When a street- and lifestyle photographer whos absolute all-time favourite focal length is a 50mm full frame eq. gets offered a chance by the incredibly kind people at Fujifilm Nordic to test and scribble some thoughts about the new Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens he starts to get those joyful jitters.
The reason for that initial excitement is two-fold.
1: The old Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R is one of those incredible lenses that gives a fantastic rendering with a certain “something” that just can’t be translated into performance charts.
2: Since the launch of the 35mm f/1.4 back in 2012 Fujifilm has continued to make amazing lenses for the X system with the newer lenses being leaner, meaner, sharper, badder and faster than the previous.
So could Fujifilm do it? Take the magical recipe that made the 35mm f/1.4 such an incredible lens and pack it into a modern design that could perform up to the standards of the newer X-series bodies?
Short answer. Oh Yes!
DISCLAIMER: The lens used for this review is a pre-production unit, and image quality might not be final. – probably pretty close though!
The product shots were taken using the X-T1 with the XF56mm f/1.2 and the MCEX-11.
With the initial reveal of the XF 35mm f/2 R WR Fujifilm made it abundantly clear that the X-series lens selection is getting closer to completion. They can now start to add different variants of similar focal lengths, adding a higher level of diversity to the line-up. (I know about the 56mm APD. Thats a different story altogether).
What I feel Fujifilm needs to accomplish when they take away an f-stop of light, is to add something else in other areas of the lens design. Something that will play on diversity, and give the photographer a choice depending on the task at hand.
From what I saw from the reveal back in the beginning of 2015 I hence expected this lens to be:
- smaller (obviously)
- faster to focus
… than its 35mm f/1.4 cousin.
When I received my test-copy of the lens the validity of the above 4 main points was of course what I said out to test. And from reading the WR moniker on the box/lens this lens comes with weather resistancy!
Available in both black and silver finishes, I received the latter version. The silver finish is made to match the silver of the X-T10, X-E2, X-A2. It isn’t the Graphite Silver variant of the XT1 GS. Regardless, it looks perfectly fine on the XT1 as well. (Even on the black X-Pro1, but then again I have a thing for silver lenses on black bodies!)
The lens weighs in at 170g and is sized at 60 mm in diameter and 45,9 mm in length. It is constructed of 9 lens elements in 6 groups with 2 aspherical elements. The aperture diapragm is made up of 9 rounded blades. It has a near-focus limit of 35cm, and a maximum magnification of 0.135x.
Obviously the weather resistance shows. It has a rubber ring to seal the mount. The aperture is very nice. To the firm side, but nice. This is probably also due to the fact that theres weather sealing behind it. It clicks in 1/3 stop incriments. The manual focus ring is amazing. Not as “flimsy” as it feels on the 35 f/1.4. It feels perfectly dampened, just like on the larger lenses like the XF 90mm f/2 and the XF 50-140 f/2.8
The XF 35mm f/2 is smaller than the XF 35mm f/1.4. It’s about half a centimeter shorter. It has the same diameter at the mount, but obviously it thins alot towards the front of the lens. Mounted on the X-Pro1 you have zero OVF blockage! If this lens hadn’t been weather sealed it could have been made even smaller, but WR is a damn good thing, and it’s a feature that I think every Fujinon lens going forward should have.
The finish on the lens is gorgeous. Its metal and glass. It has the right amount of weight and heft, and it really balances out well with the small X-series cameras. The included lens hood is plain round version in plastic, but FUJIFILM sells the LH-XF35-2 which features a classic vented design.
The noise you get from the aperture blades as well as from focussing on the old 35mm f/1.4 is no longer there. The new 35mm f/2 is silent. Its a real improvement of something that was the biggest flaw of the 35 f/1.4
The old 35 f/1.4 was not a excactly a precision speed daemon at launch. Various firmware updates to the lens have made it quite accurate and whole lot faster. Especially on the new FW 4.0 for the X-T10 and X-T1 the 35mm f/1.4 is vastly improved in this regard.
The focussing speed of the new 35mm f/2 is an entirely different ballgame. It’s superfast, and dead accurate! It’s closest competitor is the XF 23mm f/1.4 which has been rated as the fastest focussing lens in the XF lineup. This makes the lens oh so much more useful in those highpaced moments that life throws at you!
The focus is internal, meaning that you don’t have a protruding barrell like on the XF 35mm f/1.4
Its hard to say if it’s the lens or the cameras, but in dark conditions you can still get som occasional focus hunting. Not at all like the f/1.4 though.
This is where things gets really interesting.
Is it sharp? YES
Does it have great bokeh? YES
Does it have microcontrast? YES
Does it render like the 35mm f/1.4? YES, and more!
I know that sharpness isn’t all its cracked up to be. It isn’t the sharpness of an image that makes an image. The same thing can be said about bokeh. Its much more important how all these things come together. This is what makes a lens stand out. A great lens has a signature. The XF 35mm f/2 has exactly that! A defined signature.
It renders the images in a very varm tone. Give it sun light during the golden hour and the colors will gloom at you! Give it harsh cold light, and it will do great highlight preservation without blowing them. The coating of the lens is no less than fantastic.
Flares are kept to an absolute minimum, and I really had to angle at the sun to provoke them. Great flare control! The provided hood does a great job of getting rid of the few flares that it does produce. In the samples section, as well as in the paraglider shot above, you can see how well it handles shooting directly against the sun.
