The XF 23mm f1.4 LM WR outperforms its predecessors to become the best overall mild-wide-angle lens Fujifilm has produced for the X-system to date. It delivers pin-sharp details across the frame, wide-open and at both near and far distances. The close focusing provides opportunities for some attractive shallow depth-of-field effects, while the rendering of background blur avoids most undesirable artefacts. Meanwhile the physical feature-set is decent with weather-sealing, fast and quiet focusing, minimal breathing and a lockable aperture ring, although on the downside it is also Fujifilm’s largest, heaviest and most expensive 23 to date.
Since the price was so similar to the original 23 1.4 in some regions when I made this review, I’d go for the newer one, leaving the big question between it and the compact f2 version. In my tests the little f2 lens performed fairly well, but was much softer in the far corners, and thanks to the aperture and focal length couldn’t help but suffer from busier bokeh. It certainly didn’t match the degree of quality I measured from the XF 35 f2 in my other review, but again my copy could be at fault. As such I’d only recommend the XF 23 f2 if you valued its smaller size, lower price, and didn’t mind some softness in the corners.
Ultimately the XF 23 1.4 LM WR is an excellent all-round performer if you want the best quality 35mm-equivalent lens for the X-mount system to date. It may be larger, heavier and more expensive than its earlier siblings, but it’s worth spending the extra if you demand the highest quality.Check prices on the Fujifilm XF 23mm f1.4 R LM WR at B&H, Adorama, WEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book, an official Cameralabs T-shirt or mug, or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!