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Wednesday, 29 July 2020


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A vote for the focal length. I shoot only full frame, that at 21mm Loxia being on the camera most of the time.
It is the way I "see" stuff, which is landscape 95% of the time.

I don't know much about the 16mm f/2 (Fujicron), but the other two are both great lenses -- sharp as hell with minimal geometric distortion or CA. Either one is a fine choice, and I think the choice really ought to come down to focal length rather than anything else. Personally, I tend to go as wide as possible with ultra-wides. I have the 14mm f/2.8 and I see no reason to buy either of the 16mm lenses.

I don't agree that the 16mm f/1.4 is "better" just because it's faster. f/2.8 is fast enough for anything I would want to do with an ultra-wide lens, and like many super-fast lenses, the 16mm f/1.4 isn't as sharp below f/2.8. Sharpness certainly isn't everything (as Cartier-Bresson noted, it's a "bourgeois concept", i.e. the sort of technical detail that people obsess over if they have no clue about art), but I just don't see many use cases for f/1.4 with an ultra-wide anyway. The IQ of today's sensors at high ISO levels is such that you'd practically have to be in the dark to need f/1.4 for light collection, and as you note, you're not going to get buttery bokeh with an ultra-wide at any aperture.

Modern glass and sensors are so good that unless you really need the speed the Fujicron seems like a slam dunk. My own superwide lens is a Tokina 11-16 2.8 on a D7100. Well built and sharp at all apertures (I'm not a pixel peeper so your mileage may vary). It's a zoom but I tend to use it at 11 most of the time.
It's not on the camera all the time but I do find myself using it more than I anticipated.

I've lived for two decades with wide angle preferences in my photographic life. Yet, depending on which camera I owned at the time, be it Canon, Nikon or Fuji, I only had certain "ranges" of wide angle available to me, with 24mm being the widest and, curiously, I never hankered for wider. Regretfully, I just learned what I've been missing.

The acquisition of a new camera and purchase of an adaptor for it, allowed me to borrow a 16-35mm Canon F2.8 (series II) zoom. It must be a good sample cuz it is exquisitely sharp on my Panasonic S1R. But the key point is it gave me the chance to really explore what the "downside" of 24mm is all about, especially the 18 to 22 or so range.

Now that I have also experienced the "bigness" of the FF world (camera, lenses, file sizes and resolution), more than ever does it call for keeping a foot in the Fuji APS-C ecosystem. To bring to it the experiences I've discovered in the FF world, the Fuji 14mm lens would do it. Attached to a light 26MP Fuji camera (doesn't really matter which one), that lens and my superb 18-55 F2.8-4 Zoom, would be a "fitting" (as in smaller, lighter & very competent) companion to my new FF Panasonic beast. Notice I didn't refer to it as a "backup" either.

I have always been a 24mm (full frame) user, having one from both Pentax and Nikon for decades. I have traveled the world with a minimum set of prime lenses, and 24mm was my go-to wide-angle. It pairs well with a 35mm (full frame) because of some basic math.

When holding the 35mm horizontal the side to side coverage is equal to the side by side coverage with a 24mm held vertically. My brain sees this way and I choose the lens based on how important the composition is for landscape or portrait orientation.

I own both of the Fujifilm 16mm f/1.4 and the f/2.8 models. If you go to Amazon and look up the f/2.8 version, my review is number one, and explains why I have both.

The f/1.4 is spectacular in every way. It has a well earned reputation and the hype is real. With the electronic shutter of the Fuji bodies, I shoot at full aperture often in bright sun and get images that I couldn't with DSLRs. If you go this route, I find the optional square hood to be better for the lower profile than the large petaled hood that comes with the lens.

With that said, I use the f/2.8 model about 4 to 1 times more often simply because it is so small and light. It is effortless to carry and a joy to wield on the street. It is optically fine from one stop down but more than good enough wide open.

