Fujifilm has announced the FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R, a premium fast wideangle lens for its X system mirrorless cameras. It offers the same moderate wideangle view as the fixed-lens X100S, but with an extra stop of brightness. The overall design approach is similar to the company's recent XF14mm F2.8 R, with distance and depth of field scales for manual focusing, and fully optical (rather than digital) correction of distortion. The 23mm F1.4 will be available in October 2013 with an SRP of $899.95 / £849.99. 

Some X system users might wonder why it's taken so long for Fujifilm to launch a 35mm equivalent lens - after all, it's a classic focal length to complement the rangefinder-esque X-Pro1. Cynics might suggest that it's been purely to protect sales of the X100 / X100S, which use a 23mm F2 lens, at least until the X system became more established on the market.

The explanation we've been given by Fujifilm's own representatives is slightly more prosaic. They felt that early buyers of the X-Pro1 would likely own an X100 already, so making a 23mm prime for the X system immediately would count as unnecessary duplication. Instead they decided to concentrate on producing a set of lenses with focal lengths around the X100's, to make a more flexible overall system. Once that was done, it was time to build the 23mm F1.4.

The new lens obviously doesn't just replicate that on the X100. It's a full stop faster, and therefore rather more complex, with an 11 element / 8 group design compared to the X100's 8 elements / 6 groups. This means it's also a whole lot larger - 63mm (2.5") in length, compared to 54mm (2.2") for the thickness of the X100 lens and body combined. So there could still be a place for both the XF23mm F1.4 and X100S in a photographer's bag; the former for its speed, the latter for its portability and silent operation.

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Press Release:

FUJIFILM LAUNCHES ULTRA FAST FUJINON XF23MM F1.4 R WIDE-ANGLE LENS 

New lens features outstanding speed for stunning photography, even in low light

Valhalla, N.Y., September 5, 2013 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced the new FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R, a premium wide-angle lens designed to work seamlessly with the award-wining line of X-Series compact system cameras.

The FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R has a focal length equivalent of a 35mm lens, and is ideal for a wide range of applications including portraits and landscapes, as well as everyday photography. The fast maximum aperture of F/1.4 allows users to shoot hand-held in low light conditions and achieve sharp images, while also delivering beautiful bokeh for artistic images.

“Fujifilm is committed to expanding the X-Series line of high quality FUJINON lenses, and today’s announcement brings the total number of available lenses to nine,” said Manny Almeida, senior vice president and general manager, FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “The new XF23mm gives photographers everything that they want in one lens: speed, performance and versatility, and we know this new lens will exceed our users’ expectations.”

Ideal Lens for Everyday Photography 

The new FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R provides enhanced resolving power with crisp contrast to draw maximum performance out of the highly descriptive X-Trans CMOS sensor. The fast F/1.4 aperture allows the user to reduce blurring in low light conditions and achieve stunning shallow depth to field photography.

The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R features a camera-to-subject distance indicator and a depth-of-field scale on the barrel. Both are useful when manually pre-focusing to capture a fast moving subject, or minimize the shutter lag to capture a fleeting moment.

Lens distortion has been reduced to an absolute minimum using only optical rather than digital correction, thereby delivering the highest possible picture quality. The rounded seven-blade diaphragm ensures smooth bokeh even when shooting portraits or product shots at a medium aperture to maintain reasonable depth-of-field.

High Speed Autofocus

The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R uses an internal focusing system which incorporates a lens group consisting of three cemented lens elements and one aspheric lens element in order to keep weight down. Additionally, the built-in high-torque DC coreless motor delivers ultra-fast AF performance for the most demanding shooting opportunities. 

All lens elements are treated with Fujifilm’s multilayer HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) which delivers enhanced durability and ensures an even spread of light across the sensor.

Compact Size and Premium Design

The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R weighs 10.6oz and measures just 2.48” in length making it the most compact and lightweight lens in its class. Metal parts are used for the focus and aperture rings, which are designed to give just the right amount of torque and feel.

FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R key features

  • 35mm equivalent F1.4 lens
  • Fully compatible with FUJIFILM X-Mount
  • 1 lens group consisting of 3 cemented lens elements and 1 aspheric lens element
  • Built-in high-torque DC coreless motor
  • Seven round-edged aperture blades, which offer 22 stops in 1/3 EV steps
  • Lens elements treated with Fujifilm’s multilayer HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating)

The FUJINON XF23mm F1.4 R will be available in October 2013 for $899.95.

The current Fujifilm lens family includes the following FUJINON XF and XC lenses: 

  • XF 14mm F2.8
  • XF 18mm F2.0
  • XF 27mm F2.8
  • XF 35mm F1.4
  • XF 60mm F2.4
  • XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 OIS
  • XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS
  • XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS

Fujifilm FUJINON XF 23mm F1.4 R specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lens
Max Format sizeAPS-C / DX
Focal length23 mm
Image stabilisationNo
Lens mountFujifilm X
Aperture
Maximum apertureF1.4
Minimum apertureF16.0
Aperture ringYes
Number of diaphragm blades7
Aperture notesRounded blades
Optics
Elements11
Groups8
Special elements / coatings1 aspherical element, High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating
Focus
Minimum focus0.28 m (11.02)
Maximum magnification0.1×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeMicromotor
Full time manualNo
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleYes
DoF scaleYes
Physical
Weight300 g (0.66 lb)
Diameter72 mm (2.83)
Length63 mm (2.48)
Filter thread62 mm