You’re going to hear a lot of superlatives on this page, and for good reason. To cut to the chase, the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 is optically exceptional.
The lens is very sharp over the vast majority of the frame right from f/2.8, and stopping down to f/5.6-f/8 yields absolutely tack sharp images from extreme corner to extreme corner. It is extremely rare to find an ultra-wide-angle lens that performs this well across the frame. For critical detail, it’s very hard to beat. While I have not had the pleasure of using the legendary Carl Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon on Full Frame, of the many high-end wide-angle lenses I’ve ever used across multiple formats and systems, the Fujinon 14mm f/2.8 is the sharpest. Check the full size image on the left, which was taken at f/8. (Click to enlarge, then press the green arrow at the bottom of the image to expand to full size). Note the exceptional level of detail in the lower left corner, and the complete lack of smearing. Truly a great result here.
While bokeh is of limited concern with a lens this wide, it is possible to throw the background out of focus at closer focusing distances and wide apertures. Luckily, the 14mm f/2.8 performs pretty well here as well, with nicely neutral specular highlights and a general smoothness to the bokeh. You may not use shallow depth of field often with this lens, but it is possible.
Color, Chromatic Aberration and Flare
The XF 14mm f/2.8 has a very nice, even color rendition that is neither too punchy nor too muted. It allows for real processing to taste. The contrast curve is also that nice middle ground between overly contrasty and flat. There is depth to the images, but not a loss in gradation due to excess contrast. The 14mm f/2.8 controls chromatic aberration very well, essentially zero visible CA to the images…again, a remarkable result for such a wide lens.
Flare is also relatively well controlled. It is possible to get the lens to flare, but it only seems to cause any sort of issues if the point light source is in a very specific part of the frame. There is one spot near the center of the frame that will yield some complex flare, and with light at the very edge of the frame, some flare occurs, but overall, there’s nothing really to speak of in this department…it’s quite well-managed.
Normally, I discuss distortion in the ‘catch all’ group above, but with the Fuji 14mm, I thought it deserved a special mention. One thing that is generally universal with ultra-wide lenses is the presence of some barrel distortion. In good lenses, it’s relatively well controlled and may only be visible in images with lots of straight lines, and then, it can be corrected well. In lenses with bad distortion, it can be quite distracting.
The Fuji 14mm f/2.8 has virtually ZERO distortion. None. I’ve seen some reviews that show that by empirical measurement, there’s 0.4% barrel distortion, but with a value that incredibly low, it looks absolutely perfect in the final images. These are not corrected in camera either…these are true, native optically corrected results, and this kind of performance is simply remarkable in a lens this wide.
19 thoughts on “Review: Fujifilm Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R”
Would love to try this lens at some point. It’s got some real potential. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Mat
Amazing review! I really love the street photography images people are getting with this lense also, very nice focal length. Have you tried some people shots with the 14.
I’m a very happy a Fuji shooter and the 14 is a winner. However, I would like to point out the build quality is nothing like lenses produced in the 60’s. Its good, loose aperture rings and all. But 60’s good, not a chance. I still have 4 old Nikkors and Minoltas sitting around and to suggest any of my 4 Fuji lenses are built as well is dreaming. Well built means silky smooth operation after 40 years and a few lube jobs. It means focus and aperture rings that don’t wiggle and have firm but usable movement. It means lens mounts that have no free play and go on with a smooth tight twist, not a scratchy loose movement.
Giving people the impression that these lenses are mechanical marvels is unfair and misleading. Nor is it necessary as optically they are excellent. Perhaps they are competitive but to an extent not worth pointing out. My newer Nikons (now history) were as well built or better with a more refined operation. Plastic and all.
What you forgot to say was that auto focus on those 60’s lenses was either non existent or slow and that you ‘d be nailing 2 out of 10 wedding images at best…
Great review! I just ordered my X-T1 body only, but I cannot decice what will be my first fixed lens.
I really like landscapes but I think the 14mm would be a bit limiting for me as long as can buy only one at the moment. Should I go for the 23mm instead?
What a great review! You, sir, have a very keen eye for light and composition! Amazing photographs, especially the “Mirrored Columns” one. Will have to get this lens now 🙂
Hi Jordan, thanks a lot for your wonderful reviews.
May I ask an advice from you? I need choose 1 lens from 14/2.8 and 16/1.4.
I think 16/1.4 is more useful during street shots, but 14 is wider during landscape shots. But I don’t know how big difference between 14 and 16.
For me, Street shots and landscape has equal frequency. Guess you know these two lens very well, hope hear to your idea?
Thank you. from Leo
I’m in the same boat, I would put another one in the equation for its price: Samyang 12 f2. Although I’m leaning to 16f1.4+12f2 but don’t if there is some redundancy in these focals.
HI Carlos. Just FYI, while I don’t yet own the Fuji XF14 reviewed here, I do have experience with the Rokinon/Samyang 8mm Fish-Eye II. I can tell you that, though the Rokinon is a decent performer, in terms of sheer sharpness, I believe that the Fujinons have them beat.
A stellar lens. All my other lenses will be gone before this one.
What is it with Astro photography? How is the coma?