Lens Review: Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR

Fujinon 33mm f/1.4

Earlier this year Fujifilm sent me an X-Pro3 camera and Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens to try for a few weeks. The camera and lens are long gone—of the two, the one I miss the most is the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens. Yes, the X-Pro3 is great and was a lot of fun to shoot with, but that lens is something special!

What I remember about the development of the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens is that the original intention was for it to have an f/1 maximum aperture, but early in the design stages Fujifilm realized that in order to do so the lens would have to be both very large and very expensive, so they scaled it back to f1.4 instead. The 33mm focal length might seem odd until you take into account the APS-C crop factor—it’s full-frame equivalent to 49.5mm, which means it’s a “nifty fifty” lens.

Fujifilm already has a number of lenses that are close-ish to the 50mm (equivalent) focal-length: the 35mm f/2 (actually, there are two) and 35mm f/1.4 are just a little more telephoto, while the 27mm f/2.8 is a little more wide-angle (and is the closest “as the eyes see” lens in the Fujinon lineup). The 33mm f/1.4 seems a bit unnecessary when judged simply on this, but I do think it was a solid addition when Fujifilm released it last September.

The question on everyone’s mind is whether the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens is any good or not. Of course it is—”Fujinon” is printed on it, and that’s an assurance of quality. The lens is super sharp edge-to-edge, even wide open, but especially when stopped down just a little. This lens out-resolves the 26mp sensors found on the current lineup, and I believe is capable of resolving future higher-resolution offerings that are in the pipeline. Fujifilm built this lens with the future in mind, yet in the meantime it allows you to maximize current cameras’ quality potential. Bokeh is beautiful. Aberrations and flare are fairly well controlled. There is almost no distortion. There is a very small amount of vignetting in the corners when wide open, but it is extremely minimal—you’re not likely to notice unless you are looking closely for it. Sunstars are excellent. While I believe that the flaws in lenses are what gives them character, this lens has proven that position wrong, because this is a near-flawless lens that is oozing with wonderful character. Bravo, Fujifilm!

While some might have wished for that f/1 aperture originally intended for this lens, I found f/1.4 to be more than enough. In daylight conditions, it’s actually difficult to use that large of an aperture, but indoors or at night it can come in handy. It’s possible to get a very narrow depth-of-field, especially if you are focused near the minimum distance (about 12″). I find it interesting that the GFX 63mm f/2.8 is basically the same thing for GFX as the 33mm f/1.4 lens is for X-series, with the same equivalent focal-length and same depth-of-field at maximum aperture. Aside from the resolution difference, you’re basically getting “medium format quality” from this lens—I’m not exactly sure what that means, but know that the lens is superb.

Another thing that you probably want to know is that this lens is weather-sealed, so if you attach it to a weather-sealed camera body, you’re good to go out into the elements. While I didn’t find myself in very many situations where this came in handy, it could be important to you, depending on the type of photography that you do, and where you live. Autofocus is super snappy and nearly silent. Build quality is excellent.

The Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 is a little less than 3″ long and weighs about 0.8 pounds. It’s noticeably bigger and heftier than some Fujinon primes, including the 35mm offerings and especially the 27mm f/2.8. I found it balanced really well on the X-Pro3, X-T4 and X-H1, and it balanced moderately well on the X-T30 and X-T1, but it didn’t seem to balance well with the X-E4. If I did own this lens, I would still use it on my X-E4, but I’d likely use the 27mm f/2.8 much more often on that camera. Basically, this lens pairs particularly well with larger X-series cameras.

The Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens retails for $799, which is definitely on the higher end. Is it worth quadruple the price of the cheap XC 35mm f/2? Is it worth double the price of the XF 35mm f/2 or 27mm f/2.8? Is it worth 33% more than the 35mm f/1.4? I can’t answer that for you, but if it is a lens you will use often—an essential tool in your kit—then probably yes. If not, perhaps consider one of the other options. If you do buy it, I have no doubts that it will instantly become one of your favorite lenses, and you’ll keep it for many years to come.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 Amazon B&H

Example photographs captured using the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens:

Indoor Blooms – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/8 – “Fujicolor Superia 800
Sunlit Succulent – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/9 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”
Agave Blue – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/8 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”
Mutual Conversation – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/5.6 – “Agfa Ultra 100
Red – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/5.6 – “Agfa Ultra 100”
Boy With Nerf Gun – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/1.4 – “Vintage Color v2
Forgotten Post – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/1.8 – “Nostalgic Negative
February Reaching – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/5.6 – “Vintage Color v2”
Wild Gold – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/10 – “Vintage Color v2”
Desert Snow – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/6.4 – “Old Ektachrome
End Post – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/1.4 – “Standard Provia

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Fujifilm Sent Me An X-Pro3 & 33mm f/1.4!

Fujifilm sent me an X-Pro3 camera and 33mm f/1.4 lens to borrow for a few weeks. I get to use them, but I don’t get to keep them. In fact, if you’ve ever read a review of this camera or lens, there’s a good chance that this exact copy is what was reviewed. I don’t have any obligation to write a review, but of course I will, after I’ve had a chance to put the camera and lens to the test.

My initial impressions of the X-Pro3?

I currently own an X-Pro1, and I’ve extensively used an X-Pro2; the X-Pro3 is a very similar camera. The headline difference is the backwards-mounted rear screen, which I think people will love, hate, or both love-and-hate simultaneously. It’s way too early to know for sure, but I think I’m going to be in that love-hate category. Maybe once I use it more I will feel differently about it. I wonder, though, why the rear screen doesn’t swing to the side instead of down? I find it less than ideal when I need to use it, but I do like that the camera is designed to encourage you to not use the screen, because, when you don’t need it, the experience is better when it is hidden. I love the little “box top” screen that’s in its place. Inside, the X-Pro3 is a lot like other X-Trans IV cameras, such as the X100V. The ability to save in 16-bit TIFFs could be reason enough to buy this camera, although I haven’t examined this closely yet. So far, the X-Pro3 seems to be a workhorse body that one could happily use for many years. Be on the lookout for a full-review in a few weeks.

My initial impressions of the Fujinon 33mm f1.4?

Amazing lens! Do I need to say more? It’s definitely bigger and heavier than my Fujinon 35mm f/2, but also perhaps optically superior and with great character, which says a lot, because the 35mm f/2 is a great lens. The Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 is for the X system what the Fujinon 63mm f/2.8 is for the GFX system, but maybe better. There will be a full-review of this lens in the future, but I can tell you right away that you won’t be disappointed if you should buy it—it really is a fast 50mm-equivalent prime lens that’s top-notch.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 Amazon B&H
Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 Amazon B&H

Example photographs, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured on a Fujifilm X-Pro3 and Fujinon 33mm f/1.4:

Boy With Nerf Gun – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/1.4 – Upcoming Recipe
Fake Succulent on Table – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/1.4 – Upcoming Recipe
House At Last Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/9 – Upcoming Recipe
Winter Bloom Remnants – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/8 – Upcoming Recipe
February Reaching – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/5.6 – Upcoming Recipe
Frozen Pond near Sunset – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/5.6 – Upcoming Recipe
Grass & Frozen Waterway – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/5.6 – Upcoming Recipe
Wild Gold – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/10 – Upcoming Recipe
Backlit Marsh Reed – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/6.4 – Upcoming Recipe
Forgotten Post – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/1.8 – “Nostalgic Negative
Yellow Tape – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/4 – “Nostalgic Negative
11 Stop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/4 – “Nostalgic Negative
Rays Through Evergreen – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 33mm @f/14 – “Nostalgic Negative

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.