Fujirumors has reported that on September 2, Fujifilm will announce the upcoming Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens, which will be weather-sealed, have a quick-and-quiet autofocus system, and cost around $800. It’s rumored to be optically exceptional, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, because, after all, it’s a Fujinon prime.
You might remember that Fujifilm was working on a 33mm f/1 lens, which they abandoned because they figured out it would be large, heavy, and expensive, and it probably wouldn’t sell enough copies to make the production of it worthwhile. Instead they made a 50mm f/1, which was released last year, but soon they will be announcing a 33mm f/1.4 lens. I could be completely wrong about this, and I have no inside information, but I believe that Fujifilm still wanted to release a fast 50mm-full-frame-equivalent prime lens, and so they didn’t completely abandon the project, they adjusted it. Yes, there’s the 35mm f/1.4, but it is older, with a slower autofocus system, not weather-sealed, 52.5mm-equivalent, and a little cheaper (and I believe a little smaller and lighter, too). The 33mm f/1.4 won’t replace it, but would simply be another option, with a 49.5mm focal length. They are certainly similar—but not identical—lenses. The 35mm f/1.4 is a long-loved lens in the Fujinon lineup, and I believe that the 33mm f/1.4 will also be highly loved.
Should Fujifilm have continued to pursue the 33mm f/1? Should they have made the 33mm f/1.2 to further differentiate it from the 35mm f/1.4? There will certainly be many opinions expressed on this. With every design choice there are pluses and minuses, give and take. Fujifilm tries to fulfill customer’s desires, but also produce a successful and profitable product. The 200mm f/2 is a good case study. Fujifilm photographers voiced their desire for that lens, so Fujifilm made it, but it is very expensive, so it hasn’t sold particularly well. Those who really wanted it bought it, no doubt, but overall sales have been sluggish. Would a 33mm f/1 be in the same boat? How much larger and more expensive would a 33mm f/1.2 be? I have no idea the answers to these questions, I’m just asking them. What I do believe is that the 33mm f/1.4 will strike a good give-and-take balance, and be a successful product for Fujifilm.