When I do drag the f/1.4 out after an extended time, I am always reminded why it has such a good reputation. It is so big, so I need a specific reason to lug it. The f/2.8 slips effortlessly into a pocket.

In the end... I'm glad I have both. If this is a 15% lens, f/2.8 is fine.

Mike, I have owned both the 14 f 2.8 and the 16 f 2.8 and sold them both. The reason, I owned both the 10-24 f 4 and the 16-55 f 2.8 and found both of those lenses equal in image quality. Now to be fair there is a weight and size difference, but I find that I would rather have a very good zoom available to me when I am out shooting than to have to think about which lens to use and to keep switching primes. I am generally a travel and landscape shooter so that may be the reason. I will say both the 10-24 and the 16-55 are great lenses. I would rate them as some of the best I have ever used. When traveling I usually just take the 16-55 and the 50-200, which is a good lens as well. Eric

I remember when you got that lens......and you took pictures of everything with it and seemed to love it. If I remember correctly, you were surprised at just how much you enjoyed it. That's a wonderful thing. And when a lens gives you that feeling, you should keep it.

I would also add , that by FF standards , none of those lenses are particularly wide, with 16mm being the equivalent of the wide end of the most common ' normal zoom' the 24-70.

So having something a little wider than that would seem to make sense, especially given how much you liked the way it sees the world.

I have the 14 and the 16 1.4. Hard to go wrong with either one. If you like the 23 1.4 you will probably like the 16 1.4.

The Wide Zoom is on sale now also. It's $300 off:


To me there is a big difference between the 14 and 16. Numerically it may not seem like much, but they are significantly different in terms of perspective.

My vote is for the 14mm. It's purely a personal preference, but I feel if you're going to go there, then go all the way—16mm strikes me as simply not being enough when compared to the 14mm.

However, of those two 16s, I'd go with the Fujicron.

I'm not fussy about wide, I'd go with the Fujicron 16 mm and save the money for something else. And f2.8 is fine for me. Come to that, I find 24e mm too wide and would prefer 28e mm.
As an aside, I keep looking at the aperture ring on their lenses and feel a tug at my wallet to switch to Fuji. I've been shooting Olympus 4/3s and m4/3s for over a decade, Canon EF before that, but I still find myself reaching for an aperture ring after all these years, the way I learned on a Spotmatic in the late 1960s. I must have some as yet undiscovered muscle memory deficit syndrome.

I have the 16mm f/1.4 and the 10-24mm f/4 zoom. They suit different use cases: both stabilised on my X-H1, the 16mm Fujilux obviously works better in low light situations, the 10-24 works well as a good light walkabout lens when you need the 15mm (e). The wide end of the 16-55mm f/2.8 is also a great option although that lens with an X-H1 with battery grip is pretty heavy. If I had to choose just one it would be the 16mm f/1.4. It just suits what I shoot.

FWIW I have never cared about speed with ultra wide angles. I shoot them to get everything in focus. Fast apertures are of no use there. The Fuji 14 2.8 has always seemed like a great lens from all I have read. As for 14 vs 16 when trying to make such decisions I say you can always crop a shot, but can never put back something that was not there. If one is sure you don't need wider than the 16mm gives on APSC, then the 16 2.8 seems like a little jewel. The 1.4 lens, for me at least, is more money and more weight to carry around with little benefit. Others mileage may vary though.

I think you'll find what you want, Mike, is the 15mm f2.0.

Unless the angle of view is very similar (100mm and 105mm for example) I first decide what focal length I need, and then look at other factors like maximum aperture, size, price, etc. So I don't think I'd ever even ask myself such a question; either I'd want a 21mm (35mm-e), or I'd want a 24mm, or (conceivably) I'd want both. If I wanted both but could only afford one, I'd choose based on the next lens I have. If I have a 28, I'd probably get the 21; if I have a 35, I'd probably get the 24.

