The Fujinon XF23 F2 WR Review

So...my last post was about how the X100T could be the only camera that you ever need. Well the XPro2 fitted with FujiFilm's newest masterpiece (spoiler alert) could change all of that.

As the classic focal length for reportage and street photography, this lens fills a much needed gap in the Fuji line-up. I mean, yes the 23 F1.4 exists and is unbelievable from an IQ perspective (and I love the focus clutch), but the size of it prevents me from choosing it over the X100T most of the time. 

I used to have a conundrum when I would go out to either take the 16 F1.4 or the 35 F2 (or both, but then I need to take a bag). This lens help solve that as it covers such a wide spectrum of needs from landscape to environmental portraiture. Paired with the XPro2, this baby is still small and discrete enough for street work, but allows me to have all the benefits FujiFilm gifted us with the XPro2 (cough...acros...cough).

The build of this lens is as you would expect. Metal and glass, and some more metal. If you have spent any time shooting with the new 35 F2, then you will be right at home this little guy fitted to your Fuji set-up. It is a tad longer, but it actually makes it feel nicer in the hand when using the manual focus ring (which is smooth as molasses...but less sticky). The aperture is, how do I say it...pleasantly clicky...and still not sticky.

The provided lens hood does the job, but looks a bit weird. But, it turns out the 35 F2 metal lens food fits! All you have to do is make sure the FujiFilm text is showing rather than the 35 marking (it doesn't make any difference imaging wise...it only satisfies my slight OCD).

Now let's get to my other favorite parts (I have a lot of favorite parts). The auto-focus on this things is quick...like DSLR quick. Compared to the X100T it is leaps and bounds better. It honestly could mean making the difference between getting the shot in the street photography world. The 35 F2 is fast, and I dare say this might be faster. But from a real world perspective, both are great and it is hard to tell.

The images that come from this lens are superb. This thing is tack sharp from center to edge. Distortion is corrected via software, rather than optically (like the 23 F1.4) but FujiFilm's engineers have done a stellar job with the in camera corrections. IQ wise, I still think the older 23 F1.4 wins, but for the size, the weight advantage and being nearly 45% cheaper, this lens takes the cake.

The one con is that wide open at short distances, we get a little bit of mushiness in our images. I was really hoping this lens wouldn't have that issue, since we have been dealing with that issue on the X100 series since they came out. But, you win some, you lose some, and this lens is definitely winning.

Last, but certainly not least, is the weather sealing. I mean, I live in Los Angeles, CA, so rainy days are far and few between. But since this thing has been stuck on my camera for the past month, if I were to travel any where (Seattle, Portland, the underwater city of Atlantis) and only bring one lens, the WR moniker on this thing makes it the easy choice.

Now that I have told you my biased impressions of the lens, let's conclude. If you own the X100T and a interchangeable lens Fuji, should you buy this? Yes.

But what if you own the 23 F1.4 version? Should you buy this lens then? Well that one is trickier. If faster auto-focus, stealthiness and weather sealing are what is important to you...then yes. If not, then keep what you have. The 1.4 version is one of the best lenses ever and is beloved by many. But, personally, the F2 is the one going in my bag.