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Have Your Say: Best Lens of 2013

By dpreview staff on Dec 18, 2013 at 21:52 GMT
Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R
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Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R

The Fujinon XF23mm F1.4 R is a fast prime for Fujifilm's X system of mirrorless cameras. It offers a moderate wideangle field of view equivalent to a 35mm lens on full frame (the same as the company's fixed-lens X100S). It has traditional aperture and manual focus rings, and the latter has distance and depth of field scales too. Like the company's XF14mm F2.8R, the 23mm is fully optically-corrected for distortion.

Image quality from the 23mm is superb. It's impressively sharp wide open across most of the frame, and the corners sharpen up quickly when stopping down. Lateral chromatic aberration is essentially non-existent, and the lens is near-perfectly optically corrected for distortion. There's a little vignetting wide open, which is automatically corrected by the camera's JPEG processing. The only slight flaw is longitudinal chromatic aberration at large apertures (which can give green or magenta fringing in out-of-focus areas of the frame), but even this isn't generally very objectionable in normal use. Overall the lens produces near-flawless images from F4 through to F16. 


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Comments

Total comments: 89
philflashes
By philflashes (4 months ago)

These are all great lenses, no question about that! All these lens companies can produce fantastic lenses, but the Sigma 18-35 is simply a gamechanger! Of course the Zeis Otus is top shelf, but so is its price. Same thing for the Canon: at that price level you just expect nothing but the best. And now for a third party manufacturer like Sigma to make a lens with those properties at that price, is sensational imho. Why can't CaNikon do that?
Have a great newyear's eve, y'all!!

P.S.: To DPR staff: keep up the excellent work, guys!

1 upvote
Nathan Chao
By Nathan Chao (4 months ago)

Years ago when Olympus first came out with 4/3 dslr, I posted that it will die since it had no compelling reason to exist with no size advantage to APS-C and smaller sensor. I was kicked off the dpreview forum for the post.
Now with the Olympus 9-18mm being way smaller than APS-C lens of similar focal length and f stop, I am an adoptee.
The Olympus 9-18mm on a small mirrorless micro4/3 is totally unobtrusive compared to any other camera lens combination for superwide and that even includes the Panny LX5 with the LWA52 adapter which has a front element that is 72mm wide compared with the 52mm filter size of the oly superwide. This oly superwide is singular in its diminuative size and weight.

3 upvotes
Mal_In_Oz
By Mal_In_Oz (3 months ago)

Yep the 9-18 is a little wonder. It is a most useful lens at a wedding, able to take everyone in when standing around in a crowd, or sitting down at the reception.

I also think the new Lumix 12-32 fits in the same category of tiny and useful, with excellent build and image quality as good as the 9-18, able to go moderately wide when needed and literally half the size of the mZuiko 9-18.

0 upvotes
Peng Bian
By Peng Bian (4 months ago)

I own the 12-40mm from Olympus, but I voted for the Otus. It's close to the leader in the polls because of how many people own it. 258 people vs the Sigma which has just over 100 owners.

Both the Otus and Sigma 18-35 are landmark lenses because of their contribution to the lens ingenuity.

The Otus for its raw resolving power, and the Sigma for closing the equivalency gap between aps-c and full frame.

The Olympus already has a very similar offering, and even with the better macro capability, the snap focus ring, and edge sharpness wide open, it's just not that much better than the Panasonic 12-35mm to be considered on the same level as the Otus and the Sigma.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (4 months ago)

It all depends on which system one is using. If one is not using that system even if it is technically the best it is irrelevant.

0 upvotes
jeffharris
By jeffharris (4 months ago)

For Micro Four Thirds…
Voigtländer Nokton 42.5mm f0.95

1 upvote
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (4 months ago)

There is not much of a contest here because "best" looks subjective. To me, the "best" technological breakthrough seems to be the Canon 200-400, and I am not talking just optics here. This lens is the most "advanced" from any angle, and probably a pain to manufacture. Cheers! :)

1 upvote
wed7
By wed7 (4 months ago)

I could have voted the Pentax 20-40 for being unique in FL, WR and asking price...

