Small primes

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
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Cartwheels MD
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Small primes
6 months ago

I am going to start off by posing a question: given the 14mm, 23mm, and 56mm, is it entirely necessary that our lenses are perfectly sharp across the frame when the aperture is wide if it means the lens has to be big and heavy?

I have been shooting with the 18mm and 35mm, and while they are a bit soft wide open, I find myself not really caring because the images are sharp enough.  When I throw my 23mm on the camera, I find myself thinking, "Okay the IQ is a bit better wide open, but the size and weight make this less enjoyable."

Taken with Fujifilm X-E1 with 35mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

Take the above image.  Is the dog soft?  No.  On top of that the 35mm is so light that it practically disappears from my consciousness.  It doesn't even enter my mind that it's on my camera.  My 23mm? I can't really get it out of my head how big it is.

Okay, so maybe what my question is isn't about why the 14mm and 56mm are so big.  It doesn't matter that they're big since neither of them are walk-about lenses.  However, I cannot fathom why the 23mm is so large for a marginal optical improvement over the 35mm especially when the 23mm is the walk-about focal length.  We know this because it's the focal length Fuji chose for the X100/X100s.

If anyone from Fuji is reading this, please take note: the size and weight for the 23mm does not make sense for its use case.  The angle of view make this lens a good lens for a standard wide angle, with which a shallow depth of field and absolute sharpness are not necessary.  For my money, here's what I want:

-Update the 35mm and 18mm with an internally focusing motor.  If they need to be a bit bigger, that's fine.

-When you refresh the 23mm, go smaller.  It doesn't have to be a pancake, but just make it more conducive to its use case.  Or release a small 24mm lens or whatever.

As it stands, I am seriously considering selling my 23mm and getting the 27mm pancake.  The only thing preventing me from doing this is the lack of aperture ring, but that is becoming less and less of a consideration.

Does anyone else share these views?

 Cartwheels MD's gear list:Cartwheels MD's gear list
Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R Apple Aperture
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Fujifilm X-E1
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