23mm, lenses

Is the Fuji 23mm f2 soft at close focus distances?

Yes, at f2.

The ‘Fujicron’ 23mmf2 can focus as close as 22cm (8.7″), but if shot wide open the image looks soft.

Here’s a completely unscientific test with a cinnamon roll. These are shot at f2 and f4, same focus point.

Cinnamon roll at f2
Cinnamon roll at f4

Closeup at f2.
Closeup at f4

Basically, stop it down to f4 if you want sharpness up close. f2.8 isn’t as bad as wide open. At longer focus distances, f2 is plenty sharp across the frame.

The 23mm lens on the x100 series has similar behavior. It’s actually more obvious on that lens. Fuji used to tout this as a feature for soft focus portraits! It certainly hasn’t stopped anyone from loving that camera.

If you must have a wide-angle that’s sharp up close and wide open, check out the 23mm f1.4. If you’re willing to go even wider, the 16mm f1.4 focuses at just 15 cm (from the focal plane, so that’s basically right in front of the lens!), and is sharper than the 23 at f1.4.

My pick is the Fujicron. For 1/2 the cost and 1/3 of the weight of the 23mm f1.4 you get amazing image quality across the board, except for one edge case. With weather sealing and faster AF, it’s a great choice for travel, street, or everyday photography. Just stop it down a bit before taking closeups of your food. 🙂


Buy a Fujinon XF23mmF2 R WR on Amazon


7 thoughts on “Is the Fuji 23mm f2 soft at close focus distances?

    1. I nearly bought it but realized in the short that it is definitely soft up close at f2. I mean, what’s the point of that? I prefer the 35mm f2 or the 27mm f2.8 pancake is actually really nice and TINY.

  1. This is the answer I am looking for across the net. Mine is soft at F2 when shooting at close focus. I first though it was the lens’ issue but now I know it is not.

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