0 upvotes
ragmanjin
By ragmanjin (4 months ago)

As well as for signalling in a new era of Pentax Limited lenses. It's the first Limited zoom, the first with WR, and the first with a built-in focus motor rather than using the camera's screw-drive motor. Sure that's made it the size of an average kit lens as opposed to the rest of the minuscule HD Limited range, but this could the the first lens in Ricoh's quest to align Pentax's Limited range with Canon's L range.
More symbolic than anything, but I thought it was a neat thought.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

is it any good?

0 upvotes
ragmanjin
By ragmanjin (4 months ago)

Seems to be from what I've seen posted in the Pentax SLR forum. Haven't had a chance to use it myself yet.

0 upvotes
beholder3
By beholder3 (4 months ago)

I think the list is too short a selection by the website owners. Most users here are quite intelligent beings and would have had no issues with choosing from 2x-3x more items.
Since lenses come in such vastly different types and prices such a short list will be unduely influenced by the preselection.

3 upvotes
Duckie
By Duckie (4 months ago)

How can one vote across different mounts and categories? Do the high volume low cost lenses win just by sheer numbers?

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

By definition, any winner of a poll is going to win 'just by sheer numbers'.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
8 upvotes
LarH
By LarH (4 months ago)

I would have voted for the Nikon 800mm f/5.6 but it didn't make the list.

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 months ago)

In the final analysis, the OTUS is the best lens, if image quality is your primary motivator. However, Samyang should have been on that list and I suspect the reason they aren't has something to do with advertising.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

The reason Samyang aren't on that list is nothing to do with advertising. Out of interest, though, which specific lens did you have in mind?

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
1 upvote
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (4 months ago)

How about the 16mm f/2 ?

1 upvote
brownie314
By brownie314 (4 months ago)

Yeah, 16mm f/2 is a cool lens.

0 upvotes
Empies
By Empies (4 months ago)

I think that the comparison does not take place properly. Comparatively speaking, it is better to do on the classification objectives. So: telephoto his ilk, Macro close-up and so on ... In general, can not imagine how you can compare two different things? This is equivalent to that of the tank to make a comparison and a motorcycle! In principle, everything goes, everything is moving, but the purpose is different.

2 upvotes
Riezer
By Riezer (4 months ago)

Zeiss Otus obviously. A few of the others are very good, but this one is stunning, amazing, superb.

2 upvotes
adhall
By adhall (4 months ago)

and expensive...

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 months ago)

Expensive? So what? You can spend $2000 on a camera body that is replaced in 2 years. A good lens lasts for a long time.

0 upvotes
new boyz
By new boyz (4 months ago)

Well, at least we don't have to pay a cent for voting it, hahaha. So I voted for it, because it's simply the best(IQ).

1 upvote
brownie314
By brownie314 (4 months ago)

To me the "best" lens is the one that has the angle of view that gets you the image you want. There is no shortage of "normal" primes out there. I can't vote for yet another 50 or 55 or 58 f/1.4 lens. Most systems are in desperate need of UWA fast primes (especially Nikon). I know these lenses are not very popular with beginners because UWA is very hard to compose (beginners usually fall in love with super long lenses or 85mm fast lenses with that huge pool of glass on the front). But when you need it, no other lens will do. And unfortunately, no one is answering the call for these UWA lenses.

0 upvotes
Thomas Kachadurian
By Thomas Kachadurian (4 months ago)

For me there was nothing new I wanted.

0 upvotes
Xentinus
By Xentinus (4 months ago)

I would like to know what gear you have :)
I am not kidding really.Most of us (included me) want more and I appreciated your comment.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year...

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (4 months ago)

Samsung as a brand name has leapfrogged into consumer awareness territory like no other camera company.

Just like Sony.

And Fuji.

And Nokia... (omen or prophecy?)

.

1 upvote
PenGun
By PenGun (4 months ago)

LOL. It is useful, for me anyway, to understand how very little modern photographers know about ... well photography.

