Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Review

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Review:

There are actually a lot of great ultra wide angle lenses for the Fuji X Series now.  Companies like Samyang or even Zeiss make great ultra wides in X Mount but so do Fujifilm.  They make the XF 10-24mm lens, which is a fun zoom to use but if you’re thinking about a prime, you’ll have to take a look at the XF 14mm f2.8 R lens, which is the lens that I will be talking about today.  This 21mm equivalent lens has actually been out for quite a while now but I haven’t had a chance to review it until now.  Here are my thoughts on it.

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Build Quality:

In terms of overall build quality, the XF 14mm f2.8 does not disappoint.  This is a solid lens that shows no signs of inferior workmanship like any loose fittings, creaks or rattles.  The XF 14mm’s exterior is metal along with the mount.  At the same time, the lens isn’t that heavy or large either.  It weighs just 235 g, and it’s actually relatively compact.  The weight and size of the XF 14mm combine to make a lens that feels perfectly balanced on my X-T2.  I own the Zeiss Touit 12mm f2.8, and I love the optics.  I also love the 18mm equivalent focal length but I can definitely appreciate the size of the XF 14mm.  It’s so compact and light that you can shoot it one handed very easily if you wanted to.  In some ways, I think I actually find it better balanced than my XF 35mm f1.4, which is like an everyday lens for me.

↑ The XF 14mm f2.8 R lens.

↑ The XF 14mm f2.8 mounted on the X-T2.  As you can see, it’s a nice size for a 21mm equivalent.

What I also appreciate is the size of the included lens hood.  If you ask me, Fuji did a good job here.  It’s the same lens hood that is found with the XF 18-55mm, and it’s compact making it a nice fit for the XF 14mm f2.8.  It’s also reversible, which will help you save some storage space in your bag, so there’s not much of a reason to leave it at home.

↑ The XF 14mm f2.8 with it’s lens hood attached.

↑ Even with the lens hood attached, the lens isn’t all that big as you can see here.

As for other parts of the XF 14mm f2.8 R lens, like the other XF lenses, there is a focus ring.  The focus ring is pretty cool too.  If you want to focus manually, you simply pull the focus ring back towards the rear element.  A distant scale is then revealed, which you can use with the depth of field scale.  The focus ring is nice and smooth as well.  If you want to go back to autofocus, simply pull the focus ring towards the front element.  This also prevents the focus ring from rotating.  There are other Fuji lenses that have this switch to manual focus feature, and I personally like it a lot.  For those who are worried that the focus ring might be loose or easily moved accidentally, it’s a tight fit.  Not once did I accidentally move the focus ring into manual or autofocus.

↑ As you can see in this photo, the lens is set for manual focus.

As for the aperture ring, it’s what you would find on any other XF lens as well, and it clicks in every third stop.  Overall, it does so in a nice, smooth way but it feels a little loose to me.  Because of this, I accidentally changed my settings a couple of times.  I much prefer what I see on lenses like the XF 35mm f2, for example.  The tighter feel on the XF 35mm f2, is just about perfect but then again, it’s a newer generation lens.

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Autofocus:

In terms of the autofocus, there is really nothing to complain about.  It’s actually quite fast.  It may not be as fast as some of Fuji’s latest offerings like the XF 23mm f2, for example, but I doubt anyone will really notice in a real world setting.  I definitely did not feel hindered by the autofocus in any way.  It’s drama free, and most importantly, I found it to be very accurate.  It’s also worth noting that the XF 14mm f2.8 R lens can focus as close as 18 cm.

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Image Quality:

Now, let’s talk about the image quality, which is pretty special in my opinion.  The XF 14mm f2.8 R lens has become one of my personal favorites in the Fuji X Series because first off, I love using ultra wides, and not only is the XF 14mm a 21mm equivalent, the image quality is pretty darn special to say the least.

↑ Taken at f11, 200 ISO.

↑ This was taken at f8, 800 ISO.

Truthfully, I was kind of floored by the image quality.  I’ve reviewed almost every single Fuji branded X Series lens, and they are all generally great lenses.  Of course, there are a few that are exceptionally special but overall, they are all decent.  You really can’t go wrong.  The XF 14mm however, is one of these special lenses to me.  Everything to me is just right with this lens.  The contrast is nice, and the colors are rendered beautifully.  The clarity is particularly impressive.  Images are so crisp.  The XF 14mm also has practically no distortion, which is pretty remarkable.  In terms of flare, it really isn’t a problem unless you’re intentionally trying to make it flare.

↑ Here’s another photo taken at f8.  This time I used 200 ISO.

↑ This was taken at f7.1 at 200 ISO.

It’s also worth noting that the sharpness is really just incredible. I think this is what I particularly noticed most about the XF 14mm f2.8 R lens.  Even at just f2.8, I found this lens to be sharp throughout most of the frame.  At least with what I saw, you really have to magnify at 100%, and pixel peep just to see that the extreme corners are slightly soft.  Emphasis on slightly.  Stop down to just f4, and practically the whole frame is tack sharp.

↑ This was taken at f4, 200 ISO.

