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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My Current Fujinon Lenses

After my Why I Love… series, which included the Fujinon 18mm f/2, Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, Fujinon 35mm f/2, and Fujinon 90mm f/2, I’ve been asked a few times which Fujinon lenses I currently own. I have a few third-party lenses and a number of vintage lenses, too, but the questions were specifically which Fujinon lenses are in my collection, so I’ll just talk about that.

My favorite Fujinon lens is the 27mm f/2 (read my review here). Because this is also my wife’s favorite lens and we share it, I often use the Fujinon 35mm f/2 (read my review here) as an alternative that is a close second-favorite. When I want to go wide-angle, I use the Fujinon 18mm f/2 (read my review here), and when I want to go telephoto, I chose the Fujinon 90mm f/2 (read my review here). This is actually a really good wide-standard-telephoto setup, and if I wasn’t sharing lenses, I’d only need the 27mm or 35mm and not both.

Some of you might be surprised to learn that I have other Fujinon lenses (and I’m not talking about the one permanently attached to my Fujifilm X100V). I own a Fujinon 100-400mm telephoto zoom (read my review here) that I occasionally use when I need something longer than 90mm. It’s the most expensive lens that I’ve ever purchased, and for how much it cost, I don’t use it nearly as much as I should. My wife owns three Fujinon lenses (that I have access to): the Fujinon 10-24mm f/4, the cheap kit Fujinon 16-50mm (read my review here), and the Fujinon 50-230mm (read my review here). The 10-24mm lens is the most used of those three, and I do borrow it occasionally, but if my wife isn’t using the 27mm f/2.8, then she’s using the 10-24mm f/4 (especially for video), so it’s not always available. The 16-50mm lens is almost never used by either of us, although it has been attached to a camera for video a few times. I borrowed the 50-230mm lens occasionally before I purchased the 100-400mm, but now it’s pretty much never used, except by my wife every once in a long while.

In order of most used to least used by both my wife and I combined: 27mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2, 90mm f/2, 10-24mm f/4, 18mm f/2, 100-400mm, 50-230mm, 16-50mm.

Now it’s your turn! Which Fujinon lenses do you own? Let me know in the comments!

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

Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 B&H Amazon
Fujinon 18mm f/2 B&H Amazon
Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 B&H Amazon
Fujinon 35mm f/2  B&H  Amazon
Fujinon 90mm f/2   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 100-400mm B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 16-50mm B&H Amazon
Fujinon 50-230mm B&H Amazon

Why I Love The Fujinon 18mm F/2 Lens

Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens attached to a Fujifilm X-T30 camera.

I’ve done several of these “Why I Love The Fujinon…” articles—including the 90mm f/2, the 35mm f/2, the 27mm f/2.8—but I’ve been putting this one off. If you’d read my review of the Fujinon 18mm f/2, you might already know that I have a love/hate relationship with it. I called it “the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” because it is simultaneously wonderful and disappointing—wonderful image quality, disappointing performance. I don’t want to rehash what I already stated in the review, so I’ll approach this a different way.

For a long time I shot 35mm film. I had a Canon AE-1 camera and a 50mm f/1.8 lens, and that’s it—one camera and one lens. After awhile, though, I began to collect gear. I acquired more cameras and more lenses. One lens was a Canon 24mm f/2.8. Coming from 50mm, the 24mm focal-length lens seemed to be extremely wide-angle to me. I found it challenging to use, but also highly rewarding, because the focal-length can make a scene much more dramatic. Below is a picture from the first roll of film where I used the 24mm focal length. For Fujifilm cameras, 16mm is full-frame-equivalent to 24mm, not 18mm (which is 27mm full-frame-equivalent), but the difference between 16mm and 18mm isn’t huge. I actually like 18mm more because it is a bit less extreme yet still very dramatic.

Canon T70 & Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 – Ilford Delta 400 film

The 18mm focal-length is very useful for landscape or cityscape photography. It wouldn’t be my first choice for portrait photography, but it is great for when you want to exaggerate the space in the frame. It can turn a rather ordinary scene into something more extraordinary through embellishment. I think everyone should own a lens with this or a similar focal-length, and challenge themselves to use it—and it alone—on occasion, just for practice.