But lets talk about sharpness. Cause this lens is sharp. wide open at f/2 its actually sharper than the old 35mm f/1.4 stopped down to f/2. – And sharpness is a pleasant one. It’s filled with that microcontrast that gives the images some great depth at pixel peeping level. Aberrations seem to be managed very well as I see very minimal light leakage from highs into lows, and no visible colorsmearing/inaccuracy.
The above two images are screenshots of 100% crops from RAW. Both the f/1.4 and f/2 are shot at f/2. The new 35mm f/2 being the sharpest of the two. No small feat!
The lens fall off into out of focus areas in the most delicate and pleasing way, especially visible in tight cropped head shots, it really falls off smoothly along the sides of the face.
The bokeh is gorgeous. Its renders a very clean and pleasing background. Especially when shot into sunlit foliage the resulting specular highlights (bokeh-balls®) show no halo effects, no onion rings, no harsh edges. Just a downright smooth trip down blurry land! – I would say the bokeh is a pleasant mixture of the XF 56mm f/1.2 APD and the XF 90mm f/2. It looks a lot cleaner than the OOF areas from the older 35mm f/1.4
So what about that magic! – Does it retain just some of what makes the XF 35mm such a special lens for so many people? – From my limited time with the lens I would say yes. Give this lens golden color light and you will get some of the most rich and vibrant images possible, just as the XF 35mm f/1.4 gives you. The smoothness of the OOF areas is much improved, and I actually prefer the 35mm f/2 bokeh to that of the 35mm f/1.4. Add to that improved portability, weather resistance, as well as much faster focussing, and I will not hesitate to call this lens a new favourite of mine.
So what do people use a standard lens for? Well, just about everything I guess. Thats probably why the 35mm (50mm full frame) focal length is so widely used. This focal length can basically be used for almost anything. From landscape over portraits to street and everything in between. It’s a lifestyle lens…..
And thats how I tested! In all aspects of my photographic life. Samples are processed in Lightroom 6. Samples are mostly to show how I used this lens during the test period. What you do with it is up to you 😉
Make sure to click the images to view them larger in their galleries.
XF 35mm f/2 on the streets
XF 35mm f/2 and the rest
So by now the question on everybodys mind is probably. “Why should I choose this over the XF35mm f/1.4?”
If I should conclude on my findings during this last month of testing it boils down to this: If you can live without that extra stop of light from f/1.4 to f/2 then you should definitely consider this lens.
It’s faster to focus, it’s smaller, it’s sharper, its weather resistant. And its cheaper.
Of course this is all depending on what type of photography you do. but for the street photographer who likes the 50mm full frame FOV this lens is a no brainer. It’s made for street photography.
For the more casual user the XF 35mm f/2 is a brilliant way to start the entry into prime-lenses.
All I can say is that this lens is now glued to my fujifilm XT10, and it probably will be for a loooong time to come
Awesome stuff Jonas, as always!
Thank you so much for reading Jonas! Means a lot to me. /J
I’m always so impressed that you find time to shoot. I find it challenging sometimes with “only” my studies and some extra work, but you somehow make it work with a family thrown in as well! Great stuff =)
Hahaha. Thanks J. Yeah well. Sometimes I don’t think my missus is all too happy with the time spent on chasing images 😛 /J
Thanks for this review. Well written. I’ve been waiting for over 2 months for my 35mm f1.4 from Adorama. Maybe I’ll ask them to substitute the f2 version. I have the 23mm f1.4 for low light.
Thank you for reading Nathan! I think you’ll enjoy this lens immensely /j
Excellent review, Jonas…so much so, that you’ve also made me want to trade in my 35 f/1.4 for this new f/2! (Despite the fact that the “old” 1.4 is stellar on my XT-1…I frankly can hardly imagine a cleaner, sharper image!) Thanks again!
Great review Jonas! I love the images.
Thanks Eivind. And thank you so much for your everlasting support. Means A LOT to me!! /J
#Shabang babyah this is one hell of a sucker and long waited lens, good writing, looking forward for the danish review on http://www.dkfujix.dk
Thanks babeh! I’m almost finished with the translation….maybe I’ll throw in a Summicron comparison for good measure 😛 /J
Thanks for the great review. I think I’ll replace my 1.4 with the new one (also have the XF23 and XF56 for the low light situations). 😀
Thank you very much for stopping by Toni! /J
Been following your blog. I love your photography and everything related to Fuji. Just made the switch myself this summer. 😉
I was waiting for this 35mm f2 lens before deciding between this one and the f1.4 lens. Still wondering woch one to choose, for the moment I only have the 18-55 and an X-E1 and I wonder how the f1.4 will act with this camera. In what case do you think you would have the use of this extra stop of light ?
Anyway this is a very good review and I totally love your pictures as always ! It’s very inpiring !
with the X-E1 you will not notice much focussing speed difference. And the body isn’t weather selaed. You might as well go for the f/1.4 which will give you extra light capabillities 🙂 Thank you for reading. /J
you sealed the deal for me, everything I wanted to know about it, covered well, including how good the silver looks on a black x-pro1, as thats my plan for it!
😀 Perfect! Thank you for reading! /J
Nice review Jonas. Then we’ll just have to wait for the XF 23 f/2 …
hahaha. Thanks Hans. Yup! small, lean and mean!
