The XF 23mm F/2 

The second lens in Fujifilm's compact F/2 prime series, following the 35mm F/2 R WR, the 23mm F/2 R WR is a joy to use and pairs particularly nicely with the company's flagship X-Pro2. 

My Complete XF 23mm F/2 R WR Review

The first lens that I bought for my current Fujifilm kit was the 35mm F/2 R WR, and it was a lens that I was highly skeptical about given its somewhat unique design and styling. But after having it, almost exclusively, with my X-Pro2 for the better part of 2016, I was in love with the lens. So when Fujifilm announced the 23mm F/2 R WR to join the 35mm F/2, I knew that it was a lens that I wanted to add to my kit. I have now had plenty of time with Fujifilm's new 23mm and I am here today to bring you my full review of this exciting new lens. 
I am not sponsored by nor have I received any direction or compensation from Fujifilm in regards to this review. The thoughts, opinions, and conclusions shared are my own.
Front Filter Size
43mm
Focal Length 
23mm (~ 35mm Full Frame)
Aperture Range
Minimum: F/2
Maximum: F/16 
Other Key Features
Weather Resistant, 9 Aperture Blades, Internal Focusing
Design

Small & Compact. 

As I mentioned above, this 23mm F/2 lens is the second in Fujifilm's compact F/2 prime lens series (and will be joined in 2017 by the 50mm F/2). This series of lenses are designed to be perfect for street and travel photographers, people who need light weight and compact lenses without sacrificing too much in terms of their low light capability. This series has its unique tapered design to help it stay out of the view of the X-Pro2's optical viewfinder. 
Function

Straight Forward and Simple

Just like the 35mm F/2, the 23mm F/2 features an aperture ring at the base of the lens as well as a focusing ring that takes up a good 1/3 of the lens body. The focusing ring is smooth and easy to turn with just the right amount of resistance to let you know you are actually focusing (though most of you will probably never notice due to using AF most of the time). 

Similarly, the aperture ring has nice click stops and is easy to turn when you decide that you need to change your aperture. Overall, no complaints in terms of this lens's function. 
Experience

All Around Solid Performance

I have been able to use the Fujifilm XF 23mm F/2 R WR in a variety of shooting situations from street photography, to urban geometry as well as my usual dark and moody boudoir. In every situation my experience with this lens was great , it just worked without being in my way or causing me to question if I should be using it. 

I will say though that the lens, when paired with my X-Pro2 does slow down a fair bit in terms of AF in low light. It's not slow by any means, but it is not nearly as snappy as it is in good light. 

XF 23mm F/2 R WR Sample Gallery

XF 23mm F/2 R WR

Paired with X-Pro2

The gallery you see here is made up of images shot entirely with the XF 23mm F/2 R WR when paired with the Fujifilm X-Pro2. Owners of the X-T2 can except similar if not identical image quality, while older generation X-Series owners could see slightly different results.

Overall Thoughts and Conclusions

Now let's just recap my thoughts on this lens and give you my overall thoughts and conclusions. I am very happy with this lens overall, I just want to get that out of the way first. Having spent most of the year with only the 35mm F/2 paired with my X-Pro2 it was a nice change of pace to have a 35mm equivalent lens for when I am shooting in tighter spaces like in my client's homes. I've found that I have actually been reaching for the 23mm lens much more often now than I do for the 35mm, I am not sure if this is just because it is new so I am focused on it, or if I am just more drawn to the look/field of view more. Time will tell.

One of the things that I just love about the 23mm F/2, as well as the 35mm F/2, is that it is small, fast, and just works. There are no big sticking points with this lens at all, probably the worst 'issue' (if you want to call it that) is how much is slows down in low light. It is not unbearable, but if you are used to how it focuses in daylight/good light, than you may find yourself thinking to yourself how slow it is in your head. In reality, though, its still pretty quick in low light - just not as quick.

In terms of distortion, it is a 23mm lens, so you can expect there to be some, and sure enough, it is there. But overall I feel like it is fairly well controlled as is. In some situations, you may find it noticeable and in others, not so much. Regardless, its something that is almost unavoidable given the focal length, and I didn't find it to be a big deal personally.

There has been some reports of this lens being a little on the softer side when shooting at close distances. I can't say that I noticed this all that much, but there is a slight sharpness falloff at closer distances. Again, nothing that I felt was all that much of a big deal. Some reviewers like to make a big deal out of the dumbest crap, and I am not one of them, the lens is sufficiently sharp close, far, wide open, and stopped down. Anyone who makes a big deal out of it is nit picking, in my opinion.

Like I said at the start of this section. Overall, I have really enjoyed this lens and I am so happy that I invested in it for my kit. I have been enjoying it greatly in my boudoir work and I feel like it would make a great addition to any kit. So if you are asking me for a recommendation on this lens, consider it given. If you already own the 23mm F/1.4 I would say just stick with that, the differences between the two lenses is negligible in most ways, however, if you are considering both lenses, I say go with the 23mm F/2 R WR - you won't regret it. 

My XF 23mm F/2 Rating

Build Quality
95%
Image Quality
90%
Low Light AF Performance
75%
Good Light AF Performance
95%
Value
80%
Overall
90%

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Fujiflm XF 23mm F/2 R WR
$ 449
Fujiflm XF 23mm F/2 R WR

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