Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 1: Color

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River & Rays – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

I love Arizona! It is perhaps the most beautiful state in America. Some might disagree with that sentiment, thinking that the desert is dull and brown, but I find it to be a colorful and diverse landscape. Others might consider California, Colorado or my current home state of Utah, or perhaps another state like Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, etc., to be more majestic, and they are each certainly majestic, but to me Arizona is at the top of the list, and my heart belongs there.

My family and I like to travel to Arizona whenever we can, which is usually once or twice each year. A few weeks ago we visited some family of ours in Phoenix, and of course I brought my Fujifilm X-T30 along, with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 attached to the front. I appreciate this setup for travel because it’s small and lightweight enough to not get in the way, yet can produce some stunning pictures. The film simulations I used were Velvia, Kodachrome 64, and “Classic Negative” (for Quit My Job). This wasn’t a photography trip, but as always I captured a number of pictures. I hope you enjoy!

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In It Together – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Gravel Road Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Above, City Below – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Above Phoenix – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Neighborhood – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Two Palms – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palm Tree Bees – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Red Barrel Cactus – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Foothills Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Warmth – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bright Spikes – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palo Verde Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Quit My Job – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lucy – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River Trail – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Water Under The Bridge – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Falls & Foam – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Pigeons Over A Roof – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 2: Monochrome

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

Lens Review: Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR

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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.

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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.

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Note how the bottom of the picture seems to curve up when in reality it is a straight line.

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.

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You might really love or hate all that lens flare.

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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Monochrome Mesa – Castle Valley, UT – f/10

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Frozen Reservoir – Causey Reservoir, UT – f/8

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Dead Desert Tree – Moab, UT – f/8

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Two Pots – Layton, UT – f/5.6

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It’s Lit – Layton, UT – f/4

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Hand Held Phone – South Ogden, UT – f/2.8

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Microwave – Moab, UT – f/4.5

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25th Street – Ogden, UT – f/4

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Joyful – South Weber, UT – f/2

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Kitchenscape – South Weber, UT – f/5

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Trapped Inside – South Weber, UT – f/3.6

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Gathering Raindrop – Layton, UT – f/9

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Castles To The Sky – Castle Valley, UT – f/7.1

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North Window Arch – Arches NP, UT – f/9