Have fun now. ;)

1 upvote
attomole
By attomole (4 months ago)

Hats off to Sigma and Fuji for bothering to make APSC lenses other than slow standard zooms

4 upvotes
TheDman
By TheDman (4 months ago)

Had to go with the Otus for what it may mean: sharper wide angles on the horizon!

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (4 months ago)

Panasonic 12-32.

0 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (4 months ago)

I'm picking based on which one I'd choose if given the option- and I'd choose the Nikon 58/1.4 over all the others.

I'm suprised it scored so low Tbh- for me, there's no question as to which of those lenses is the most desirable.

0 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (4 months ago)

No, there is no question which is most desirable to you. You've now told us.

10 upvotes
Al Valentino
By Al Valentino (4 months ago)

The Fuji 14mm is worthy of note. Not simply because it is sharp as a tack but also because as a wide angle lens it is nearly optically perfect distortion wise, not software corrected.

5 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

Yet another lens that was announced in 2012, and therefore not one we felt we could include in 'Best Lens of 2013'.

0 upvotes
Al Valentino
By Al Valentino (4 months ago)

Announced in 2012 but not shipped until the middle end of 1st quarter 2013.

Using this logic the recently announced fuji 10-24, expected in mid-march will be exempt from consideration this time next year!

5 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

it's easier to track announcement date,
and DPReview's motto is "do the easiest way."

0 upvotes
duckling
By duckling (4 months ago)

I had to vote for the Otus. Besides being an exemplary, non-compromising design it also makes the price of high resolution very evident. I wouldn't say resolution does not have its benefits - for a small minority of artists and commercial pros it clearly does. However, the cost in bulk (and finance) for each extra ounce of detail is becoming unpleasant to say the the least.
Here's to Nikon for making the Df - a true photographer's camera in more than one way.

1 upvote
samhain
By samhain (4 months ago)

I'd say it's rediculous size, no auto-focus, sub par bokeh & rendering is definitely a compromise just to get the sharpness it offers. And really, ultimate sharpness is all it offers over other 50/1.4 lenses.

0 upvotes
bernardus
By bernardus (4 months ago)

This poll is not complete . I miss amongst other the new canon ef 24-70mm f2,8Lii announced in 201 but avialable in 2013i
i

0 upvotes
Thorgrem
By Thorgrem (4 months ago)

The Canon ef 24-70mm was announced in 2012. This poll is for lenses announced in 2013.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

Canon's official date is September 2012 for Japanese market and December 2012 overseas.

0 upvotes
S a m i
By S a m i (4 months ago)

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | A would have won this poll fair and square.

3 upvotes
S a m i
By S a m i (4 months ago)

even though it's so last year...

2 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

Agreed, it would probably have won last year it we'd held a poll for lenses.

1 upvote
Theelderkeynes
By Theelderkeynes (4 months ago)

You missed the bargain of the decade - the Sigma 60mm F2.8 A very sharp very well built but nice and light portrait/short telehoto and all for £129 or say $200. It cannot bre beaten, anywhere.

8 upvotes
crsantin
By crsantin (4 months ago)

Agreed, it is a special lens. Just dynamite on my Nex 6.

0 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (4 months ago)

Seeing such good rate for the Oly 14-40 is a little disturbing for me, and this is why :
This lens is maybe excellent, but Oly didn't try to control distortion anymore, they just remove it within the camera with a lens profile and post processiong, and frankly, this is odd.
Other brands didn't correct distortion with a lens profile and post-porcess, but with a better otical formula...

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

All mirrorless systems use the modern approach of integrating software distortion correction with the overall optical design. It's not just Olympus by any means.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (4 months ago)

I agree, but i don't like that "post-processing philosophy".

8 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

What, are you going to use it with a film? It uses advantages of digital technology to push the envelope in other areas - it is a good thing.

2 upvotes
Leandros S
By Leandros S (4 months ago)

It smudges detail. There are some on these forums who think that software can perform magic. Breaking news: It can't.

4 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (4 months ago)

But with a digital camera software is always involved. Just think of all the advanced, mathematical guesswork that is involved in demosaicing the raw data into an image that actually has a semblance of reality.

