Lens Comparison Review: Fujifilm 23mm f2 R WR vs Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 R

Lots of photographers that invest into the Fujifilm camera system have been wondering whether they should go for the new 23mm f2 R WR lens or the 23mm f1.4 R lens. Indeed, it can be confusing. Of course, there are more obvious differences: the size, weather sealing, autofocus speed, etc. But then there are some differences that aren’t so obvious.

I personally own the 24mm f1.4 R, and Anthony owns the 23mm f2. So we’ve compared the two for you folks.

Testing Procedure

For the image quality section, both lenses were mounted onto the Fujifilm X Pro 2 and focused on the same area. The white balance was locked, as was the shutter speed and ISO. The only variables were the aperture and the flash output.

Throughout the testing, I needed to crank the flash up higher than I normally would need to with the 23mm f1.4 R version of the lens. Why? I’m honestly not sure.

Ergonomics

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Both lenses are small prime lenses. But the f1.4 version of the lens is larger and feels beefier. To that end, it also just feels nicer in the hand. When you hold the 23mm f2 in comparison, it feels tiny. While it still feels well built, there is something to be said for the feeling of a bigger lens that still isn’t too large overall. Plus the focusing ring snaps back to go into manual focus mode.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 product images for review (4 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.2

Both lenses don’t focus slowly, but the 23mm f2 R WR is obviously faster. What’s even more impressive is it autofocuses very quickly on the X Pro 1, X Pro 1 and X-T2. I didn’t expect it to work so well across the board.

Build Quality

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While the f1.4 version of the lens feels better in the hand, the f2 is weather sealed. ‘Nuff said there.

Image Quality

Fujifilm 23mm f2 R WR

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Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 R

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Sharpness

In my and Anthony’s opinions, the 23mm f2 isn’t as sharp as the f1.4 when doing a direct comparison and pixel peeping. When you’re looking at the scenes as a whole though, it doesn’t matter. You can’t really tell.

Bokeh

Here’s where the f1.4 version of the lens also takes the cake. The bokeh of the f1.4 is better despite having seven aperture blades vs the nine in the f2 version.

Well, I guess that’s nice for f1.4 owners.

Conclusions

The very last comparison point has to do with the price point. The Fujifilm 23mm f2 R WR is more affordable than the f1.4 version. But for around $200 more, you’re getting better image quality. If you need more of the durability though, you may want to reach for the f2 version.

Me personally? I can’t give up my f1.4 version of the lens.