The 18mm f/2 is Fujifilm’s second smallest lens, so it is especially great for travel or walk-around photography. It’s a lens that you can leave on the camera all day, or have as a second lens, perhaps kept in a jacket pocket. The size and weight advantage of this near-pancake lens cannot be understated!

Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Kodak Gold 200

Ultimately, though, it comes down to the pictures, and it’s easy to love how the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens renders images. When the pictures look as good as they do, it’s not hard to ignore the flaws (such as a slow and loud focus system). For this reason, the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is an essential tool in my kit. Yes, I do have a love/hate relationship with this little lens, but I lean much more closely towards the love side.

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

Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Amazon  B&H

Example photographs captured with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens:

Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400
Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400”
Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400”
Fujifilm X-H1 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Kodak Gold 200”
Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Fujicolor Superia 800
Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm f/2 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”

Lens Review: Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens is the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This is a lens that I want to love because of its small size and very useful focal-length, but I don’t love it because its way overpriced and has a disappointing focus system. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though; I have plenty that I want to discuss about the Fujinon 18mm f/2 before giving my conclusion.

This is one of two “pancake” lenses offered by Fujifilm; the other is the 27mm f/2.8. Whereas the 27mm is a true pancake, the 18mm f/2 is only sort-of one, as it’s a little on the large size for this category. Think of it more of a Japanese pancake than an American flapjack, or maybe it’s a short stack. The 18mm f/2 is compact glass for when you want a little less girth and weight, but it’s not quite as small as one might hope for.

In this lens are eight elements in seven groups with seven semi-rounded blades. You won’t get great sunstars. Bokeh is pretty good, although not something you’ll experience much because it’s a wide-angle lens. The 18mm focal-length is full-frame equivalent to 27mm. The minimum focus distance is about seven inches, which is pretty good. The maximum aperture is f/2 and the minimum is f/16, with 1/3-stop intermediate clicks. The lens accepts 52mm threaded filters.

The Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is sharp in the center at all apertures. It’s slightly soft on the edges at all apertures, but more so when wide-open, so it’s best to stop down to at least f/2.8 or f/4 if you can. I didn’t notice any vignetting. There’s not much distortion, and I didn’t notice any chromatic aberrations; I wonder if it’s because the camera is correcting this—as you probably know, I shoot JPEGs, and I didn’t inspect the RAW files. Image quality from this lens is clearly Fujinon, and I’m quite happy with how it renders pictures.

This is one of Fujifilm’s oldest X-series lenses, and it shows. It’s in desperate need of a refresh. Autofocus is the slowest I’ve experienced in a Fujinon model, outside of macro lenses that have a long range to cycle through. It’s also the loudest. I found manual-focus, which is focus-by-wire, to be somewhat unpleasant. The focus system on this lens is disappointing, but ultimately it is sufficient for most situations, so you just have to put up with it. Hopefully at some point Fujifilm makes a new version with a better focus motor.

The 18mm f/2 is quite prone to lens flare, which you might love or hate depending on how you feel about it. Fujifilm does provide a lens hood that’s highly effective, but it adds significant length, which defeats the point of it being a pancake lens—with the hood it makes this lens the same size as the 16mm f2.8. I’m personally okay with the flare, so I don’t use the hood.

Fujinon 18mm f/2 flare example.
Fujinon 18mm f/2 flare example.

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens isn’t weather-sealed (which only matters if your camera is), it doesn’t have any image stabilization (which isn’t a big deal on a wide-angle lens), and it’s slow and loud compared to other Fujinon lenses. Yet it retails for $600! The only thing special about the 18mm f/2 is that it’s small and lightweight, which is why I bought it and why I plan to keep it, but I wouldn’t pay $600 for it.

If you can find one for a good price, it might be worth owning. Otherwise, there are better options to consider, including the 14mm f/2.8, 16mm f/2.8, 16mm f/1.4, 8-16mm f/2.8, 10-24mm f/4, 16-55mm f/2.8, 18-55mm f/2.8-f/4, 16-80mm f/4, and 18-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6. Heck, the 15-45mm f/3.5-f/5.6 and 16-50mm f/3.5-f/5.6 might even be better options! Pretty much any Fujinon lens that covers this or a similar focal length will have some advantages over the 18mm f/2. The one and only reason to buy the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is if you need a small pancake-like wide-angle lens to attach to your camera. If you need that, this lens is your best bet because it’s your only option.

