Fuji vs. Fuji’s FUJINON XF 35mm F/2 WR Review
Originally Published: December, 2017
If there was one area of lens design Fujifilm was still seriously lacking in a few years into X series, it was weather sealing. Once they got there, it was initially with larger lenses like their Red Badge zoom, and the chunky XF 16mm F/1.4 WR. The XF 35mm F/2 WR heralded a series of ultra compact f/2 lenses, bringing weather and dust resistance to the essence of what X series is all about.
This is my review of what is still my favourite lens to have mounted on my X-Pro, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I think it will be yours.
|Lens Construction||9 elements 6 groups
(2 aspherical elements)
|Focal Length (35mm format equivalent)||35mm (53mm)|
|Aperture Range||f/2 – f/16 in ⅓ stop increments|
|Aperture Type||9 blades (rounded diaphragm opening)|
|Focus Range||Approximately 15cm - ∞ (infinity)|
|External Dimensions||60mm diameter × 45.9mm long|
182g w caps
187g w caps and hood
198g w caps and LH-XF35-2 accessory hood
|Weather Sealing (WR)||Yes|
|Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)||None|
|Push/Pull Clutch Manual Focus Ring||No|
|Nano GI Coating||No|
Fuji has called the XF 35mm F/2 WR a reference point in build quality for Fuji lenses going forward. XF lenses have always been excellent save for a loose or rough-feeling aperture rings here, and an inconsistent focus ring there, but the XF 35mm F/2 WR tightened all that up and just feels “right” in use.
These minor quibbles really shouldn’t matter when it comes time to take a photograph, but for me, and I’m sure many others, it can be a distraction at best, and lead to missing the image I try to capture if an aperture ring has migrated on its own accord at worst.
Size and Weight
Fuji’s first 50mm equivalent was already nice and small, but the XF 35mm F/2 WR is wonderfully compact, even with the accessory hood attached.
Without any hood, none of the frame is blocked. This lens was tailor-made for the X-Pro2’s OVF. Even with the vented accessory hood, a mere sliver of the frame is occluded.
No loose rings here. This aperture ring is solid.
I rarely focus manually with this lens, but the focus ring—narrowest of the WRF2 lenses—is excellent.
This is the one beef I have with the XF 35mm F/2 WR. The tiny ring of plastic they call a hood seems laughably cheap, and it’s finish just seems out of place because it’s such a small ring. I couldn’t even bring myself to use it. For the more budget-conscious, it will certainly add protection to the front of the lens, and block at least some unwanted flare.
The LH-XF35-2→ on the other hand, is excellent, and I keep one on my XF 35mm F/2 WR all the time. It’s a bit pricey, but given the low MSRP of the lens, it’s not as tough to swallow as it is on the XF 16mm F/1.4 WR.
I absolutely love Fuji’s new lens cap style. It’s my new favourite unlike the previous style that shipped with the XF 35mm F/1.4 that I felt the need to replace with a Nikon cap.
Fuji set the bar pretty high with their first pass at the nifty fifty. The new entry doesn’t quite match up, but it’s damn close. So close in fact that unless you are locked down tight on a tripod shooting a landscape or a studio session, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.
I’ve got nothing to complain about. This lens meets my sharpness needs, no problem.
Bokeh balls aren’t perfectly round across the entire from, but otherwise the quality is quite good, particularly in the background. The foreground can get a little bit messier.
Without correction, distortion should be considered on the high end for a fixed focal length lens. In real world use, it hasn’t been an issue for me. Lightroom and Iridient Developer both do a great job correcting distortion.
Fairly heavy at the wider apertures when shooting RAFs. Negligible if you shoot JPEG, or use software to correct it.
It’s just ok for me, but it depends what you are after. This is not a lens I would mount if I wanted to smear some ghosting across the frame, but if I needed to shoot towards the sun without ghosting, it’s an excellent choice.
Inconsequential with in-camera correction or profiles applied in software. Even without correction they aren’t terrible, mostly turning up at wider apertures and towards the corners.
Conclusion and Rating
Despite this lens having slightly inferior optics to the XF 35mm F/1.4 when software correction is off the table, there’s something about it that makes me love having it on my camera. It’s the prime I would recommend any newcomer to X series start with. Small, light, fast, weather sealed and affordable.
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