Est. 2020

Fujifilm XF 33mm f/1.4 Review

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Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4

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

Who is the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 LM WR for?

The Fuji 33mm f1.4 is the best 50mm equivalent within the Fuji X ecosystem. It does not compromise on image sharpness or auto-focus, but does have potential compromises for portrait photographers. 

How many Fujifilm lenses cover the 50mm (ff) equivalent?

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 LM WR and the 23mm f1.4 LM WR.) 

The Fuji-lux lenses are built for a new camera sensor, probably the X-H2

However, the 50mm equivalent (35mm on Fuji’s crop-sensor camera) has numerous competitors. After all, here are just a few 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 (Close-Enough)
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 (Close-Enough)
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 (Close-Enough)
 
Also, there are third-party lenses by brands such as Viltrox. 

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

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. 

Also, in order to have a complete sealed set-up, you need to have specific lenses. The 10-24 WR, 33 WR, etc. Look for the WR on the lens description which stands for “weather-resistant.” 

For me, some form of weather-sealing is a must when it comes to cameras and camera lenses. It may not be rain, but weather-sealing helps protect the sensor and lens from smaller dust particles such as sand, ash, and other potentially damaging particles.

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. 

However, the 16mm f1.4 has a manual-focus clutch, while the 33mm f1.4 MF switch is on the body or in-camera. (Depending on make and model.)

Now, despite my confidence in this lens, I would never completely submerge this camera. However, 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, a filter makes cleaning the lens easy. Instead of touching the lens element, you are cleaning the filter glass. 

The thread size of 58mm means less expensive filter costs. (Smaller filter=cheaper cost.)

Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 Autofocus 

I was mostly 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 high 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. (Anything from F2.8 to below) OR if you are using fast-moving subjects. 

Video Autofocus 

You will have to use specific tracking settings in regards to video-autofocus to create a reliable experience. 

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

One of the biggest complaints of the Fujifilm ecosystem is the autofocus system. However, within the Fuji XF lens lineup, the 33mm f1.4 LM WR is one of the best. It’s quiet and fast. 

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 of the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4

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. (Look at the brown specks.) However, I can hardly see any difference. 

Sharpness matters when concerned with your medium. If you are going to be sharing photos on your iPhone, you might not need a sharp image. However, if you are going to be printing a 40”x60,” you are going to need a sharp lens.

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

Price of the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 LM WR

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. 
  • There are also numerous other zoom-lenses.

In my view, spending $800 on a single-lens is a luxury. 

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.) I did carry this lens with me everywhere, so I had probably 40 hours of photographs. 

Bokeh of 33mm f1.4 

Bokeh Balls Example 3 _(Cat's Eye)

As someone who used this lens for Christmas light photography, unfortunately, this meant the lens was borderline unusable in most circumstances. 

Is it a potential compromise? Yes. Could I work around it in most other scenarios? Yes. 

Focal length is 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 slightly-above-average bokeh. (When stopped down)

If I was to travel with one lens for an entire year using the Fuji ecosystem, this wouldn’t be it. However, if I needed Fujifilm’s most recent technology at the cheapest price-point, the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 LM WR is the first choice. 

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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