Fujifilm Is Planning an Insane 33mm f/1 Autofocus Lens

Fujifilm Is Planning an Insane 33mm f/1 Autofocus Lens

You read that correctly: f/1. Fujifilm is planning a lens that will be the first of its kind.

The news came today when Fujifilm released its latest lens roadmap (side note: I love that the company tells us exactly what lenses they're developing and roughly when to expect them). The news coincides with the announcement of the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR and XF 200mm f/2 OIS WR lenses and also includes the addition of two other new lenses to the roadmap: the XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR compact prime and the XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR. Fujifilm plans to release the 33mm f/1 likely in 2020.

Nonscientific, consumer lenses of this sort aren't completely unheard of. In 1989, Canon introduced the EF 50mm f/1.0L. Though an amazing feat, image quality at wide apertures was lacking and autofocus was predictably slow, and it was eventually discontinued for the friendlier 50mm f/1.2L, though elements of its design ended up in the 85mm f/1.2L. You can also buy mirrorless and rangefinder lenses with maximum apertures as low as f/0.85 (though f/0.95 is more common), but these are all manual focus. As such, Fujifilm's upcoming 33mm f/1 lens would be the world's first autofocus mirrorless lens of such an aperture and as far I can tell, the first consumer-level f/1 lens with autofocus in about three decades (and likely only the second in history). 

For reference, f/1 is a little over half a stop faster than f/1.2 and a full stop faster that f/1.4. While Canon has shown such a lens is not unprecedented, I'm very curious to see what 30 years of advances in optics and autofocus technology will do; Fujifilm's version could end up being a prized item among portraitists and events shooters. 

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32 Comments

Johnny Rico's picture

what is a mirrorless lens? lenses dont have mirrors

Alex Cooke's picture

Actually, the mirror lens is one of the oldest optical designs and is still in use today to provide longer focal lengths without drastically increasing the physical length of a lens. Nevertheless, in this context, it's short for a lens made for a mirrorless camera.

Wes Jones's picture

I still have an old catadioptric lens for my Nikon FM.

Alex Cooke's picture

Do you have any sample shots? Would love to see them.

Wonder Woman's picture

Awesome. I hope this pushes Nikon to actually come out with NOCT lenses.

Matthew Saville's picture

Ironically, I suspect that this lens will still not be as good for coma in the extreme corners as the ancient Nikon 58 1.2 Noct, at f/1.4-2.0...

barry cash's picture

you might be surprised tests show firmware corrections level out the corners

Matthew Saville's picture

Firmware can fix vignetting, fringing, and distortion, but as far as I know, NOT coma. And low coma is what the Nikon NOCT was designed for.

But, I guess we'll see.

Michael Jin's picture

FFS NIkon, please bring it strong with the mirrorless release. These other companies are starting to get really tempting...

Pedro Quintela's picture

This lens must be amazing with the usual Fuji quality. The only "con" is that comparing with a 35mm sensor you will not get an effective f/1 aperture. Nevertheless I would love to try it one day on my Fuji X body.

David J. Fulde's picture

it will be an F1.5 Depth of field wise, but light-gather will still be F1

barry cash's picture

unless they release a full frame sensor in the new lineup could be possible.

I don't get the hype?
Yes for me as a Fuji X user this is grate I finally get to buy a 50mmf1.52 35mmäq. AF but overall this is nothing new. We had the Mitakon 35mmf0.95 and Kipon 40mmf0.85 for a while. So for APS-C the big news is basically the AF. Overall a 50mmf1.52 AF however is nothing new. and if we look at MFT and compare the f1.2's with FF f2.4's we can see that it is intact likely that Fujis 33mmf1 will indeed be bigger than a FF 50mmf1.4 .

What this tells me were small body cameras were a fad, and people are wanting full frame equivalents at full frame sizes despite what the small bodies were designed for.

revo nevo's picture

Well you have 35mm f/2 and 35mm f/1.4
You can have small lens or you can go big :)

Matthew Saville's picture

Kinda like how you can get a Pancake 45 2.8 on full-frame? ;-)

Jeff McCollough's picture

You need to get your article proofed.

Nice lens but for shallow depth of field you still better with full frame camera. 33mm f1 lens on crop camera will give the same dof as 49.5mm f1.5 on full frame camera.

Focal lengths for consumer lenses are never exactly accurate (your 50mm is very likely not 50mm) and the focal length usually slightly changes with the focus distance which means that the aperture also changes. While 49mm f/1.5 might not sound as impressive as 50mm f/1.4, I would say that it's within the margin of error.
My favorite example is the Tamron 15-30mm, which is actually 15.8mm on the wide end. Doesn't sound like much? That's an over 5% difference in focal length, or (in terms of 50mm lenses) the difference between 50mm and 47mm/53mm

Matthew Saville's picture

Not "insane" at all, it's just an equivalent to a rather ordinary, even "boring" to some, ...50mm f/1.4 on full-frame.

