Review: Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R Lens

Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R Lens

Design and build

The construction is solid, made of mostly metal. It's weighs 187g and is small

It has a 52mm filter thread which means you can share a ND filter with the 18mm lens.

A metal lens hood is included with its own rubber cap. The lens hood is bayonet mount and is a bit filmsy compared to those screw-on type. The rubber hood in actual use is prone to getting hit and will drop off easily. The optical viewfinder (OVF) will be blocked off slightly by the lens hood but not really a source of concern.

The lens cap is a bit too flat and is difficult to pinch out. Because of the filmy lens hood and lens cap, my recommendation is actually to get a third party screw-on type lens hood with lens cap.

The aperture ring goes three click for 1 full stop. The aperture ring is a great convenience because you don't have to press any buttons to change aperture.. The manual focus ring is well damp.

Image quality




The image quality is great. It's reasonably sharp wide open with slight chromatic aberration in the form of purple fringing. Sharpness improves dramatically when stopped down.

Colours are beautiful and the bokeh is dreamy. There's no obvious vignetting. At f/1.4, you get a shallow depth of field that helps you isolate subjects easily.

Sharpness

Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 sharpness test (set 20120503A)
This is the scene that's shot at different apertures. The left column below shows the top right crop, and the right column, the centre crop.

Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 sharpness test (set 20120503A)
Centre sharpness is great. At f/1.4 and f/2, there's slight softness but discernible only at 100%. Corner sharpness is also reasonably good at wide open with some softness. The optimal aperture is at f/2.8.

Below's another set which also shows similar results. The left column shows the bottom left crop.

Autofocus

Focus speed is snappy after firmware upgrades. However, the speed is almost barely enough for subjects at walking speed. There's no internal focus so the front lens element moves. Focusing is noisy so it's definitely going to be recorded when shooting video.

Manual focus

Manual focus is fly-by-wire. The implementation of manual focusing isn't good on X-Pro1 because of the lag.

Belt
Focusing on close subjects is easier with macro mode. The minimum focusing distance is 28cm.

Parallax

OVF frame lines coverage on the X-Pro1 is not 100%. This is not attributed to the lens design. Photos will be slightly larger than the frame line box. While in OVF, the parallax error and its adjustment is quite significant. Shooting close subjects is recommended with EVF mode.

Conclusion

The Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R Lens is a top notch lens. It's a pleasure to use this lens at wide open because the centre sharpness is great, and corner sharpness is reasonably good. Image quality overall is fantastic making this lens a very good value. If you can only get one lens, get this one.

Using this lens for street photography presents challenges due to the average AF speed. This could be a concern for anyone used to instant AF lock-on. Nevertheless, it's a good walkaround lens that's capable in any lighting conditions.

When shooting under bright daylight, be sure to use a ND filter if you want to shoot at f/1.4.

Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars.

At a glance
+ Well built
+ Aperture ring on lens
+ Sharp wide open
+ No vignetting
+ No chromatic aberration
+ Dreamy bokeh
+ Comes with lens hood
- Lens cap difficult to pinch
- Focusing noise will be captured during video
- Not internal focus
- Manual focus on X-Pro1 has lag
- OVF Frame lines coverage not 100%. Photos will be larger

Availability

Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens is available on Amazon (US | JP)

Be sure to check out more reviews on Amazon.



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