Here’s why the Fujifilm XF 35mm f2 lens is a must-have addition to your kit bag
The older f1.4 was always a great lens, so when the f2 was released people wondered if it could really top it. Well it did and here’s why.
The XF range of lenses are all designed for mirrorless bodies with APS-C sized sensors, so to take that into consideration you have to times the focal length of your lens by 1.6 to get its actual focal length. 35mm x 1.6 = 56mm and what is every photographer’s favourite focal length? The one that they would choose if they could only use one lens for the rest of their life? Most likely a 50mm.
56mm/50mm, tomato/tomato? It’s close enough is what I’m trying to say.
It’s the focal length that the human eye sees in so you get images with minimal distortion and everything is nicely proportionate.
Fujifilm do a 50mm f2 which looks almost identical (build wise) to the 35mm f2 but after you factor the crop in you get an equivalent focal length of 80mm which is too tight for an all purpose and versatile lens, at least for me anyway. Great for portraits though.
The old 35mm f1.4 was a fantastic lens, and still is especially if you need that extra stop of exposure. If having a max aperture of f1.4 is crucial to you and you really can’t make do with f2 then I highly suggest you get the f1.4 version, but if that isn’t a deal breaker for you then the f2 version is better in almost every other way.
When both lenses are stopped down to f2 the new 35mm wins every time when it comes to sharpness, which is no small feat especially considering f2 is at its widest. At f8 and higher it’s hard to tell the difference between old and new. Paired with something like the X-Pro2 or X-T2 this lens is going to produce amazingly sharp and crispy images, but even with one of Fuji’s entry level cameras like the X-T20 this lens is going to amaze you.
Short answer is that it’s perfect. Like most Fuji products the thing feels like it would survive getting run over by a bulldozer. It’s an all metal design and as it’s also weather sealed I think you would have a hard time damaging it. It feels quality, the aperture and focus rings are firm but easily adjusted. The aperture ring confidently clicks into place every 1/3 of a stop and the whole thing generally feels great to use.
The f2 version is considerable smaller than the f1.4 version and perfectly compliments the small form factor of Fuji’s X-Series range of mirrorless cameras.
The f2 version comes in at around $400 and the f1.4 around $600. So when all you’re really loosing by buying the newer f2 version is 1 stop of exposure you have to ask yourself is 1 extra stop worth around $200 to you? If it isn’t then go for the f2, it’s a great lens and you won’t be disappointed.
For $400 dollars you are getting great value for money, you’re getting a pro-level lens in terms of image quality. With other brands you could end up paying a lot more to achieve the image quality this lens produces.
My 35mm f2 is constantly stuck to the end of my X-T10, it’s THE perfect lens for street photography but also does a great job at being an all-purpose lens. It’s just as sharp if not sharper than the f1.4, it’s autofocus is faster, it’s smaller, it’s weather resistant and, oh yeah, it’s cheaper.
If you’re looking to get into prime lenses then the XF 35mm f2 is a great, affordable, choice.