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2020: A Fuji Odyssey Ends with the Fujinon XF33mm f/1.0, but Do We Really Need it?

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Do We Need Super Fast Lenses?

Five years ago, in April 2015 here and May 2015 here, we shared the first Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.0 rumors, and in 2020, this long rumor-odyssey will finally end.

Thanks to the XF33mm f/1.0 we will soon:

  • stop complaining that APS-C does not deliver enough shallow depth of field
  • start complaining that the DOF at f/1.0 is too shallow and we will stop down at f/1.4 or f/2 anyway :)

And, although I am a bit scared about the recently guessed price tag, I am looking forward to this lens.

However, many of you argued in the comments, if such a fast lens really makes sense.

Tony Northrup thinks its makes sense, and in a recent video he even suggested Fujifilm should focus on making even more super fast lenses.

Others think that Fujifilm should focus on smaller, slower, and more affordable lenses.

So the question today is: do we really need the Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.0 R WR?

Today I will go against my own believes, and give you two reasons, why we do not need this lens (and yet I want it badly ;) )

REASON 1: ISO

In the past, digital cameras performed very bad at higher ISO, and we had to use fast, big and expensive lenses to keep ISO as low as possible.

But modern sensors handle high ISO so much better.

As a consequence, we can bump up our ISO more and save money and weight by using slower, smaller and cheaper glass.

We are in 2019… high ISO is no longer the Nr.1 enemy we have to fight.

REASON 2: DOF

Shallow depth of field?

There are those, who can’t get it shallow enough, and others, like Flying Bat, who said here that in real life you are going to stop down your lens anyway to make sure you get your subject(s) in focus.

So what’s the point of having a super fast lens, if in real life you are probably going to stop it down most of the time anyway?

Yes, Go Fast…

I applaud Fujifilm for making the XF33mmF1.0, XF200mm f/2 and eventual other ultra fast lenses that might come down the road.

It’s good to know we have an f/1.0 option, just in case we shoot moving subjects in very dark conditions and want to facilitate the camera autofocus or we simply want to challenge ourselves and use a razor-thin depth of field for creative purposes.

Moreover, very fast lenses will give photographers the peace of mind that Fujifilm has all that shallow DOF they might want/need in certain occasions, and hence make switching from Full Frame to Fujifilm APS-C even easier.

… but Tony Northrup Fast ?

Where Fujifilm really makes money, is not with extreme fast niche glass, but with lenses like the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4, the XF 16mm F2.8 and the wonderful f/2 trinty.

So, for Fujifilm, it’s all about finding the right balance between:

  • making fast and expensive “extreme” glass, like the XF200mm f/2 and the XF 33mm f/1.0 – lower profit margins
  • making affordable and portable “normal” lenses, such as the XF16mmF2.8 and XF16-80mmF4 – higher profit margins

Looking at Fuji’s current lens line-up and also what’s coming in 2019/2020, I think Fujifilm has found a nice balance… a balance that would inevitably go lost, if Fujifilm would follow Tony Northurp’s advice and focus merely on very fast glass.

The best thing for Fujifilm is to do exactly what they did 2 years ago: look at what the wise and illuminated FujiRumors community wants, and deliver exactly those lenses we wanted most in our poll.

Keep listening to us, Fujifilm, and a prosper future will await you ;).

Love you all,

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