Long-term Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 Review

Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 Review; close-up of the lens on a tripod

Overall Score:8.1

After 15 months of use throughout Thailand and Laos, the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 has become our go-to choice for architectural and landscape photography. Disclosure: this review has been solely informed by our real-world experiences with this lens and will not be overly technical in nature.

Durability: 8.5
Functionality: 7.5
Performance: 8.0
Aesthetics: 8.5
Value: 8.0

Construction: 10 Elements in 7 Groups

Aperture Type: Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/22

Focus Range: ~18cm – Infinity

Focus Motor: Stepping

Max Magnification: 0.12x

Dimensions: 65 x 58.4 mm

Weight: 235 g

Weather Resistance: No

Filter Size: 58mm

Manufacturing Country: The Philippines

Length of Test: ~18 months.

Acquisition: we purchased the Fujifilm XF14mm f/2.8 with our own cash. 

Camera Used: Fujifilm Xh-1.

Image Processer: Capture One.

Countries: Laos and Thailand.

Weather: Hot and Humid (highest temp 39 C), Cold and Dry (lowest temp 12 C). 

The XF 14mm f/2.8 is ideal for:

  • Landscape & Architecture.

The lens isn’t ideal for:

  • Street & Everyday Carry.

Table Of Contents

XF 14mm f/2.8 Durablity

Fuji Build Quality

Construction: Fujifilm’s XF 14mm f/2.8 is constructed using a combination of metal and high-quality plastics, which is in line with the other lenses in Fujifilm’s XF lens lineup.

Specifically, the lens barrel is made of metal and features a smooth, matte finish. While the focus and aperture rings are also made of metal with deep grooves, giving them a solid feel and precise control. As for placement, the focus ring is located at the front of the lens, which allows for easy manual focusing via a clutch mechanism that has a distance scale engraved onto the barrel.

Last but not least, the lens mount is made of metal and is designed to have zero “play” with Fujifilm’s X-series cameras. It has a tight fit that ensures a secure connection between the camera and the lens. 

In terms of overall durability, the XF 14mm f/2.8 has proven to be a well-built lens that is designed to withstand regular use in a variety of conditions. Its high-quality construction makes it a reliable choice for photographers who demand top-notch performance from their gear.

Functionality

In-Field Versatility

Landscape: the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens is an excellent choice for landscape photography for several important reasons.

First, its focal length of 14mm provides a wide angle of view, allowing you to capture more of the scene in a single shot which makes it ideal for capturing expansive landscapes. This means that you can capture sweeping vistas, panoramas, and other exaggerated perspective shots that might be difficult or impossible to achieve with a narrower lens.

Second, the lens has a relatively fast maximum aperture of f/2.8, which allows you to shoot in low light conditions and still achieve a shallow depth of field. This can be useful when shooting landscapes with foreground elements, as it can help to blur out distractions and draw attention to the main subject. This can create a dynamic and immersive sense of space in your photos, which can be particularly effective in landscapes with dramatic natural features like mountains or waterfalls.

Third, the lens is designed to deliver sharp and detailed images, even when shooting at wider apertures. It features two aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion elements, which help to minimize distortion and chromatic aberrations, resulting in images with high resolution and contrast.

Architecture: in addition to capturing landscapes, the XF 14mm f/2.8 also excels at capturing the beauty and grandeur of architectural structures with precision and impact.

Thanks to its wide 14mm focal length, the lens’ angle of view is ideal for capturing the full breadth of buildings and structures, even in tight spaces. It allows you to fit more of the building into the frame, resulting in more dramatic and impactful compositions.

In regards to rectilinear distortion correction, the lens features 10 elements in 7 groups, including two aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion elements, which help to reduce distortion and other optical aberrations.

Distortion is specifically well-controlled as the lens produces straight lines even when shooting at close range. This is important when photographing buildings and structures, as it helps to avoid the “bowing effect” that can occur when using other wide-angle lenses.

Street: In all honest, the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 isn’t be the best choice for street photography due to its ultra-wide-angle focal length. The wide field of view makes it challenging to isolate subjects and has a tendency to introduce distortion when shooting close to people, potentially making them appear elongated at the edges of the frame.

Additionally, the lens requires you to get uncomfortably close to subjects which will ultimately attract their attention. This can make it difficult to blend into the surroundings and capture authentic, natural moments. 

With that being said, renowned photographers like Bruce Gilden, Harvey Stein, and Mark Cohen were able to selectively use a 21mm full-frame lens (a 14mm APS-C equivalent) for capturing street moments. So take our subjective opinion, with a grain of salt…

Portraits: generally, ultra wide-angle lenses aren’t considered the best choice for portrait photography because they can distort facial features, making the subject appear wider or more elongated than they actually are. However, in some situations, an ultra wide-angle lens like the XF 14mm f/2.8 can be used effectively to create a unique and compelling portrait.

