When I don’t reach for my Sony RXRII to take along for a walk, you’ll almost always find me putting the Fujinon XF23mmF2 R WR lens on a Fuji body to take along with me. The lens is one of my favorite all-purpose lenses thanks to its size, weight, and outstanding image quality.
In this XF 23mm F2 review, I’ll be walking through everything you need to know about this lens and why it’s a solid choice for any Fujifilm photographer.
Size & Weight
Let’s begin with the size and weight of the lens because they are two of the biggest reasons I love it and it made my list of the best Fuji lenses for X Mount cameras.
At its max diameter, the lens is 2.36 inches (60mm). This is where the base of the lens sits against the body. From there the lens tapers to a 43mm filter thread size at its tip.
The lens extends 2.04 inches (51.9mm) from the flange. That’s over an inch shorter than the Fujifilm XF10–24mm lens.
The lens’ weight is rated at 180g. It’s so light that I hardly notice it at all when attached to a camera like the Fuji X-T4. This also means that the camera doesn’t fall forward if placed on a table or surface.
Compared to the other 23mm from Fujifilm — the Fujinon XF23mmF1.4 R — this lens is 120g lighter. Also, the f1.4 lens is bulkier and isn’t as easy to slip in a pocket or bag.
The small and lightweight nature of the XF 23mm f2 lens means that I rarely leave it behind when packing for a trip or shoot.
While the lens is small and light, it doesn’t skimp on quality.
There are no plastic parts on the actual lens. The all-metal design gives it a solid, premium feel.
The aperture ring is close to the camera body, similar to many of Fuji’s lenses. After using the Fuji system for quite some time, I know exactly where to place my hand to adjust the aperture without even taking my eye from the viewfinder.
The ring clicks while turning and has hard stops at f2 and the A for auto aperture so you won’t be left wondering where you’re set.
Since I shoot in aperture priority mode often, I enjoy being able to quickly dial in and not worrying about the ring clicking out of place.
Weather Resistance or WR
One handy feature of this lens is its weather sealing. Since this is the type of lens I rarely want to remove from my Fujifilm body, it is helpful that I don’t need to worry about dust, dirt, or moisture getting into the lens and ruining my photos. It is also great to rely on Fujifilm’s WR lenses in cold enviroments.
The lens cap is plastic and uses the mechanism where you pinch to get it on or off the lens. It stays put most of the time, but I have found it loose in my bag occasionally.
I actually love the small lens hood that comes with the XF 23mm f2.
It is plastic, but locks in place well and has offered excellent protection over the years.
What’s inside the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 23mm F2 R WR?
The optics of the Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 comprise 10 elements in 6 groups. Two elements are aspherical.
The aperture diaphragm features 9 rounded blades and is actuated electronically with a range of f/2 to f/16 in 1/3-stop clicks of the aperture ring. As a reference, the XF 23mm f/1.4 Fuji lens has 7 blades, creating slightly different bokeh results.
The internal focus means that there are no moving parts on outside of the lens. Not only is this helpful for hand placement, but air/dust won’t get into the lens.
Focus Motor and Autofocus Performance
The motor is a stepping motor like many other lenses. The autofocus is incredibly fast and silent — almost too much so.
Sometimes I’m not sure if it really even focused since it is so quick and quiet. However, over time I’ve learned to trust that it nailed the focus.
Whether in low light or daylight, I’ve never come across issues with hunting or missing focus.
If you’re into video and debating whether to get the f/2 or f/1.4 version, I’d recommend the snappier f/2. The Fujifiom XF 23mm f/1.4 is older, so the autofocus is far slower. The newer f/2 lens is also more affordable, so that’s a win-win.
I haven’t done extensive research or testing, but some claim that the smaller size and weight of this lens improves battery life too. Since it takes less work to move smaller amounts glass around, it kinda makes sense.
As with all Fuji X-mount lenses, the focus system is fly-by-wire. This means that turning the focus ring doesn’t manually focus the lens, but signals the motor to focus electronically.
It’s taken me some time to get used to fly-by-wire focusing on Fujifilm lenses. While I prefer true manual focusing, it’s not a deal-breaker. In fact, my RXRII has the same electronic-driven manual focus.
The focus ring is towards the front of the lens and it is incredibly smooth during rotation. It offers some resistance, so it is easy to change focus gently.
It rotates infinitely, so you’ll want to monitor your camera’s focus meter to know when you’ve reached infinity or the closest focus distance.
XF 23mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Differences
The XF 23mm f/1.4 lens has a slightly different manual focus system that activates when you pull the focus ring towards the body.
The lens also features distance marks, a depth-of-field scale, and hard stops for the focus range.
While these extra features can prove to be useful, it is still a fly-by-wire system.
The minimum focus distance for the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2 lens is 8.4 inches compared to the f/1.4 version’s 11.02 inches.
With this still being a fairly wide lens, I prefer being able to get closer to subjects from time to time. The closer focus distance on this lens is appreciated and even helps with better background blur to offset the one-stop difference of the f/1.4 lens.
The lens will be softer at the closest focus distance, so keep that in mind. This is especially true if you’re wide open (f/2) and focusing on something very close.
The sharpness this lens delivers is excellent — especially at f/4 or higher f-stops. Below that point, you may notice some softness, but it doesn’t bother me much since I primarily shoot landscapes and cityscapes. If you shoot portraits and love to crank your lens wide open, be aware you may not get tack-sharp results.
Situations to Use This Lens
As I’ve mentioned throughout this article, I love this lens for its portability and stellar results. It is a fantastic option for Fuji shooters that spend most of their time shooting travel, street, landscape, cityscape, and architecture.
While I also have Fuji’s 10-24mm wide-angle lens, I like the fact that I don’t need to worry so much about distortion with the 23mm and I get a more realistic representation of how I see a scene.
The weather resistance is the cherry on top since I can confidently use it almost everywhere I find myself.
While I’m more likely to reach for my Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 R lens for portraits, shooting with the XF23mm f/2, even wide open, still yields incredible results.
So there you have it — my full review of the Fujinon XF23mm f/2 lens. It remains one of my favorite lenses across the many systems I’ve used, and for good reason. If you’re in the market for a small lens to carry with you at all times, you can’t go wrong with this option. To learn more about this lens or pick one up for yourself, click here. Also, don’t forget that I’ve got tons of reviews and recommendations for other lenses on the site for you to digest.