Bottom Line up Front …
The Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 was one of the first Fuji Lenses released and remains a firm favourite among Fuji Fans lurking around online forums and blogs.
It has an incredibly unique and beautiful character that is difficult to describe (and which often is described as “magic”), yet it has a few quirks that make the XF35mm f/1.4 a difficult lens to handle sometimes. However, when you get the focus and composition right with this lens, it really is spectacular.
This lens’s versatility is also a strong selling point equally happy delivering amazing landscape, portraits and street shots SOOC. But, I’d consider it’s primary strength with portrait work.
Should you choose the XF35mm f/1.4 over the XF35mm f/2 or the latest offering, the XC 35mm f/2? If character and unique images mean more to you than weather resistance, the fastet autofocus and (to some extent) price… then yes, the XF35mm f/1.4 remains top dog!
Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 sample images…
- Unique, “magic” character lens.
- Overall Image Quality.
- Compact, unobtrusive.
- Loose aperture ring
- “Sharp but soft” images.
- Focusing can be frustrating!
Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 Performance
There is so much out there on the xf35 1.4, as it was one of Fuji’s original trio for the X Series (alongside the xf18 f2 and xf60 f2.4 macro). Along with its siblings, it was designed to produce outstanding “real life” image quality rather than topping the MTF charts. Fuji Rumours wrote an excellent article exploring the past and future of this lens.
Rather than commenting on each aspect of performance like sharpness (which is excellent) and bokeh (also excellent) i’ll try and add some value, where warranted – there are loads of bokeh comparisons and IQ and sharpness tests elsewhere.
The AF on the xf35mm f/1.4 has had a bad rep. I personally went into the shop fully expecting to walk out with the xf35 f2 after reading all the horror stories of the loud and unreliable AF.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not going to perform well using AFC with eye detect ON (probably best looking at Sony, if that’s your thing) however for AFS shooting, i’ve found it to be fine. It’s not silent either but nowhere near as bad as expected.
How to Focus with the XF35 f/1.4…
When using this lens, because of the somewhat quirky AF, I will shoot my camera in fully manual mode and set the AF-L button to be the back button focus. This way you can shoot with autofocus AND adjust using the focus ring on the lens! Using the focus peaking though the EVF means you get wayyyyyy more keepers than just using AF-S.
Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 Build Quality
I love the images I get from the XF35 f/1.4 which typically require very little post processing. However, the build quality is can be really frustrating.
The aperture ring, in my opinion, is really loose. I’m constantly knocking it and ending up with a photo at f/1.4 instead of f/4 when shooting a fast moving toddler or dog. This means most the photo is out of focus because of the razor thin DOF at f/1.4.
The lens will also externally focus, meaning the front element will (audibly) move back and forward when trying to acquire focus. It doesn’t bother me per se, but is something to be aware of if you’re considering a purchase.
There is no WR – again, something to consider.