Jonas, so are you not missing f/1.4? In the darkest conditions etc.?
Not really. The focusing is very precise even in the dark, and the fujifilm ISO is pretty darn good. The image of the trains in the samples is taken after dark. No problems what so ever.
But in all fairness, I would always chose a brighter lens for nighttime shooting 🙂
Thanks for this article and great images, and every article about vintage glass on fuji 🙂
I’m rather a manual focus guy and look for best manual focus experiences.
The point is XF are manual focus by wire and I am not too keen on XF manual rings.
How will you describe that MF ring? Did you enjoy MF with that new 35mm ?
Was thinking about the same. In XF23mm it’s really slick and responsive, but the XF35mm f/1.4 is pretty jittery and horrible. Would love to know as well.
The focus ring is one of the best in the series. Its dampened to perfection like in the larger lenses. It’s just still focus by wire. But not at all flimsy! /J
Hey! – Unfortunately I didn’t do much manual testing. I really don’t like the manual focus-by-wire either. So when I manual focus I always use my vintage glas. However the picture of my daughter and the one of my niece where they are facepainted are both manually focussed. And it works precisely and much better than in the first iterations. The software in the cameras has gotten much better I think.
Thank you for reading. /J
Havent got a chance to test a 35mm f1.4, but i do have a 56mm…would this be a great companion to the 56mm?
Hi Zaldy. An excellent companion. 56mm f/1.2 for when its dark, and for more specialized tasks. And then this little 35mm f/2 thing for everything else 😉
Thank you for reading. /J
Thanks for the review! Now I just need to wait for the X-Pro2 and I have my go-to kit 🙂
Thank you for reading! /J
Thanks Jonas – what a gorgeous looking lens. I just pre ordered mine in the UK for £299. Any idea what the UK release date is? Struggling to find it!! Also, what filter size does it take? Thanks again, your reviews are superb.
Hi Marcus. Thank you for stopping by! – The filter size is 43mm. and I think availabillity date is mid november. don’t know the specific date. Sorry. /J
Thanks! Perfect not too long to wait. I guess I’ll end up selling off my 35mm 1.4 ! Never thought that would happen…
great review i have enjoyed reading your blog since i bought my X-T10
and have been looking for a fast prime to add to my camera
think this will be my new lens until i can afford the 56mm f1.4
it also looks amazing in silver
Hi Tam. It fits perfectly onto the X-T10. A small combo packing some serious punch! Thanks for reading the blog. /J
Great review !!!
For me it seems like the f/1.4 is warmer, when I comparid the skintones of the 100% crops of the girl. Do you think that there is any difference between them in this regard, or is just a matter of light condition and/or exposure differences? The background is a little bit darker in the f/2.0 shot.
Hi Glenn. Thank you! 😀
The tones I get from the new f/2 is really similar to the old f/1.4. I actually feel that the f/2 renders warmer than the older f/1. What I think happended in the direct RAW images, is that she liftet her arms behind her head with her black shirt. The sun was bouncing off the dark yet semi-matté paint on the door, so the difference in reflection is what causes this I think.
Great images! Love them!
Your “MY365” project has inspired me to do my own. Thanks!
Hi Sunny. Thank you! I’m humbled that I could inspire in that way! /J
Excellent review! I fully agree with excitement on this new 35mm.
My review is here: http://bjornmoerman.blogspot.ae/2015/10/first-look-fujifilm-xf35mm-f2-r-wr.html
Perhaps we’re using different bodies (XT1 in my case), but I certainly don’t find the XF23 to be an AF speed demon. With firmware 4, the 35/1.4 is about the same as the XF23 and both can hunt in low light. Of my and my wife’s 7 Fuji X lenses, the only ones I’d consider fast are the XF16 and 18.
Other than WR, a definite enhancement, I can’t see this lens appealing to any owners of the 35/1.4.
Hi Roy. I really always found the 23 to be the fastest of the bunch. The 14, 16 and 18 are fast I agree. So is the 27. But the 23 has always seemed much faster and precise. Very unscientific I know 😉
It’s noticeably sharper, slightly smaller, has internal focussing and it focusses faster.
Hi Jonas, thank you! Did you notice any substantial difference in vignetting compared to the f1.4? Opening the f1.4 from f2 to f1.4 adds almost a full-stop of light to the center of the frame, but it barely adds anything to the edges of the frame, but rather most of the exposure increase, if you want it, comes from software. The 90mm f2 was the first Fuji prime, I believe, to make a big leap in the vignetting department. I think that’s related more to the focal length than Fuji making progress with their engineering, but I figure it’s worth asking about what you noticed with the 35 f2. Thanks!
For me, the f2 is very interesting because I’m often shooting in environment where any sound from the camera can potentially ruin my shot. I take photos of people who are deeply focused in their work, and its important that I not interrupt them. This also means I’m only using natural light and no flashes, thus low-light performance is important, so it’s not an obvious decision for me.
Hi Daniel. I actually (shame on me) didn’t even test that aspect! – I still have the lens though, so let me try out some “white wall” shooting and get back to you! – I really did not notice vignetting in use. Obviously nothing that made me think about it.
