and reviewers seem to take (that goes for London and Hong Kong as well). You somehow seem to find places and angles that still make NYC interesting.

    Comment by KaiserX — February 16, 2013 @ 11:56 am

  9. Mk, search on ebay for “hot shoe spirit level” and “soft release”, lots of choices and deals :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 16, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  10. Thank you so much for you kind words, KaiserX

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 16, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

  11. I am in the market for either the 18mm or 14mm for my X-Pro1. What would really help if you could take some photos with both lenses locked to the same angle for a real comparison to see how these lenses compare with framing. Thank you!

    Comment by Justin — February 16, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

  12. I will, Justin, check back tomorrow

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 16, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

  13. Thanks Mike! I have asked FujiGuys to do this but no one as stepped up to the plate yet.

    Comment by Justin — February 16, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

  14. Hi Mike,

    First off, thank you for continuing to publish your thoughts on the Fuji X-system.

    For years, I have been shooting Canon full frame and am quite tired of the weight. So now, I am contemplating getting the XE1 + 18-55 + 35mm or Sony NEX 6 and similar lenses. Reading your reviews and seeing your images is steering me towards the Fuji. I just wish they would release their 23mm/1.4 already.

    Comment by Jason — February 18, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

  15. Hi Jason, glad to hear you find it useful. If you don’t need video, go with the X system, a camera for purists, the direct dials, aperture rings, logical body layout based on classic rangefinders and excellent lenses are a joy to use. Keep in mind however, it is not a full frame replacement.

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 18, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

  16. Great work. Did you consider the Zeiss 12mm coming in summer?

    Comment by John Denlinger — February 21, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  17. Thanks John. I really like the 21mm equiv. 18mm is a bit too wide, if I need that focal length I can use my Tokina 11-16mm. Of course I could change my mind if it turns out to be absolutely fantastic :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 21, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

  18. Mike…love your images. I’m looking to buy the X-E1 and would like to use my Nikkor 35mm 1.8 G lens…and Nikkor 50mm 1.4 D lens. I saw the adapter you recommended for the G lens, do I need another adapter for the D lens or will that one do?

    Thank you.

    Comment by Dean — February 23, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

  19. Thank you Dean! You will only need the one adapter, works will all Nikon mount lenses and has aperture control for G mount lenses.

    Comment by mike.kobal — February 23, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

  20. Mike…I recently purchased the adapter you suggested to mount my Nikon 35 mm 1.8 G lens onto my Fuji X-E1. Problem is I’m having a difficult time removing the Nikon lens from the adapter itself. It won’t rotate and even if I depress the release button. Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

    Dean

    Comment by Dean — March 26, 2013 @ 12:17 am

  21. Sorry to hear that, Dean. I have purchased multiple adapters from them and they were all good. Were you able to remove the lens after fiddling with it? A drop of silicon grease or spray did the trick for me on some other adapters. I would email them, if you got it from rainbowimaging (link here) they will replace it, I just bought an adapter ring w uv filter from them, they made a packing mistake and send out the right filter right away – no charge.

    Comment by mike.kobal — March 26, 2013 @ 9:14 am

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