Ah, but the pictures captured through this lens are quite nice, even if the experience of capturing them is less than ideal. That’s why I said this is the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You have to know this going into it, or you’ll likely be disappointed. If you can put up with the quirks and can get it for a good price, you’ll find glass capable of capturing beautiful images, and that’s what matters most. I don’t love the lens, but I do like it and plan to use it frequently.

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

Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Amazon B&H

Example photographs captured with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens on a Fujifilm X-T30:

Shallow Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Calm Canal – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Farmington Bay Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Sky Reflections in the Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
International Fence – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Red Steel Pile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Dirty Shore & Reflections – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Algae & Broken Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Puddle in the Path – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Still Water Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Seagull Over Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Wetlands Under Pastel Sky – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Structure Abstract – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Bucket in a Basket – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Sidewalk Intersection – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Three Seagulls – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Tree & Reflection – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Dramatic Sky Over Shallow Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2

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New Fujifilm Deals

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm just rolled out some new sales, and I thought I’d pass this along to you, in case you are in the market for one of these items. I don’t know if any of these are blockbuster deals, but there are some worth pointing out nonetheless. I hope that whatever you are looking for are among these items.

For cameras, the best deals are on the X-T20 and X-H1. I wanted to point out that the X-H1 bundled with a lens is an especially good bargain. The camera is already a great value at $1,000, but you can bundle it with a lens for an even better deal! The X100F is on sale, which doesn’t happen frequently. If you just need a cheap second body (or perhaps a Christmas or birthday gift for someone), the X-T100 is very inexpensive and worth taking a look at.

For lenses, there are a few good deals, which you can see below. The Fujinon 90mm f/2.8, which I recently reviewed, is on sale, too, but I didn’t include it in this list because it is “only” $100 off. I’m just showing you the best deals. You can find the prices of everything on my Fujifilm Gear page, as there are other cameras and lenses on sale besides what’s found below.

Fujifilm X Cameras:

Fujifilm X100F $1,100   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T20 (Body Only) $600   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T20 w/16-50mm lens $700   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T20 w/18-55mm lens $900   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-H1 (Body Only) w/Power Grip $1,000   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-H1 w/16-55mm f/2.8 lens $1,700   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/8-16mm lens $2,300   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/18-135mm lens $1,700   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/90mm lens $1,550   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/50-140mm $2,400   B&H
Fujifilm X-H1 w/100-400mm $2,700   B&H
Fujifilm X-T100 (Body Only) $400   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T100 w/15-45mm lens $500   B&H   Amazon

Fujifilm X Lenses:

Fujinon 8-16mm f/2.8 $1,800   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8 $650   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 $650   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8 $1,400   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 80mm f/2.8 $950   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 $1,700   B&H   Amazon

Fujifilm GFX Cameras:

Fujifilm GFX 50R w/63mm lens $5,000   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm GFX 50R w/32-64mm lens $5,800   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm GFX 50S (Body Only) $5,000   B&H   Amazon

Fujifilm GFX Lenses:

Fujinon GFX 23mm f/4 $2,100   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 32-64mm f/4 $1,800   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 63mm f/2.8 $1,000   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 100-200mm f/5.6 $1,500   B&H   Amazon
Fujinon GFX 250mm f/4 $2,800   B&H   Amazon

These are affiliate links, which, when you purchase something using them, I get a small kickback. It doesn’t cost you anything, yet it helps to financially support this website. I would never ask you to purchase something that you don’t want, but if you found this article helpful and are planning to buy one of these items, using my links to do so helps me tremendously. Thank you for your support!

Great Fujifilm Deals

There are currently some great deals on Fujifilm cameras and Fujinon lenses at Amazon right now. If you’ve been thinking about buying one of these items, now is a good time because of the great discounts being offered. If you use the links below, you’ll be supporting this site. Nobody pays me to write the articles you find here, so using my affiliate links is one way that you can support what’s happening at Fuji X Weekly.

As far as Fujifilm cameras go, the Fujifilm X-T2 is still $500 off and the Fujifilm X-H1 with grip is an incredible deal at just $1,300! There are some other promotions currently being offered, but these two are the good ones that you should be aware of.

For Fujinon lenses, the Fujinon XF 200mm f/2 is $1,000 off, Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 is $500 offFujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 is $400 off, Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 APD is $350 offFujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 is $300 off, and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 is $300 off. Those are the best discounts currently being offered on lenses.