Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R
Lab Test Results
June 6, 2012
by Andrew Alexander
Early in 2012 Fuji released the X-Pro 1 system, with three prime lenses: the 18mm ƒ/2, the 60mm ƒ/2.4 Macro, and the subject of this review, the 35mm ƒ/1.4.
As the X-Pro 1 uses an APS-C sensor with a 1.5x ''crop factor'', the 35mm lens offers an equivalent field of view of 52mm, making it an excellent walk-around lens. The lens ships with a metal hood, takes 52mm filters and is available now for around $600.
The 35mm ƒ/1.4 R is capable of very sharp images, but for maximal image sharpness the lens must be stopped down to ƒ/5.6. When used wide open at ƒ/1.4 there is some significant corner softness, but in the central part of the image we do note some very good results. Stopping down to just ƒ/2 offers a significant improvement: central sharpness is excellent, and corner softness is dramatically improved. Stopping down to ƒ/4 almost completely removes this corner softness (you'd have to peep pretty closely to see any softness at all, really, depending on your subject), and improvements are very small until the image is essentially tack-sharp across the frame at ƒ/5.6.
Diffraction limiting appears to set in at ƒ/8, but there's no appreciable loss of image sharpness until ƒ/16, or ƒ/22.
Results for chromatic aberration were very good; there's hardly any chromatic aberration to speak of, and it only becomes noticeable when the lens is stopped down to ƒ/16 or ƒ/22. When present, it will show as magenta fringing on areas of high contrast.
There is some light corner shading when the lens is used in the ƒ/1.4 aperture position; in this case, the extreme corners are a half-stop darker than the center. This reduces to a third of a stop at ƒ/2, and at all other apertures, corner shading is negligible.
Results for distortion were very low for the 35mm ƒ/1.4 R; there is just a hint of barrel distortion in the extreme corners.
The Fuji 35mm ƒ/1.4 R focus 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.
The 35mm ƒ/1.4 R only offers a magnification rating of 0.17x, making this less than ideal for macro work; its minimum close-focusing distance is 28cm (just under a foot).
Build Quality and Handling
The Fuji XF 35mm ƒ/1.4 R is a well-built lens, harkening back to the days of metal rangefinder cameras. It's small and it isn't all that heavy (just 187 grams, or just over 6 oz), textured in a satin black finish.
There are two rings for this lens: a focusing ring, and an aperture ring, something of a rarity in modern digital cameras. The aperture ring sits closer to the lens body, around 3/8'' wide, with click-stops between aperture settings. We found the aperture ring a bit looser than we would like, which means if you like the be able to move quickly between settings, you'll be happy with this action.
The focusing ring is about 3/4'' wide, made of polycarbonate with deep grooves that offer excellent tactile feel. The X-Pro camera concept uses a fly-by-wire 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. In practice this means the focusing ring will turn forever in either direction, and you'll have to rely on the readouts to know if you have reached minimum or maximum focus. There is a slight amount of lens extension when the lens is focused.
There are no distance scales or depth-of-field information on the lens, but the X-Pro 1 offers a distance scale on its LCD or viewfinder readout.
The 35mm ƒ/1.4 R lens hood is made of metal, and can only be described as a circular hood with its sides squished in. It does not reverse for storage on the lens, and attaches with a standard bayonet mount. The hood is 7/8'' long, adding about 3/4'' of length to the lens when attached.
It's also worth noting that the lens comes with two front caps, one for the lens and one for the lens hood, since they are different shapes.
Currently, there are no third-party lenses offered in the Fuji XF mount. However, there are several lens adapters which allow non-Fuji lenses to be mounted on the X-Pro 1. Fuji's own M-mount adapter allows Leica M, Carl Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses to be used, and some comparable focal lengths would be found in the Leica Summicron M 35mm F2, Voigtlander M NOKTON classic 40mm F1.4, Carl Zeiss Biogon T*35mm F2 ZM, and Voigtlander ULTRON 35mm F1.7.
There's not much more to say that the test results don't already show: very good performance, even when used wide open, and excellent performance when stopped down just a little. If you're an X-Pro 1 user, this lens definitely deserves a place in your bag.
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/1.4 R
Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by coma (23 reviews)character, bokeh, build qualitya bit soft wide open, loud AF
It was one of the first Fuji lenses. And it's a bit different. It's not as sharp as most of the others wide open. Especially the corners get very soft.reviewed December 7th, 2015 (purchased for $400)
But still, wide open this is great for portraitures. And it has character - the out of focus rendition is beautiful and it's hard to put a finger on it - bug this lens has something, that a lot of other lenses lack. Just looking at samples will show this.
The drawbacks are that it is a bit soft wide open at the corners (stopped down this lens gets really sharp and is suited for landscapes) and that the autofocus motor is noisy.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Prime Minister (47 reviews)Sharpness, contrast, build quality, bokeh, character
This is a beautiful, affordable and well-constructed piece of optical goodness in a sturdy and relatively compact shell. Although it's not tack sharp at f/1.4 (does such a lens even exist), sharpness wide open is still very impressive. There is a generous sweet spot that's totally useable. It's great fun shooting this lens wide open, because the results are very good.reviewed July 30th, 2015 (purchased for $475)
Towards the edges, the image gets a little softer. It's best not to place your subject there if you need it to be sharp. Contrast wide open is slightly lower too, but with a little work in post processing it can be enhanced.
The bokeh looks great. Nice, soft, creamy, juicy etc. It has its own character. When you stop down a little the image gets even sharper with better contrast. There is some vignetting wide open, but it's not very much and it can be corrected in post processing. I haven't found any significant CA.
You probably won't find a lens in this price range that's better optically than this Fuji 35mm.
The build quality is great. The exterior, lens mount, and filter ring are made of metal and the lens has a nice look and feel. Focussing (on my X-E2) is quick and very accurate. The focus motor produces some noise, but I don't find it problematic. The aperture makes some noise too, but with firmware updates the 'clicking' sound was greatly reduced. Again, not a problem. I rarely use manual focus. The focus ring works, but I think it's faster and more accurate to pre focus using the AFL/AEL button.
The Fuji 35mm f/1.4 comes with a black metal lens hood. I leave it in its box, because I like my camera stuff to be as compact as possible. Also, I don't think this lens flares easily.
I think this lens is a 'classic' for the relatively young Fuji X system for many reasons. If you like the 50mm equivalent field of view, you can't go wrong with this lens. Outstanding image quality straight from the widest aperture, great character and the large maximum aperture enables you to make sharp photos in low light.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Gromit (8 reviews)Pretty much everythingCannot think of anything
I'll say it here and now - this is one of the best pieces of glass I've owned. It's small, light, beautifully built, has stunning image quality - even wide open it's super-sharp with the smallest amount of softening at the edges. A perfect 'people' lens - I just bung it on 1.4 and leave it there 90% of the time. No excuses such as 'ooh I need to stop it down to sharpen it up' needed with this lens. Very highly recommended.reviewed March 31st, 2014 (purchased for $450)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by sahliko (2 reviews)f1.4 isvery very sharp , perfect image quality , great bokeh , lightno
There are other lenses, the lens is not that something, I could not find it :). excellent excellent excellent ...reviewed May 20th, 2013 (purchased for $550)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by PeteD (12 reviews)Excellent Image QualityAuto-focus
Image quality is excellent, photos are really sharp and I guess this alone makes it a must buy.reviewed December 7th, 2012 (purchased for $750)
I have no problems with the photos it produces, my only issue is are with the auto-focus which can occasionally misfire and is a little slow in 2012!! It kind of remnids me of the Pan Leica 45 f2.8 for m4/3 in that respect.
And the lens hood is weird!
If you want a 50mm equivalent then this is recommended.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by hballben (2 reviews)Beautiful construction, and glassNone
Super sharp!reviewed October 21st, 2012 (purchased for $559)
I am using the lens with my Fujifilm XPro 1. The new firmwear (2.0) has been installed and really helped speed up the focus.
Beautiful workmanship on this lens! Comes with lens hood.
You will not be disappointed.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by CyranoB (3 reviews)Very good IQ, nice bokeh, perfectly usable from f/1.4Uncomfortable manual focus
The perfect companion for X-Pro1.reviewed June 17th, 2012 (purchased for $630)
I used to shoot Canon 7D & 30/1.4 then 5DMkII & 50/1.4. The Fuji has a much nice bokeh, especially than Canon 50/1.4. Overall lens is better than all, both in build quality and IQ.
Really nice to shoot f/1.4-2.8
The construction is good, with nice aperture ring.
Manual focus is not practical at all.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Powerdoc (7 reviews)Very good IQ : one of the best for a 35 1;4 mm on an APS camera.nothing
This is a must have lens, on the X pro 1. It's very sharp wide open, and good from center to corners at F2,8 and smaller aperture. The bokey is very nice.reviewed June 8th, 2012 (purchased for $500)
The AF is rather fast (for the X pro 1 camera).
9 out of 10 points and recommended by andre_ (31 reviews)bokeh, definition since f1.4, virtually no fringingunconfortable in manual focus, no IF
It's the only lens I have for my X-Pro1 (the 18mm will come in few months).reviewed May 31st, 2012
I'm really surprised how good the results are.
the out of focus (bokeh) is marvellous, at the same level as the old fast Nikkor lenses, or Leica Summicron.
This 35mm invites to shoot in the range f1.4-f2.8, to take the most of the bokeh.
The construction is good, with a really nice aperture ring.
Unfortunately this lens is not IF, and I fear some dust can enter the barrell between the lenses.
If you try to focus manually, this lens needs to be rotated a lot, and it feels a little bit unconfortable.
The hood has an unusual shape, but is very effective protecting from the lights and protecting the fornt lens.
Highly reccomended to anybody who want the X-Pro1.