As ever, this isn’t really a full Fuji XF35mm F2 Review and it is going to be in the form of my general use of it “in battle”.
This isn’t a pixel peeping exercise, though I’m including some RAF files for you, and I’m not going to be reviewing the lens in the traditional fashion.
Rather, I’m just going to talk about it, how I’ve been using it, how I’ve found it and what, if any, the pitfalls may be of the latest offering in the ever increasing lens line-up for the X-Mount from Fujifilm.
Actually, as I’ve only recently purchased this lens from WEX I have only been able to take it to one wedding.
Which was yesterday.
Where it rained.
Needless to say, I wasn’t spending too much time with the F2 lens, instead preferring my faster 23mm F1.4 and even the 35mm F1.4.
However, I did challenge the lens on occasions and I have to say this, right now;
This lens is deadly silent, and blisteringly fast to auto focus. And by that, I mean instant. Even in low light situations its performing incredibly well for me.
So, here is the Fuji 35mm f2 R WR Fujinon Lens (in black) – sitting on board one of my X-T1 bodies:
Fuji 35mm f2 v f1.4 version
When the lens was first announced, I did think to myself “Hmmm”. I couldn’t really see the benefit of losing a stop of light for this focal length.
I wasn’t sure where Fuji were headed with this lens when it first appeared on the roadmap but as time went by, I actually became excited by the thought of the Fuji 35mm f2 R WR lens. And here’s why….
When I looked back at my original purchasing decision for the X-Pro1, it was the three launch lenses that swung it for me. I very nearly invested in another mirrorless system, but that combination of the 18mm, 60mm (which the lens shots in this post are taken with by the way) and the gorgeous 35mm were just too much for me to ignore.
The 35mm especially, became my favourite lens, and really, I think its fair to say that until the X100S and subsequently the XF 23mm F1.4 lens came along in the X-Mount range, the 35mm F1.4 was by far my most used lens.
Those of us that have used the original F1.4 lens, especially right at the beginning, will be aware of the “lens chattering” situations (rectified to a certain extent by firmware) and the almost gritty, mechanical sound of the focus mechanism working.
The F2 promised to be smaller, lighter, faster (at focus acquisition) and weather sealed too. And well, so it is too.
Fuji 35mm f1.4 (left) and the Fuji 35mm f2 (right)
Fuji 35mm f1.4 (left) and the Fuji 35mm f2 (right)
Its a pretty good looking thing right?
Important note about the XF35mm F2 R WR
Whilst the lens will work out the box on any of the supporting camera bodies, you should update the firmware of your camera to ensure accuracy and fluid focus for the lens.
You can update the firmware for the Fuji X-T1 on the Fujifilm global website.
Fuji XF35mm F2 R Bokeh Bokeh Bokeh…
You know, those of us who do like to shoot with a narrow depth of field sometimes, might be concerned about losing that extra stop of light and its associated bokeh.
Wide open, the lens has a gorgeous look to the images, and I personally think the bokeh is very pleasing.
Here is a shot of my daughter, are three different apertures. The images are processed but the original RAF files can be accessed from the links below.
Fuji X-T1 ~ XF35mmF2 R WR ~ F2 ~ 1/800th ~ ISO 400 (full RAF Link)
Fuji X-T1 ~ XF35mmF2 R WR ~ F3.6 ~ 1/400th ~ ISO 400 (full RAF Link)
Fuji X-T1 ~ XF35mmF2 R WR ~ F5.6 ~ 1/105th ~ ISO 400 (Full RAF Link)
From a very personal point of view, I think the depth of field at F2, close up, is perfectly acceptable. The original 35mm F1.4 was already small and lightweight of course, but in comparison, as you can see from the images at the top of the page the new F2 is smaller still.
The official specifications say this:
Fuji 35mm f1.4 is 65 x 54.9 mm and weighs 187 grams.
Fuji 35mm f2 R WR is 60 x 45.9mm and weighs 170 grams.