Sorry I can’t give you the answer. but I’ll get back to you 😉
First time, when I read your review of this lens, I was disappointed, because few months ago I bought 35mm f1.4. I knew that f2 is coming and I didn’t wanted to wait. Now when I read your article second time few hours later I realized that both lenses are great and I don’t have to panic. I don’t have to be worried about that I have older version. It’s great, results from this lens are very satisfying for me and I don’t have any complains for AF on my X-T10. I will be happy user of f1.4 version, but it is funny for me when I am thinking about Fujinon lineup. 35mm f2 has more pros than older and it is cheaper. More people will buy f2 I think. So lets wait and see what will happen to 35mm f1.4. I am thinking about other lenses, so I can’t wait for other informations from Fuji. When they are releasing their roadmap of lenses? 🙂
Besides my thought about new stuff from Fuji, amazing pictures in this article. For sure I will be checking your blog often. You are playing on emotions and it is a good thing. Thank you!
You hit the nail right on the head here Krzysztof! – Buy gear that suits your style, makes you happy, and then use it! There will always be a newer lens coming out. I like your pondering!
Thank you for the kind words as well. And you are most welcome to hang out as long as you wish (I don’t update the blog as often as I would like though 😛 )
I followed you on twitter and instagram many days ago, so for sure I will be watching your photography more often than only when new post will come to your blog. 🙂 I was really interested in manual lenses, which you are using, but next I figured out that in Fuji cameras when you take your manual lens, there is no exposure metering. I am to lazy or too comfortable, so I am saving money, for other great Fuji lenses. 🙂
Anyway, you are very good inspiration, because before Fuji I was taking mostly portrait pictures, and now I am trying to shoot much more else. 🙂
Nice review – great photography paired up with high quality writing – so rare on the internet!
What an incredibly nice thing to say! Thank you! Thank you for reading. /J
very good review. thanks for sharing:)
Thank you for reading Patrick! /J
At last a (bit) smaller 35mm lens. Here’s hoping they will also do an f2 XF23mm lens! Many Thanks for the review!
Yeah lets hope they do. I would definitely be interesetd in such a thing as well!
Thank you for reading. /J
Great review as always Jonas *thumbsup* the lens would be 100% perfect if it had come with a manual focus clutch 🙂 nevertheless it will be on my shopping list, together with a 2nd hand x-pro1 maybe 🙂 I am kinda thinking of getting a x-pro1 for solely black & white shooting and mostly for manual lenses 🙂 but that new glass might also find its place on it 🙂
Thank you so much Bruno! MF clutch would have been nice, but it would probably have made the lens bigger which would be a minus. So I guess they compromised 😉
No doubt Fuji has made another great lens, they all are, but they did not make this photographer. They are very fortunate to have his incredible work showcase their product.
Dunno what to say to that one! Thank you. Thats an incredibly kind thing to say! Thank you for reading Will!
I have been reading your reviews since I entered the land of fujifilm magic, and fell in love with photography again. I can honestly say that your pictures are truly an inspiration to me. I equally love your abilities with color and mastery of black and white medium. I have a lot of time to mess around chasing my 2 year old. I bought the xt10 along with the 56mm. I am thinking this would be an awesome lens to leave on the camera for most situations and keeping the 56 for dedicated portraits or when I need a tad more reach. I love that lens though. Apologies for the ramble of words. I just wanted to finally say thank you for your insight and beautiful examples of the Medium of picture making.
Cheers from California
Hi Scott. No need to apologize! Your ramblings are more than welcome! – Thank you so much for checking back! I hope you are happy with the XT10, I know I still love mine! Small and very capable!
The XF35mm f/2 is a perfect companion for the small XT10.
I was both hoping and was a fraud you’d say that. For this price of entry I cannot resist. 🙂
I was really eying the 35mm 1.4 with the xt10 purchase but the complaints of noise and focus speed made me pause. I bought the 56mm instead since it was on sale and I have zero complaints. Then I heard rumors of this lens and knew I made the right choice to wait. It sounds like except for the extra shallow depth of field all other pros point to the newer lens for the most part. Guess it’s time preorder?
Keep up the awesome blog and sharing your inspirational art.
Great Review, really thinking about changing my 35mm 1.4 for this f2. I shoot the X-Pro 1 at the moment, do you think there will be much difference in the lens operations with the X-Pro 1? The lens noise will be the only one I guess. I am holding on to the Pro 1 because I prefer the form of it over the X-T1, and am quietly waiting for the X-Pro 2 to drop.
Do you think from your use of the lens, that it offers any improvement over the 1.4 at the moment on the Pro 1, or is it really the next generation lens for the next generation of the X-Cameras.
Basically I am debating on getting this lens for my X-Pro 1 and then upgrading to the X-Pro 2 once it has been released and reviewed, or just waiting and getting the X-Pro 2 and 35mm 2 at the same time.
I am trying to get away from just the fact that it looks really cool on the rangefinder form 🙂
Thanks for all your great work on the blog.
If you have the X-Pro1 you will not get the full speed benefit from this lens. It will still operate faster than the 35mm f/1.4. But not by as much as on a newer body. The weather selling doesn’t make much sense either with a non WR body.
But I would say that if you already have the 1.4 then that should hold you over just fine until a new Pro comes out 🙂
This is amazing!!! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼
yeah this lens kinda is! 😀
Thanks for reading! /J
Great write-up with plenty of images to draw your own conclusions from 🙂
Thank you Dade! 😀 – Thanks for taking the time to read. /J
Hi Jonas great review! Positive and insightful! Your passion and enthusiasm shows through your words and great photos. One question, your picture of the mushrooms makes me wonder how close the focusing of the lens is?