As it happens, my favoured prime-lens lineup is 20-28-50..., so I'd probably go with the 14mm Fuji. Besides, I have a strong (really strong) preference for small lenses. And f2.8 seems plenty fast, especially since wide lenses can be handheld at slower speeds, so a 21mm is effectively one stop "faster" than a 50mm.

As a caveat, I say all this not really knowing whereof I speak. I've never used a Fuji, my only digital camera is a 7-year-old Nikon DSLR, and the widest lens I've used on it is an 18-55 kit lens (27mm equivalent at the wide end). Though I have used wider lenses on film: a Voigtlander 25mm f4 which I eventually sold, and a Zeiss Flektogon 20mm f4 which I love unconditionally. I've used these to shoot 35mm film, usually between ISO 50 and 400. Now you know why f2.8 on a digital sensor sounds like low-light luxury to me :-)

Between the two and without hesitation, the 16mm f/1.4, for sure.

I'd go with a 16mm, although that's because the 24mm focal length is one of my faves on full-frame.

As stated, the 14mm is one ugly duckling of a lens, I curse it the field- but the results are... stunning! I'm tempted by the 16mm 2.8 simply because it's so small and cute, but I've always found the 24mm (equivalent) such an in between focal length- a little too wide for 28mm needs, and too long for 20mm. Then you have people saying it's sharp and others saying anything but- don't know if that's quality control, or individual viewpoint. I suspect it's adequate, as is the Fujinon 18mm (28mm equivalent) of which there's been long standing rumors of a new and improved on the way- not that I'm waiting, since when it does arrive it will no doubt be some giant, supersized megalith I will not want to carry...

After having exhaustively researched Fuji for myself, but ultimately deferring to Nikon, I came up with this lens lineup:

Fuji XF 14/2.8 R
Fuji XF 23/2.0 R WR
Fuji XF 35/1.4 R
Fuji XF 56/1.2 R

Pretty much what you said about wide angles and maximum apertures, plus the extra two millimeters of width from the 14/2.8 is significant.

Between the two? The 12mm Zeiss Touit.
On the wide end you can always crop a bit but you just can't go wider without multiple exposures and stitching.
Having both the 14Fuji nd 12Zeiss - both are sharp and work well. The Fuji is being sold and the Zeiss kept. Reason? As stated.

"Nobody buys an ultra-wide to get deliberate out-of-focus areas."
Yeah, people do. There are lots of YouTube reviews that mention the "extra bokeh" you get with faster wide-angle lenses.
Seems to me like driving a nail with a wrench, but I guess it's nice that everybody's different.

I used the 16/1.4 with an X-T2 in incredibly poor light -- indoors at a costume and environment show to celebrate Purim at our son's school a few years back.
It did a great job. I have since been using 24mm whenever the density of people reaches the maximum pre-coronavirus levels. And will again someday, I hope.

One Man's Super . . .

Speaking in FF equivalents:

My Sony zoom for FF starts @ 24 mm. My WA zoom starts @ 16 mm.

Five of the zooms I own or have owned for µ4/3 start @ 24 mm eq. One started @ 18, and the current WA one @ 14 mm eq.

Back in film days, I thought of my Zuiko 21 mm as Super WA and 18 mm as Ultra WA.

Now I have a Voightländer 10/5.6 for FF. They label it as Hyper WA.

I suggest that the 16 mm for Fuji APS, 24 mm eq. is just WA and the 14, 21 mm eq. is just barely Super WA.

The whole area of WA lenses has changed dramatically over the last decades. I used to lust over amazing, dedicated super wide 6x12 and 6x17 cameras with the Super-Angulon lenses. I have far wider lenses now.

"I've always felt that 24mm-e is as wide a wide-angle as I'll ever actually need"

From over here, you have rather narrow tastes. \;~)>

As to why one might want such WA lenses, consider this ancient room in a church in Dublin.

Or these shots in canyons in So. Utah, a farm house in Bhutan, etc., where I also used a fisheye lens 'un-fished.'