↑ Here’s a 100% crop of the photo above.  Look how sharp the tire is in this photo.

↑ I love photographing bridges, especially at night.  This was taken at f10, 200 ISO.

↑ Here’s a 100% crop of the photo above.  Keep in mind that with such a long exposure, and with the trains periodically running on the bridge, some vibration is caused on the bridge.  With that said, it is still very sharp.

In terms of vignetting, there’s nothing out of the ordinary to complain about here.  There’s some vignetting at f2.8, and if you stop down to f4, it’s practically all gone.  Either way, it’s nothing significant.

↑ This was taken in Grand Central Station at f4, 3200 ISO.

↑ Here’s another taken at f4, this time using 200 ISO.

As for bokeh, the XF 14mm f2.8 is a wide angle lens with an f2.8 aperture, so keep in mind that it’s not easy to achieve shallow depth of field nor was it really designed for that type of work.  But with that said, if you get close enough, you can achieve some shallow depth of field, and the bokeh is quite smooth.

↑ This was taken at f2.8.  The bokeh is smooth but in order to get a shallow depth of field, I had to get pretty close to the flower.

Overall, this is just really one of the best lenses that you can buy for the Fuji X Series system.  I’m not one that likes to analyze a lens to death.  At the end of the day, it’s the final results that count to me, and this lens just produces extremely stellar results.  You know you have a good lens when all of its features, and strengths combine to just make everything in the picture pop out at you, and come alive.  The XF 14mm f2.8 R lens does this.  I can’t see anyone being unhappy with this lens.

↑ Here’s a photo taken at f5.6, 800 ISO.

↑ This was taken out of a car window. f5.6, 800 ISO.

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Pros And Cons:

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Pros:

  • Well-built.
  • Compact and light.
  • I like the way you switch to manual focus on this lens.
  • Lens hood matches well with the lens in terms of size.
  • Quick and accurate autofocus.
  • Amazing image quality!

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Cons:

  • I’d like the aperture ring to have a tighter feel to it.

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Verdict:

Nowadays, if you’re looking for an ultra wide angle lens for your Fuji X Series camera, there are actually quite a lot to choose from, and the great thing is there’s a wide price range.  The ultra wide angle lenses that I’ve used that are not fisheye, are the Zeiss Touit 12mm f2.8, and the XF 10-24mm.  The Zeiss is a great lens, and it’s one that I ended up buying for myself after I reviewed it.  I use it quite a lot.  In fact, I use it more than my XF 35mm f1.4 (50mm equivalent), and the 50mm is suppose to be my favorite focal length :).  The optics are stellar but my biggest reason for why I bought it was that I wanted an 18mm equivalent lens.  As for the 10-24mm, that’s another excellent lens that I reviewed a while back.  It’s super versatile, and with it’s 10mm focal length, it’s quite a fun lens to use.

↑ The XF 14mm f2.8 is great on the X-T2.

But if you’re looking for a lens that isn’t quite as wide as the Zeiss, and also isn’t nearly as large as the XF 10-24mm, the XF 14mm f2.8 R lens is a fantastic choice.  The only real downside that I can see is that at $899, it’s expensive.  I know, it’s not an easy pill to swallow, and there are cheaper alternatives, especially for those who may not use a wide angle much but want one in their collection for the occasional instances where only a wide angle lens will do.  After using it however, I can see why it’s so expensive.  In my opinion, this is really one of the best lenses in the X Series System.  The size and weight are just about perfect, so it’s easy to bring anywhere.  It’s well-built, so it can handle constant use.  The autofocus is also quick.  Best of all, the optics are truly something special.  In my opinion, this is really one of the nicest lenses to own in the X Series System.

Thanks for taking the time to read my review!  If you’re considering purchasing the XF 14mm f2.8, and my review helped you decide, please help support this site by purchasing from any of the links in this review.  It will not cost you anything extra.  Thank you for your support!

Fuji XF 14mm f2.8 R lens at B&H Photo

13 comments… add one
  • Hank R

    Hi Patrick:

    Thank you for this great review! I’ve read several reviews on this lens as I’m seriously thinking of purchasing it and using for architecture photos. The only con I’ve heard about this lens is the loose aperture ring. Was the lens you tested manufactured recently or was it one that was produced a while back? If it was the latter, do you know if Fuji has addressed this issue in recent productions? Lastly, do you think Fuji could repair (tighten) the aperture ring if it was sent in for service?

    Thank you!

    Hank

    • Patrick

      Hi Hank,

      Thanks for taking the time to read it! The copy that I was using was recently manufactured, and completely brand new in its original packaging. Besides the good people at Fuji, I was the only person to touch it :). From what I experienced, there were one or two other lenses (different focal lengths) in this generation of Fuji X gear that had a issue similar to the XF 14mm. I tried three different XF 56mm APD lenses, for example, before I found one where I felt the aperture ring had a tighter feel to it. The funny thing is the non-APD version that I tested was fine :). I’m not sure what Fuji would do because it may just be in the design but I’m sure they would take a look at it. One of my readers sent back his APD for dust issues, and he was sent a new one.