Hi Charlie. Thank you so much!! Really appreciate that comment, cause thats really what its all about isn’t it? Passion!
The mushroom shot was taken using the MCEX-11 extension tube. So thats a real macro shot. The near focussing abilities of the XF 35mm f/2 is 35cm. Its pretty close. Also the lavender and the leaf shot at the end of the samples are taken using the extension tube 🙂
I literally never comment, but your review was so well written and detailed that I had to give you some kudos and thanks! I especially appreciated your comparison between the two lenses which I was looking for everywhere and couldn’t find it. Now all my questions are answered and my decision is made, I’m getting the new lens without a single doubt.
Thank you again Jonas!
Thank you so much for your kind comment Banê! – I really appreciate that!
I’m glad that I could help you in your decision.
Great detail in the article, at first i wondered why would they make another 35mm, but this one seems to be greatly improved!
Thank you Jay. It really is quite improved in almost all areas. Its no small feat for sure. Thank you for stopping by /J
Thanks a lot for a great review : informative with a lot of great images taken in a variety of conditions. The best review I have read so far
Thank you so much! Thank you for reading! /J
If I only have one lens now and that’s the 23mm (with XT1) will getting a 35mm f2 some what redundant? I’m shooting street and documentary.
Hi Dom. Now thats a tough one! – I assume you chose the 23+xt1 since you like that slightly wider focal length. The 35mm will give you a tighter crop for sure, and its a different beast altogether. If you want that tighter crop then pull the trigger on this! /J
Ya, I’ve been shooting with the 35mm full frame equivalent focal length for years and that’s why I chose the 23mm when I migrate to the Fujifilm system. I wanted to have a 50mm full frame equivalent lens so I can take tight shots and don’t have to get too close to the subject when Im on the street. Was thinking of the 56mm as well but it doesn’t seem to be a “everyday” kind of lens.
Anyway, thanks for your precious opinion here. Great review and keep up with the good works!
Great review, Jonas!
Thank you Sven ! 😀
Great review and superb photos!! I currently only owns a X-T1 body and the 18-55 kit lens. Was thinking of getting the 16mm 1.4 next but after reading this review, I kinda felt in love with this new 35mm. Could you suggest any significant difference (beside focal length and aperture) between these 2?
Forgot to tick the “notification” check box
Thank you for reading!
The size is probably a large part of the difference. The 16mm isn’t really a small lens.
The 16mm has the great “Pull back” manual focus which I’m very fond of. In terms of image quality, they’re both stellar performers.
But I would definitely say size is the main difference. You probably need to try both on cam!
Hi Jonas, thanks for the interesting review. And great pictures, they are quite the inspiration. I was wondering, in one of your reviews I remember reading you use the VSCO 04 film simulations. Is that what you used for the photographs in this review? Would you mind sharing which simulations you used?
I didn’t use VSCO for this review.
I have one color preset that I tweak from. I think it originated from the Fujifilm Fortia 100 VSCO preset. But it’s been tweaked to 20 different versions. What I like are the saturated greens, purples and yellows.
Sometimes I lift the shadows.
For the black and whites, its my own preset that I made to mimic a high contrasty Tri-X 🙂
Thank you for reading!
Lovely review. Nice and convincing pics.
If I hadn’t already ordered, at least now I had. I really like the pics from my 35/1.4 but it’s slow and noisy. I’m really looking forward to the 35/2, having at least the same image quality with all the other benefits
Thank you for taking the time to stop by Andreas! Glad you found it of use 🙂
Hi Jonas, so not sure if this question has been asked before. I already own the 35mm 1.4 and I love it. I’m not fussed about the size or weight discussion (the 1.4 is already light enough). WR is interesting as is the speed but will you sell your 35 f1.4 for the 35 f2? I can’t warrant both and will have to sell the one to finance the other… Thoughts?
Its such a hard question, since I definitely need that extra stop of light from the 1.4 at times.
But that WR and overall snappy-ness of the f/2 is simply much more usable.
What kind of photography do you do mostly? Outside or inside? Natural (less) light or Artificial lighting?
A very nice review; I have found that Fuji X photographers seem to be able to convey an enthusiasm and you-can-do positivity about the brand that is not found on other camera brand reviews.
Interested in your comment about liking silver lens on black bodies as to partner my x100 (original version) I am thinking of a black XT-10 with the F2 lens in silver, and having seen the straps you mention from DeadCameras feel that this would be an elegant camera combination to carry around (perhaps topped off with a match technical bug soft release!)
Regards John Holloway (UK)
Thank you so very much for that kind compliment. I completely agree. Emotion is such a big part of this Fujifilm thing. At least for me it is.
I think what you describe will be a fantastic combination!
Thank you for the great review, i just wondering if you have tried it to make a video using this 35mm f/2 lens. Is it quite enough when it try to get focus. The reason i ask is because i use 27mm with X-T10 and the lens is so noisy and the noise of the lens is capture in video .. so i can not use 27mm for video . so back to my question… is the 35mm f/2 silent enough for video ?
Thanks in advance
Hi Don. I havn’t tried that. But it makes almost zero noise when focussing, so I think it will be just fine.
