The new Fujinon XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR expands Fujinon’s sub-range of fast f/1.4 primes, which range from a 16mm f/1.4, the widest, through to a 35mm f/1.4, the longest. And this new optic will sit alongside the 35mm lens, rather than replacing it, though most will see it as a much more modern replacement.
At only 2mm longer in focal length than the existing XF35mmF1.4, the new lens offers something slightly different in this sub-range of the Fujinon lens portfolio.
An extra couple of millimetres may not sound like that big a deal, but fine margins do count, and this slightly-wider lens is equivalent to 50mm in full-frame terms – the field of view close to that of the human eye and which leads to optics like this being labelled ‘standard-view’ lenses.
Aside from the modest difference in focal length, there are several key differences between the XF33mmF1.4 and XF35mmF1.4.
A newer product, the XF33mmF1.4 boasts linear motor (LM) autofocus, whereas the XF35mmF1.4 calls on a stepper motor; linear motors offer faster and quieter autofocus.
And where the optical construction of the XF35mmF1.4 comprises eight elements in six groups, the XF33mmF1.4 has a more sophisticated optical path: 15 lens elements in 10 groups.
Fujifilm says this is to effectively minimize chromatic aberration and spherical aberration, and deliver edge-to-edge sharpness even when shooting wide open at f/1.4.
And with nine aperture blades deployed in the XF33mmF1.4, compared to seven in the XF35mmF1.4, the newer lens promises creamy bokeh that’s delivered in a nearly-round shape.
Construction: 15 elements in 5 groups, including 2 aspherical and 3 ED elements
Focal length: 33mm (50 mm equivalent)
Full frame: No
Image stabilization: No
Max. aperture: F1.4
Aperture ring: Yes
Aperture blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
Minimum Object Distance: 0.3m
Max. magnification: 0.15x
Filter size: 58mm
Build and handling
We were given a production version of the XF33mmF1.4 to try out ahead of its launch.
Weighing just 360g, it’s a well-balanced combination when attached to a Fujifilm X-S10. On a meander around the West End in central London, where the British summer weather obliged us with dreary overcast conditions, we gave the new optic a run-out for a spot of street shooting.
While the standard-view focal length would be a little long for dedicated street shooters, who would favor something more like a 23mm (35mm in full-frame terms), it was fine for shooting studies of buildings, shopfronts and street furniture.
Color rendition is one of the Fujifilm brand’s unique selling points, and the lens did a good job of capturing colors faithfully.
From the vibrant hues displayed in a street arch in Chinatown to the lurid signage of shops and advertising artwork, colors rendered with punch and vibrancy and the lens produced plenty of contrast.
But when more muted colors were in evidence, for example in a sun-faded poster on the wall outside a shop, the color rendition in the resulting images was faithful to what our eyes saw.
Prime lenses need minimum handling, of course, as there’s no zoom ring to twist; but for shooters who prefer to set apertures the old-fashioned way, they’ll enjoy the reassuringly satisfying tactile experience of the XF33mmF1.4’s aperture ring.
The same goes for focusing; Fujifilm has improved the control resolution of the focus ring for extra precision, which will be useful when focusing manually at shallow depths of field.
The manufacturer says that the focus ring’s gear pitch has been optimised to detect advanced movement, in turn enabling precise linear focusing in response to the subtlest of fingertip movements.
Moving autofocus points around the frame via the camera controls, we found that the lens locked on very quickly to changes in focus point, where that subject was clearly defined.
And while our X-S10 lacks a shutter speed dial, users of X-series cameras that do have shutter speed dials will find the ‘A’ setting on the aperture ring handy – it will lock the aperture and prevent any accidental value changes being effected while shooting on the fly or recovering the camera quickly from a camera bag.
We didn't have much time to test this lens so we don't want to leap to any conclusions. So watch this space for a full field review and lab test of the XF33mmF1.4, but first impressions are good.
The Fujinon XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR goes on sale in late September and will cost $799/£699.
The best Fujifilm lenses