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.

A lot.

In November.

In England.

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 review

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 f2 review

 Fuji 35mm f1.4 (left) and the  Fuji 35mm f2 (right)

fuji 35mm f2 review

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 35mm f2 review

Fuji X-T1 ~ XF35mmF2 R WR ~ F2 ~ 1/800th ~ ISO 400 (full RAF Link)

fuji 35mm f2 review

Fuji X-T1 ~ XF35mmF2 R WR ~ F3.6 ~ 1/400th ~ ISO 400 (full RAF Link)

fuji 35mm f2 review

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.

“focus, shoot”

That’s when it hit me how impressive this new lens is.

“focus, shoot”

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 35mm f2 review

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)
  • Martin

    These F2 photos seem a bit on the soft side. Especially on the first daugther’s photo I can’t pinpoint where it is focused (hat? eyes? brows?).

  • Hallo Kevin,

    thank you for this great “review” 🙂
    I totally agree. The new XF35mm F2 is a great lens!

    – Sharp
    – Fast
    – Good contrast
    – Nice Bokeh
    – Compact

    I own the silver one and love it on my X-T1 Graphite Silver.
    The only thing that I’ll write on the contra side ist the included lenshood.

    Come on Fuji… A black lens hood for a beautiful silver lens?
    You can do better… Quality is always in the details 🙂

  • Matt

    Hi Kevin,

    Have you tested the new 35mm on the X-Pro 1 as ever review I have seen only tests it on the X-T1? I was wondering if there was any AF performance improvement on this older body with the new lens?

    I have been holding out for the Pro 2 and am still rocking the Pro 1, probably at least for another year whilst I save for a Pro 2 body, assuming it is released next year, but I am thinking of getting the f2 of it gives the Pro 1 a little more umph in the AF dept.

    Cheers
    Matt

    • Hi Matt – I haven’t yet tried it in anger on my X-Pro1. I’ll give it a go though and get back to you here.

      • Matt

        Thanks Kevin, much appreciated.

        I was thinking of getting a X-T10 in the recent Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers as I tested it at the shop with the new 35m f2, and it was great. Sadly the X-T10 just felt a bit too small for me.

        I have considered the X-T1, but I prefer the X-Pro 1 feel and think if I am going to spend the money, I would prefer to save a bit more and put it towards and Pro 2.

        But, if the f2 gives a but more umph to the Pro 1’s AF and Low Light focusing I would seriously consider it whilst a wait for the Pro 2.

        Regards
        Matt

      • Matt

        Just booked up on your London (29th) Street Workshop. I love London, so can’t wait.

        Matt

  • Beautiful stuff! Silly gear question: What is your padded “eyeshade hood”, would it fit on an X-100t, and where can I get one. Is it this? Thanks!

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1046759-REG/fujifilm_ec_xt_l_x_t1_extended_eyecup.html

    • It is indeed the eyecup. It won’t fit an X-100T though.

  • I read somewhere that this lens has very bad distortion, is it true?

    • I’ve included RAF files. I’m not seeing anything of note.

  • Kevin, Thank you for this detailed report on the 35 mm f2.0.
    Do you know if the XPro 2 is going to be a replacement for the Xt1?

    • Hi Hannah,

      I have no idea what the plans are from Fuji regarding the camera models.

  • Gabriel

    Hi Kevin. Thanks for your review. I own a X-T1 and so far my only lens is the 35mm 1.4. Would you consider moving buying the 35mm 2.0 or acquiring the 56mm 1.2?
    Regards
    Gabriel

    • Hi Gabriel,

      They are all very different lenses and I’m lucky enough to own all of them.

      If you have the 35 1.4 already then the 56 would be a great accompanying lens.

  • Wow! Sorry for the typing mess. Let’s try this one instead:

    Why do you have the prisms of your X-T1s covered in black gaffer tape?
    Great article! I have both Fuji 35 lenses and I love them both for different reasons.
    Thanks for sharing..
    Bud

    • Hi Bud – its covered really to avoid any kind of conversation about it at weddings. Works too.

  • Brett Patching

    Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for your review. Looks like a very good design, also regarding price point. Now I’m crossing my fingers that Fuji will make a 23mm lens like this.

  • Great review of the superb Fujinon 35 f/2! I use it on an XT-1, and the AF speed, accuracy, build quality, and most importantly, image quality, are stellar!! The sharpness OOC is so good, that sharpness adjustment in post can be considered optional! In terms of sharpness, it’s actually quite similar to the Fujinon 60 f/2.4 Macro, albeit a LOT faster in acquiring focus! I highly recommend it as a “walk-around” option, since it’s light, fast, sharp, and weather-resistant! As for the bundled black plastic hood, it does the job unobtrusively, although a metal hood would have maintained the high quality of the package.