Great review Jonas. After a long hiatus from photography, I’m ready to come back with an XT1 and XF 35mm F2 combo. I think you hit all the points I wanted answered in the review and the comments. I’ve shot the 1.4 extensively on all bodies up to the XE2 and speed was always so so but with this little black (my preference) monster with the XT1 4.0 will be a speed demon for many applications. I’ve put my pre-order in already and I can’t wait to get it.
I have an XT-1 with the 35 f/1.4, and while I am happy with the image quality (especially sharpness) from that combo, Jonas has convinced me as well, to go with the new 35 f2 WR! Good luck with it!
Thanks Steve. I’m not knocking the 1.4 its a great lens but I think the f2 will be better for my particular use case. I actually took my most iconic image with the 1.4 so I hold that lens in a very special place as well.
Glad to hear from you. You have really taken a long break huh?
I think you’ll LOVE the f/2.
Can’t wait to see what you do with it.
Thanks Jonas! I just received mine this morning so I’m looking forward for that 1st import into Lightroom.
Me too. I’ve also been away from photography for a long time. X-T1 + XF 35mm F2 WR is now in hand, the sun is up and I’m hitting the streets for the first time in a long time. Super excited.
Great review Jonas!
Great review Jonas, thanks. I ordered one after reading your review and I received my copy of the XF 35mm f/2 W R yesterday. I gave it some thorough exercise in my house and on the streets. All I can say is that it’s a fan-freaking-tastic photographic tool. Razor sharp at the widest aperture. No need to stop down, just point and shoot. The autofocus is noticeably better than the older f/1.4 version. More accurate, faster, no external moving parts and almost completely silent!
Yes, there’s some distortion and chromatic aberration going on, but it’s hardly noticeable in most shots (especially monochrome street photos) and it can be easily corrected. The bokeh looks very good. Towards the corners the out of focus highlight circles are no longer round, but the bokeh looks absolutely gorgeously smooth and creamy. We have to keep in mind that this is only a compact 35mm lens. I think Fuji has done a great job. This lens will work very well on a PRO series body too, because it doesn’t block the optical viewfinder, perfect!
I know it’s not the most important feature, but besides delivering great image quality, this lens looks, feels and operates like a dream.
This was one hell of a review. Great work. I just found your blog through Patrick LaRoque. I really love that all of your samples are pretty much every style of photography. Not just street.
I currently use the X100S since I favor street photography primarily. I’ve been wanting to switch over to a 50mm(eq.) lens because I’ve never been happy with the distortion that the 35mm focal length gives off. Currently I’ve been on the fence since I haven’t been sure whether to buy (next year) the X-Pro2 + 35/2 or A7II + some 50mm lens. But you, and other people, have made a damn good case for the Fuji system.
Thank you very much Vernon. I’m glad we helped you with chasing Fuji 😛 😀
Totally off topic, but I wonder if anyone here have an ide why the only images I can see in this review is the two of the x-10 with the lense. I had to launch my Opera browser to see the complete review. (MacbookPro 2015 + Safari)
Don´t know why, but I can now look at all those lovely pictures also in Safari. I have now got my own 35 f2, i snows outside and the lens is WR. I have to get out!
Hey Hans. Good to hear that the issue got solved. However it happened! – Enjoy your 35 f/2 😀
Lovely images Jonas! Really good review style! You sure know how to sell a lens 🙂
Wow! – Thank you so much Gerald. Thats some compliment coming from you. Thank you very much for reading! /J
I just bought a new X-Pro1 and the 35mm f1.4 this weekend. I got the X-Pro1 for around $360 as Fuji South Africa were selling their last stock. It was a deal I couldn’t refuse. I was playing around with the camera at home and couldn’t figure out what was making the noise when I turn the camera on/off and during focusing. I tried switching off all the sounds but still a noise. I did a Google search and apparently the aperture blade noise is a know issue with the 35mm f1.4. For me it’s so distracting it’s a deal breaker!
Thanks for your review of the 35mm f2. After reading your comments, especially around how silent the lens is without losing anything in rendering, I’ll be swapping the f1.4 for the f2, which Fuji have already agreed to do.
Next week I Will buy the xt10 and the 35/2.0 ! I wont wait for the new sony a6000 any morse because i like the design, the quality of Fuji!
! 😀 – Good choice!
Hey Jonas, nice review!
Do you think the 35/2 can be used for some concert photography, as it is faster than 35/1.4?
By faster i mean its AF is faster :))
oh definitely. f/2 at most well lit rock concerts will do fine. Problem might be at DJ events where light often is much more sparse! /J
Thanks for the reply!
I am not really shooting DJ events so it should be fine. I think it is time to replace the old Rikenon 1.4 and Pentacon 1.8 lenses with the new 35/2 :)))
I had the possibility to test the lens for an hour and I can understand all the positive findings of you and other people besides one! distortion is really awful before software correction. It looks like a fisheye lens. Although I didn´t measure it I´d say much more than 5% more close to 10%. This is the only shortcoming from this lens. Sharpness, bokeh, color correction look all great. I am wondering why nobody else until now has pointed this.
BTW really good looking samples from you
Hi Ernst. Distortion is there. I just never noticed it in my review. The main thing is that Lightroom reads correction metadata from the RAW files, so it has been corrected on import. Even in RAW. In all my sample images this never presented it self. But you are right. it IS there.
