I got my second Fuji lens a couple of days ago. I surprised myself a bit.
Almost always, historically, I've gotten a moderate wide / normal as my first lens, a moderate tele as my second lens, and then I've planned to get a wide-angle as my third lens. I usually don't actually go that far. The only time I took a metric was years ago, but at that time my lens usage was 80% normal, 15% short tele (mainly portraits), and 5% wide angle. So what I've found is that I can get by without the wide angle. I mind that missing 5% less than I would miss the cash that a nice wide angle costs.
I broke with my tradition this time, and bought a wide. Despite the siren song of the new XF 16mm ƒ/1.4 R WR—tempting as it is—I bought the somewhat older XF 14mm ƒ/2.8 R, mainly on the recommendation of Stephen Scharf, a TOP reader whose technique is excellent and who often sings the 14mm's praises.
These are just a few test shots I made in the kitchen.
I opted for the 14mm over the 16mm primarily because I've always found with wide angles that a few extra millimeters often makes a big difference, and, with the kinds of things I tend to shoot with wide angles—mainly, indoors, although not always "interiors"—I just don't usually need a lens of high speed. And I'm usually shooting for more depth of field, not less.
The 14mm is reasonably small and light, too—only about 8 1/3 ounces and a little over 2 1/2 inches long. That's versus 13 1/4 ounces and a little less than 3 inches long for the new 16mm. The 16mm takes 67mm filters and the 14mm takes 58mm filters. It's not like the 16mm is huge—it's still a nice compact lens by 35mm standards—but the size and weight savings are meaningful to me.
The fact that the 14mm is more than $200 cheaper right now doesn't hurt, either. (They're both still expensive lenses, make no mistake.)
These shots have been manipulated every which way—lots of geometric manipulation in ACR's "Lens Correction" tab (the modern substitute for view camera movements) and lots of HDR.
This less manipulated shot of...well, ah, the dishwasher (sheesh, test shots) hints at some of the image properties of the lens, which I find very Zeiss-like in character.
It's a look I like.
I've had a blast shooting with this very fine little lens over the past few days. It seems like it will do for me. I haven't run it through my little battery of imaging and quality tests yet, but I will soon. But I like the lens so far.
I think my choice of a tele in this system is going to be surprising, too. That purchase might have to wait till Fall, though. One thing about this Fujifilm stuff: it ain't cheap.
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Featured Comments from:
Bruce Bordner: Well, welcome to the wide side! My lens use is probably the inverse of yours—I use wide to ultra-wide most of the time, and telephoto rarely. (Nikkor 14mm and 18–35mm on D800—feel my pain...but I love it.) That's why I prefer full-frame. Wide shots require getting close to (even inside) your subject. When composing, move around—a few inches or a different angle give drastically different effects. This can help you find a more/less distorted view. You will have more DOF than you need, usually. Watch out for your feet.
"Take it outside and go wild—try closeups to landscapes. Wide angles are my favorite toys."
Stephen Scharf: "Congrats, Mike! I love that lens. What has surprised me is just how versatile this lens is and how often I use it. I would estimate 35–40% of my shots on my interchangeable lens Fujis are using this lens. It's not only wonderful for interiors, architecture, but landscape, for example here and here.
"And, even motorsports photojournalism. I use this lens almost exclusively when working paddock and pit lane. Look forward to your lens tests. The optical bench tests on this lens are outstanding; optical distortion is so low that it is essentially at the residual of the test methodology."