Here is my Fuji 35mm f2 review covering everything from build quality to sample images. All images shot with the lens and a Fuji XT1.
I think the 35mm focal length is a favorite amongst photographers because it is a sweet spot, i's not too wide and it's not too narrow (I guess that is why it's the focal length of choice of the Fuji X100 (actually a 23mmx1.5=35mm)). Many wanted to have the same lens on their exchangeable lens cameras like their XT1 or Xpro, but unfortunately this is NOT a TRUE 35mm, with the APSC crop factor taken into account, it's essentially a 53mm “normal”, “nifty fifty” lens. But this is not a deal breaker as this is a stellar lens.
The only alternative to this lens is the Fuji 35mm 1.4 which is a bit bigger, more expensive ($699) and not WR. Enter the Fuji 35mm f2, a lens that not only has a very attractive price point (399 release price) but is also rangefinder lens size. The size is important not only because of portability (it can fit in your pocket) but also because it doesn't attract too much attention to you and your camera.
The lens feels great in the hand and is small enough that it can be taken anywhere. It feels very solid but not premium, it also comes with a lens hood that feels of a different material than the lens. It's the same 43mm thread that the Voigtlander 1.4 35mm uses, it's great because buying filters of different sizes is a pain. There is both an aperture ring and focus ring but no depth of field scale. The lens is also Weather resistant if you need something like that.
Full size samples
As always, I believe that all of the modern cameras and lens have good enough quality and to talk about it would be boring and redundant. So here's a couple of Fuji 35mm f2 full size samples to play around, both RAW and Full Size JPGs. Please draw your own conclusions, as my review philosophy is always based on making images 🙂
Using the lens
If you've used any Fuji lens, this lens is Fuji quality. I really doesn't take up much space with a camera body so it's easy to take it anywhere. The f2 might not be as fast as the 1.4 but it holds it's own pretty well. Being a 50mm-ish the lens is extremely versatile and is great for portraits, street or general usage. You really can't go wrong with a 50 if you ask me! Sure there are other more portrait focused lenses out there… but the combination of affordability, portability makes this lens a good choice especially for a first X series lens.
Fuji 35mm f2 portraits
Let's get to working with the lens shall we? The two things to know if you are into portraits is that the lens is not only sharp and does great Bokeh, it allows you to focus close enough in order to really have a nice headshot. See the shot below of my son, I shot as close as I could:
Moving on, here's a few other portraits made with this lens:
As you can see the lens allows you not only to blur the background but also to remove your subject from their background by going in close enough. of course if that's not your fancy, it's great for regular portraits too:
Fuji 35mm f2 Street photography
When it comes to Street Photography I mostly am comfortable with a wide angle, but the 35mm is actually pretty nice for it. It allows you to create images that seem you were close but in reality you are not that close to the subject.
Just like everything in life, the focal length will open up the more you use and work it. I've tried to do some hip shots and it's a bit difficult at first but once you get used to it you can start making some nice images. Between you and me I was a bit afraid to use this lens too much for street photography because I didn't want it to start affecting the way I shoot, it's that good!
The discreetness of the lens comes into play as no one was really noticing me where I was. Since the body and lens were so light, it is possible to shoot pretty much all day and have no wrist pain issues.
The 35mm is probably he kind of lens that might end up glued to your camera because it's easy to pick up and go. I've tried many shot types with it and it handled them very nicely. it's really hard to find anything wrong with this lens, I haven't found anything myself.
But above all I believe that the best part about this lens is that I trust it….. I don't know if I can explain it, but after I used it long enough, I know that I can do anything with it from weddings to portraits and anything in between, that's why I can see people using it as their main lens. It's a great piece of glass that must not be missed, even if this is not your native focal length this lens might just well win you over as it did me.
While not a true 35mm (it's effectively a 53mm)The Fuji 35mm f2 is a great fixed lens that has everything going for it: A great focal length that is great for portraits and street among other things, a very attractive price and is rangefinder sized with a fast f2 lens. It's highly recommended and it's probably on it's way to be glued to your camera.
Where to get it