Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R - Reviewing an excellent Fuji XF wide angle
Updated, August 2019
Choosing an ultra wide angle lens for travel
A few years ago I was toying with the idea of a digital Leica M with a three lens setup. It would be built around a 50mm, 35mm, and 21mm combo. It did not take much research to realize that this setup was cost prohibitive for me. Instead, I decided to build a similar focal length setup with APS-C lenses in Fujifilm's X-series.
How wide is too wide?
The first lens I will take a look at in this review is a wide angle lens, the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R. The full-frame equivalent focal length is 21mm.
Currently, this is the widest lens in my setup of four prime lenses for the X-series. 14, 23, 35 and 90mm. For years I used a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L and later EF 16-35mm f/4L IS. I sold my Canon gear when I set out for an extended period of travel almost three years ago and I have solely relied on the XF 14mm f/2.8 R for all my ultra wide angle work.
So why not chose a wider option? This was a personal choice as I was getting tired of the "too wide" look. I wanted something with a more natural look. Something with better correction and last but not least, lightweight and compact.
XF 14mm f/2.8 R or XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR?
I was going back and forth between the XF 16mm f/1.4R WR and the XF 14mm f/2.8 R. I tried them side by side and could not see any difference in sharpness. It came down to the difference in focal length, weight, and price. The 16mm is weather sealed, weighs in at 375 grams, and is a couple of stops faster with it's max f-stop of 1.4. The 14mm is 235 grams and more compact. Both feature the clutch mechanism to switch between AF and manual focusing. Both have a hard stop for infinity focus, which can come in handy for night and landscape photography. I already owned the XF 23mm f/1.4 R at the time of purchase. The 14mm made more sense, giving me a nice gap in focal length from the 23mm to 14mm. The 16mm felt too close to the 23mm, added more weight and cost. The 16mm f/1.4 is a stellar lens and may fit better for your setup if you need a fast wide prime. I have tried it a few times now and have nothing bad to say about it.
The XF 14mm f/2.8 R is perfect for travel!
I have used the XF 14mm f/2.8 extensively over the past three years for travel, street, and landscape photography and occasionally for real estate photography.
The 14mm f/2.8 has met all and often exceeded my expectations. I have mostly used it for travel with the X-Pro2 and X-T1 and lately with an X-H1.
The most attractive attributes of the XF 14mm f/2.8R
Size / weight. The lens fits in a pocket if need be and has been with me, travelling to more than 30 countries. It fits perfectly with good balance on my favourite travel camera, the X-Pro2
It is sharp and well corrected
Build quality is top notch
For me, it has a perfect focal length for travel photography. Wide by not too wide.
Pleasant bokeh at f/2.8 with close-ups or for street photography.
A couple of negatives. Using this for interior real estate photography I would suggest a slightly wider option, perhaps the XF 10-24mm or upcoming XF 8-16mm. At times I found the 14mm was not wide enough for this purpose. It would be nice if the lens had been weather sealed.
Update: I have now had a chance to test the Zeiss 12mm f/2.8 and made comparisons to the XF 14mm f/2.8.
Below are a few of favourite captures from the past three years.
We travel with Fujifilm X-Series cameras and lenses visiting 50 countries in 50 months. Tag along for Photography Inspiration - 5050 Travelog