A Little Bit of Magic – Fuji’s XF 35mm F/1.4

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A Little Bit of Magic – Fuji’s XF 35mm F/1.4

Fuji XF 35mm F/1.4 Review

Of the three lenses Fujifilm launched with their original interchangeable X cameras the Fuji XF 35mm F/1.4 was probably the best optically of them all. I reviewed the XF 18mm f/2 here, a lens that I really like despite it’s quirks, but the 35/1.4 had a little bit of magic to the look it helps create. The 35mm gives a field of view that is close to what you will get using a 50mm on a full frame camera. A true classic focal length and many photographers first foray past the kit lens that came with their camera. This lens is a step above the usual.

Sharpness

Yes it’s sharp, plenty sharp. Even if you crop into the image you still get great detail coming through, makes it easy to crop in or print big if you want to. I don’t shoot walls so I’ve never noticed if the corners are good wide open. They look like the are to me though.

As you might know sharpness of a lens is not all that important to me, as long as it can be sharp enough for what I need then I am happy, this lens make me happy when I shoot with it.

AF Speed

The lens was not a fast focusing one when it was launched in 2012 but regular firmware updates to both the lens and the cameras have much improved the speed at which the lens acquirers it’s subject, Fuji’s Kaizen working it’s magic for us X-Shooters.

Again with this lens manual focusing is a simple twist of the focus ring, Fuji’s brilliant focus aids making light work of it. If you need a small 35mm Fuji lens that has fast focus try out their XF 32mm F/2, one stop less light but smaller and lighter with much faster AF too.

Frank from FLC, the only thing dropped all night. X-T1 with 35mm F/1.4 cropped in ~50%

Output

The files are typically Fuji but there are something a little special about the 35mm F/1.4 images that I like in a similar way to the XF18mm F/2. There is a little magic in these two lenses that perhaps helped in convincing so many photographers to pick up the system early on.

There is just something about the look of the images, a little bit of whatever makes an image have a bit more depth them. I keep coming back to shooting this lens, It’s not a lens I often use for work though I probably should do more often.

Feel

The 35/1.4 is relatively small and quite light, despite being made of metal, a perfect size on the X-Camera, the f/2 version is even smaller though, so if that’s your thing look there. The aperture ring has a nice resistance to it, perhaps a little light but with solid clicks defining it’s F-Stops. The focus ring is about the width of my thumb and grippy making MF easy, it’s a well proportioned design.

The focus is, like the 18/2, a little noisy but nothing to really complain about unless you are shooting video using AF and the camera mic, not something I do. However you will notice it in a quiet church as it goes gwhir-e-gwhirr and locks on. Something to remember if you need to be stealthy and have you camera body set to silent.

Final Thoughts

I bought my XF 35mm F/1.4 R new as my second Fuji lens, I’d bought the XF 16-55 F/2.8 zoom with my X-T1. It was my first Fuji prime and had it’s work cut out as my 50mm for my Canon 5D Mark-iii was a Sigma Art F/1.4 a top notch optic that is hard to beat. The AF is now quite useable, thanks to those firmware updates, although not so easy to grab very fast moving subjects, as you can see below it does a good job if you know how to use it. It’s a lens that I favour on the Fuji system and matches the 18/2 very well.

Have a look at the following images all taken with the Fuji XF 35mm F/1.4

All shots taken by Kim Farrelly with Fujifilm’s XF35mm F1.4r. All right reserved
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