Fuji already has a 56 1.2, and mind you that roughly equals (and yet weighs more than, and costs MUCH more than) an 85mm f/1.8, again a rather modest lens for full-frame.

Are they going to be insanely sharp? Sure. But so are Batis and other lenses.

I predict this 33mm f/1 will be about much bigger and heavier than the likes of the (admittedly dated) Canon/Nikon 50 1.4's, and probably roughly as big as (and much more expensive than) the Sigma 50 1.4 Art.

So, not insane at all indeed. Unless you count the fact that die-hard Fuji fankids are going to keep gobbling these lenses up as if they're some miracle of mirrorless modernity.

Alex Cooke's picture

It's still insane regardless of full-frame analogs, as it takes some very advanced optical design and engineering to make a lens of that aperture produce quality images and focus relatively quickly and accurately; the process of creating the lens is not analogous to its photographic equivalents. Remember, full-frame equivalence is simply a human-decided standard of size; physics and engineering don't care about the standard we set. A quality autofocus f/1 lens in any format is going to be very hard to design effectively; otherwise, we would likely have a bunch of them on the market in sub-full-frame sizes. Also, it's still an f/1 lens in terms of light-gathering ability; the dof discussion has to do with the physical aperture diameter.

Matthew Saville's picture

I understand that this is unprecedented for the sensor size, however I must still wonder, what level of "insanity" do you think this equates to in full-frame terms? I simply don't think it equates to anything more difficult to engineer than an ultra-sharp, fast-focusing full-frame 50mm f/1.4. You're just bending light through a certain size aperture iris onto a certain sensor size. 33/1=33, 50/1.4=35.7. The 50mm full-frame lens still has an even bigger aperture.

My point being, this simply should not be considered EXACTLY as "insane" as if it were a 50mm f/1.2, let alone a 50mm f/1.0, ultra-sharp, fast-focusing lens. And while an autofocus 50 1.0 does exist, it is certainly not very sharp at 1.0, nor is it fast-focusing.

No an f1 lense is still f1 light gathering. Honestly for most applications, you don't want lower depth of field than 1.5 because losing focus. Plus Fuji-made lenses. except 1 or 2 (my 23mm f/2 is softer wide open) are insanely sharp wide open. For my application i'd rather be able to get that lower light with GREATER depth of field for dark punk shows where you don't want a flash due to natural colors and have to be up close to get past the crowd. The 56 1.2 has such shallow depth of field that it's hard to get the whole face in focus (plus can't be used that close anyways). I shoot the mitakon 0.95 35mm at shows using manual and it's much better for me than when i tried with my old Nikon d750 with 50 1.4. More light, more in focus shots, AND smaller altogether, but added AF would be great so I'm definitely throwing my money at this.

Matthew Saville's picture

I get what you're trying to say, but my point still stands. And by the way, I totally agree with you, as a nightscape photographer I love being able to use faster lenses and yet still get more DOF than if I were using that same aperture on full-frame.

But, here's the thing: there's still the difference in ISO performance because of the different sensor size. So all you're doing by grabbing an f/1 lens is enabling yourself to use a lower ISO, which has the same noise as the higher ISO you'd have to use on full-frame with a slightly slower lens. It's a catch-22 of "light-gathering ability", with every stop of high ISO that you use.

This argument could be made if you had two same-generation, same-resolution sensors like the Nikon D750 and D7200, which have nearly identical image quality at ISO 100. But at ISO 3200-6400+, the f/1 aperture is merely leveling the playing field, not creating an /advantage/ per se.

barry cash's picture

All Fuji lenses are big Japan glass kinda go big or go home, F 1.0 is insane no matter what, .95 is more insane and impossible to nail but it has a purpose.
Plus the 50 F1.4 would be a 75 F2 right?

Matthew Saville's picture

If you put 50 1.4 on APS-C, yes. I'm talking about what 33mm f/1 "equals" on full-frame. As far as the mechanics & optics of it are concerned, for all intents and purposes it's just a miniature full-frame 50 1.4. Roughly the same angle of entry (and probably exit, onto the sensor) and roughly the same iris diameter. The only impressive thing is that it's a "miniature" 50 1.4, but with the "same" (not relatively, but actually almost the same) physical size iris.

"for all intents and purposes it's just a miniature full-frame 50 1.4." As i said above, incorrect. It's f1 light gathering with less depth of field which is even greater for some people like me who need low light but still need to be able to nail more in focus without a flash.

Joe Black's picture

Wohaaa!!! Good news all around in Fuji X lenses!! A wide angle WR lens and now this. Thanks for sharing :)

So basically a proper f1.4 equivalent lens in a crop body. Nice. Wonder if they have any plans for a 23 (35 equivalent) or 19 (28 equivalent)?

1.4 equiv with f1 light gathering tho :)

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