So yes, the lens is smaller and lighter – albeit not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things.
Noticeably for me though, the thread of the new F2 lens is just 43mm compared to the relatively large 52mm of the F1.4 lens.
When shooting from the hip, or out shooting on the streets, the smaller front element of the lens will be more advantageous for sure.
Fuji X-Series and the Lens Lineup
The Fujifilm X-Mount lens roadmap can be seen on the official Fuji website and apart from a couple more Zooms to come, I think the introduction of the 35mm F2 is quite significant for us X-Photographers.
Although this isn’t “Mark II” of the 35mm lens (because they are clearly different), it does indicate that Fuji now revisiting older lenses and making different variations of them.
I think you can’t do anything but applaud the engineers at Fujifilm for producing such a stellar range of lenses in such a short, five year period. Well done team Fuji – now how about a native Monochrome X100…pretty please 🙂 ?
The bits I love about the XF35mm F 2 R WR
I really love the aperture ring. It clicks in 1/3 stop increments for a start – which can be very useful, especially when shooting movies.
I also really love the manual focus ring. Its perfectly dampened and has just the right amount of torque and resistance.
The Fuji XF35mm F2 is really a street photographer’s dream lens (those that shoot around the 50mm ff equivalent range of course).
Something that those of us who still shoot with the X-Pro1 will probably have picked up on too is the fact that it has no impact of the OVF. If and when there are new cameras from Fuji with an OVF then I’m guessing this lens will be a “must have” in the collection.
I love the size, of course, and the speed of the AF as we’ve already discussed but I also love the look of the lens. Now, I personally don’t care for cameras that “look great”. One of the reasons I adore my X-Pro1 is because its basically a black box, and nothing more (I do hope that Fuji retain that if they ever move on to a new version of the X-Pro range). I don’t have any of the chrome cameras for example (apart from my X100T – because that was only out in Chrome when I purchased it). I prefer my cameras to be as discreet as possible. To that end, when I first saw the design of the 35mm F2 I did think that the “retro” look wouldn’t be for me. But in the end, there isn’t a “retro” look as such, its a tapered lens with a narrower thread and it looks very discreet mounted to my X-T1 and X-Pro1 camera.
The bits I don’t love about the XF35mm F 2 R WR
Not a lot to be honest.
I’m not a huge fan of the lens hood that comes in the box. Mine seemed very tight when I attached it and its subsequently been relegated to the drawer that hold all the rest of my lens hoods.
In Fuji’s defence, they have announced a metal lens hood (as they did with the XF90mm F2). The product code is: LH-XF35-2.
So, as I said, I have really only used the lens for a few hours at my wedding yesterday. It was wet, and it was dark. Very dark.
In the thick of it with the Fuji XF35mm F2
However, the whole point for me of having a system such as the X-T1 and smaller, light lenses is to enable me to get into positions where I might not otherwise be able to.
For example, the following image was shot with the tilt screen of the X-T1 out and the camera above my head.
I would likely have found this image difficult to get with the 23mm because of the additional size and weight.
If I tell you this was very much a grab shot. I was being bustled about and there was no way I could shoot from my eye. It was literally a case of; flip the screen down, aperture priority, raise, focus, shoot.
That’s when it hit me how impressive this new lens is.
With the original XF 35mm F1.4 there would be a greater worry that the lens wouldn’t focus quick enough.
This is 35mm F2 lens is PHENOMENALLY quick and amazing accurate when it comes to focus acquisition.
Fuji X-T1 ~ XF35mmF2 R WR ~ F2 ~ 1/100th ~ ISO 6,400
I’m really excited by this lens, and can’t wait to get it out on the streets and use it more at weddings.
In the meantime, you might want to check out my good friend Patrick LaRoque’s views on the lens. His images, as ever, are spectacular.
You can buy the Fuji 35mm f2 R WR Fujinon Lens direct from WEX Photographic.
- (Monday morning, sat in my studio in Malmesbury listening to Eagles, Hotel California, vinyl)