I've been using FujiFilm X-Series Camera's ever since I got serious about original content on this site. To me they epitomise what a modern camera should be. A great sensor coupled with a stylish body that stands the test of time. I still use my original X100 alongside the X-Pro1 that I used in this post even after all these years.
This is not an extensive review of the the XF23mm f1.4 lens. I am not going to be focussing on the technical details or pixel peeping. There are far too many sites that do that and I find that people are too obsessed spending hours looking at blown up images finding flaws when photography to me is about taking a camera and capturing the world! What I will be focussing on is the usability and shooting experience for someone who just wants to go out there and shoot images and has an X-series camera that has an interchangeable mount and may be considering this lens. The first thing that you notice about this lens is the build quality and the heft. At its current price point it commands a premium compared to the first batch of FujiFilm Lenses but you can see that you are getting a lot for your money. On the APSC sensor of the camera this equates to a standard 35mm field of view which happens to be my favourite. The lens has 11 elements in 8 groups including an aspherical one. 7 rounded diaphragm blades and stops down to f/16 in 3 stop increments.
The lens is an absolute joy to shoot with but do keep in mind that if you have a small X-series camera this can add some weight to the front. On my X-Pro1 with the hand grip it feels perfect! I guess its to do with the fact that the X-Pro1 along with the optional grip is substantial and balances out the lens well. If there was one lens that I had to keep on my camera this would be it. Its sharp from corner to corner across all f stops and does not suffer from distortion even if shot wide open. If you consider this in itself the lens is a bargain. Images have a fantastic three dimensional feel to them with plenty of detail and pop. It even offers some rather beautiful bokeh for a wide-angle lens.
Another feature that I am fond of and never had a chance to use before was the push-pull mechanism for manual focussing with distance markers which is great for street photographers. This lens has not come off my camera since I've started using it. Focussing is swift and internal which means there are less chances of dust and debris getting sucked in unlike older models. Autofocus is also dependant on the type of camera you use as the newer ones use phase-detected autofocus which is faster! My only critique about this lens has to be the lens hood. I'm sure FujiFilm have a scientific explanation for its shape but its just downright awful and makes the lens look larger than it already is. A sharp contrast from the lens hoods provided with the first batch of XF lenses that are made of metal and compliment the lenses and camera's.
To wrap things up I would say that if you are looking to pick up one lens for your FujiFilm X-Series camera you should give this your undivided attention. FujiFilm even offer some great refurbished models via their online store. If you are like me and walk around the streets shooting images as you see them you cannot give the XF23mm f/1.4 a pass. Its classic field of view, bullet proof build and exceptional image quality make it a gem in the already impressive line up of FujiFilm XF lenses.