Est. 2020

Fujifilm XF 33mm f/1.4 Review

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Quick Facts

  • Weight: 12.7 oz/360 Grams
  • Filter Size: 58mm 
  • Angle of View: 46.9 Degrees
  • Max Aperture: f1.4
  • Minimum Aperture: f16
  • Image Stabilization: NO
  • Mount System: Fuji X

Intro

Retailing for $799, the Fujifilm 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR Lens is apart of the nicknamed “Fuji-lux” system. (Along with the Fuji 18mm f1.4 and the 23mm f1.4.) 

However, the 50mm equivalent (35mm on Fuji’s crop-sensor camera) has numerous competitors. After all, here are just a few native XF mount lenses that cover this valuable focal length. 

  • Fujifilm XC 15-45 F3.5-5.6
  • Fujifilm XF 16-80 F4
  • Fujifilm XF 16-55 F2.8
  • Fujifilm XC 35mm F2
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm F2
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4

So, with all of these competitors (many of which are cheaper), let’s see if the Fuji 33mm f1.4 is worth the price. 

Pros of the Fuji 33mm f1.4

Weather Sealing and Build Quality

*Please Note: Weather-Sealing  within the Fujifilm ecosystem is only available on the Fuji X-T1, X-T2, X-T3, and X-T4, and the X-H1. This is not an endorsement of testing weather-sealing on the X-A, X-E, or XT00 lines. 

For me, some form of weather-sealing is a must when it comes to cameras and camera lenses. (Granted, I do shoot with a Fuji X-T20 sometimes, but that is a different story.) 

However, the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 is weather-sealed, and I am confident in the weather sealing capabilities of the lens. This lens is well-built, similar to the Fujifilm 16mm f1.4.

I would never completely submerge this camera, but I have no problem taking photos of waterfalls or during small rain storms. It has a metal camera mount, metal barrel, metal focusing ring, etc. 

Small Filter Thread=Cheaper Filters

Speaking of rain storms, a filter makes cleaning the lens easy. Instead of touching the lens element, you are cleaning the filter glass. 

When it comes to the Fuji 33mm f1.4, the thread size of 58mm means less expensive filter costs. 

Autofocus 

Mostly, I was happy with the autofocus of the Fuji 33mm f1.4. Although not to the level of its competitors, the quad-linear motor of the lens is showing promising results. With new sensors and firmware updates, Fuji can make more progress in the next year than it has in the last three years combined.  

Photo Autofocus 

Regarding photo autofocus, it locks-on most of the time. Like most mirrorless cameras, it works even better during times of contrast between your subject and the background. I would say that the auto-focus for the photos will catch between 80-90%. 

I was using the following settings: CH, Zone-Tracking, AF-C. 

It can be difficult to stay in focus with these settings if you are using shallow Depth of Field. 

Video Autofocus 

I have learned how to set-up my Fujifilm cameras for video auto-focus, and here’s how.

“If you are vlogging, make sure your tracking setting for video is at least a 3.”

However, even without this feature, the Fuji 33mm’s video audio-focus is great. It’s quiet and fast. There is also no focus-breathing. 

The only issues when it comes to this lens for video is the focal length. 50 mm can be pretty tight for video. 

Sharpness/Image Quality

The Fuji 33mm f1.4 is sharp. And its image quality is outstanding. 

If 50mm is your favorite focal length, this is the one lens you should purchase.

Here are a few images zoomed-in to about 200% at the bottom left corner.  

Fuji 33mm f1.4 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f1.4 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f2 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f2 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f4 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f4 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f8 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f8 Bottom Left Corner

As you can see, there is a little bit more sharpness to the photo at f8 than at f1.4. However, I can hardly see any difference. I’m not a pixel-peeper. 

Fuji 33mm f1.4 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f1.4 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f8 Bottom Left Corner
Fuji 33mm f8 Bottom Left Corner

Cons of the Fuji 33mm f1.4

Price

At $800, you have to determine if the cost is worth it. 

The 35mm f1.4 retails for $599. 

The 35mm f2 (which is also weather-sealed) is $399. 

I mentioned this in the first couple of paragraphs of the intro, but spending $800 on a single lens is a luxury that many cannot affords. 

Full Transparency: I actually don’t own this lens. I rented it for a period of one week. (Although I wish I could say I owned it,)

Bokeh

The Bokeh (is it bo-kah or bo-kay?) is probably the most disappointing aspect of this lens. 

Especially when stopped down to f1.4, we have really bad cat eye. 

Bokeh Balls Example 3 _(Cat's Eye)

*Almost too narrow for travel

This is more of a personal style than anything wrong with the lens.

However, for my style of photography, this lens is almost too narrow. I like enveloping people in the scene, and this lens focuses more on the subject than the background. (I suppose in the camera sphere, this would be called “environmental portraiture.”) 

This can be fixed if you change the camera’s orientation from horizontal to vertical. 

However, with the new lenses (looking at you Fuji 23mm f1.4 MK II), I think the sharpness of the lens will allow you to crop to this 33mm focal length with no image quality lost.) I hope to get my hands on the 23mm soon, but for now I will keep using my marvelous 16mm f1.4

You can see more examples of this lens in the Sample Gallery at the bottom. 

What type of photography is the Fuji 33mm f1.4 good for?

The Fuji 33mm f1.4 is not a rather specialized lens, but it is a special lens.

If I was to use this, it would be for travel, especially one lens travel. It is versatile, but not in the typical sense like a zoom. 

The true versatility of this lens is the ability to shoot during both day and night while managing a respectable ISO and getting consistent, clear images. 

What is the Future of the X-Mount for Fuji?

The Fuji 33mm f1.4 brings up many questions about the future of the X-Mount series. We already know that the X-H2 is coming with about 40MP. 

However, the company doesn’t seem to be coming up with anything groundbreaking that entices people to adopt to the system. 

I’m increasingly becoming interested in the Canon R series, or even the Fuji GFX series. Their camera bodies and lenses are more exciting, and I cannot see a great future within the X series. Am I going crazy? Tweet me @worldembark and let’s have a discussion

My Final Notes

This is a good lens with quick autofocus, weather sealing, and can create a slightly-above-average bokeh. 

If I was to travel with one lens for an entire year using the Fuji ecosystem, this would be it. 

It does feel top-heavy with my Fuji XT-20, but I have not found a single lens that doesn’t. 

My Rating

Price: 3.5.5

Photography isn’t a cheap hobby, and I am still not used to the sticker shock. 

Reliability: 5/5

Paired with the X-T4 or X-T3, it is reliable and the auto-focus is good-enough. 

Functionality: 4.5/5

Rain or Shine, this lens will work. Day or Night, it will work for most things. 

Style: 5/5

Metal and well-built, the Fuji 33mm f1.4 is nice. 

Sample Gallery

I do believe people naturally gravitate to certain focal lengths, so I think it’s important to show a sample gallery. (Especially in regards to a prime lens.)

So, here are a few more photos taken with the 33mm f1.4 that show what this focal length looks like. 

Fuji 33mm f1.4 Sample Images 3
Fuji 33mm f1.4 Sample Images 1
Fuji 33mm f1.4 Sample Images 2

YouTube Review

 

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