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Apr 06

Fuji 10-24mm vs Fuji 14mm f/2.8 and Fuji 23mm f/1.4

With the release of Fuji’s latest zoom lens, the ultra-wide angle 10-24mm f/4 R OIS, many Fuji shooters are having a difficult time deciding between this lens or a two lens combo with Fuji’s outstanding 14mm f/2.8 and 23mm f/1.4.  Since I own the two primes, and I have the 10-24mm in for review this week, I thought I’d do a quick test to evaluate how this new zoom compares to the established Fuji primes.

Fuji 14mm f/2.8, Fuji 10-24mm f/4, Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji 14mm f/2.8, Fuji 10-24mm f/4, Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The Lenses

Fuji’s new 10-24mm f/4 R OIS is an ultra-wide-angle zoom that features a very useful focal range from ultra-wide angle to moderate wide angle.  The lens produces a field of view equivalent to a 15-36mm zoom on a full frame camera.  The 10-24mm isn’t a small lens by mirrorless standards.  In fact, it’s relatively close to a DSLR ultra-wide zoom.  However, I was pleased to discover that the lens is actually a little more compact in use than it looks in pictures.  It is also a relatively lightweight lens.  So, while it will take up a fair bit of space in the bag, it’s not going to break your back.  Also, if using this lens instead of two or three primes that cover the full range, you’re saving some space.

The 14mm f/2.8 (reviewed here), was released last year and is an ultra-wide prime with a field of view equivalent to that of a 21mm lens on a full frame camera.  As I noted in my review (and in the many shots I’ve taken with the lens since), this is one of the finest wide-angle primes around, offering corner to corner sharpness and essentially zero distortion.

The 23mm f/1.4 (reviewed here), is a recent release from Fuji, and offers a very fast f/1.4 maximum aperture and exceptional optical quality.  Needless to say, I don’t expect the new zoom to match these two primes, but let’s give it a go anyway.

Inherent advantages

Before we compare head to head, it is worth noting (though it may be obvious), that the primes have certain advantages over the zoom and vice versa, by the nature of their designs these are:

  • The 10-24mm obviously has the convenience of multiple focal lengths in a single lens.  It also can go significantly wider than the 14mm.
  • The 10-24mm has optical image stabilization, which could come in very handy for interior shooting.
  • Both primes are notably smaller than the 10-24mm.
  • Both primes are faster than the 10-24mm.  The 14mm is a stop faster in maximum aperture, while the 23mm is a whopping three stops faster, so obviously, the zoom can’t replace the primes when speed is needed.

Fuji 10-24mm f/4 vs Fuji 14mm f/2.8

First up, let’s compare the new 10-24mm to the outstanding 14mm f/2.8.  I set my tripod up on the scene below, focusing towards the middle of the frame on the picnic tables in the center.  The camera was tripod mounted and the lenses were changed without removing the camera.  OIS was set to off to avoid any interference from the stabilizer on a tripod.  Since ultra-wide shooting typically involves some near and far subject matter and deep depth of field, this test was set to test that usage for landscape and architectural shooting.

Full Scene, 10-24mm vs 14mm test

Full Scene, 10-24mm vs 14mm test

Below are the 100% crops from the center and edge at f/4 and f/8, along with the lower right corner at f/8 (depth of field was insufficient at f/4 to really get this closer corner sharp based on the focus point).  Click on the image to enlarge, then click the green arrow at the bottom of the screen to view at full size.

100% crops, 14mm test - Click to Enlarge

100% crops, 14mm test – Click to Enlarge

The 10-24mm puts in a relatively decent performance here, but as you can see from the crops above, the 14mm has an edge both in the center and at the edges of the frame, at all apertures.  While the differences are slight in the center, they are a little more pronounced in the corner, where the 10-24mm can’t quite keep up with the excellent 14mm.  Still, the 10-24mm puts up a good showing here and looks quite capable of delivering good results at this focal length.

Now let’s take a look at the 10-24mm vs. the 23mm f/1.4:

Continue: 10-24mm vs 23mm f/1.4

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

10 comments

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  1. Gnondpomme

    Once again a nice review that will help a lot of us to decide between those incredible lenses… I would just have liked that you had the 18mm f2 to finish the competition… Maybe next time!

  2. Charles Eklund

    Thanks, Jordan. This a good start to another real world test and I am looking forward to the rest of it. It would also be interesting to see how the 10-24 compares to the 18-55 at common focal lengths. I think the lens it a very useful addition to the system.

    1. Karl

      Isn’t that relatively obvious? Weakest part of the range for the10-24 to the strongest part of the range for 18-55.

  3. Arnold

    Did you try a second copy? My first 10-24 was horrible in the corners, even @ f/8. I returned it and received a new one. The second one is tack sharp and from f/5.6 there’s no noticeable difference between the 10-24 and my 14mm.

    It’s too bad that Fuji’s QC is so so, i’ve seen bad copies from other lenses as well.
    Take a look at this comparison, it’s the opposite from your findings. At 14mm the 10-24 is sharper at the very corners.
    http://www.martin-doppelbauer.de/foto/fujixe1/1024mm-1/index.html

    Only at 24mm the 10-24 corners are not that great compared to the 23mm prime.

  4. Cedano

    Jordan if you have to choose 10-24 or 14mm + 23mm witch one do you choose for street photography?

    Regards

    1. Jordan Steele

      For street photography, I prefer primes, so I’d take the 23/1.4 all day. But that’s me. I don’t do a TON of street photography, but I do shoot a bunch around the city. I think the 10-24 has a good use in a lot of bags when you need versatility. For landscape or architectural shooting, having this very wide range of wide angle focal lengths available is wonderful. One could easily shoot a wide variety of subjects with just the 10-24, the 35/1.4 and the 55-200. That said, the primes are better lenses and have other advantages, notably speed in the case of the 23mm. For me, I’m glad I have the 14 and the 23mm. That said, I could see myself adding the 10-24mm to my bag eventually for times I’d be shooting things that require more depth of field, or for times I want more width.

  5. Mike V

    I just picked up the x-t1 and in the process of getting rid of my Nikon DSLR gear. I have the 56mm f1.2 and X100 right now and thinking of what makes sense. Right now the options are to get the 10-24 and the 35mm. the other option is the 14 and 23. I’d get a nice small normal lens in the 35 f1.4 and a good zoom. I’m not one for alot of landscape but will be traveling to south africa for a safari at the end of the year.

    In general I like primes, but I’m wondering if the 10-24 is good enough to replace the 23 (35mm) and wide angle range with the IS, or if I should just get the primes and eat the additional cost

  6. Hochzeitsfotograf Essen

    Nice review!
    As a former Canon user I can say (and compare) that the 10-24mm impresses me and is in my opinion a better lens than my already sold 16-35mm II.
    The image stabilisation of the Fuji rocks!

  7. Jason from Sydney

    Thank you for the detailed review, your write up has helped me make my decision to go with the 14mm as my next lens purchase. I’m an extremely happy XF 23 mm and XF 56 mm user currently.

    The picture quality with the Fuji lenses are so impressive ( Coming from a FF Canon user with a bag full of L series lenses). Keep up the good work!

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