Thank you for reading
When I had read your review about the XF 35/f2 lens from Fujifilm I went straight down to the shop to buy one. And I can only say that I am impressed. I´ve only used it for a couple of days but I must say, as you already mentioned, the focusing, the quietness of the focusing and the SHARPNESS is so good. Remarkable.
Thats great to hear. Glad that you’re enjoying the lens. I know I am! 😀
Hi, thanks for your review, I often hear that there is a lot of magic with the 56mm. Really I would to buy the 56mm but I’m interesting by the 35 for street photo, great bokeh and portrait.
35mm is magic ?
Lookout, I have the 35 f/2 on my XT-1, and yes, I can say that, IMHO, it does have the “magic” of the 35 f/1.4, plus stunning sharpness, build quality and weather sealing! I think you’ll love it!
I was about to buy the F1.4 but now I hesitate ! For now only have the 18-55 and an X-E2, do you think the F2 will still be a better option for this camera?
Your pictures are amazing btw !
Thank you! This review provided me with all the answers.
Thank you for reading /J
Excellent review. But I have one question on the AF speed as I am using X-E1, which is a very old model. Do you know the AF speed of this 35/2 is still faster than 35/1.4 on X-E1 body? Thanks.
Hi Patrick. Yes the focus is faster, even on the older bodies.
Great read Jonas, thank you.
I recently sold my X-E2 to buy a new X-T1.
While I loved the X-E2, my only problem was the weather resistance. I live in cold wet country, with plenty snow, rain, wind and sub zero temperatures. Apart from portraits I am mainly into night skies (love the northern lights) and landscapes. So my problem is that I currently own the XF35mm f1.4 which is not WR but I really need it for my night skies and low light photos.
Yeah, then thats where the WR comes in VERY handy 😀
Hello Jonas. Need help with choosing an ND filter for my 35F2. I’m new when it comes to stops of light.
I just tested my XT10 outside during the day. Conditions: over-cast, not full sun.
At F2, ISO shutter speed = 1000/sec
So if my max off-camera sync speed is 180/sec, is that a 3 stop difference?
I’m going for a non-variable filter & it seems as though a 1.5 (5 stop) is most common. Would this be a good 1st ND filter to go with? On cloudy days, I could always increase my ISO and/or lower my shutter speed? Thank you! Paul
Hi I had a few questions about your photos in this article. Are these the jpgs out of the camera or did you process them after to get such bright colors and and such contrast in the black and white pics? Did you blur the background more in some of the portrait pictures? Looks like there are some macro shots, did you use the mcex11?
I love the photos and thanks for your time.
The images are processed. I never really post images without postprocessing 🙂
Thanks for this article.
Is it really faster focussing on a X Pro 1 ?
I am a new comer to the Fuji system and I am loving it. Just wanted to say thank you, Jonas, this review is technically meaningful and an inspiration to all of us who love photography (and to those like me, who are humble apprentices). Reading this makes you get your kit and get out. Thank you, Toon
Thank you Jonas. As a happy shooter of the X-T1 for weddings you have now convinced me to get the new 35mm! It looks amazing. Although I will miss the flare, that was my favourite part of the old 35mm.
I’m new here and you just earned a new reader 😀 YAY!
Last week after I purchased my XT-1 with the 35 1.4, I was really iffy with the lens. Don’t get me wrong it produces stunning images with the such a shallow DoF but that thing screams bloody murder and constantly hunts (idk if it was just my copy or not) so I bought the F2 and plan on returning the F1.4 but I’ve been confused as well due to that F2 vs F1.4 discussion but after seeing your images and hearing your opinion on it, I AM DEF returning the 35MM F1.4. You just made my life easier and painless.
Congrats on your new 35 f2 Fujinon! It’s a fantastic lens in every way, and IMHO, f/2 is plenty fast enough, especially given the great high ISO performance of this system!
Also, would you happen to know (or any readers here) how the shooting experience is when mounting vintage glass on the X-T1? Canon/Nikon/Minolta?
Sorry, I have no such experience. The only non-native glass I’ve used on my XT-1, is the Rokinon 8mm Fish-Eye lens. It’s manual focusing, and works great, once you get the hang of manual focus. On that score, though, the XT-1 has several focusing aids, such as Focus Peaking, Focus Area Magnification, and a Dual Screen viewfinder option that shows both the entire scene plus a small window with magnified focus point. The Rokinon is a very nice lens to be sure, but if you’re a “pixel peeper” like me, I would still give the “sharpness edge” to Fujinon glass!
Just wanted to say I appreciate your review. It’s hard to judge a lens when most review site just post crappy photos. Thanks for showing us what the lens can do in the right hands.. Which lens do you keep on your camera more often? 35f2 or 23f1.4?
Great pictures. Great review. Very well written. Always a pleasure and an inspiration to visit your blog. Your daily life images are gorgeous. I have question regarding the lens. The close focusing distance is 35 cm. How far would you say that is from the front lens element? I am used to my x100t being able to go very close to the subject in macro mode using the TCL-X100. Damn, I wish Fujifilm would update the x100t firmware with newer AF modes and auto macro mode 🙂 Best, Peter (Kgs. Lyngby)
Great review. What sets it apart – the writer is a great photographer. Most camera reviewers on the web are truly crummy photographers. Your images are the images of an arist. And you realize that pixels are irrelevant. It is the look of the image, the “signature” of the lens that matters.
i never comment. Now I have to. great review & work. I have ordered a black one. May have to cancel it to get the silver one because I have a silver XT10. [bought used so no choice- I usually like black lens/body] thanks for different shots too.
