The Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R has very few competitors. Brands like Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina do not produce any lenses with the Fuji mount. Zeiss makes the Touit 12 mm f/2.8, and Samyang, a 16 mm f/2.0. The latter, however, does not have auto focus. From the brand itself, the Fujinon XF 10-24 mm f/4.0 almost comes close. If you're going for high brightness and limited weight, then the 14 mm Fujinon XF premier reviewed here is more interesting than that zoom, though.
The Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R is the most wide-angle premier from Fuji and reminds me of my Nikon F2AS, which I once had. The brightness, the size and the field of view are nearly identical, and I have a weakness for the field of view of roughly 90 degrees diagonally. We reviewed this Fujinon 14 mm lens in combination with the Fujifilm X-E2. This is the successor of the X-E1, a camera with an electronic viewfinder and the appearance and ease of use of a camera with an analog rangefinder.
Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R + X-E2
Build and design
The first thing that's noticeable about the Fujinon XF 14 mm is the aperture ring. This sits at the same place on the lens as was customary during the analog era. When you have worked with this lens and camera for a while, then you discover that the old way of thinking was not entirely wrong. The aperture ring clicks in at a third stop, logical since the ISO setting also works with third stops. The aperture ring turns very smoothly and without play. The A mode is not locked. The lens can unintentionally be put into the wrong mode, for example when you pull the camera out of the photo bag. Some brands had better solutions for that previously! All in all, this does mean that you will sometimes unintentionally turn the aperture ring. The distance ring can only be turned when the whole ring is shifted backwards, a construction that we also sometimes encounter with Tokina lenses. This ring, too, turns smoothly and without play, but the shifting it backwards is incredibly easy. When you put the lens on the camera, you thus always have to check whether the distance ring is in the correct position. The focus arc, more than 90 degrees, is very generous by current standards. That's nice. The distance scale and the focal depth indication are nicely engraved. The included sun cap is reasonably large and clicks on sufficiently securely.
The electronic drive for the auto focus is of the "Drive by Wire" type, and the AF can be turned off by moving the focus ring towards the camera. Focusing on the test camera, an XE-2, was sufficiently fast, accurate and nearly silent. Even in low light and/or low contrast, the AF works well.
The vignetting in JPEG (and RAW files opened in Lightroom or Photoshop) is nearly the same for different apertures, thanks to an automatic correction in JPEG. At full aperture, this is low, while at f/5.6, you would expect a bit less vignetting. If you look at the practice shots, then you see that the vignetting is seldom disruptive. All in all, a very good score. With use of a third-party RAW converter, it is possible that the vignetting in RAW files (1.5 stops) would be visible.
Distortion Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R
The story is getting old: the measured distortion, in JPEG and RAW, is very low, certainly if you consider that we are dealing with a 14 mm lens. The practice shots confirm our measurements.
This lens has remarkably little trouble with flare. Even when we photographed directly into the sun, we encountered no ghosts in our practice shots, and the degree of flare remained limited to right around the sun.
The center sharpness starting at full aperture is already very high, and it remains at a high level at f/11. If the subject is in the center, then stopping down in order to get better sharpness is not necessary. The edge and corner sharpness at f/2.8 is a bit less, and the difference in sharpness between corner and center is gone at f/5.6. In short, a very unique performance, considering that this is a super wide-angle lens.
This lens flaw too, usually visible as colored edges at sharp contrast transitions in the corners of the image, is practically absent.
Bokeh Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R
You probably buy this lens precisely because of the large focal depth that you can achieve with it. We saw it before with the Fujinon lenses that we have reviewed: the background blur of this lens is really beautiful point by point—practically no sharp edge and no onion-ring bokeh. But you do have to go to a lot of work at a short focal length (read: sit very close to the subject) in order to create bokeh.
Conclusion Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R review with Fujifilm X-E2
Look in our list of reviewed lenses in order to compare the performance of this lens with other lenses.
test camera: Fujifilm X-E2
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is saved in the camera as a RAW file. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.
Aperture ring turns very smoothly and has no A mode
AF is too easy to switch off
No image stabilization
Not splash-water tight
The Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R evokes a (subjective) feeling of high build quality. The aperture ring and the distance ring turn smoothly without play, and the sun cap clicks on sturdily. The auto focus, in combination with a Fujifilm X-E2, is smooth and accurate. Even so, this lens also has cons in the mechanical area. The AF ring shifts too easily, the lens is not sealed, and is not equipped with image stabilization. But you buy a lens primarily for the optical properties. And in that area, this lens will not disappoint even the most critical photographer: the Fujinon XF 14 mm f/2.8 R is topper in the area of optical performance. The asking price, given that, is not too high.