When I purchased my Fujifilm X-T30, I took advantage of a bundle deal that was being offered, and added the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR prime lens to the camera for an additional $100. What an incredible bargain! This lens normally sells for $400. I didn’t do any research on the 35mm f/2 lens prior to the purchase–I just knew that I wanted it because of the focal length and price–so what arrived in the mail was a surprise. When I opened the box and saw the lens for the first time, I was disappointed by how ugly it was. I know that one shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, so I didn’t hesitate to attach it to the camera and put it to the test.
The Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens is a “standard” prime lens on Fujifilm X cameras, giving a full-frame equivalent focal length of about 52mm. It’s neither wide-angle nor telephoto, but sees roughly the same as the human eye, which is why it’s known as the standard lens. This focal length is very common, and is often the first prime lens that one purchases. I’ve used standard prime lenses off and on for twenty years now, although this is my first Fujinon lens with this focal length.
Something that I’ve heard said many times over the last five or so years is that the 50mm focal length (or, in the case of this lens, the 50mm equivalent focal length) is the most boring of all focal lengths. There are people who will never purchase this lens because they believe that it’s not possible to create interesting photographs with it. I completely disagree with that sentiment! It’s only boring if you create boring pictures with it. If you think this focal length is boring, that should motivate you all the more to use it and prove the statement wrong. Many of the greatest photographs ever created were captured using a standard prime lens. The only limitation to creating interesting pictures is the photographer, and not the camera or lens.
I’m not going to talk a whole lot about the technical aspects of the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens, as that information is already plentiful on the internet. I want to spend most of my time discussing my experiences using this lens to create pictures. Is it a good lens in real world use? Is this lens worthwhile to own?
The first thing that I noticed is just how sharp this lens is. The quality of the glass is obvious. It’s corner-to-corner tack sharp, even at f/2. There’s a barely noticeable amount of vignetting wide-open, but that quickly goes away as you stop down. Bokeh (which is an overrated aspect of lens quality) is creamy and otherwise excellent. This is a nearly flawless lens from an image-quality point of view. The 35mm f/2 is a great example of why Fujinon lenses are renown.
I did say “nearly flawless” in the last paragraph, and if there is one complaint, it’s some obvious pincushion distortion. Don’t expect straight lines to be perfectly straight. This would be most noticeable when shooting a brick wall. It’s not uncommon for lenses to have some barrel or pincushion distortion, so I wouldn’t get too worked up over this, but it’s good to know what to expect.
How this lens handles lens flare might be seen as positive or negative, depending on if you like flare in your pictures. It’s definitely prone to flare, but it has a lovely quality to it if you like that sort of thing. If you don’t like flare, I recommend getting an aftermarket hood to help prevent it.
The minimum focus distance is about 14 inches, which isn’t great or terrible. You can’t do any macro photography, but this isn’t a macro lens, either. Auto-focus is fast, quiet and accurate. It’s also a good lens for manual focus with a smooth focus ring. The 35mm f/2 is fairly small and lightweight, and so it’s good for walk-around and travel photography. It seems to be well built and durable. It’s weather sealed, which is great if you have a weather sealed camera to attach it to. The Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR is a quality lens, and not much negative can be said about it.
While this isn’t the best looking lens ever made, once you get past that, it is high quality glass, and one of the best prime lenses that I’ve ever used. It’s not perfect, but it is very, very good. If you are looking for a quality prime lens to add to your camera bag, this is one you shouldn’t overlook. In real world use it excels and it is indeed worthwhile to own. You can purchase the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens by clicking here, which helps to support this website.
Example photographs, captured using the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens attached to a Fujifilm X-T30:
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The Monochrome Mesa photo is really lovely.
I have the original 1.4 35mm which took me a while to get the hang of, but now I wouldn’t swap it for all the tea in china. The reviews of the f/2 haven’t changed my mind.
I doubt that the f/2 is a better lens than the f/1.4, so I wouldn’t swap it, either.
I love the blue in the sky of the last two images. It feels just right when contrasted with the red in the of the rock.
I am contemplating a second lens but I want something close to 40mm FF equivalent. The XF27mmF2.8 feel too small on the X-T2. I think the XF23mmF2 might work give me just enough overlap incase I need to crop.
The 23mm f/2 is a good lens. It’s very similar to the lens that comes on the X100 series cameras. I’m sure you’d appreciate it.
The color in those pictures is made possible by three things: very slightly underexposing, Velvia and Color Chrome Effect. Well, that and the color of nature that already existed in the scene.
I rented the Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR to try. I had hoped to use it over the long weekend, but there was a snafu in shipping, and the lens arrived mid-week and needs to be returned tomorrow. My wife is driving me into Princeton, where I will have under two hours to use it before returning to the rental company. 😖
Update to my last comment:
I decided to call the rental company and complain about the botched FedEx delivery. I’ve rented with this company for several years. They agreed to extend the rental through the weekend to Monday. Woot!!
One last comment. Many websites keep propagating the “story” that 50mm FF is roughly equivalent to the field-of-view (FOV) of the human eye. The statement always seemed odd to me given that when I stared straight ahead, keeping my eyes from moving side-to-side, I see “wider” than 50mm.
The “50mm is standard” mantra also seemed strange, given what I had learned about FOV in graduate school during my “vision” classes. We were being taught about the human eye because design displays and image processing algorithms require an understanding of the human vision.
So a few years ago, I did some investigation and discovered the focal length of the eye is 17 or 24mm, however, only part of the retina processes the main image we see. This part of the retina is called the cone of visual attention which is about 55º wide. On a 35mm full-frame camera, a 43mm lens provides an angle of view of approximately 55 degrees. Thus the 43mm full-frame focal length closely approximates the angle of view of the human eye.
43 is not roughly 50. That’s a round-up of nearly 14%. And then saying 52 is close enough to 50mm compounds the error.
I use am Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5 on Fujifilm X-T2 to get a 42.6mm full-frame equivalent field of view which is near enough to the actual visible focal length of the human eye,
Maybe it’s the engineer in me, but these sort of “errors” get passed around and become “law”, and we get stuck with them. For example, the also erroneous statements that we all, regardless of size or physical activity, need to drink eight glasses of water a day.
Lol! I agree, including about the water. I’ve heard that around 43-45mm full frame is about what the eye sees, like you said. 50mm is “standard” but slightly telephoto. That Takumar is on my wish list. Maybe for Christmas. I hope you enjoy the Fujinon 35mm, glad they gave you more time. Thank you for your comments!
“when I stared straight ahead, keeping my eyes from moving side-to-side, I see “wider” than 50mm”
Agreed, I thought the same. What I think (maybe I’m wrong) is, that “standard human eye vision” statement , is more accurate in terms of separation between planes than vision angle.
I am sorry if I have not expressed myself well, my English is not very good
I understood you. Cheers.
Ugly? Its sexy as hell. 🙂 From what I understand, the designer of the xPro2 also designed this and is meant to look beautiful together. Add a square hood on it and I can’t take my eyes off it. 😉
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. BTW, this is one of my absolute favorite lenses! I use it all of the time.
A Five Star Lens. The XF35mm f2 lens is sharp fully open at f2. As being more budget conscience this is a great lens the focusing is fast and quite the image quality is excellent. This was the first of my F2 lens series lens and II have never been disappointed and the size of these lenses is to me an engineering feat as well..
This is probably my most-used lens. A must-have, in my opinion. Thanks for the comment!
Just bought a Fuji 35 f2 WR to use on my XT-1 body. After only a few days I’m in love with it. Wow…sharpe images. A great pair, compact and WR for travel.
It’s a very good lens for sure!