      The XF 14mm is an older lens, which means it’s an older design. A lot of the newer Fuji lenses are, in my opinion, better designed and better built than previous generations. I’m not saying the older stuff is bad or anything; I’m just saying overall quality is gradually improving, which is always a good thing. As you said, other people have mentioned this issue, so my best guess is that it was probably designed in this way because the lens itself is actually built very well. Either way, if you want my opinion, the lens is worth it even with the aperture ring not being as tight as we’d like it to be. I don’t think you will be disappointed with the IQ, especially when you use it for architecture photos. I hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by!

      Best,

      Patrick

      • Hank R

        Hi Patrick:

        Thank you for the excellent, detailed explanation. You gave this lens a resounding endorsement, regardless of the aperture ring issue, and that helped me make up my mind. I’ll be purchasing the Fuji X-T2, XF14/2.8, XF 23/2 and XF35/2 for NYC street and architectural photography.

        I really look forward to your reviews and insights. Thank you for all the hard work you put into this site!

        Kind Regards,
        Hank

      • Patrick

        Hi Hank,

        Thanks for taking the time to visit my site! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Also, enjoy the system, and stop by from time to time to let me know what you think!

        Best,

        Patrick

  • Dogman

    I think the loose aperture ring will quickly become a non-issue for most people when using this outstanding lens. You adapt to it and eventually you don’t notice it. The f-stop is marked on the ring and it’s also displayed in the viewfinder so it’s easy to confirm your shooting aperture.

    This is truly a beautiful lens when it comes to rendering an image. I’ve owned it for a little over a year but I really never appreciated it fully until recently. I shoot mainly with 50mm and 35mm equivalent lenses so a 21mm equivalent is outside my everyday use arena. But lately I’ve begun using the 14mm more often and I’m constantly amazed at how the pictures look. It’s not just the overall sharpness, it’s the tonality that knocks me out. I believe this lens ranks with the best of the Fuji lenses and among the best of any current lens maker.

    I was one of the lucky ones when I bought this lens. Fuji instant rebates were in force at the time and I only had to pay $499 at B&H. At $899 today, it might seem expensive. But, in my opinion, it’s world class optics and worth every penny. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again at full price if I had to.

    • Hank R

      Dogman:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the XF 14’s loose aperture ring and its optical performance. You make a good point about the f- stop being displayed in the viewfinder so if I inadvertently move it, this will show in the viewfinder.

      Congrats on getting this lens at $499; I’ve never seen a lower price for a new XF 14!

      All the Best,

      Hank

    • Patrick

      Hi Dogman,

      I definitely agree with everything you’ve said. Great price that you paid too!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Harald Hagedorn

    A great lens, use it for atleast three years now. The only downside is the lenshood: Fuji should offer a rectangular version of it as they do for the 16 and 23mm lenses

    • Patrick

      Hi Harold,

      Definitely one of the best lenses I’ve used in the X Series collection!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Jed Orme

    Hello Patrick,

    Thanks for the review of this venerable lens, that still ranks as one of Fuji’s best in a lineup of quite outstanding choices. I had one for quite some time after it first came out, but never quite adjusted to the particular focal length. So I traded it in for the Zeiss 12mm f2.8, & find that I use it much more, in spite of the added demands presented by this seemingly small difference in focal length. But I also never really had any problems with the aperture ring feeling at all loose on mine, & thoroughly appreciated the distance scale imprinted on the lens for manual focusing. The relatively small size also makes it very easy to include in your kit when space is limited. And as evidenced by the excellent images in your review, the results of using it can really be quite amazing. Cheers,

    Jed

    • Patrick

      Hi Jed,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my review! The 21mm is a great lens but like you, I just feel more comfortable with the Zeiss’ focal length. That’s why I ended up buying the Zeiss as well. As for the aperture ring, I guess you were luckier than I was with your copy. Still, the lens is fantastic; it’s well built, compact, and crazy sharp. If I was in the market for a 21mm equivalent lens for my X-T2, I wouldn’t let an aperture ring deter me from purchasing this one.

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Ken Ford

    Hi, Patrick!

    I enjoyed your review. I’m a recent convert to the X system with an X-Pro2, and my 14/2.8 is rapidly becoming a favorite lens. I’m hoping Fuji sees fit to develop something like a 14/4 WR, but if they don’t I won’t be too disappointed.

    A question for you – a number of us 14/2.8 owners have found an issue with the AF distance reported in the viewfinder with this lens. Can you try this?

    With the camera in AF-S and single point, focus repeatedly on a subject – try this at at various distances. Are you finding the VF is displaying repeatable distances, or does the reported distance change for a given subject?

    I and a few others have reported this to Fuji and are hoping a lens firmware update will be developed to resolve the issue. If you experience it and add your voice to the mix it would be a great help!

    Thanks!

    • Patrick

      Hi Ken,

      Sorry for the late reply, and thanks for taking the time to read my review! I hope you are enjoying the X Series system. I would have no problems testing the distance issue for you but unfortunately, the lens was a loaner, and I returned it a while ago. If I ever get a chance to use one again, I’ll give it a try, and let you know my results. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

      Best,

      Patrick

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