Review of the Fujifilm 23mm F2 – One Lens to Rule Them All

Even though I carried a bag with three lenses, my three weeks trip around Portugal was dominated using one lens. Glued to my Fujifilm X-T20: the Fujifilm 23mm F2.0 WR.

The Fujifilm’s 23mm F2.0 WR, FF equivalent focal length of 35mm, is simply awesome and covers all – landscape to portraiture. Of course, shooting portraits with 35mm FF equivalent lens with a widest aperture of F2.0 is not easy, and you will not get a creamy smooth bokeh, but it is great to take portraits with the surrounding environment! In my eyes, the Fujifilm X-T20 paired with the small, lightweight and compact Fujifilm 23mm F2.0 WR is the perfect combination to take wherever you go.

Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/11 . 3.7″ . ISO 200 – Coimbra
Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/8 . 1/1600″ . ISO 200 – Coimbra

Handling and Build Quality
Once I have held the Fujifilm 23mm F1.4, but I was never satisfied by the lens. The focal length is the same but the size and weight were just too much to handle. At least for me and especially as it was meant to be my »go-to« lens.

Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/8 . 1/60″ . ISO 500 – Lisbon
Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/8 . 1/320″ . ISO 200 – Lisbon

So, the Fujifilm 23mm F2.0 WR and its light 200 grams suit me just right. It is very compact and the overall quality of the lens is very convincing. Nothing feels loose or easy to break. I am sure the lens can take the one or another knock without immediately falling apart.

The general shape of the lens is something one needs to get used to but in my eyes, it is not as worse as some people claim! The lens is just not pretty 😛 However, the weather resistance is a neat feature but only then useful if paired with a weather-resistant body. Nothing my Fujifilm X-T20 can claim for itself.

Technical Specifications

Field of View

63.4°

Dimensions

ø 60mm x 51,9mm

Filter Thread

ø 43mm

Focal Length

f=23mm (KB: 35mm)

Depth of Field

Normal

22cm – ∞

0.7 m – 3.0 m

Max. Aperture

F2.0

Max. Magnification

0,13x

Min. Aperture

F16

Type

XF23mmF2 R WR

Weight

180 g

Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/8 . 1/105″ . ISO 200 – Porto
Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/8 . 1/100″ . ISO 250 – Porto

Image Quality
The image quality is particularly good across the entire aperture range. Even at the widest aperture, corners are still useable. Stopped down a little bit, the entire frame is razor-sharp. The bokeh is very pleasing, also is only an open aperture of F2.0 on a crop body, the bokeh is very unobtrusive and smooth. The close-up limit of just 10cm is great, and the Fujifilm 23mm F2.0 WR can almost be used for macro work 😉

Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/8 . 1/340″ . ISO 200 – Faro
Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/2.0 . 1/26000″ . ISO 200 – Faro

In the past, I did not like how Fujifilm lenses rendered “stars” at night around light sources. Lucky me, the Fujifilm 23mm. F2.0 handles them well as it can be seen down below – lots of pretty stars!

Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/10 . 10″ . ISO 200 – Aljezur
Fuji X-T20 . Fuji XF23mmF2 @23mm . f/2.0 . 1/16000″ . ISO 200 – Nazare

Conclusion
It is honestly pretty difficult to not like the Fujifilm 23mm F2.0 WR. Currently, it is definitely my favourite lens and is most of the time glued to my Fujifilm X-T20 body. It is small, lightweight and very robust and can be used for so many different things that it is a must-have lens.

Grown up in Hamburg – studied in the Netherlands, South Korea and Germany – crossed New Zealand by Van, crossed Russia by Train and crossed South America from North to South by Bus – back in the days a Soccer addict, nowadays Ultimate Frisbee/Disc Golf – somehow ended up studying Business Studies and Data Science, always wanted to become a photographer. My photography adventure started with a toyish Aiptek with awesome 1.2mpx which was quickly swapped for a small and with 3mpx very well equipped Canon IXUS 30. From there on the Cameras first heavier and heavier: Fujifilm 6500fd, Nikon D70, Nikon D200, Nikon D7000, Nikon D600, Canon 6D And then lighter and smaller: Fujifilm X100, Fujifilm X-T1, Sony A7, Olympus OMD E-M1, Fuji X-T20 And now my camera of choice is on the heavier side again: Fuji X-H1 with a Fujifilm 14mm F2.8, a Fujifilm 23mm F1.4, Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 and the mighty Fuji 16-55mm F2.8

5 Comments

  1. The 23mm f/2 was my first fujifilm lens, coupled with an X-T2… bought as an experiment to see if I could go lighter than my full frame Nikon DSLRs. That experiment was a success and now I grab one of my fuji cameras ( also got an Xpro2) over my Nikons most everytime.

    The funny thing is that I constantly think of “upgrading” to the 23mm f/1.4 now that I am all-in with fujifilm, but when I look at the quality of the images made with the f/2 lens and compare the size and weight, I’ll be sticking with the smaller lens.

    I’m sure that some pixel peepers can quantify how the faster lens is better on paper, but the smaller lens performs great in the real world.

  2. I have mixed feelings about the 23/f2. The form factor and build quality are excellent and considering the price it’s good value. However, the softness when close focussing (esp. in the corners) annoys me and makes me grab my 23/f 1.4 more often. It’s a pity since the f2 looks and handles great on my X-Pro2. What I would love to see is a MkII version of the f2 much like the X100V. Or Zeiss delivering a Touit lens at around 23-27mm. Something like the 40mm/f2 Batis lens for Sony FE, but then in APS-C version incl. the Close Focus. That lens is stellar and would be glued to my X.

  3. I also find the 23mm/f2 lens to be a great all-around lens, even if it isn’t great for close-ups, let alone for macro applications. I bought mine as a colour- matched set for my graphite-coloured X-Pro2 a couple of years ago and the combo looks fantastic, beside being a rugged, ideal all-weather kit.

  4. Similar to others that made the comments…I made the move to Fuji with the same lens. 23mm f2 and the XT20 coming from a 6D matched with a Sigma 35 Art.

    Quite shortly after I made the full switch. I’ve contemplated many times the discussion between the 23mm f2 vs f1.4. I bought the 23mm f2, missed the “full frame feeling” and bought the f1.4. Traded the f2 for the 35mmf2 (and forever regret it). Sold the 35mmf2. Now own the 18mm f2 and 35mm 1.4 and have been thinking about getting the 23mm again but seems a bit tight between my set up.

    I will probably at some point in time buy the 23mm f2 for the right price so I have a WR lens to go with my Pro 3

  5. Hello- I found your article interesting. Has there been a change in your view of the Fuji 23 1.4 lens, over time? Perhaps, since the article was written?

    The reason I ask is that, in the third paragraph, under “Handling and Build Quality,” it states, “Once I have held the Fujifilm 23mm F1.4, but I was never satisfied by the lens. The focal length is the same but the size and weight were just too much to handle.“

    Whereas, in the section at the end, it states, “And now my camera of choice is on the heavier side again: Fuji X-H1 with a Fujifilm 14mm F2.8, a Fujifilm 23mm F1.4,…”

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