2 upvotes
Leandros S
By Leandros S (4 months ago)

What makes you think I approve of demosaicing? Foveon is the future.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (4 months ago)

Yes, stacked sensors may be the future, but it seems to be a great technical challenge to make them perform acceptably in low light. The signal-to-noise ratio of the lower layers will always be slightly lower than that of the upper layer. On the other hand, you don't need any CFA or low-pass filter in front of the sensor, weakening the signal.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

"It smudges detail. "

It reduces sharpness in peripheral areas - 5% distortion by 5% maximum. Big deal! ;) But by allowing distortion, you can have higher sharpness to begin with, and end up with higher sharpness in the end. Not to mention that you can concentrate on longitudinal CA, coma and other aberrations which are not easy and practically problem-free to correct digitally (unlike distortion and lateral CA).

0 upvotes
DigitalWalnut
By DigitalWalnut (4 months ago)

No Sigma 120-300mm Sport?

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

The Sigma 120-300mm Sport was announced in 2012. This poll is for lenses announced in 2013.

0 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (4 months ago)

That's an absurd qualification. The release date is far more important than the date of the announcement because people can't truly judge something until it's available. The fact that Canon versions of 3rd party lenses are released well in advance of other mounts also makes it imperative that no voting take place until ALL lens mount versions have been on the market for at least a few months. That may mean that a particular product will not appear as a contestant until next year but so be it.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
allkar
By allkar (4 months ago)

The announcement/release dates are not important for me. One first class lens can stay at top for longer time, not only one year. This mix of different lenses types for different systems is not realy succesfful idea.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DigitalWalnut
By DigitalWalnut (3 months ago)

Why would anything hinge on the announcement date? Any evaluation before the release date is a philosophical exercise at best.

0 upvotes
Sean65
By Sean65 (4 months ago)

No sigma 35mm?

These votes are nonsense. You can't reveal the results unless you vote which mean you have to vote for products you're not even familiar with in order to see the outcome which is kind of skewing the result.

Why don't they just say what did you buy this year?

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (4 months ago)

The Sigma 35mm was announced in 2012. This poll is for lenses announced in 2013.

0 upvotes
XeroJay
By XeroJay (4 months ago)

Sigma 35. No question, especially when price and the fact that it actually has af (sorry but af is necessary for many fields of photography, which is a zeiss deal breaker for many).

0 upvotes
Birch_Tree
By Birch_Tree (4 months ago)

The Sigma 18-35mm and the Canon 200-400mm f/4L were both quite innovative and deserving of winning this vote.

While I would likely get a Olympus 12-40 F/2.8 because it falls a gap in the m4/3 lineup, I do not really think its anything special or unique. So I do not consider it deserves its current ranking.

2 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (4 months ago)

Do telescopes count as lenses?

5 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (4 months ago)

Celestron 14 v Nikon 800mm? Celestron wins every time if you want to get up close and personal with Jupiter, Saturn and any number of wonderful astronomical wonders. And it's cheaper too.

0 upvotes
taojones
By taojones (4 months ago)

Sigma 35 f1.4 has to be with the top group...

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (4 months ago)

Clearly the canon 200-400 f/4 is most innovative and best quality zoom ever, despite it's insane price. Price should not be a consideration in the best lens category, so it's low score is ridiculous, even though I wouldn't buy one unless I won powerball. The built-in TC is a master stroke and provided serios technical challenges. After this the Otus for sheer IQ alone should be high on the list. How the Nikon 58 f/1.4 makes the list when we already have a vastly superior lens to choose.

3 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

I'd argue that a 200-400/4 is nothing new and while the built-in TC is quite ingenious and practical, it's not that big of a deal. Matched TCs are nothing new and this one is just inside.
Same for normal lenses, hard to be impressed by anything when the Coastal Optic 60/4 APO exists.
Sigma 18-35/1.8 on the other hand - i don't know if a f/1.8 APS zoom has even been attempted, but it's definitely the first of its sort on the market.

