Fuji users have been spoilt of the past few years with release after release of high quality glass. The lens line up is pretty much complete now covering all the classic short, normal and mid tele focal lengths a photographer could need. The lens choice is pretty straight forward for most users, need a 85mm equivalent ?....get the 56mm 1.2, need a macro..... get the 60mm 2.4, need a 70 -200 equivalent? get the 50 -140 2.8...and so on. One decision is not quite so simple though. If you need a 35mm equivalent, do you get the Fujinon 23mm 1.4 or an X100S/T?
The decision is not a easy one. You can purchase the prime lens with its nice a bright f1.4 aperture or go for the X100S/T with its fixed, not so bright and not so sharp f2 lens. If you shop around carefully you can pick either up for a very similar price and I went through the very same dilemma. I wanted a 35mm for street and weddings. I weighed up the pro's and cons and chose the X100s. I had some great use out of that camera and still use it a lot. After a year of shooting with the X100s I did find I was needing a bit more from that focal length. Winter weddings in the UK can be quite demanding of the low light performance from a camera system and that extra stop of light from the prime would be most welcome. I bit the bullet and picked up the 23mm 1.4 for the 2015 wedding season and matched it with an XE2 body. The difference in the image quality was very obvious. The 23mm F1.4 is much sharper than the F2 on the X100s. Wide open its performance is stellar and out of focus areas are rendered beautifully. It has one disadvantage though, its size.
Another criticism of the 23mm F1.4 was its lens hood. It comes boxed with a plastic petal that wouldn't look out of place on a Canon 18-55 kit lens. It almost doubles the length of the lens again and just doesn't look right. However if you search ebay or amazon you can pick up a metal screw in hood that perfectly fits the 62mm filter thread.
The lens is simply stunning. It's solidly built although not weather sealed. Focus speed is very quick especially if mounted on the XT1 or XE2. When mounted on the Xpro1 it's speed pretty much matches the X100S in good light. If you're in the same situation and trying to decide between the Prime or the X100S/T then I haven't really got an answer for you. If you're looking for a small package then you can't go wrong with the X100 series, but if your wondering if the IQ of the prime is better, take it from me .....it is
A selection of stills taken with the Fujinon 23mm 1.4 wide open.