Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Review
The Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R lens is a fast 50 mm equivalent prime released by Fuji in 2012. This small but chunky lens weighs only 187g but feels like a substantial piece of glass in your hands. The lens is extremely well built compared to other modern 50mm lens released in the last few years and puts the 50 mm 1.4 Nikon lens that I have to shame. The lens has a metal body and comes with a square metal hood, which I absolutely love and I wished all the Fuji lens would come with.
Whats in the box
Len on the Camera
I am not really into technical aspects of the lens, and to be honest, all I care about is the end results that a lens produces. When I use a lens, only three things are important to me, and they are the rendering, sharpness, and auto-focus. The Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R lens is simply outstanding, showing off how well Fujifilm can design top quality glass. The rendering of images coming off this lens is probably the best 50mm lens that I have owned. It renders images that are tack sharp, with amazing colors and detail. I really enjoy the images that come from this lens, and I wish that I could use this lens more often. The lens renders some really pleasing out of focus areas or bokeh in the images when shot wide open at 1.4f and the focus area is still sharp. The bokeh is kind of smooth and pleasing to the eye and gives images that 3D separation from the background that people like to see in their shots. The quality of the bokeh far outperforms my Nikon 50mm 1.4f. The sharpness of a lens is an important factor for most people and this lens is sharp. Even when shot wide open at 1.4f, this lens is sharp in the focused areas. A lot of prime lenses tend to be a little soft when shot wide open but I have no problems shooting this lens at 1.4. The images that the lens renders at 1.4f are amazing to me and even if you stop the lens down to 4f, there is only a marginal increase in sharpness, mostly in the corners of the image. The auto-focus of this lens is good now, fast and accurate. In good light, the lens will nail the focus nearly every single time, even in difficult conditions, the auto-focus is good but it can be a little slower than the Fujifilm XF 18mm lens. In low light conditions, the auto-focus is a little slower but not by much. Compared to my Nikon 50mm 1.4f lens on my Nikon D3s, I would say that the focus is about the same in daylight, and only marginally slower in low light. The auto-focus is really amazing on the Fujifilm XT1 with this lens now but that has not always been the case.. When I first got the Fujifilm XT1 with this lens, the auto-focus was fast but unreliable, even in good light and in bad light it was slow as hell and failed to find focus often enough to drive me crazy. In 2015, Fujifilm updated the firmware on the lens and changed the auto-focus system on the Fujifilm XT1, and now the lens focuses quickly and accurately, just as fast as my Nikon 50mm lens and much more accurately. I get much more false-positive focuses from the Nikon 50mm lens now that I do with the Fujifilm lens. 50mm is not a focal length that I like to use too often, I prefer to use 28mm on my everyday carry around camera, so I mostly use this to shoot portraits and it is outstanding at doing that. Whenever I have to shoot portrait lately and they don’t require flash(Fujifilm cameras are horrible for flash work), this is my go-to setup now. If Fuji had to improve their flash system on their cameras, I would stop using my Nikon’s so much and use the Fuji much more often in my professional work but as it stands right now, Fuji is for fun and Nikon is for work.
The only negative thing I can say about this lens is the chromatic aberrations that can be generated. If you shoot a high contrast scene, you will get some ugly color fringing. Not as bad as the Fujifilm 18mm F2 lens, but it is there if you look hard enough. But the small amount of chromatic aberrations is more than acceptable this time around. If you have to go pixel peeping and hunting for chromatic aberrations, then the lens is doing a good in my opinion. The last problem I have with this lens, and with all Fujifilm lens, is the aperture ring. Fujifilm decided to use an electronically controlled aperture so you cannot see the aperture when the lens is not mounted, and I absolutely hate it. The aperture ring on all of my Fujifilm lenses are very lose and almost smooth, almost as if they had been de-clicked for video work, but that is not a good thing. It is a way to easy to bump and change the aperture while walking around and when you want to take a shot, you have to change the aperture back to the correct aperture that you want. This is so frustrating and I really hope that Fujifilm will fix this in the future. Some people say that the aperture system on Fujifilm lens is unique and that you should adapt to it but I have simply missed too many shots while adjusting the aperture back to where it should be. The aperture ring is just to lose on this lens. PLEASE FIX THIS FUJI. That is about the only negative thing I can think of for this lens. The rest of the lens is simply outstanding.
Writing this conclusion is really easy for once. If you have a Fujifilm camera, this is a must-own lens. The only reason to not have this lens in your bag is that you have the new 35mm F2 weather sealed lens, but I have not used that lens so I cannot compare it to the 35mm 1.4f lens. I do not leave home without this lens in my camera bag. It is always with me and that is the highest praise I can give to a lens. If you love the 50mm focal length and own a Fujifilm camera, get this lens.
- Image Quality: 4.5 out of 5
- Focus speed: 4.5 out of 5
- Build quality: 4.5 out of 5