Fuji 35mm f2 review graphic

Fuji 35mm f2 review: Small & Wonderful [Image samples] [2021]

Looking for a Fuji 35mm f2 review? Here’s mine with sample images, portaits, performance and more, all shot on a Fuji X-T1. If you are looking for a great all around lens, this might just do the trick.

Introduction

fuji 35mm f2 lens side
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Attractive price
✔️ Great Bokeh
✔️ Small
🛑 None

The Fuji XF 35mm f2 is probably one of the most desirable lenses for the X mount cameras. It features superb image quality, weather resistance, rounded 9-blade diaphragm and controls chromatic aberration very well.

Because X cameras are all APSC sensors the 35mm has an effective focal length of 52.5mm, so this is essentially a nifty fifty f2. By default then it’s great for portraits and all around shooting, and the Bokeh at this focal length at the maximum aperture of f2 is really nice.

fuji 35mm f2 sample image 1
Fuji 35mm f2 review sample image

The only alternative to this lens is the Fuji 35mm 1.4 which is a bit bigger, more expensive and not WR. Enter the Fuji 35mm f2, a lens that not only has a very attractive price point but is also keeps a 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, making it great for street photographers.

All of the images in this page have been shot in Jeju, Korea as I was leaning Korean language at the university. They have been processed with these Lightroom presets here. Let’s get into the Fuji 35mm f2 review proper.

Fuji 35mm F2 Review

Let’s start this Fuji 35mm f2 review by looking at the lens itself. It has a dedicated aperture ring so that you can change your settings without looking at any screen. 

Since this lens has the WR on the name, I have to talk about Weather sealing. While it is probably resistant to some weather conditions I wouldn’t particularly trust it. Because the real litmus test for WR is the IP rating, and there is none on this lens. 

It’s understandable, if Fuji puts an IP rating in there, they become liable if the lens breaks. By slapping a generic “WR” on there they can always weasel out of the liability. Not knocking Fuji, other manufacturers do the same.

fuji 35mm f2 sample image 2
fuji 35mm f2 sample image 3

So don’t keep your cameras out if it starts raining, even if it claims to be Weather resistant. Onto the lens design: this lens features one of the things I don’t like about some of the Olympus lenses, namely that the front of the lens is smaller than the back of the lens, leaving it with a deflated look.

That is why this looks way better with the hood on. This comes with the lens and also protects the front lens element. If you ask me it just looks weird when you have a larger camera, and a lens that gets smaller as you reach the front. You can go ahead and call me vain.

Lens quality

This is not one of those larger lenses from Fuji’s stable. This is a small enough lens that can be taken anythere. It is also one of the rare real metal lenses you can get outside of the Leica world. If you want real metal lenses nowadays only those two make them.

Sure lens construction metal of plastic doesn’t add nor detract from the image quality but there’s something undeniably attractive about them.

The lens feels great in the hand. It feels very solid but not quite premium, and like I said above it also comes with an anodized lens hood. It’s the same 43mm thread as other Fuji lenses so it’s a pretty standard filter size if you are looking to attach filters. There is both an aperture ring and focus ring but no depth of field scale, so street photographers, take note. 

Optical performance

The images coming out of this lens are quite frankly great. This is one of the most amazing lenses you can get for relatively cheap for your Fuji camera. It produces sharp images with shallow depth of field, and don’t get me started on the rounded diaphragm blades (aperture blades) that create pleasing Bokeh. This is one of the best prime lenses you need to get for your Fuji. 

The aperture range is perfect to handle low light situations, and since the Fujis have large sensors, they are fine at higher ISOs, making this a good choice for night photography.

Full size samples

fuji 35mm f2 full size
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 for my Fuji 35mm f2 review to be complete here’s 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

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 50mm 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. Let’s move on our Fuji 23mm f2 review with specific scenarios.

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.

So if you like your blurry backgrounds and close-ups this lens is perfect. Look for yourself below:

A Fuji 35mm f2 portrait of a man looking to the right
Fuji 35mm f2 black and white portrait

You can see the Bokeh above, as for how close you can get, see the portrait shot below of my son, I shot as close as I could:

A fill the frame portrait of a child with a cap featuring bokeh background by a Fuji 35mm f2 lens
Fuji 35mm f2 closeup portrait

Here are a few other portraits with the Fuji 23mm f2 lens

Fuji 35mm f2 portrait of a woman looking at the bottom left
A Fuji 35mm f2 black and white portrait of a woman with beautiful eyes looking straight at the camera and Bokeh
Fuji 35mm f2 bokeh portrait

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:

Color portrait of a man with green eyes looking at the camera, shot with the Fuji 35mm
Fuji 35mm f2 portrait example

The minimum focusing distance is pretty impressive, it is 1.15 meters or 35 cm, so if you are into mid-sized to full face portraits this can do both and anything in between.

Fuji 35mm f2 Street photography

Let’s move on our Fuji 35mm f2 review by taking it to the streets.

Fuji 35mm f2 street photography of a man with black mask and army shirt
Fuji 35mm f2 street photography example

When it comes to Street Photography I mostly am comfortable with a wide angle , but the 50mm 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.

black and white photograph of a woman passing by pensive
Fuji 35mm f2 review image sample

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!

wide angle, black and white photograph of a man looking straight at the camera
color photograph of a woman with red coat in front of a Daiso shot with a Fuji camera and lens

The lens is fast and discreet and the physical aperture ring really helped keeping me in the zone. Fujis are the closest thing to Leicas and if you are used to rangefinders this really is a similar feeling. 

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. If you like street photography, check out this course that teaches everything you need to know.

