12
Jan
2013

XF14mmF2.8 R appears to be almost distortion free

by Rico Pfirstinger

I may have found some interesting news about the 14mm prime. Comparing the uncorrected version of a shot with its software corrected SOOC JPEG version reveals that Fuji’s new XF14mmF2.8 R prime lens is apparently almost perfectly optically corrected. This means that the lens doesn’t really need any substantial software corrections which typically have a negative impact on image quality, particularly near the edges of an image.

Have a look at this example (click on the images for high-res versions):

DSCF6742 - RPP (no lens correction)

DSCF6746 - SOOC JPEG

The image above was developed in RPP 64, a Russian RAW converter based on DCRAW that does not interpret or apply any optical correction metadata that the camera is storing in a RAW files.

The image below is a JPEG straight out of the camera that includes all software corrections in the metadata, since the internal RAW converter of the cameras does of course interpret and apply optical correction metadata stored in the RAW files.

It appears that there are only minimal differences between both versions. This suggests that the 14mm is already fully corrected in the lens and does not need any significant additional software corrections. This is good news, as it suggests that the lens (the examples are from a not yet fully suppoerted pre-production sample) will perform well not only in the center, but also near the edges of an image.

EDIT: To wrap things up, here’s also a Silkypix 5 version of this sample:

DSCF6742 - SIlkypix 5

Since Silkypix is actually using lens correction metadata in the RAW file, this result pretty much overlaps with the SOOC JPEG.

If you want to see more 14mm samples, have a look at my Flickr set.

Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (German version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems. His book “Mastering the FUJIFILM X-Pro1” (Kindle Edition) (Apple iBook Store) (German version) is available on Amazon and offers a plethora of tips, secrets and background information on successfully using Fuji’s X-Pro1 and X-E1 system cameras, lenses and key accessories.

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  • justintime

    Maybe the camera firmware does not include corrections for 14mm yet.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Since there are actual (minor) corrections, they are obviously included. This data is part of the lens firmware, by the way, so luckily you don’t need new camera firmware to get software lens correction data.

  • http://vam.nu vam

    Sounds impressive!

  • GrauUhu

    According to Fuji this lens has no digital corrections, it just uses advanced optical design to achieve high resolution.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      I have no information from Fuji stating this anywhere, but who cares, anyway? I (and everybody else) can see the minor digital corrections when we compare the two shots. So they are obviously there. Seeing the facts with your own eyes is better than trusting any statements. ;)

      • Max

        I think he is referring to some slides from fuji that say (google translated) :

        “Digital correction is not carried out because there is virtually no distortion, becoming a higher quality.”

        Source : http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20120921_561128.html

        • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

          And they apparently told the truth with saying there is virtually (aka almost) no distortion. Just look at the headline of my post! And yet, there is some digital correction for the tiny rest, such as vignetting. Maybe Fuji will drop that in production lenses, but I doubt it.

        • GrauUhu
          • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

            That link gives me an error 404. But there’s a page on Fuji’s global site stating “minimized distortion”: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujinon_lens_xf14mmf28_r/ This is perfectly in line with our findings here. It’s obvious that there’s digital correction of vignetting, though. As for distortion alone, no digital correction appears to be necessary. RPP is showing a larger image (16.3 vs. 16.0 MP) than all the other RAW converters (I tested Silkypix, LR4, C1 and the internal converter) and isn’t correcting anything (distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberrations), so it’s hard to judge the details, but from the look of it, visible digital corrections are likely limited to vignetting. This is in line with Capture One’s take on this lens: C1 7.0.2 (beta) takes digital correction data from the RAW file, but only for the vignetting compensation slider. Actually, Silkypix is auto-compensating the vignetting so strongly that I added a little bit in Aperture to make this version look more naturally.

          • GrauUhu

            Sorry, Rico,my mistake, the link is miissing a ‘f’

            http://www.fujifilm.eu/uk/products/pro-enthusiast/model/fujion-xf14mmf2.8-r/

          • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

            That’s another Error 404 here. :(

          • GrauUhu

            Ah! Error 404. This is how I got to the page in question: Wex Photographic (UK) > Home page > Camera lenses >Fuji X-Mount > 14mm f2.8 > Specifications > Manufactures Link (last line).

  • Ryan

    No lets see what the zeiss has, wonder if the cheaped out on the 12mm with digital correction or not. $1000 for a AF Zeiss sounds a little fishy to me. The sony zeiss 24mm cost more then $1000.

  • Tim

    What type of focus motor does this lens use? Is it more like the original 3 or more like the zoom (quieter and faster)?

    Thanks.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Sounds like a normal drive to me. Pretty quick, though, and not loud. Production samples may sound differently, of course. As we know, it is all firmware (remember “aperture chatter” in the 35 and “OIS howling” in the kit zoom).

      • Tim

        Thanks. It would be interesting to have your opinion on the 14 against the zoom at the same focal length, for those of us who need help deciding which path to take.

        • Milan

          But the zoom starts at 18mm, so it’s not quite the same (21mm eq. vs. 27mm eq). If you don’t need the 21mm wide, then I guess the zoom is a better option (I don’t think the difference in IQ will matter that much).

          • Tim

            Sorry, you are right, I had in my mind the 10 to 24.

          • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

            The kit zoom is really good at 18mm. Better than the 18mm prime, if you ask me. But 14mm is a different beast. That small difference in the numbers makes a huge difference in the frame.

  • W. C.

    I’m interested in getting an UWA sometime in future when I buy into Fuji X system. I would be taking landscape, architectural, cityscape/urbanscape type images.

    What are the pros and cons in your opinion between a fixed UWA as the 14 f/2.8 and a UWA zoom as the roadmapped 10-24 f/4 OIS? And do you expect the pricing to be similar (~$900) or will the zoom be more/less expensive? For reference, Sony E-mount now has 10-18 f/4 OSS for ~$850.

    Obviously, the zoom starts wider and has more range (15-36), giving more versatility, but with a slower aperture. The 14 may be better optically overall and have less flaws to correct. f/2.8 allows a bit more DOF capability too.

    Sorry if I seemed to partly answer my own question, but I would like some opinions from someone out in the field. I am just a hobbyist and can only afford one lens of the type. Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      I am a big fan of UW zooms, so I am looking forward to Fuji’s take on it. If it’s as good as the kit zoom, we’ll be fine. But that’s all speculation, we’ll have to wait till pre-production samples will get out.

      • W. C.

        Thanks Rico. I hope Fuji can deliver their lens roadmap this year. Seems like a difficult task now, especially with some delays. But I’m hoping they can meet it and also get the new X cameras out soon.

  • Dr

    Thanks for the samples Rico,

    Very happy that I have pre-ordered this lens since it was first announced. Looks exceptional for a lens of this focal length, can’t wait to get it!

  • Jan

    Thanks Rico for all that work.
    Hoping for a Dutch version of your fantastic “Mastering the FUJIFILM X-Pro1” book. :)
    A really old fashion feeling of photography with that cam.
    I did get rid off my MKII 5D. To heavy and to obscure. Was be robed of it once.

    Regards,
    Jan