Compared: Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 vs XF 35mm F/2

**Note, my full 23mm F/2 review is now complete!**

Fujifilm’s latest lens is the XF 23mm F/2 R WR, and its closest brother in Fuji’s system is the 35mm F/2 R WR. I have owned the 35mm F/2 R WR since I first purchased my X-Pro2, I got my hands on the 23mm F/2 R WR this past Monday. I am working on my full 23mm F/2 R WR review, but in the mean time I wanted to do a quick comparison between the two weather resistant F/2 Fujifilm prime lenses.

The Fujifilm XF 24mm F/2 R WR and XF 35mm F/2 R WR side by side from the front.

The first thing one would notice about these two lenses is that they look almost identical, in passing, side by side, it would be difficult to say which one you were looking at . That said, the 23mm F/2 R WR is the larger of the two lenses, measuring slightly longer than the 35mm.

In terms of performance, the two lenses also feature fast, accurate, and incredibly quiet AF technology making these some of the fastest focusing lenses in the Fujifilm lens ecosystem. As you might expect, the 23mm lens being the newer of the two lenses, is a tad better in terms of its AF speed and accuracy, not a ton but enough to be noticeable if you are using both lenses interchangeably. It is also quieter – which is funny to say considering the 35mm is/was already one of the quietest lenses in the XF lens series.

It should go without saying, that these thoughts and conclusions are my own. I have tested both lenses on my X-Pro2 , and no other Fujifilm cameras at this time, so performance may differ slightly from body to body, specifically from  the current generation to the older generation Fujifilm cameras. (Though I would honestly be VERY surprised if that was the case)

Another difference that I noticed between these two lenses was in the resistance of the aperture ring. I never really considered the 35mm F2 to have a tough aperture ring to turn, but when compared to the 23mm F/2 that I have, there is a noticeable difference in the resistance needed to turn the ring and change your aperture. The 23mm F/2 does not require quite as much force to move the ring. I never would have said anything about the 35mm R WR’s aperture ring, but now with these two lenses side by side, I definitely prefer the lesser resistance of the 23mm lens. I will say though that this is definitely a subjective thing, as some of you may prefer the added resistance of the 35mm. There is also the chance that my 23mm lens is just odd or maybe my 35mm, and that in reality most samples are fairly similar.

The 23mm F/2 and 35mm F/2 are designed to offer the highest image quality possible in a small yet fast package that also does not interfere with the X-Pro2’s optical viewfinder. Obviously, my time with the 23mm so far has been minimal, but I have had the better part of a year with the 35mm F/2, and if the XF 23mm F/2 holds up as well at the 35mm has, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about for those looking into the 23mm.

I shot both of these lenses during a session the other day, and while I didn’t get super lab-testy (hint, I will very rarely ever do that) here are some sample shots from the shoot with a few images with each lens. I tried to pick a few shots that were at least somewhat comparable to each other.

XF 23mm F/2 R WR & XF 35mm F/2 R WR Sample Shots

Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 R WR shot on the X-Pro2
XF 23mm F2
XF 35mm F2
Fujifilm XF 23mm F2 R WR shot on the X-Pro2

The shots above have been lightly edited, so they are NOT SOOC, but if I was going to be posting a quick comparison of the two lenses I figured I needed to have some sample shots, and these were the quickest for me to grab. But I mean honestly people, the differences between the two lenses in terms of IQ, besides the obvious difference in field fo view due to the different focal lengths, is minimal – both lenses have great IQ when paired with my X-Pro2.

Anyway, I don’t really want to get into it much more that I already have. This was just supposed to be a quick look at these two lenses in Fujifilm’s new F/2 WR prime series, how similar they look stylistically, and how I feel they compare in terms of real world use/performance.

I hope this helps any of you who have been looking into either or both of these lenses, be on the lookout for more content similar to this with both the XF 23mm F/2 and the 35mm f/2 in the future. Have a great Friday!

 

PS – If you are interested in my initial thoughts on the 23mm F/2 R WR , I wrote it up over on The Phoblographer, here. I will have some more thoughts towards the beginning of next week here on my site. 

7 Comments

  • Leszek Wronski
    I heard, that here is some distortion with 23mm f2 lens involved, which is not present with 35mm f2 lens. What do you think?
  • Thanks for the quick comparison. I totally agree with you on all points. Except for the focal length, you can expect the same IQ and performance from each other. I also agree and find the 23mm f/2 to have slightly better AF (speed & accuracy), but only by a little, and particularly agree about the manual focusing experience.. right off the bat, manually focusing seemed better.. hard to explain, but it seemed easier, responsive and just felt "right".. not that the 35mm f/2 is bad, but I feel manual focusing with the 23 is a little more pleasurable. Nice photo examples, I know you said not SOOC, but whatever, still nice.
    • Thanks! I agree, the 35mm isn't bad, but the 23mm is for sure slightly more refined -- but that makes sense, Fujifilm was able to analyse the 35mm and see what needed tweaking and tweak it. I'll bet the 50mm F/2, when it comes out, will be even slightly better than the 23mm. Regardless, both great lenses, happy to have both in my kit.
      • Yes, agree again. I am looking forward to the 50mm f/2 when it comes out as well. I hope they can keep it at reasonable price point much like the 23 & 35.. maybe another $50 more at most so like $499? I have the 56mm f/1.2, but although the 50mm f/2 would be sort of close to the 56, it's different enough in a number of ways. 1) size and weight.... probably, all the f/2 WR lenses of this style & class seem to follow the same philosophy, I imagine the 50 will basically be the same cylindrical diameter, just a little longer still.. that's what it looks like from the few early pics of it. 2) sometimes the 56 can be a bit long, the 75mm equiv. focal length of the 50 would give just enough added reach and tighter composition without too much.. great to carry around in a kit and probably more useful because of that. 3) if you're a big OVF user, as I am, the f/2 WR lenses cater to the X-Pro2 and OVF use very well so I'd like that less obstructed view of the OVF with the 50mm f/2 over the 56. Lastly, a lot of people want another f/2 WR lens in the wider end, mostly for the 16.. I admit, that would be nice and the 16mm f/1.4 is pretty big. But, I don't think it is the best choice just because if they could get it more compact and also block less of the OVF, you couldn't effectively use it with the OVF anyways since the framelines are outside of the OVF even at minimum OVF magnification. The last usable focal length with the X-Pro2's OVF is the 18mm.. Yes, they have the 18mm f/2, I have it also, but I wouldn't mind if they updated it. Not that I ever considered the optics bad as some proclaim, but just to get that same f/2 WR design and build as the recent ones we're talking about here would be a nice update to one of the 3 original Fujinon X lenses. If it had to be different besides the build and presumably better optics, perhaps give it a larger max aperture.. I'd like a f/1.4, but that may not fit within the compact design.. even a f/1.8 might be nice and noticeably better.. but, I can't say I've ever seen Fuji make a f/1.8 lens.. anything close is either f/1.4 or f/2.