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Hello everyone!

I'm currently using both 35mm f2 and 23mm f2 and I have recently started thinking about upgrading one of them to the f1.4 version. And I was wondering on which of these lenses I will feel most difference after upgrade? Because currently I can't afford both:/


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If you talk image quality (sharpness across the frame, chr. aberrations, contrast...) the 23/f2 has most room for improvement. It's not a bad lens, but nothing special either. Wide open it has quite soft edges and corners. Both in sharpness (line pairs) as well as in contrast. The lens also suffers a bit from longitudinal chr. aberration (color fringing). The 23/1.4 MkII is much better in terms of IQ, but bear in mind it is also larger and heavier and if you use it with an X-Pro body, it blocks a fair part of the optical viewfinder.

The 35/f2 and 33/f.14 are much closer in terms of IQ. It's just that the f1.4 is a stop faster. One difference though (apart again from size and weight and OVF impact): the 35/f2 has significant focus breathing whereas the 33/f1.4 doesn't. That could be important when you do video work.

The great thing about both the 23/f2 and the 35/f2 (and the 50/f2 as well) is their compactness and usability for street photography. Robust little pocketable lenses, weather resistant, decent performance at a reasonable price. Though the f1.4 are still not large lenses, you don't put them in your jeans pocket that easily... Next to that, they're pricy. 

Edited by Herco
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  • 7 months later...

I use the 23 f/2 and the 35 f/2 all the time. Having tried the f/1.4 versions, for my mind on X-T30-II bodies they are too large and in my opinion not worth the cost delta. I have heard the 23 f/2 is a little soft at the edges but I must admit I'm very happy with my copy. I think there are likely some production differences or differing ideas of good IQ here, as some people like me think the IQ is quite good and some that are not so convinced. I use the 16mm f/2.8 as well and I quite like that. Next I think it will be a 50mm f/2 rather than "upgrading" the 23mm or the 35mm. My opinion is that the compact primes are all decent enough IQ for what they are and I'll give up the possible IQ improvements of the f/1.4 versions for f/2 version's compact size and light weight (and significantly lower price). Likewise, I bought the XF 55-200 zoom over the 100-400 lens, sacrificing reach I'll rarely use for a much more compact lens, with decent enough quality, at a significantly lower price. If you take into account the loss you will make selling one of those 2 compact primes, coupled with paying considerably more for the extra aperture, to my mind it isn't worth it. The f/2 aperture is much wider than that on any of the zooms which many people use as their primary glass every day.Your mileage may vary of course.

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