When it comes to APS-C cameras, Fuji may have some of the best currently available. This is one of the reasons why the X100F from Fuji is so popular. Even now months after its initial release, supply still has not caught up with the demand, the X100 series continues to be very popular.
Like many Fuji shooters, I was interested in how the lens on the X100F compares against another similar lens, the XF23 mm F2 R WR. For this comparison, my good friend Chloé was kind enough to let me borrow her Fuji XT-2. This is quite obviously an unfair comparison and not at all meant to be used as a way of deciding which camera is better. Both cameras are meant for very different purposes, however, curiosity can be fun.
Looking at the quick comparison above you can see how soft the X100F is when shot wide open, however, when you stop down to around F5.6 the difference is huge. The image sharpens up by a significant amount.
When compared to the 23mm on the XT-2, the first thing is the size difference. To some, the smaller lens may be an advantage, although, the ergonomics suffer greatly on the X100F. The manual focus ring is really tricky to use and the aperture ring always seems to be a little out of reach and awkward to find. In comparison, the 23mm lens is a joy to use with its much larger focus ring and an aperture ring that's always easy to find.
Holding the XT-2 is also much more pleasant with its better grip and button placement. I keep finding myself pressing the 'Q' button on the X100F which is a little frustrating not to mention the difficulty of holding it for long periods of time due to the lack of a proper grip.
I didn't test the focusing speeds extensively, however, in general, they didn't seem to be very different in performance. The XT-2 did seem a little snappier and nailed focus quicker and more easily. The X100F however, is no slouch and has been vastly improved when compared to the last model.
Also, the extra card slot on the XT-2 is extremely useful. Some may say it's not a big deal but whilst filming the video below, the SD card I was using in the X100F failed and it meant I lost all of the images that were taken on the day. It's not a huge issue for a camera like this but it's an issue nonetheless.
Comparing image quality from both lenses up close, the 23mm on the XT-2 is noticeably sharper. The X100F is known to be quite soft wide open and has an almost glowing haze over the image. This haze also means that adding sharpening in post doesn't improvge things very much.
As you start to stop down, around F4.5 it becomes very difficult to differentiate the two lenses. I might even go as far as to say the X100F could be a little bit sharper around F5.6. All in all both lenses perform incredibly well at most apertures although the X100F suffers quite badly wide open.
Some have suggested that when shooting at distances, the haze on the X100F isn't noticeable meaning both will perform at a similar level even wide open.
For a more detailed comparison please check out the video below.