All are about 150° AoV. And they are fine for web display. But the distortion correction seriously affects resolution away from center. Now, if I can ever travel again, I can get those shots with a rectilinear lens.

"Stretch" Moose

For my two cents, getting to an effective 20 or 21 mm is vital - if I need to be really wide, 24mm is usually not enough.

That's a very easy choice - for me at least! - based on the specs you provide. I'd get the 14/2.8 smaller, lighter, smaller filters I already own, and so on. As far as speed is concerned, the difference between a 2.8 lens and 1.4 is only DOF anymore given modern digital sensors. For what I'd photograph with a superwide (landscapes) the narrow end of the DOF would be unused and so unneeded.

It's all stuff you mention and it's all where I'd be found :)

I'm a Nikon guy, but have to tip the hat to Fuji for nice choices in prime lenses for APS-C.

I'm a 50mm guy as primary, so am of a mind to agree with you on spending less on secondary less used lenses. I have 58mm 1.4G as my "primary prime" and have 28mm 1.8G as my second lens, which gets much less use, and cost less as well.

I'd probably go for the Fuji 35mm 1.4 as primary and the 16mm Fujicron as second lens if I was starting a Fuji system. 24mm-e is as wide as like to go, and I prefer 28mm-e.

For my use, I wouldn't consider 14 mm and 16 mm lenses as interchangeable considering the signifcant differences in perspective at such wide angles (approx. 21 mm vs. 24 mm in full-frame equivalent).

Which one do you yearn for? If the answer is none, regardless of why that's the case, save your money. And spend it on a weekend away to recharge your eyes and spirits. If pressed, more than 24mm ff equivalent is for real estate agents 😊

I had the 14mm and sold it with some other Fuji equipment to help pay for my darkroom project. I regret selling it now, but then regretting things is the one thing I’m really good at in life so that may not tell you very much.

I would get the 16 2.8 and be done with it. If I am not wrong, you have said that you are not much of a wide angle lens lover. Add to that 16mm is not really much of a soft bokeh focal length so why pay more for the fast aperture?

I've owned the Fujinon 14mm f/2.8 since it appeared on the market in 2013, and I think it is one of the finest lenses I've ever used. I bought mine LNIB in 2013 from Fred Miranda Buy/Sell forums for $700, which was a good price at the time as the lens sold new then for $900.

I've taken many memorable photos with it, and one of the things that have surprised me was just how versatile it has proven to be; I think I've taken about 40% of my photos with it.

And if memory serves, I recommended it to you back when you first got into the Fujifilm system.

Sweetheart of a lens.

[I think you did. --Mike]

There would be no dithering for me. The 21mm (e) is just my cup of tea, which surprised me a bit. I have the Zuiko 21/2, which is a stunning lens. I am quite comfortable with it on film, and it was my absolute favourite lens when I had the XPro-1. It draws so well whether on film (there is very little distortion) or APS-C, where its ~32 e FOV a very nice compromise between 28mm & 35mm.

I also had the Zuiko 24/2.8 and never got on with it. I really wanted to love it. But the photos I got with it just seemed awkward and weird, as if the geometry wasn’t just right. I’m sure it was me, because I sold it on to Bill Smith, another OM shooter in Oakville, ON, and he does nice work with it.

I agree the Fuji 14 maximum f2.8 if pretty much inconsequential although faster is better for shallow DOF (if you want it) on a smaller sensor.


Well, is there a bad choice in Fuji's lens lineup?

For wide angles, the 10-24mm has kept me happy for more than 5 years now and I can't see that changing anytime soon.

When I replaced my Nikon D800 with the X-T1, the 10-24mm replaced the Nikkor 16-35mm f/4. The difference in size and weight was shocking.

The size, weight and rendering of the 10-24mm are such that I never feel I should have gone with a prime.

