Fujifilm sheds light on two next-generation fast prime lenses

These new optics promise improved image quality, speed and durability...

With two new lenses – the XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR and XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR – alongside the new X-T30 II, it’s officially a bumper month for Fujifilm X Series fans. And could these two new optics be further up Fuji Street? Yes, this pair of standard and wide-angle, fast aperture primes will have street, documentary and portrait photographers sitting up to taking notice, especially with Fujifilm stating both are designed “to support future camera sensors of even greater resolution.” 

The XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR effectively replaces the XF23mmF1.4 R, which has been around since about 2013. That was a great lens and very popular with lots of photographers working in different styles. The new model promises a complete overhaul of optical performance with exceptional image sharpness even wide open at maximum f/1.4 aperture setting. AF is also uprated for both stills and video.

Equivalent to 35mm in the full-frame format, it uses 15 elements in 10 groups, including two aspherical and three ED elements, to remove aberrations and deliver edge-to-edge sharpness, while a nine-bladed aperture design should ensure pleasingly rounded bokeh. Its AF uses a linear motor (LM), increasing speed and accuracy, and it has an inner focusing system, too, meaning no extension of the front element.

For video, it’s designed to reduce focus breathing to only 0.011%, so composition won’t change as you pull focus. The XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR also promises a minimum focusing distance of 19cm, resulting in a maximum magnification of 0.2x, and making it a versatile lens for close ups. 

As befits an X Series lens, it’s small and light, at only 375g and measures 77.8mm long. The filter size is 58mm, and the barrel is weather-sealed at 11 locations against dust and moisture, with operation promises down to -10ºC. It also comes with a milled aluminium lens hood.  

Next up, the XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR gives an equivalent view of 50mm, and though it’s a brand-new model, it can be seen as an update of the XF35mmF1.4 R which debuted in 2012. This time out you can expect improved resolving power, greater focusing speed and weather sealing for shooting in all sorts of conditions. 

The lens consists of 15 elements in 10 groups, including two aspherical elements and three ED elements. This combination promises great sharpness with negligible aberrations, and its f/1.4 maximum aperture will of course be highly useful when working in low-light or seeking greater subject separation. Its nine-bladed aperture also claims to produce smooth bokeh and pleasingly rounded points of light. 

As a standard lens, it’ll be useful for a huge range of subjects, and the lens’s versatility is underscored by a close focusing distance of 30cm, producing a maximum magnification of 0.15x. Its AF is powered by a linear motor and speed is claimed to be as fast as 0.04sec, when mounted on the X-T4. Like the XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR, there’s almost indiscernible focus breathing, making it a genuine option for high-quality video. Weighing 360g and measuring 73.5mm long with a filter size of 58mm, its weather sealed, too and comes with a milled-aluminum lens hood.

The XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR will be priced £699 and available from late September, while the  XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR will be priced £819 and available from November. 

Along with the new lenses, Fujifilm has updated its lens roadmap, including two models currently under development. There’s an XF18-120mm zoom (equivalent to 27-183mm), which is billed as catering to videographers, along with an XF150-600mm (equivalent to 229-914mm), which would become the X Series’ longest focal length, to date, ideal for sports and wildlife. With the XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR and XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR, as well as the two lenses under development, there are now 40 lenses in the X Series system. 

© Yukio Uchida via Fujifilm. XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR
© Yukio Uchida via Fujifilm. XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR
© Patrick La Roque via Fujifilm. XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR
© Magic Liwanag via Fujifilm. XF23mmF1.4 R LM WR
© Aaronsky via Fujifilm. XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR
© Bert Stephan via Fujifilm. XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR
© Charlene Winfred via Fujifilm. XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR