Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR
Lab Test Results
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December 17, 2015
by Andrew Alexander
The Fujinon XF 35mm ƒ/2 R WR was released in October 2015, offering a 53mm-equivalent field of view with a very fast aperture. The lens uses eight seals to improve weather resistance, including a seal on the lens mount itself.
The Fuji 35mm ƒ/2 uses the XF mount and works with Fuji's X-series of digital cameras. The lens ships with a round hood, accepts 43mm filters, and is available now in silver and black colors for around $400.
The Fujinon 35mm produces very sharp images, even when working at its widest aperture of ƒ/2. At this setting there is only a very slight amount of corner softness, in the extreme corners. Stopping down reduces the impact of corner softness; stopping down to ƒ/4 produces results which are almost tack-sharp, and these results are essentially the same with the lens stopped to subsequently smaller apertures. Diffraction limiting begins to set in at ƒ/8, but overall sharpness isn't really impacted until ƒ/16, where edge-to-edge sharpness is slightly softer than other apertures. However, even then, I think you probably wouldn't notice.
Results for chromatic aberration were excellent; looking at the sample images, I'm hard-pressed to see any color shifts at all.
When used at ƒ/2 there is some light corner shading when using this lens: we note extreme corners are 1/4 EV darker than the center. However, when set to ƒ/4 or smaller, corner shading is negligible.
There is essentially no distortion found when using the Fujinon 35mm f/2.
Note: It should be noted that the X-E1, our Fuji test camera, does feature in-camera correction of CA, vignetting and distortion, and it's important to note that our results here were taken from RAW files. However, when converted with Adobe Camera Raw, as it our usual procedure, ACR carries over these in-camera corrections. It was only by converting the same RAW images with DCRAW (which does not convert the images with these corrections) that we were able to confirm this.
The Fujinon 35mm ƒ/2 R focuses very quickly with an electrical motor housed in the lens. The lens focuses from infinity to close-focus in less than a second: it's fast, and locks on to your target easily. The front element does not rotate, making life that little bit easier for polarizer users.
Maximum magnification is a poor 0.135x, and it's very wide angle, so it's not suited for macro work; it has a minimum close-focusing distance of 35cm (just over a foot).
Build Quality and Handling
The Fuji XF 35mm ƒ/2 R is a well-built lens, harkening back to the days of metal rangefinder cameras and has a satin black finish. Because it isn't trying to achieve a super-fast aperture, or incorporate vibration reduction, Fuji has kept the size and weight down, making it a nice little lens (170g, 6 oz). The lens is, however, fully weather-resistant with dust and moisture protection and works in low temperatures (down to -10C).
There are two rings for this lens: a focusing ring, and an aperture ring, something of a rarity in modern digital cameras, but a standard feature for most Fuji X-series lenses. The aperture ring sits closer to the lens body, around 3/8'' wide, with click-stops between aperture settings in 1/3 EV increments. In addition to manual aperture selection, you can also rotate the aperture ring to an "A" mode for automatic aperture selection. The rounder 9-bladed aperture diaphragm provides smooth bokeh.
The focusing ring is about 3/8'' wide, made of polycarbonate with deep grooves that offer excellent tactile feel. The X-series camera concept uses a fly-by-wire system in its lens focusing method, so the focusing ring is not actually directly connected to the lens elements in a mechanical way. Rather, turning the focusing ring moves the elements electronically. The lens has little external features to speak of: no distance scale, depth-of-field scale, or infrared index.
The 35mm ƒ/2 R lens hood ships with a plastic, round hood that attaches directly to the 43mm filter threads. This is worth noting if you want to attach a filter, because you'd have to remove the hood, attach the filter, then attach the filter again. It's not a huge hardship as the hood accepts the lens cap, which is a nice center-pinch design. The lens does have a bayonet mount attachment point, and a new metal lens hood (model LH-XF35-2) will be available that attaches to it. The included hood is made of plastic, 1/2'' long, and is ribbed in the interior.
Fujinon XF 35mm ƒ/1.4 R ~$600
This will be the decision for Fuji shooters: do I save $200 and go with the ƒ/2? The 35mm ƒ/2 is definitely sharper at ƒ/2 than the faster ƒ/1.4 lens, but, of course, the latter will actually provide the faster aperture setting. Chromatic aberration, corner shading, and distortion are all similar, with the 35mm ƒ/2 providing slightly better results for CA. If it's important, the 35mm ƒ/1.4 ships with a metal lens hood and focuses a tiny bit closer.
Fuji users are well-served with prime lenses, with focal lengths available from 14mm to 90mm. The 35mm ƒ/2 is an excellent addition to the lineup and is well worth the money.
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR
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Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by davidgarth (2 reviews)Super sharp Great color and contrast Small and light Fast, almost silent autofocus Price/quality ratioOccasionally, I wish it were one stop faster.
I've been so impressed with lens in both controlled testing and actual field use. Wide open it's very sharp in about 85 percent of the image, and only slightly less so in the extreme corners. Stopping down one stop to f4 sharpens the corners nicely. At f5.6, it's uniformly bitingly-sharp corner to corner; it's the sharpest of the seven terrific Fuji X lenses I own. I really like everything else about it too: the size is small, it's lightweight, the aperture ring has just the right amount of friction, and the focusing is buttery smooth.reviewed September 2nd, 2017 (purchased for $399)
It appears in reading other's reviews of this lens that not all samples are this good. My experience has been that there are significant sample to sample variations in Fuji lenses. Some are poor, some good, other samples are great. Even though I think Fuji lenses in general are better quality than the Nikon lenses I previously used, this sample to sample variation has been more noticeable. I hope Fuji improves their quality control.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by GGDavisCT (4 reviews)Super Mate with any Fuji X bodyNone
I use a good b&w mrc010 43mm UV filter... It protects the lens, stays clean, with 99.9% light transmit. This 35mm F2.0 jewel quality gem is a super-duper mate for Fuji Xbody cameras. It is as PERFECT as a lens can be. Pleasure to hold. Pleasure to shoot with.reviewed August 12th, 2016 (purchased for $400)