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Photographic Tests

We're not able to bring you our usual suite of studio test data for the XF14mm F2.8R, as DxO Analyser doesn't work with the RAW output from Fujifilm's X-Trans sensor. Instead we're going to analyse the lens's key characteristics by looking at how it behaves in real-world shooting.

Sharpness

The XF 14mm F2.8 R is, overall, an extremely sharp lens. Even at F2.8 the centre of the frame is impressively sharp, although the corners are noticeably soft. But they improve dramatically on stopping down to F4.0, and at F5.6 the image is critically sharp right across the frame. This state of affairs persists through F8 and F11, with diffraction visibly taking the edge off the sharpness at F16. At F22 the image becomes distinctly blurred when examining it at the pixel level, so this setting is generally best avoided. This is illustrated in the rollover below, with 100% crops taken from the red-outlined areas at the centre, edge and corner of the frame; click on the image for the full-size version.

F2.8
F4
F5.6
F8
F11
F16
F22

Minimum Focus / Close-Range Image Quality

Macro - 180 x 120 mm coverage
Measured magnification: 0.13x
Distortion: Very slight barrel

Minimum focus distance*: 17.7cm
Working distance**: 9.9cm
Focal length: 14mm (21mm equiv)
* Minimum focus is defined as the distance from the camera's sensor to the subject
** Working distance is measured from the front of the lens to the subject

The 14mm offers a very creditable close-focus distance of about 18cm, translating to a working distance of about 10cm from the front of the lens to the subject. Because it's a wideangle this doesn't mean spectacular magnification, of course, but there's potential for interesting images nonetheless.

Close-up image quality isn't bad at all, with the lens's characteristics closely matching how it performs at longer range. Central sharpness is very good indeed wide open, but in our flat-field chart test the corners are visibly soft (click here for an F2.8 test shot). But they sharpen up quickly on stopping down, and at F8 are critically sharp. Diffraction starts to soften the image at F16, although it's still eminently usable; at F22 it becomes visibly soft at the pixel level, and lower in overall contrast.

Chromatic Aberration

In normal use, chromatic aberration is practically nonexistent - none of the real-world images we've shot have shown significant colour fringing around high contrast edges. Two points are at play here - the lens is exceptionally well-corrected for lateral CA in the first place, and Fujifilm's in-camera JPEG processing cleans up any residual fringing. This results in impressively clean and detailed images even in the extreme corners.

This example compares an out-of-camera JPEG with the corresponding RAW converted without any lens corrections applied. There's a tiny hint of green/magenta fringing in the extreme corners, but it's really nothing to worry about.

X-Pro1, F8, camera JPEG RAW + Capture One 7.1.1
100% crop, lower left corner 100% crop

Distortion

With the XF14mm Fujifilm claims to have minimised distortion using optical correction alone, so it doesn't require the digital correction of barrel distortion that's used by the XF 18mm F2 R, and indeed many other lenses for mirrorless systems such as Micro Four Thirds. This is illustrated below, comparing a normally-taken shot to one taken with the lens partially-dismounted from the camera. (This disables any communication between the lens and the camera, meaning corrections can't be applied.) Distortion is remarkably low, and the only visible difference between the shots is actually due to automatic vignetting correction of the JPEG.

Distortion 'Corrected' Distortion 'Uncorrected'
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Comments

Total comments: 5
edwaring

Just a correction... you said:

"One point worth knowing, though, is that there's no way of combining auto and manual focus"

If you shoot in manual mode with the AF-L button set to lock it it becomes a one touch AF button. One touch and the camera will focus and lock on whatever is in the focus point. The lens remains in manual focus though so you can correct, zoom in to check focus using the wheel etc without changing any settings. This is my preferred way of shooting with the Fuji cameras for all lenses.

0 upvotes
andywhoa

What camera did you do this review with? When I attach my XF14mm to my X-T1, the focus distance display disappears from the camera's display. However, in your review, it is still present.

3 upvotes
BarnET

It may be good if DPreview would include the camera used in AF conclusion.
And also with the firmware version. The XE-1 used to be very sluggish in AF. But with the firmware made big improvements

0 upvotes
Indulis Bernsteins

If there is one thing that anmnoys me with Fujifilm lenses it is the sloppy aperture clicks, which make it too easy to bump out of your setting. It would be an easy thing to fix, but each new lens has the same problem.

3 upvotes
Stephen Scharf

Andy,
Nice review. Though, I have to take exception with the slowish AF performance comment. I find that my XF14 is actually quite snappy with respect to AF performance, probably the fastest of all my XF lenses. For example, I've shot professional drag racing and Indy Car pit lane action with it on continuous focus at 6 FPS with excellent results.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 5