One advantage of using an ultra wide-angle lens is that it allows you to include more of the surrounding environment in your portrait. This can be particularly useful when you want to convey a sense of place or context in your image. For example, if you’re photographing a musician, you might want to include their instrument or the stage they’re performing on in the background. Similarly, if you’re taking a portrait of a couple, you could use a wide angle of view to show them standing in a beautiful landscape.

Another advantage of using an ultra wide-angle lens like a 14mm for portraits is that it can create a sense of intimacy between the subject and the viewer. By getting closer to your subject with a wide-angle lens, you can create a sense of depth and dimensionality that can be difficult to achieve with a longer lens. This can be particularly effective when shooting environmental portraits, where the subject is shown in their natural surroundings.

Snapshots: for daily carry, using an ultra wide-angle lens for snapshots allows you to capture more of the scene within a single frame, which can be useful for capturing the atmosphere of a place or the overall mood of a moment. The Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 can certainly do this, as it has a 21mm equivalent focal length on a full-frame sensor, which is quite wide but not wide enough to be perceived as garish.

However, it’s worth noting that there are some drawbacks to using an ultra wide-angle lens for daily snapshots. One is that it can be challenging to compose images effectively, as the wide field of view can make it difficult to isolate your subject or create a strong focal point. This can lead to images that feel cluttered or lack a clear visual hierarchy.

That being said, an ultra wide-angle lens can be used in a variety of shooting situations, from capturing architecture and landscapes to photographing people and events. This makes a wide-angle lens like the XF 14mm f/28 a versatile choice for photographers who want to be prepared for whatever the day throws their way.

Performance

Lens' Practical Utility

Auto / Manual Focus: the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 offers both autofocus and manual focus capabilities, allowing photographers to choose the focusing method that best suits their needs.

In terms of autofocus (AF), the lens features an internal focusing system that is driven by a high-torque DC coreless motor. This results in clunky but relatively accurate autofocus performance, at least within the right conditions.

For AF-C, this lens is generally unreliable for fast-moving subjects and is relatively noisy – it also likes to focus hunt even with static subjects. Like most of the first-generation XF lenses, it’s best to use back-button AF-S, which can be leveraged as a powerful tool for increasing your control over AF accuracy while also improving your chances of capturing sharp, in-focus images.

In addition to autofocus, the XF lens also features manual focus (MF) capabilities. The manual focus ring is well-damped and provides a smooth, precise feel when adjusting focus – although the throw is long like most focus-by-wire designs. The lens also features an incredibly useful clutch mechanism with a distance scale that allows you to pre-focus the lens at a specific distance, which is useful for capturing action or fleeting moments.

Sharpness: the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 is known for its sharpness in the center of the frame, even at wider apertures, and its ability to maintain razor-like sharpness across the entire frame when stopped down.

In addition to our positive experiences with the lens’ sharpness, several reviews and tests have shown that the lens is capable of producing crispy images, with great detail and clarity. For example, DxOMark rates the lens as having “excellent” sharpness performance, particularly in the center of the frame. Similarly, lens reviewer Christopher Frost on YouTube praised the lens for its sharpness, saying that “it’s just as sharp as any other Fujifilm prime lens I’ve tested.”

Of course, the overall sharpness of the XF 14mm f/2.8 depends on a variety of factors, such as shooting conditions, camera settings, and post-processing techniques. However, this lens is rightfully considered to be one of Fujifilm’s top performers in terms of and sharpness – at least for the first generation of XF lenses.

Image Quality: as expected from a Fujifilm prime lens, the XF 14mm f/2.8 has excellent optical performance, with sharpness, contrast, and color rendition that’s capable of producing high-quality images.

In particular, this lens has accurate color reproduction, which can help ensure that colors in your images look natural and true-to-life. This can be particularly important in genres like landscape or travel photography, where capturing the rich colors of a scene can be important for conveying emotion and a sense of place.

Value

Primary Alternatives

While he Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 is a high-quality lens that is well-regarded for its optical performance and build quality, it’s not as fast or as precise in terms of autofocus performance compared to some of its competitors.

For example, compared to the Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 lens, which is faster and has better autofocus performance, the XF 14mm f/2.8 is not as responsive when it comes to focusing on moving subjects or in low light conditions. Similarly, compared to lenses from other manufacturers like the Viltrox 13mm f/1.8, the XF 14mm also lags behind in autofocus speed and accuracy.

