My Thoughts On The Upcoming Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 Lens

This is not the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 Lens

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.

13 comments

  1. Ricardo Richon Guzman · August 27

    I was waiting for this 33mm 1.4 as I want the 50mm Fullframe look. So this comes in a very special time of my needs LOL.

    I expect a good lens, hopefully just as magical than the 35mmf1.4 or at least with some character. Somehow using old analog lenses bring a new world to take pictures, as the lens adds to the overall picture. So a clinical perfect lens is not what I expect!!!

    counting my pesos to get the new one!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 28

      I have heard that the image quality will be very good on this one, with a “special quality” that translates to the pictures. I’m pretty excited for it myself.

      Like

    • Khürt Williams · August 29

      When the lens produces and image sharper than the human eye sees in real life what does that mean?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ritchie Roesch · August 29

        You’d be hard pressed to find a lens nowadays that isn’t sufficiently sharp. Many resolve up to or higher than what sensors can record. I think sharpness is one way, but not the only or even best way, to quantify image quality. In fact, a “soft” lens might be preferable in some circumstances. A lot of lenses are precision engineered, but lack character, unfortunately.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Stevan Djukic · August 27

    33mm is too narrow for a lot of situations “on the road”. Sometimes I have problems with 18mm, not everyday, but they pop up. Why Fuji doesnt implement OIS in prime lenses? 1.4 plus OIS would be great for low light situations

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 28

      I learned photography in the days before OIS, and so I don’t get too concerned with what does and doesn’t have it, although it is certainly a nice feature of modern cameras and lenses when it is available. I definitely see it as worthwhile on telephoto lenses, especially longer ones. The less telephoto, the less the need is for it. A 33mm lens falls into an in-between zone where it is borderline if it is really all that beneficial. The 90mm could benefit from it, for sure. The 80mm has OIS. I think OIS on anything that is wide angle is unnecessary. But everyone’s needs are a little different, so certainly opinions vary. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

    • Khürt Williams · August 29

      The human FOV is ~ 41mm (FF). Are you a bird?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Chris G · August 28

    I’m personally really excited about the 33. I own the 35 f/2 currently but not the 1.4. While I’ve seen beautiful images come out of the 35 f/1.4, there’s no denying it’s an old lens and I grew so frustrated with the AF performance of the 18mm f/2 (which is from the same generation) that I sold it. If I didn’t love the 56mm SO much, it might have gone the same way. I’ve felt like the attempts at f/1 lenses are Fuji seeming to say “we’re sorry we’re not full frame” instead of really embracing an advantage of APS-C, which is DEEPER depth of field at a given aperture and light value. When I see most professional portraits, in FF terms they’re often shot at 2.8 in order to have the entire face and maybe even ears in focus. There’s been a recent obsession with super shallow depth of field, which is a valid artistic choice, but more often than not I find when looking at (or taking) pictures where the DOF is measured in millimeters that I wish more were in focus. That depth certainly doesn’t make sense for landscape, travel, wedding, street, or any number of other genres. Sure, it’s fun to say that “this lens opens up to 0.85!”, but the number of situations where that’s actually an appropriate aperture is pretty narrow. Some say they want the extra light gathering, but f/1 is only half a stop brighter than f/1.2 and only one stop brighter than f/1.4. There are many other ways to squeeze an extra stop of light in most situations. IMO, Fuji should stop at f/1.4 and leave the TTArtisans and Mitakons of the world to make those super specialty lenses at f/0.95, etc. They should focus on offering the best build quality, compact size, and superior, sharp optics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 28

      I don’t disagree with any of this. I find f/2 to be more than sufficiently in most situations. Even f/2.8 is fine much of the time. To me, f/1.4 is often overkill… f/1 is definitely overkill for most people and most situations. But for some, they need it to fulfill their artistic vision, so it’s good that they have the option. For me, I most often prefer smaller and lighter over larger aperture, but different strokes for different folks, right? I appreciate the thoughtful comment!

      Like

    • Khürt Williams · August 29

      Agreed!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Khürt Williams · August 29

    I think 33mm f/1.2 is interesting and would be my choice over a 35mm lens for an APS-C sensor. But if it’s not financially viable, I think Fujifilm must focus resources on products with better ROI. I never shoots at f/1.x on a lens. It’s too shallow to be practical.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 29

      Yeah, that makes so much sense. I think the 33mm f/1.4 will sell well, even if a little on the pricy side, if the image quality is there (and supposedly it is), but a 33mm f/1 would not, because it would be so expensive and large, most people wouldn’t buy, and the practicalness of f/1 just isn’t there for a lot of people, myself included.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Thoughts on the Upcoming Fujifilm X-T30 II | FUJI X WEEKLY

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