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Fuji 35mm 1.8

Recently I purchased the Fuji X-E2 for a variety of reasons. Firstly I wanted to take something more portable with me when I exercised. The D7000 would take up most of my backpack which was annoying. I bought it with the lovely 18-55 kit lens, which is a wonderful lens for what it is.

 

However, as soon as I started playing with the 18-55 I could tell straight away how I missed those few extra f stops, particularly when I would shoot indoors – as I’m opposed to flash where-ever possible!

 

I wasn’t particularly familiar with the Fuji lens range so I started to do a bit of research, and very quickly decided on the 35mm.

 

Having shot with Nikon for some time, the 35mm 1.8 has always been my favourite and most used lens. I find it to be infinitely versatile, allowing me to shoot anything from portraits, landscape, buildings and pretty much anything in between. Its on my Nikon probably 90% of the time unless I’m using my 105 macro for product photography, or a few times a year the amazing 70-300 for sport.

 

Like most things photography there was a real mixed bag of professional and amateur commentary about this lens. Almost all people acknowledged the fantastic image quality centrally but there were a number of reports of weakness at the outer edges. Other reviews had mentioned an obscenely noisy and jumpy autofocus. From what I’d read, I was expecting to hear a 747 take off when I focussed.

 

I ponied up about $550AUD for this lens from <D-D-photographics> who have always been good to me.

 

I’m not going to use lab tests, just my real world experience to discuss the pro’s and cons of this lens.

 

Technical Specifications:

  1. Mount Type: Fujifilm X
  2. Focal Length (35mm format equivalent): 35mm (53mm)
  3. Lens construction (elements/groups): 8/6
  4. Angle of view: 44.2°
  5. Number of diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded diaphragm opening)
  6. Maximum aperture: f/1.4
  7. Minimum aperture: f/16
  8. Focus range (normal): 0.8m – ∞
  9. Focus range (macro): 28cm – 2.0m
  10. Max magnification: 0.17x
  11. Weight (approx): 187g
  12. x length (approx): 65.0mm x 50.4mm (distance from camera lens mount flange)
  13. Filter size: 52mm

 

 

 

Focussing

I found focussing to be no problem. I had upgraded to the most recent firmware, and I had no real issues whatsoever. The overwhelming majority of the time, autofocus was fast and accurate. With very low contrast shots in low light on occasions autofocus struggled but that’s to be expected and never really posed a serious issue for me. The “loud” focussing that was in so many reviews wasn’t an issue for me. Sure you can hear it but I’d hardly say its off putting. People are clutching at straws I think. I tried to hammer this lens to pick up issues with the autofocus but it almost always was very fast and very accurate even in poor light. Its not going to be perfect every time, but it found what I wanted soon enough. I was really happy with the autofocus given this was one thing I was slightly concerned about.

 

Build and quality

 

True to the build quality of all Fuji lenses I’ve tried, this one is no different, it has an outstanding feel in your hand and on the camera. The only thing I didn’t like is the lens cap. In fact I really don’t like it at all. In the end I just put a filter on and stop using the cap it annoyed me that much.

One of the first things that struck me was how small it was but that it was really solidly built and compact. Its all metal construction still comes in at under 200 grams.

The 35mm has two rings, a manual focus ring at the front and an aperture ring towards the mount. At first I didn’t really like the aperture ring but I got used to it. It steps up or down in 1/3 steps.

I’ve never used the hood.

 

Sharpness

As mentioned above, some of the best feedback about this lens is the incredible sharpness it delivers. I’m not going to lie I was in love with this lens when I saw my first few shots, just messing around shooting at cans of coke lined up. It is an impressively sharp lens, and up there with the best I’ve shot with my Nikon.

 

Summary

After shooting with this lens for a few weeks I could find no noticeable distortion, the bokeh was lovelly and the image quality was stunning edge to edge even with wide open. The autofocus was not as loud as I expected it to be based on all the comments I’d read.

This truly is an impressive lens. I’ve heard people say that it has a “magic” about it. I wouldn’t disagree with that. It is one of the most enjoyable lenses I’ve used. I found the bokeh pleasing, the autofocus fast and accurate and as we’re using it with Fuji’s incredible sensor, portrait pictures are absolute crackers.

I love the focal length and think if you have to have one lens, this may be it (depending on needs of course). But it is just so versatile. I’ve shot wide open a significant percentage of the time I use it, and I’ve not been particularly troubled by chromatic aberrations or softness in the corners.

I think it should be one of the first lenses that you purchase. You won’t know yourself in low light with this lens and you won’t be as reliant on flash.

 

As it is, its pretty much always on my camera the vast majority of the time, I just love it.

Brilliant lens, two thumbs up from me.

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