General usage

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.

Cinematic style photo of a public chair, color graded

The only thing keeping it back is the focal length, but that comes down to preference. If you like your 50mms, this is perfect. For those who like wide angles, the 23mm might be a better fit.

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.

Alternative lenses

As the final part of this Fuji 35mm f2 review, let’s look at alternatives.

Vs XF 23mm

If you have one choice to pick between the Fujifilm XF 23mm f2 WR and the Fujifilm XF 35mm f2 WR which one should you pick for a daily all around lens? I would chose the 23mm f2 hands down. Not because is particularly better, both are similar in size with the aperture ring, but because the 23mm is an equivalent of about a 35mm lens.

The 35mm is simply one of the best focal lengths around because it sits between wide angle and the start of telephoto. It is wide enough for street photography yet it can still make some stunning Bokeh protraits.

VS XF 35mm f1.4

The other desirable lens that is similar to this is the Fuji XF 35mm f1.4 lens. While faster lenses are usually better, the 1.4 is more expensive but more importantly much bigger than the f2. In practice the f2 is just more practical and the stop of light is really not worth the weight unless you really need that shallower depth of field.

Fuji 35mm f2 review Conclusion

I hope you liked this Fuji 35mm f2 review. While not a true 35mm (it’s effectively a 53mm)The Fuji 35mm f2 is a great compact sized, 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. 

This Fuji lens is highly recommended and it’s probably on it’s way to be glued to your camera. Click here to check for best price.

19 thoughts on “Fuji 35mm f2 review: Small & Wonderful [Image samples] [2021]”

  1. Pingback: Fuji 35mm f2 review: A small but wonderful lens | Olivier Duong

  2. The Fuji 35 f/1.4 is hardly a monster of a lens. The physical differences between the two aren’t as drastic as you put it. The 35 f/2 is (60×45.9mm) and weighs 170g. 35f/1.4 is (65×54.9) so 9mm longer and weighs 187g. Don’t see how that makes it a monster. If you said the Sony 35 f/1.4 for the a7 series was a monster, then I could see where you could call it a monster. 112mm and 630grams.

    You’re trading extra lens gathering versus faster, quieter AF and WR.

    1. Aye I made a factual error. You know what happened? I got confused with the focal lengths. In my mind I switched the the 35mm 1.4 with the 23mm 1.4 (which IS a monster!), because the 23mm effectively is a 35mm. So thanks for this, you are correct and fixed the mistake promptly.
      I still remember how the 24 1.4 was heavy and didn’t give the 35 1.4 a chance =)

  3. i don’t understand why we don’t finally change this whole 35mm lens (50mm 35mm or so equiv.) to the 23mm on 4/3 to be the new normal lens!!
    I could go through my life only shooting with a (35mm equiv.) 35mm and 75mm lenses. Why is there this fuji 35f2 and 35 f1.4 when they only have the 23 f/1.4??!! Drives me nuts. I almost never use a 50mm lens. I thought that most ‘street shooters’ (not that this term means much to me) use 28 and 35. yes…. you can shoot anything with a 50, but it distorts at close range and for the classic portrait (not that I care much for that term) a 75 is just better, more beautiful in general. Time to tell all these companies that the 35mm lenses (35mm equiv.) are the new Black. So they will give us better options. Think of what we could make with all those 50 mm lenses sitting on shelves collecting dust for all these years! A Bridge to the moon perhaps? And right here I won’t get into a rant on how everyone is so obsessed with the size and weight of all these tiny digital cameras/lenses.
    Can you imagine what all those great 50’s and 60’s photographers would think of this constant arguing about which tiny plastic camera is Just Right for Walking or Hiking or Bike riding or a motorcycle trip or whatever one needs the right camera for?? Uggh.

    1. I understand you! I think for the general consumer that just wants something that does nice images, they will go for the 50. It might be a more beginner friendly focal length!

  4. Hi Oliver. The focal length of the lens on the X100 series is 23mm, so it is wider and not the same. I think the conversion to/from the full-frame equivalent has got the better of you. More coffee? 🙂

    Now, if Fuji could make a lightweight, fast-focussing 23mm equivalent of this lens (that was affordable!), that would be fantastic.

    1. +1 Mike. A compact, fast focusing 23mm would be a perfect lens for the X-Pro2. The 23 f1.4 just draws too much attention to itself.

    2. Nopes. YOU need coffee this time =) Actually we are both right, the x100 IS 23mm but due to the APSC crop factor, it’s essentially a 35mm (23×1.5=35). There is something to be said about everyone agreeing what we are talking about, effective or actual focal length!
      Yup I’m all for a 23mm lightweight myself!

      1. Yes, x100 is apsc crop, but so is xpro2 xt1 and all other fuji mirorless. This lens is crop lens, so it is ~50mm not 35

  5. Pingback: miXed zone: Canon 5DMkIII Vs. Fujifilm X-Pro2 face-off :: XF100-400 Review at dcfever & More – Fuji Rumors

  6. The nifty fifty refers to Canon’s 50mm 1.8 that was made of plastic and sold for $100 new, not just 50mm lenses in general.

    1. “Nifty Fifty” has been used to describe a dozen 50MM lenses for the last number of decades by numerous manufactures. There is no US patent on the term… Everyone uses it to describe the 50MM lens just as the author did.

  7. I recently bought the 35mm f/2 and I have to admit that I like this lens better than its older and faster brother. It’s not perfect, but if you like to shoot a nifty fifty, this is a damn good option. And as always, the look and feel of Fujifilm gear is just great. This stuff is made for photographers, not so much for gadget hunters.

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