  • Dave Davison

    Hi Kevin, I’m wondering if you ever tried the lens in anger on the X Pro 1 yet? Like Matt in an earlier post I’m always wary of glowing reviews for lenses on newer camera bodies like the XT1 that has had many software updates over the X Pro 1. I’d really appreciate some comparison (generally – not specifically by you, though I’d greatly respect your view) of lenses on old bodies over new bodies.

    • I’m absolutely sure it would be fine but I’ll try and give it a run out on the Xp1. 🙂

  • Tom Aspin

    I have been looking for info and advice on the Fuji X series, and I have to say your site is a revelation.
    I currently shoot with an XE-1, with the standard 18-55 f2.8-4, and I have been asked to shoot at my Brother in Laws wedding as a favour, as they just don’t have the budget for a photographer.
    The zoom will be ok for general shots outside, but I’m looking for a decent prime for some individual portraits and candids inside. Trouble is I can only afford one lens – would the 35 f2 be a suitable option, do you think.

    Thanks

    • 35 f2 would be a good choice Tom. Make sure you have back up equipment though. Even if you aren’t being paid, accidents can still happen. I don’t take less than four camera bodies to weddings with me. Two are spares in case my main two go down.

  • Tom Aspin

    I really appreciate you taking the time to reply, thanks.
    I can’t quite run to spare fuji-x bodies at the moment, so I will have to be content with a large sensor Nikon bridge camera for emergencies, plus a spare battery for the XE1. Even though this is for family, I do take this responsibility pretty seriously – this will be the third friends/family wedding I have shot over the last few years, and will be planning very carefully.

  • JR

    Hi Kevin!

    Right now I shoot with the xt1 and the 23/56 combo. I find myself needing a little space every now and then so was thinking about going a little wider at 16. Is the 16 any different as far as speed and accuracy goes? Also I was going to acquire a xpro 2 but wasn’t sure how the ovf is with a lens as wide as the 16. What seems to be your go to combo for weddings these days?

    Thanks a bunch!

    • Hi JR – right now, I switch between the 16 and 23 depending on the wedding I’m at. I find a great compromise though with the X-Pro2 is the 18mm f2. It’s amazing and a much forgotten lens.

      Last Saturday for example I shot with:

      2 x X-Pro2’s, 56 f1.2 and 18 f2.

      X100T with WCL.

  • JR

    Thank you for the heads up on the 18! I will give that a look. Do you have any issues with the 16 on the xpro 2?

    • None at all on the EVF. ON OVF, because its a big lens, it can be awkward – but you have the zoom feature to alleviate it somewhat.

  • Ralph Schwarten

    Hi Kevin, I like the processing you have done on the images above. Are you able to shed some light on the processing you did to the RAW files?

    • Hi Ralph – these are basically JPEGs from camera with a very slight warm tone.

  • Peter

    Hi Kevin, when you say the lens hood has been relegated to the drawer that hold all the rest of your lens hoods, does that mean you don’t use lens hoods at all on any of your lenses?

    • That’s right Peter – I tend not to use any lens hoods.

  • david gibson

    Been reading your replies to emails and wondered if you had the time yet to try f x35 f2 on the X Pro1 yet.

    • I have it in my list of requests…..but as yet, no. Sorry. Been a busy few months but I will dig out my trusty X-Pro1 and have a go. I’m sure it will be great though.

  • Richard Holland

    Hi Kevin. Great website very informative. I like you have a X100T which I love and I have just sold my MFT kit and got a great deal on a X-T1 and 18-135. I just wondered how well these cameras complement each other. I am pondering adding the 35mm f2 to my arsenal which at 56mm I thought would be a good shout. Useful for shooting a 5 year old as well. Any thoughts welcome

    • TBH Richard, all the X-Trans cameras complement each other really well.

  • Josh

    Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for your review.. Just about to purchase the X-T2 and want to match it with a 35mm. I love shallow depth of field and can’t decide between the 1.4 or 2. Is there a significant difference to make me choose the 1.4 over the 2? Many Thanks, Josh

    • I’m not concerned over depth of field, so really the difference is low light performance. The f2 lens is one stop better than the 1.4 but if you don’t shoot in too much low light then the F2 should be fine.

      • Josh

        Thank you Kevin for your helpful response!