The Fujifilm XF35mm F2 R WR, a Christmas gift from my wife, is the first prime lens I added to my bag since switching from Canon to Fuji. It’s an amazing lens that’s sharp, compact, has a reasonably fast aperture, super fast autofocus, and it’s WR. That last bit is “Weather Resistant” in Fujifilm speak. It was that last part, along with its compact size that led me to choose it over Fuji’s well regarded f1.4 35mm.
Unfortunately the 35mm has rarely been used in recent months, which really is a shame since it’s such a fun focal length to shoot with. Being roughly equivalent to a 50mm field of view on a full frame camera (if you’re inclined to carry such a big camera that is), the 35mm F2 is the perfect standard prime on the compact X-Series cameras.
Before I go too far off the rails, let me say that this is not a lens review. I’m probably the last person you’d want reviewing a lens anyway. I don’t care about MTF charts (what is an MTF chart anyway?). I don’t pixel peep. Are the images razor sharp when zoomed in 300%? Don’t know, don’t care. In fact I rarely zoom in past 50% when evaluating an image. When I read reviews I skip right over the ones full of test charts and specs, instead looking for real world reviews from people who’ve put a lens, or camera, through its paces taking actual photos. Reviews like this one from Fujifilm X Photographer, Jonas Rask.
Ok, back on track.
A few weeks ago I forced myself to take this lens, and only this lens, when I was heading out on an aimless photo wander, in my favorite photo wandering place, Portsmouth, NH. I had no particular agenda, and nothing in mind I wanted to photograph. When I head out wandering I let whatever catches my eye dictate what I photograph.
No plan, no shot list, just my camera, one lens, and a spare battery or two.
On an APS-C sensor camera 35mm is roughly equivalent to the standard 50mm field of view loved by so many.
When I first got this lens I used it quite a bit. I liked being constrained to single focal length and how that constraint forced me to have to put more thought into each photograph. The other things I like are how fast the AF is, this lens snaps into focus, occasionally hunting only in the dimmest light and low contrast scenes. It’s also Weather Resistant(WR), a big plus for me because I’ll go out in almost any weather. The 35mm f2 is also small, really small. I can easily put this lens in a jacket pocket without it pulling down on my coat. Lastly, this lens is sharp from f/2 through f/11 and, unlike its 23mm f/2 sibling, it’s sharp wide open at its closest focus distance of just under 14″ (35cm).
Super fast AF.
Reasonably fast max aperture.
About the only “bad” thing I can think of regarding this lens is that for some f/2 may not me fast enough. For those people Fuji also has a 35mm with an f/1.4 maximum aperture. However, this lens comes with the disadvantages of being bigger, having slower AF and, it’s not weather resistant. Oh yea, it’s considerably more expensive too.
In the end.
My last outing with this lens reminded me of just how good a lens it was and how much I enjoy using it. No longer will it sit for so long, neglected in my camera bag.