I don't shoot Fujifilm, being a m43 denizen. But my experience from a long time ago when I bought a Brooks Veriwide thinking I'd be making giant prints (well, someone else making them for me) educated me on extreme wides. The Brooks had a Schneider Super Angulon 90mm f8 lens and it was a 6x9 format. 6x9 is a loosely interpreted format from what I gather, where the long side can be anywhere from 82 to 88mm. The Brooks was the latter. It had, IIRC, a 100 degree field of view.

What I learned while using it is that the distance gets far away real fast. I never could get the hang of composing with it, and it didn't help that it used a wire 'sport finder' for framing.

In short, for me, 24mm equivalent is about the widest I enjoy using, though I have always wanted a Zeiss Hologon, for no damn good reason. And there was a historic large format lens that was made of 2 opposing concave elements (I think it had a fan blade between the elements to minimize light fall-off) whose name I can't recall that intrigued me. I'd never shoot with it, but it was so curious. I thought it was a Heliogon, but a Googly search doesn't bring it up with that name.


If you shoot at night, two stops is useful. Otherwise, not. Slightly wider lens is always better. You can always crop a bit to get the exact same framing, but you cannot do the reverse. Smaller and lighter lens is always better, you will appreciate it more as time goes and you carry and use it more. It is hard to use a lens that is at home when you need it.

I shoot Pentax, but I feel I must say something. What is the point of 1.4 16mm lenses? It isn't bokeh, that's for sure. Low light? With a 16mm lens in low light, one can easily shoot at 15th of a second if needed, or one can adjust the ISO up, as most sensors today offer low noise up to ISO 1600. or you can lift the exposure because of the sensor's dynamic range. The challenge of making a wide-angle lens with an f1.4 aperture, that is distortion-free, is very hard to do and expensive. Wide-angle lenses are typically prone to the distortion that normal or telephoto lenses. I just don't get it, Mike.

My memory kicked in. I was thinking of the Hypergon.



If I used Fuji gear the 16mm ‘Fujicron’ would be my choice.
I would save some money so I could buy that sweet 27mm pancake, even if I already had the 23mm and 35mm.
I am not a superwideangleman anyway. Sóóó Seventies.
Hate distortions too, not to mention all those lovely background elements that suddenly disappear behind the horizon.
The last ten years I did not need anything wider than my 14mm Panasonic. Occasionally. Until last week when I wanted to take a picture of a monstrous building that did not fit the frame.
Now what should I do, buy a wider angle or start a petition that it should be torn down?

The 14 is nice for shooting the Milky Way.

I have used all 3, no bad choices. Back in 2013, ony the 14mm was available, and it is an excellent lens. However, too wide for me.

Since I am more comfortable with 16mm, I tried the 16 f/2.8, very nice for travel and landscapes. It might be the best choice for XPRO shooters since it blocks the OVF less than the f/1.4 lens.

Today I have settled with the 16 f/1.4, because I occasionally shoot star trails and nightscapes. The extra 2 stops come in very handy.

Timely reminder from a "wideangle perspective": World Snooker Championships start 31st July in Sheffield England. And the world numero uno is named 'Trump'. Go Figure! I still fancy O'Sullivan to hold his nerve.

A lot of people are questioning the utility of a wide angle f/1.4 lens, which I understand if your use case involves non-moving subjects in any kind of decent light...landscape for instance. But I find the 16 or 23 f/1.4 lenses, wide-open, to be very useful when shooting theatre, especially candids backstage, where it’s dark and people are on the move.

I also shoot a lot (thousands each year) of candids in-and-around my school for yearbook, slideshows, etc, and again find the extra stops very useful for fast moving kids in their environment.

That doesn’t seem like your kind of subject, Mike, so f/2.8 would probably be plenty.

I went with the 16mm f/1.4 as I like wide angle lenses and I wanted something that would work well in less brightly lit interiors. It is a superb lens optically, built like a tank and focuses fast and accurately.

I am not familiar with the other lenses you mentioned so my opinion is of limited value in this regard.

