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The Fuji 35mm f/2 review

The Fuji 35mm f/2 review

I posted previously about testing out the 35mm f/2 in the store, and after comparing it to the 35mm f/1.4, I was torn. After much deliberation, I decided I’d rather have the faster autofocus and the slightly sharper lens than the older f/1.4.

I ordered the new 35mm f/2 from Amazon on New Years Day. It arrived early on Sunday morning (I love Amazon Prime), just in time for the first snow of the year.

The first thing, I noticed is that the lens mounts to the X-T1 in a very snug fashion. This makes sense since the rubber ring on the mount is supposed to create a water tight seal – it was just stiffer than I expected. After taking it on and off a few times, it seems to have loosened up.

The second thing I noticed is that the lens hood is a cheap and awful screw-in kind. I knew this going into it, but it’s really a cheap piece of junk. However, you can buy a real lens hood for $60! Seriously! Sixty! Sixty stinking dollars! Check it out here. If you find it cheaper elsewhere, let me know in the comments. I would like to buy one. It just kills me when Fuji or any other manufacturer doesn’t include a decent lens hood! Seriously Fuji! I use lens hoods ALL THE TIME! They protect the front of the lens from damage, wetness, and more. Grrrrrrrr. The screw in hood works, but why can’t Fuji make a 35mm lens with a normal lens hood (the 35mm f/1.4’s hood stinks too)?

Thirdly, regarding the autofocus, it seems to hunt a bit like the f/1.4. It’s just faster, quieter, and smoother when focusing. Still, the focus hunting is annoying. Also, I wish it focused closer than it does.

The fourth thing I noticed is that the bokeh from the lens is almost indiscernible from the f/1.4 lens. That is to say that the bokeh from the f/2 lens is quite pleasing!

They say the X-T1 and the new 35mm are weather resistant, so I figured I’d put them to the test! As the snow was falling outside, I grabbed the X-T1 and 35mm f/2 and headed out into the elements.

All of the following photos were shot JPEG and tweaked in Perfectly Clear:

These first four images were shot at f/2.

2016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-20-402016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-27-402016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-31-462016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-33-02

This next image was shot at f/2.8.

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One really neat thing about this lens that isn’t advertised, is that it seems to have been made with video in mind. The lens focuses smoothly and quietly. Here’s an unedited clip.

Even though it’s a faster lens autofocus wise than the f/1.4, it’s still not the best choice of lenses or cameras for fast action and moving kids. These next four images were taken with my children making snowballs and charging at me. Nothing makes a kid happier than throwing snowballs at their dad. I pleased with these images, but there were a lot of out of focus shots that I deleted.

2016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-50-002016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-50-212016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-51-212016-01-03-first-snow-of-the-season-13-53-38

This final image is to illustrate the poor macro capabilities of this lens. This snowman was larger than a grapefruit, and this is as close as I could get to it. I do find this to be annoying, but not a deal breaker. I’d like to get closer, but most 50mm full frame lenses can’t get that close either.

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1/15/2016 Update – I’m returning the 35mm f/2 lens to Amazon.

Why? Here are my different reasons:

The focusing speed is only marginally better.
It still hunts for focus.
On the X-Pro1 it’s actually not as fast as the f/1.4 version.
The price for the hood is astronomical – I prefer to use hoods at all times, and like a quality one. This might seem trivial, but $69 for a hood is just stupid!
The f/1.4 focuses closer – not by a large amount, but it is noticeable.
The amount of loss on the f/1.4 is just not worth it to me.
I’ll stick with the older, faster glass, it’s still a great lens, not great for video, but it’s still a solid performer.

If you’re don’t own one, are shooting a newer Fuji, and money is an issue, then I’d consider the 35mm f/2. For existing owners of the f/1.4, enjoy your lens and save your money. It’s not worth the financial loss to switch.


Noah Bershatsky

Noah Bershatsky

I was a nerd before hipsters were cool.

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