Fujinon XF 35mm F2 R WR Lens AKA "New Kid"
I've been using the new Fuji 35mm lens for quite awhile now after owning 2 copies of the original XF 35mm F1.4 R model. It's been on the market for a long while now but I tend to take my time where lenses are concerned.
Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens AKA "Old School"
It's a "normal" lens with an equivalent focal length of 52.5mm in 35mm terms. You should definitely have a 50mm equivalent lens somewhere in your gear inventory. I'll always think of it as the one I can shoot just about anything with if all I could carry was one lens. This model is small, light and very sharp throughout the entire aperture range. If you look close you can see some minor diffraction coming in around F11. As a practical matter I typically shoot between wide-open and F5.6, stopping down further only for landscape or subjects that need a greater depth of field.
I loved the older 35mm lens. It focuses too loud for my wedding work and takes it's time getting there. Mine developed a tiny squeak after nearly 4 years of constant use. Sharpness at F1.4 was there but it was much better at F2 where the bite was so strong that I pretty much left it at that setting. All those faults and a few more endeared it to me and I found a way to make them work. The colour/contrast is spectacular when you use it in the sweet spot F2-4. Microcontrast is among the best from Fuji's Fujinon line. It literally shames some far more expensive lenses for image quality.
XF35mm F1.4 R at F2
This new 35mm F2 improves on every single area of the older model. Where the old one had a load of character, the new lens is almost surgical in use. It makes barely a sound, focuses very fast and accurately. The aperture ring is stiff and I haven't changed it's setting accidentally in 5 months of shooting. I appreciate the added weather resistance which is essential for an outdoor person. Rain, snow and whatever else nature throws doesn't stop me from shooting.
XF 35mm F2 R WR mounted to an X-T1 Body
You could put this on an X-E, X-T1/2 or Xpro2 body and do tourist/street stuff all day out of a small camera bag and still have plenty of room for a spare battery, flash and a couple of cigars. I know...because I did it.
F2 - ISO 200 -1/680
I literally shot this, spur of the moment early one morning. I was standing on my balcony smoking a cigar as the sun came up. The sky was on fire and I exposed for it making the buildings in the foreground go black.
F2 - ISO 2500 - 1/60
Even at high ISO sensitivities the new lens produces very crisp, rich images that require little no no additional sharpening beyond the Adobe Lightroom defaults. I helped this image a little with some post-processing using one of my new PRESETS. I wanted to enhance the warm, golden tones on the wood table underneath.
F2 - ISO 500 - 1/60
I rarely use client images on the BLOG but frankly that's mostly what I've applied the lens to. There hasn't been a lot of time to shoot personal work for months now. This particular picture was shot in the chapel of a church using the natural light coming through the high-south facing windows. At F2 you can melt away the background with some creative placement of the subject.
F2 - ISO 200 - 1/500
This is an outtake image from a set of groomsmen shots. I eventually moved the two main gentlemen in front a bit further away from the other three in the rear. I wanted them to go all the way out of focus but even here you can see that shooting wide open really separates your subject from the background relatively easily. At 100% the in-focus Groom & Best Man are perfectly sharp. The only thing done to this image was a correction for the green colour cast from the grass and my default sharpening in Adobe Lightroom (25, 0.8, 100, 0).
F2 - ISO 200 - 1/7000
Ditto for this image except I added a bit of a "vignette". This was done on a very bright morning and wide open the shutter speed is quite high. I had actually set the camera to use the electronic shutter for most of the shoot. When you combine the silent shutter with this lens, taking a picture hardly makes a sound and you get the added benefit of almost unlimited shutter speed room on bright days.
F2 - ISO 1250 - 1/800
I tend to use 50mm lenses a lot to shoot wedding details...wide open, natural light and the ability to get relatively close framing makes it really handy. As with this image...default sharpening and some edge darkening, but look at that colour and contrast!
F8 - ISO 400 - 1/125
I stopped down to F8 here and used on-camera flash in the bounce position to light the cake. The reception hall was darkly lit and getting darker really fast (It's Autumn).
F10 - ISO 200 - 1/125
This is part of a set for a model's development portfolio this past Summer using a monolight. I tweaked the Fuji Acros Film Simulation a fair bit to get this dark/Faded effect. In this case the model was constantly in motion and the camera/lens had no problem finding focus and locking on. I could do with a faster lighting system though...the hair has a bit of motion blur.
The lens is extremely well behaved and a lot of that takes place in Fuji's processing engine. It takes care of chromatic aberrations and all that other time wasting stuff I used to worry about in post-processing. I often add back some vignetting though, especially when shooting portraiture wide open.
Unlike the Old School model there are no squeaks, rattles or focus breathing sounds. It goes to work nearly silent and combined with silent shutter operations you can be very invisible at functions like weddings. I don't detect any distortion though that could be another under the hood correction.
Although I made some noise about minor diffraction at F11 (VERY MINOR) in practice F8 is more than adequate for critically sharp images with plenty of depth of field. I shot some video with this and the Xpro2 and it was super smooth. F3.6 seems to be the sweet spot but I got away with filming wide open and it looked great into ISO 1600.
I've been using the lens with X-E2, X-T1 and Xpro2 bodies and it worked fairly well, though your likely to get slightly better performance on the new camera models with improved auto-focus systems.
It's a keeper.