However, I really do wish Fuji would make an equivalent to the - by all accounts, excellent - Rokinon/SAMYANG 12mm f/2 with autofocus and the rest of the trimmings. I can live with a 12mm manual focus lens but the lack electronic communication by the lens with the camera is a bit too much, especially at the price the lens is being sold.

At the risk of offending the most discriminating of lens connoisseur, I'll admit to owning an Olympus 9mm (18mm-e) fisheye body cap for my OM-D.

It's an odd grouping of glass that doesn't even get the Zuiko badging, but with surprisingly good sharpness for its fixed aperture of f/8 and 140º angle of view, I have to recommend all m43 users get one because it's just fun.

In my 40 years of image making, a 24mm lens is as wide as I will go so the photo doesn't look stretched...so it gets lots of use. The old 24mm f2.8 nikkor was the best of the bunch even though its really an F5.6 for critical work. I've used the Leica 24mm f2.8R and the nikkor 24mmf2 extensively...both were soft with no bite. In today's digital age the 24f2 zeiss on a Sony A mount is very disappointing...it't character is like a stiff wire brush. The Olympus micro 4/3rds, 12mm f2 is not bad at f4. If you can use a Fuji 16mm f1.4 wide open or even at f2.8 for a decent 24"x16" exhibition print...Then sign me up.

I was never a wideangle guy. Except...I got a 24mm/2 (Nikon) in 1983 (for a trip to Australia and New Zealand), as an extension of the 28-90 Vivitar Series 1 I was using at the time. And then I got a 20mm (Nikon) (for a trip to England). And then I got a 17mm (Tokina I think?) (for a different trip to England). And then I got a 12-24mm (Sigma) (no excuse). So...maybe I got over it?

Don't have any of those any more, they were all for Nikon.

I never used the 17mm much.

Was very pleased to find the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 for Micro Four Thirds (15mm angle-of-view equivalent for full frame). It's manual focus, but the DOF is so monstrous that's not much trouble. It's plenty fast for something that wide. And it's fairly cheap (I think it was $500 when I got it). Wide lenses are a problem for M43. It's one annoyance is some visible barrel distortion (at least when a building line that's parallel to the edge of the frame is also close to the edge of the frame). At f/4 about '10' on the Adobe Camera Raw correction fixes it.

(Unlike some, I take no issue with lenses that use the optical capabilities to correct things that can't be fixed later, and to keep the price down, and depend on digital tricks to fix the things digital can fix perfectly. I'd be happier if it managed to encode that info into the files so ACR did it automatically when I turned on corrections, though.)

Rarely go wide but if I do, I prefer wider than faster. So the 14 mm for me.

As a former architectural photographer, wides have always been very important for me. In the 70's I got a 15/3.5 Nikon when it came out, and a 15/8 Hologon for my Leica M's. For 6x12 I got a 35mm, and for 4x5 I shot quite a bit with a 47, and for 8x10, a 90.

Now I shoot mainly with m43 and FF; for the former I have at the short end a very nice 7-14 and a great 7.5/2 lens, and for the latter a 10/5.6 (soon to be gone), a 10-18 zoom (also going), a 12-24 zoom and just now a 9/5.6 which is a lot better than the 10 and 10-18 zoom. Now I just wish someone would make a 4.5 or 5mm for m43.

I know the 14 Fujifilm a bit, and it is definitely a very well performing lens, but it just has a bit narrow an angle of view to be a superwide.

Most of my photography is in the 24mm to 105mm range (FF). I have a 24-105mm f4 zoom but I also have an excellent 24mm f1.4, which doubles as a 35mm in "APS" mode i.e the camera does the crop.

A fast 24mm does the usual suspects like architecture and landscapes, but it's also great for astrophotography (not my thing) and environmental portraits (which is).


What's on your personal lens roadmap?

I'd go with the slower one, unless you need the stops for a reason. And I do buy fast wideangles to get shallow DOF, sometimes.

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