The Fujinon XF 14mm ƒ/2.8 R was released in February 2013, offering a wide-angle field of view for Fuji's X-mount camera bodies. At the time of writing, this includes the Fuji X-E1 and the X-Pro1. Both of these bodies use an APS-C sensor with a 1.5x ''crop factor'', thus the 14mm lens offers an equivalent field of view of 21mm. The lens ships with a petal-shaped hood, takes 58mm filters and is available now for around $900.
Please note that if you're an existing X-E1 or X-Pro1 user, you'll want to upgrade the firmware of your camera to the latest version to ensure compatibility with this lens; happily, the lens also comes with an SD card with the firmware ready for you to install.
The Fujinon 14mm produces very sharp images. Used at its widest aperture of ƒ/2.8, the resulting image is sharp throughout the majority of the center of the image, moving to notably soft corners. Stopping down reduces the impact of corner softness; stopping down to ƒ/4 produces results which are almost tack-sharp, and these results are essentially the same with the lens stopped to subsequently smaller apertures. Diffraction limiting begins to set in at ƒ/11, but overall sharpness isn't really impacted until ƒ/16, where edge-to-edge sharpness is just slightly soft. Fully stopped-down at ƒ/22, the lens produces images that are somewhat soft, but not exceptionally so.
Results for chromatic aberration were excellent; looking at the sample images, I'm hard-pressed to see any color shifts at all.
There is always some light corner shading when using this lens: we note extreme corners that are 1/3EV darker than the center. When set to ƒ/5.6 or ƒ/8, it's slightly less: either way, it's not especially significant.
Remarkably, there is no distortion at all for images shot with the 14mm ƒ/2.8 R.
The Fujinon 14mm ƒ/2.8 R focus very quickly with an electrical motor housed in the lens. The lens focuses from infinity to close-focus in less than a second: it's fast, and locks on to your target easily. The front element does not rotate, making life that little bit easier for polarizer users.
The 14mm ƒ/2.8 was not designed as a macro lens, and offers only 0.12x magnification, with a minimum close-focusing distance of just over seven inches.
Build Quality and Handling
The Fuji XF 14mm ƒ/2.8 R is a well-built lens, harkening back to the days of metal rangefinder cameras. It's significantly larger and heavier than the other prime lenses available for the camera system, but the lens still handles very well on either body. The lens is textured in a satin black finish.
There are two rings for this lens: a focusing ring, and an aperture ring, something of a rarity in modern digital cameras. The aperture ring sits closer to the lens body, around 3/8'' wide, with click-stops between aperture settings. We found the aperture ring a bit looser than we would like, which means if you like the be able to move quickly between settings, you'll be happy with this action. There is a selector which allows you to choose between manual aperture selection, and automatic aperture selection.
The focusing ring is about 5/8'' wide, made of polycarbonate with deep grooves that offer excellent tactile feel. The X-Pro camera concept uses a fly-by-wire in its lens focusing method, so the focusing ring is not actually directly connected to the lens elements in a mechanical way. Rather, turning the focusing ring moves the elements electronically. Unlike the other prime lenses in the series, the 14mm uses hard stops at either end, offering around 120 degrees of turning action, and there is no lens extension when the lens is focused.
It's worth noting that the manual focusing system is engaged by sliding back the focusing ring to reveal a distance scale etched in feet and meters. While there is no depth-of-field information on the lens, the X-Pro 1 offers a distance scale on its LCD or viewfinder readout.
The 14mm ƒ/2.8 R lens hood is a petal-shaped hood that attaches by a bayonet mount. The hood can be reversed for storage and its interior is painted a matte black to reduce stray light. The hood is 1 1/2'' long, adding about 1 1/4'' of length to the lens when attached.
Currently, there are no third-party lenses offered in the Fuji XF mount. However, there are several lens adapters which allow non-Fuji lenses to be mounted on the X-Pro 1. Fuji's own M-mount adapter allows Leica M, Carl Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses to be used, and some comparable focal lengths would be found in the Carl Zeiss Distagon T*15mm F2.8 ZM or the Voigtlander L Super Wide-Heliar 15mm F4.5 Aspherical.
Fujinon XF 18mm ƒ/2 R ~$600
While not as wide as the Fujinon 14mm, the 18mm opens up a stop faster, offering a choice between light-gathering ability and wide-angle. Optically, the lenses are both of very high quality: the 18mm might be a hair sharper, but the 14mm has very impressive results for distortion (as in, there is none).
There's no question Fuji has spent a lot of time on this lens: Sharpness at ƒ/2.8 is very good, and excellent at ƒ/4 or smaller; distortion is non-existent (quite a feat in and of itself on a wide-angle lens), and chromatic aberration is also hard to come by. While the price tag for this lens might be high, there's no doubt that you get what you pay for.