Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR: Bordering Perfection
Nilofer Khan reviews the Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR, the company’s latest multipurpose, compact lens for their APS-C lineup.
Over the last few years, Fujifilm has grown its XF series lineup exponentially, with focal lengths ranging from 14mm to 200mm. In September, they announced three new additions in this series, the Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR, the XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR, and the XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR. For this review, I tested the 33mm f/1.4.
Created for a crop sensor, the lens is equivalent to 50mm in the 35mm format. Constructed using 15 lens elements in 10 groups, including two aspherical elements and three ED elements, the 33mm features a nine-bladed rounded diaphragm. It uses the Inner Focus system, driven by a linear motor. It has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm and a maximum magnification of 0.15x (equivalent to 0.2x in the 35mm format). It is dust and weather-resistant, and can operate at temperatures as low as -10°C. It comes with a lens hood.
Weighing 360g and measuring 73.5mm in length, the lens is quite easy to handle in a variety of situations. I used it with the X-T3, and it fits perfectly well with the camera. It is compact enough to fit in your bag.
The design of the lens is fairly simple too. It features a focus ring at the front and a clicking aperture ring at the back. The latter comes with an A (auto) Position Lock. Both the rings operate very smoothly. Due to its internal focusing mechanism, the front of the lens does not rotate while focusing. It has a fly-by-wire focusing mechanism. It lacks the distance scale.
The centre of the lens is sharp at f/1.4, but the edges appear a bit soft. You will only notice this when you look at the image at 100%. The sharpness across the frame gets better at f/4. As you move to f/5.6 and f/8, the image is completely sharp from centre to the edge. f/5.6 is also the sweet spot of the lens. Images are usable at f/11 and f/16, but with diffraction.
The AF of the lens is silent and responsive, even in crowded areas. I shot a wedding using this lens, and I barely missed any moment. Even when I was taking pictures, late in the evening, in dimly lit areas, the lens was able to perform really well. The colour reproduction is true to life, both outdoors and indoors. It also produces a good dynamic range, and I was able to retrieve details from highlights and shadows.
The 33mm produces a smooth, creamy, shallow depth of field and bokeh at f/1.4. In some cases, the bokeh appears slightly sagittal at the corners, but it is not too noticeable. If you want to avoid it completely, stop down to f/2 or f/2.8.
I tested the lens for focus breathing, and it performed quite well. It also controls barrel distortion, ghosting, flaring or chromatic aberrations really well.
Priced at Rs. 79,999, the lens does not have too many competitors, except the Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 (Rs. 49,950) and Tokina atx-m 33mm f/1.4 X (Rs. 39,990). In comparison to both, the Fujinon 33mm features more elements (15 elements in 10 groups as opposed to 8 elements in 5 groups in Zeiss and 10 elements in 9 groups in Tokina).
Additionally, there is so much to like about the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4. It has good optical performance, for both stills and videos. You get excellent centre sharpness at wide-open apertures, creamy bokeh, quick AF, weathersealing, and is compact. It is a multipurpose lens that can be used for weddings, portraits, food, travel, and so on. This is a must-have lens for photographers and videographers alike.
This article originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of Better Photography.
f/1.4, A Position Lock, clicable aperture ring
Center sharpness at f/1.4, no focus breathing
Weathersealing, sturdy construction
Compact size, broad focus ring
|Warranty & Support
|VALUE FOR MONEY||4/5|
|Who should buy it?||It is suitable for most genres of photography, as well as for videography.|
|Why?||The lens produces excellent bokeh and has great optical performance at wide-open apertures.|