Wow! Jonas, Thank you for the excellent review.
I also recently purchased a new X-Pro1 body for a fantastic price, as my first dip into Fuji from Nikon.
I am considering this 35/2 as my first lens into the X-system. The review made me stop looking for the 35/1.4.
I think the 35/2 for the X-Pro1 (and Xe1) from reading all the many comments to your review have these advantages:
-nicer view through the OVF, much less barrel in the view.
(Read about parralex correction framing issues though- thoughts?)
-Faster AF with older bodies (xpro1/X-e1)
-internal focussing (barrel doesn’t pull out) more discreet.
-Super Sharp maybe even sharper!
-Excellent flare control
-Better min. focus distance
-No aperture blade noise
-WR for future bodies
-Dust seal probably still will benefit non WR bodies, prevent dust moving into lens or on sensor.
-plastic lens hood vs great price
-made in Japan metal body.
-excellent aperture ring and clicks
-great (small) for street
-good (not mush) MF barrel turning
-lens is ready for new gen. body upgrades!
Thank you again for the amazing read and sharing your photos!
Makes me miss Living in Denmark,
I used to live in Odense.
Mange Tak Jonas,
Shidan in Vancouver
35 f2 or 23 f2?
On x-t2, black or silver lens?
I love the black,
I bought the xf35/2 And love it.
Been my only lens so far as I am relatively new to Fuji.
The 23/2 will be my next lens.
I am also doing street/travel
Fantastisk test! I dig it!
Hi! I have an XM1 model. Would the XF 35mm f2 fit? Thanks.
I have just received my XF35 f2 that I have bought after reading your (and some other) review. The behind-the-mesh portrait is one of the best photos I have seen from you so far. This really backs up the claim that warm sunlight is picked up so beautifully by this lens.
Hi Jonas, would you recommend this lens as a first lens on a new xt10 body?
weird question but do you shoot with clear filters or find that they affect the image quality? I always get b+w clear filters. Just curious. Thanks!
I love to use My 18mm F2 and 35mm F1.4. 18mm F2 so much nice and i’m very love i’t so street and outdoor. 35mm F1.4 for portrait. I sell all my Nikon gear to change to mirrorless Fuji,
As usual, excellent images! Thank you.
I know this comment is being made long after you wrote this review but it isn’t until recently that I’ve seriously been considering getting the 35mm lens. I travel quite a bit and I’ve been using zoom lenses (10-24 and 18-135 and 100-400 for wildlife) but when I’m at home I use a 27 for street photography. However, given the 27’s age (!) plus the tremendous upgrade to the 35 F2, I’m leaning more and more to that ‘standard’ size for my street work.
Be that as it may and getting back to your images (which is the whole point of our photography, isn’t it, in spite of all the marvellous technology associated with cameras!), I’d like to ask you which in-camera settings (if any) do you use for your B&W images – e.g., highlight tone, shadow, noise reduction, etc. I shoot with an XPro 2 and trying to find the best combination on in-camera settings; this is why I am asking you as I really like your work.
Thank you so much. I appreciate that you are a very busy person with your many responsibilities but if you could spare a few minutes to reply, I would deeply appreciate it.
I am late to the party but let me just say that your compositions are inspirational and your writing is so enjoyable. Thank you so much. I do own the 35mm F2 lens, as well as the 56mm 1.2 and 23 1.4. ; I am a bit technically inclined and read a lot on lenstip.com so I am wondering if I did it all wrong. Since I like the idea of a flawlessly constructed lens (very little distortion being the main focus) I should’ve gone for the 35 1.4 but bought the F2 version of the 23 and the F2 50mm instead. What do you think? Does it matter?
Thanks for taking the time to reply and keep up the great work.
Hello, do you think it will be good with XM1 ? Thanks
I m currently doubt between XF 35mm f/2 R WR and XF 23mm f/2 R WR on my X-e2 camera.
I m planning to make picture of product, cosmetic, homeware, so I need sharp good quality picture so can post mu review on it.
Any suggestions between these two lenses?
Thank you in advance
Go for the 35/2 it has a better close up distance than the 23/2. It also doesn’t distort the edges at close up distances,
but still a great lens. See the amazing photos from Jonas. I’m still looking at getting it at some point.
If you do a lot of close up work for product shots perhaps consider the 60/2.4 or the upcoming 80 macro. However, for the quality, versatility and considering the value, it’s hard to beat the 35/2.
A very nice review. Well written and informative, thank you very much. I do have a question about the sharpness you get in your images. The two examples where you compare the 35 f/1.4 and 35 f/2 are both exceptionally sharp. I have the X-T30 and a brand new 35 f/2, and I’m not even close to getting the same level of sharpness.
Here is one example shot at ISO 200, screenshot from Silkypix RAW converter:
Am I missing something crucial here? I see no clear detail or micro contrast like in your example. I’m standing at minimum distanse, so could I experience haze (I think that’s what it’s called) which degrades the image? And that makes me wonder how far away you might have been standing (it’s a very old post, I get if you dont remember).
Have a nice day and thanks for all great posts here on this website.