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

It is not the best FOR YOU if one of its most important qualities - the price - is so bad. It is not that hard to design a good lens if price is not a limit, but try to design good AND cheap.

1 upvote
quezra
By quezra (4 months ago)

Where are the Zeiss FE primes? Their MTFs appear to be second only to the Otus but at consumer prices. That said I voted Sigma 18-35

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (4 months ago)

How about voting for more than one? Most of these lenses are really good. I would vote for the Pentax limited zoom. The Olympus 12-40 m4/3, and the fuji xf 23 only because I know what to expect better from ten than the other but the others look good too.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (4 months ago)

At present, our polling system (which was really designed for polls with far fewer options) only supports a single action - i.e., voting for one thing. But we're working on more sophisticated voting tools across the site.

0 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (4 months ago)

Ha. Create multiple accounts, vote all you like!

0 upvotes
Leandros S
By Leandros S (4 months ago)

Ryan, I think you may have been registered too long to know this, but nowadays you cannot register if you can't pay to have your own server or are in employment that provides you with a work email. I would never register now as my work email is strictly for work only. Nobody that's got nothing to do with my work should even know what my work email is. AFAIK, YMail, GMail etc. have been blocked for some time now. Amazon doesn't like unemployed people, so "there".

0 upvotes
PatMann
By PatMann (4 months ago)

Congratulations to Zeiss for giving me a reason to get the D800e.

The Fujifilm 23mm was important as the one lens that if it were the only one available for it would sell me on a Fuji X-E2, but you have to give Zeiss credit for a no-compromises effort on the Otus 55. I can't wait to see what they do with their Otus wide.

0 upvotes
Hugo600si
By Hugo600si (4 months ago)

Voting doesn't seem to work for me (all other polls work fine)

The Zeiss without a doubt, bit like the Ferarri as a kid, too expensive to own, but one can dream. Missing the Zeiss 55/1.8 for FFE Sony mount though, affordable (sort of) and awfully close to the Otus.

0 upvotes
Hugo600si
By Hugo600si (4 months ago)

Voting worked after posting, never mind!

0 upvotes
mike kobal
By mike kobal (4 months ago)

technically, the Otus, practically, Sigma ART, without a doubt :)

10 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (4 months ago)

Did Panasonic do a year without new lenses?

0 upvotes
Lukino
By Lukino (4 months ago)

Pana released the incredibly tiny but sharp 12-32 optically stabilized lens that is sold as a kit with the GM1. I don't know if is actually sold separately, I'd love to have it in my (small) bag.

14 upvotes
binauralbeats
By binauralbeats (4 months ago)

GM1 kit lens gets my vote. This is what I was hoping m43 would be from the start.

1 upvote
Laszlo13
By Laszlo13 (4 months ago)

Panny 14-140mm 3.5-5.6, probably not on the list because it's a remake, although it's a totally different lens altogether. That's the lens I bought, instead of the more superior but also more limited 2.8 lenses. The sharpness is pretty amazing, as well as the size and weight.

4 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (4 months ago)

the Panasonic 45-150mm lens should be there. it's excellent value for money.

2 upvotes
aliasfox
By aliasfox (4 months ago)

They came out with the 12-32 as part of the GM1 kit, but unless everyone's hunting for a wide-normal pancake zoom, I kind of doubt it would get too many votes here.

0 upvotes
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (4 months ago)

I guess the temptation with these things is to pick a lens you have used and so know the quality of. I voted for the Olympus 12-40 on those grounds - it's sharp, well-built and probably the new standard for everyday zooms for the format.

But without bias I would have to say the Sigma 18-35 takes the prize. Innovative, useful and a very sensible price for a product which is transformative in its implications for the APSc shooter. I wish there were a m4/3 equivalent say 12-25 f1.8 - I'd be getting out my credit card now...

0 upvotes
IanPorter
By IanPorter (3 months ago)

If 'the best' is measured in absolute terms, then I would nominate the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. as the best lens on the planet. It may not be the most appropriate lens for some circumstances but, in terms of sheer optical and mechanical quality, I do not believe it has any real rivals.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 89