That being said, the XF 14mm f/2.8 has other strengths, such as its lack of distortion and excellent color reproduction that sits within a compact and lightweight body. Ultimately, the choice of lens depends on the photographer’s specific needs and preferences, as well as their subject matter

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Lens Construction Weight Dimensions OIS? WR?
Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 10 Elements in 7 Groups 235 g 65mm x 58.4mm No No
Viltrox AF 13mm f/1.4 14 Elements in 11 Groups 420 g 74mm x 90mm No No
Samyang 12mm f/2 12 Elements in 10 Groups 212 g 72.5mm x 59.4mm No No
Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 13 elements in 11 groups 375 g 73.4mm x 73mm No Yes
Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 14 elements in 10 groups 385 g 77.6mm x 87mm Yes Yes
8.1/10 Rating

Our Overall Verdict

To sum up our thoughts on the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8, it’s a lens with exceptional image quality that’s commingled with minimal distortion. It produces vibrant colors and maintains good edge-to-edge sharpness even at wider apertures. If you frequently shoot wide-angle subjects, such as landscapes or interiors, this lens can be a valuable addition to your Fuji X-mount kit. 

On the other hand, if you primarily shoot subjects that require longer focal lengths or if you’re on a tight budget, investing in a different lens may be more practical. Additionally, if you already own a lens with a similar focal length, the XF 14mm f/2.8 might not provide any significant new capabilities that’ll justify the cost of an upgrade.

Ultimately, the worthiness of the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 depends on your specific photographic needs and budget. Consider your shooting preferences and assess whether the lens’s features align with your requirements before making a purchase decision.

More Sample Images from the lens are featured below:

The Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens garnered our appreciation for its notable attributes. Firstly, the lens boasts a solid build quality that instills confidence in its durability. Despite its robust construction, it maintains a compact form factor, which is particularly impressive for an ultra-wide-angle lens. This combination of durability and portability makes it an excellent choice for photographers on the go.

Furthermore, the XF 14mm f/2.8 lens exhibits exceptional sharpness and image quality, showcasing intricate details and vibrant colors in captured images. Its optical design minimizes distortion, ensuring accurate and true-to-life representations of scenes. This feature was particularly valuable for us when photographing architecture, landscapes, or other subjects where distortion-free imagery is crucial.

While the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens offers some appealing features, there are a few aspects that could be improved in a potential future version. One area for enhancement is the autofocus system. Upgrading to linear motor (LM) motors, which are known for their faster and quieter performance, would be a valuable improvement. This would result in more precise and efficient autofocus, especially when capturing fast-moving subjects or shooting in challenging conditions.

Another desirable upgrade would be the addition of weather sealing to a potential MKII version. Weather sealing provides protection against dust, moisture, and other environmental elements, making the lens more durable and reliable in various weather conditions. This enhancement would enable photographers to confidently use the lens in adverse weather conditions without worrying about potential damage or compromising its performance.

By incorporating these upgrades, such as LM motors for improved autofocus and weather sealing for enhanced durability, a future version of the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens would address some of the limitations and elevate its overall performance, making it even more appealing to photographers seeking a high-quality wide-angle lens.

The Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens can be a valuable tool for photographers, offering several compelling features. First and foremost, its compact size makes it highly portable and convenient for photographers who prefer to travel light or require a discreet shooting setup. The lens’s smaller form factor allows for easy handling and effortless integration into a photographer’s gear setup.

In addition to its compact size, the XF 14mm f/2.8 lens boasts excellent optics, delivering exceptional image quality. With its wide-angle focal length, it allows photographers to capture expansive landscapes, architecture, and environmental portraits with remarkable detail and clarity.

Furthermore, the XF 14mm f/2.8 lens is known for its impressive sharpness and minimal distortion, ensuring accurate and distortion-free image reproduction. Its advanced optical design and use of high-quality glass elements contribute to minimizing aberrations and enhancing overall image quality.

Overall, the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens can be an excellent choice for photographers seeking a compact, high-performing wide-angle lens. Its combination of compact size, excellent optics, and wide aperture make it a valuable tool for capturing stunning landscapes, architecture, and other subjects with exceptional image quality.

Longevity

Usage Timeline

Excellent

Initial Usage

As expected from Fujifilm, the XF 14mm f/2.8 is meticulously constructed and is built surprisingly well. So far, so good.

Excellent

Fine

18 Months of Usage

The XF 14mm f/2.8 is still going strong but it does have some cosmetic scratches. After extensive travel throughout Thailand and Laos, there’s no damage to report – optics are still solid.

Fine

Fine

24 Months of Usage

Still solid… nothing new to report.

Fine
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