Fuji vs. Fuji’s FUJINON XF 14mm F/2.8 R Review
Originally Published: April, 2014
Last Update: December, 2016
The FUJINON XF 14mm F2.8 R is a 21mm equivalent and the first ultra-wide angle lens available from Fuji. It barely ekes out the “ultra” denotation, and has been superseded by the XF10-24mm F4 in overall width, but it remains the widest X-mount Fujifilm prime available. It is significantly wider than the tiny XF18mm F2, and is made for a very different use; the XF14mm F2.8 is more of a landscape or architecture lens with it’s minimal distortion, f/2.8 aperture, edge to edge sharpness, and engraved depth of field markings.
The XF14mm F2.8 one held a place in my Ultimate Prime Kit along with the XF23mm F1.4 and XF56mm F1.2 at the time. In the years since writing this review, all three lenses have been supplanted.
|Lens Construction||10 elements in 7 groups
(2 aspherical, 3 extra low dispersion elements)
|Focal Length (35mm format equivalent)||14mm (21mm)|
|Aperture Range||f/2.8 – f/22 in ⅓ stop increments|
|Aperture Type||7 blades (rounded diaphragm opening)|
|Focus Range||Approximately 18cm - ∞ (infinity)|
|External Dimensions||65mm diameter × 58.4mm long|
273g with caps and hood
|Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)||None|
|Push/Pull Clutch Manual Focus Ring||Yes|
|Nano GI Coating||No|
While the actual construction materials of Fujifilm’s lenses has largely remained the same, the moving parts steadily improved until the XF35mm F2 WR, which Fuji has stated in the new standard by which all other aperture and focus rings will be measured.
That said, the XF14mm F2.8 has some serious sample variation in regard to the aperture ring. After rejecting one copy, I got my current one, which is pretty good, but by comparison to recent lenses, it is still very loose. If you are buying in-store, check the rings before you leave, and if you buy online, buy from a company with a liberal return policy.
The focus ring knurls on the XF14mm F2.8 are so grippy and sharp, they feel like they might cut you.
Size and Weight
The XF14mm F2.8 is small to medium-sized relative to other Fuji lenses, but it’s a good size for a wide angle f/2.8. Out of the box it was quite a bit lighter than I expected.
Pull the manual focus ring in towards you and you’re focusing manually. I love this, but unfortunately there are just three lenses in Fuji’s lineup that offer it, with the XF16mm F1.4 WR and XF23mm F1.4 being the others.
Engraved Depth of Field Markings
Another feature restricted to just the XF14mm F2.8, XF16mm F1.4 WR and XF23mm F1.4. The more I use lenses with a proper depth of field scale, the more I miss them on lenses that don’t have them.
The hood that ships with the XF14mm F2.8 is marked “14/18-55.” This leaves me wondering just how much the hood has been optimized for the XF14mm F2.8 since the XF18-55mm F2.8-4 has been around quite a bit longer.
The XF14mm F2.8 is a prime candidate for an add-on metal hood. I’m surprised we haven’t seen one yet.
The XF14mm F2.8 leaves little to be desired in the sharpness department. It’s fantastically sharp, edge to edge, especially once stopped down to f/5.6 to f/11. Diffraction starts to set in by f/16 and is heavy by f/22. Fujifilm’s Lens Modulation Optimizer helps here for you JPEG shooters.
Remarkably minimal. Horizons and architecture lines are kept mostly straight, and distortion isn’t complex. I haven’t had any issues shooting RAW.
Bokeh can actually be achieved with this lens, but as seen in my Wide Angle Primes article, if you want an out of focus background with a wide angle lens, you should really look at the either the XF16mm F1.4 WR or XF18mm F2.
There is some minor vignetting at F/2.8. It’s mostly gone by F/4. Vignetting on this lens is remarkably light even when I’ve had two neutral density filters stacked on it, and the lens stopped down.
In my experience, you have to really work at getting flare in your images with this lens, even without the hood.
Chromatic aberration is minimal. A photo of a shadowed cliff in front of a bight blue sky could produce a small amount, but these are fairly extreme circumstances.
Conclusion and Rating
Before the XF10-24mm F4 was available, the XF14mm F2.8 was the best way to go wider than 18mm. If size and weight are important to you, it might still be. The newer XF16mm F1.4 WR has stolen the crown in many respects, but just barely, and 2mm in added width can make a significant different to your composition.
It’s one of the faster focusing lenses in Fujifilm’s lineup, it’s sharp, and it handles great. Excelling in both auto and manual focus makes it perfect for landscapes, and zone-focused street shooting for those who like to go wide. No matter what kind of shooter you are, if wide is your game, this is a lens to look at.
Fuji vs. Fuji strongly recommended.
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