Welcome to another review by the Photography Enthusiast.
As always, I purchased this gear with my own money, I have no sponsor and there are no affiliate links on this site.
You can find an audio version of this review below in which I go into a bit more detail or continue reading to see a more concise written version.
When it came to my Fuji setup I wanted something that complimented my Full Frame setup (Sony Alpha a7IV) and didn’t overlap.
Originally I had the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR and Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN although with those covering FF equivilenat focal lengths of 35mm/85mm respectively which I already had covered on Sony, I didn’t want to double up on things. This is where the Fujifilm XF33mm f/1.4 R LM WR came in.
Standard Focal Length, Above Standard Performance
As this is a 33mm lens which works out to be 50mm in 35mm format (full frame), I didn’t have this focal length covered so it could easily fill that gap. A long time ago I only liked lenses with a 35mm equivalent but after owning the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM that all changed. This lens helped me to appreciate the 50mm field of view.
Considering I was already happy with the performance of the XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR I figured this 33mm would give me similiar performance and it doesn’t disappoint. If you are the type of Fuji shooter who prefers SOOC (straight out of camera) JPEG’s then you’ll find the color, contrast and sharpness to be excellent right off the bat. When you load a RAW file into LR, you will notice less sharpness compared to the JPEG but this is true of all cameras as the JPEG is a processed file.
For a carry around lens like this I mainly use it for taking photos of food while I’m out, the occassional street shot or portait and even a Cityscape if this focal length suits the location I’m at. Since in my type of shooting there’s nothing related to sports or really fast moving subjects, the need for lightning fast AF isn’t a major requirement.
Does this statement mean the AF is bad on this lens? Certainly not.
The lens hasn’t failed me yet in terms of getting the shot I want. I’ve found the AF to be very fast and accurate, as much as the X-S10 will allow at least. With many of the current and older Fuji bodies (excluding the X-H2, X-H2S and X-T5) the AF isn’t their strong point and they tend to find eyes where there aren’t any.
I wouldn’t fault the lens for this and I’m sure paired with one of the newer mentioned bodies, the AF could rival some of the top performers.
Easy On The Eyes?
From everything I’ve read, a lot of Fuji owners like more vintage style lenses which this obviously doesn’t match that description of this lens.
This may be wrong here but I find there’s two types of Fuji owners, those who prefer the more manual vintage style and those like me who that prefer a more modern styling lens. If you fall under the latter then this lens is definitely for you.
I’ve seen quite a few critisims over the size on these newer LM lenses and as someone who is used to full frame lenses they are small to me, but I could understand the frustration. Personally I want the best performing lens in the smallest package possible. Although this is larger than an older lens like the XF 35mm, it’s not leaps and bounds bigger and is still a very reasonable size.
If Fuji had for example added lens image stabization then the lens would have been even larger, but I don’t think that is very common in Fuji’s designs from what I can see.
It really comes down to the fact that this lens is still a small size for an f/1.4 lens, the weight is light and very manageable and the build quality is still excellent. This is really want you want in not only a carry around lens, but one that can really span across many different genres.
What I’d Change
This simple way to put it is not much to be honest.
I really like this lens and I can’t really fault it in any areas. You could ask for it to be smaller, lighter or stronger built but you can say that for any lens really.
I know this lens is larger compared to many other Fuji offerings such as the 35mm f/1.4 but that is likely due to the linear AF motor which is a trade off I’d happily accept.
The only thing I guess I’d change is the aperture blades to be 11 blades which would make the specular highlights even rounder. Currently they still look great as you can see in the sample images further down the page, the 9 aperture blades more than do the job for now.
If you’re the type who loves the 50mm focal length (in full frame equivalent) then this is an amazing lens for your everyday type shooting. Although larger than the older and slower Fujifilm 33/35mm lenses, this is by no means a big or heavy lens which makes it great to carry around. It resolves a great amount of detail with beautiful bokeh. Overall this is a great lens for any Fujifilm shooter to own and use which I highly recommend.
What I like
- Image sharpness
- Size and weight
What I don’t Like
- Could be a bit cheaper
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