Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 Lens Review, everything you need to know why the Fuji 35mm is the perfect all-round lens to add to your gear line up.
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With a sleek metal body that can fit comfortably in your coat pocket, the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens may be the perfect addition to your Fuji photography gear line-up.
And after owning this lens for over two years and taken it with me on many of my travels, capturing everything from epic cityscape to street photography in my home city of London. I’ll tell you why you need to add this lens to your Fuji lens line-up.
The lens was designed with both professionals and enthusiasts in mind, as part of the Fuji X line (this was the 3rd Fuji lens I brought and my first prime). So, while it’s reasonably old, released in 2011, it’s one of the best quality products for its price on the market.
You can buy the presets used on these images in my shop
Still, it’s not for everyone, I’ve written a full review of the Fuji 35mm 1.4 lens, with pros and cons below, and all the specs you need to consider to decide if this is the right lens for you depending on your photography style. I’ve also included a comparison to the newer and lighter Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 WR lens.
If you’re still looking around for your photography gear, check out the best travel cameras for beginners and read on for a full review of the Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 lens.
Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 Lens Review
Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 Lens – At a Glance
Compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-series bodies, this lens is brilliant, producing a high-quality image with a robust small frame and I find it a joy to shoot with.
But it also has some downsides which, depending on the type of photography you intend to use it for, may impact your decision. Here’s a brief overview of the pros and cons of the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens.
Lightweight and compact
Wide field of view
Great bokeh and high-quality images
Great built quality
Slight whirring sound when focusing
Very slight distortion when wide open at 1.4
No image stabilisation
Note: If you need no further convincing, buy the Fuji 35mm 1.4f lens here.
Features of the Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 lens
The first thing you need to consider when choosing your lens is the features. A lens can be of perfect quality, but wrong for your purpose or style.
So let’s break down the Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 lens’ features, with a look at why these make it such a brilliant camera lens for travel photography and street photography.
Fujifilm XF 35mm Handling / Build Quality – Fuji 35mm 1.4 Lens Hood
This lens is one of Fujifilm’s original prime and one of my favourites. The build quality is excellent. It has a compact metal frame, a metal mount and a metal hood.
With many modern lenses built with cheaper-feeling plastic, this is a reasonably uncommon feature and a very enjoyable one, especially for the price of this lens.
Its compact size makes it very easy to handle. One issue is that the lens hood is a little harder to handle and carry.
It’s built square to preserve space and keep everything compact. However, it does not fit comfortably onto the lens, and the rubber cap that attaches the hood to the lens does not fit snuggly and can fall off.
Additionally, the lens cap cannot be attached while the hood is on. This isn’t a problem for most photographers, but if you make a lot of use of your lens hood, it’s something to keep in mind.
Fujifilm 35mm 1.4 Size and Weight
The size of your lens cap is super important. It’s light and easy to carry on your person if like me you prefer to move with your camera slung around your neck with no bag. It’s pocketable and portable. Won’t weigh you down even after hours of walking around a city, capturing images.
To be specific, the lens is 2.56″ (65 mm) in diameter x 2.16″ (55 mm) long. It’s nice and snug, weighing 187g (6.6 oz), 205g with caps, and 218 with caps and hood.
These are all minimal differences, but it’s good to know all the little details to make an informed decision.
Fujinon xf 35 Weather Sealing
This lens has no weather sealing and is vulnerable to moisture, dust, and humidity. This means that when you’re not using the lens, it needs to be tightly capped.
This can be an inconvenience, as weather sealing can give you peace of mind in all conditions. And if you do most of your photography in harsh conditions, you may want to opt for a lens like the Fujifilm 23mm f/2, the Fuji XF 35mm f1.4 younger sister.
Fuji 35mm 1.4 Lens Construction
The lens has 8 elements in 6 groups with one aspherical element. The aperture has 7 rounded blades, with its closest focusing distance at 28cm and a magnification ratio of 0.17x.
The manual focus ring has no clear stop markings. Instead the increments are shown electronically on the camera screen as you adjust. The aperture ring has 22 stops marked in ⅓ of a stop increments.
Fujifilm 35mm Lens Price Range
The Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens typically costs around £499. This is on the cheap end of the scale, as lens prices can get really hefty.
This is a fantastic all-round lens. You don’t need to invest a large amount of money, and you can use it for many purposes, from macro photography and portraits to street and landscape photography. Having an all-rounder to start with is ideal, as you’ll get a real feel for what you like and how you prefer to photograph.
I personally prefer this lens for my street photography, as this little lens produces excellent images even wide-open.
Fujinon 35mm Lens Image Quality
Of course, the most important thing to consider when buying a new lens is the image quality. It can be light and beautifully constructed, but if the distortion is off and the focus all wrong, it’s not a good lens or worth your cash. So, let’s look at the image quality of the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens.
Fuji 35mm f1.4 Review Sharpness and distortion
This lens takes very sharp photos, with an angle of view similar to that of the human eye. The lens is the equivalent to a 50mm focal length on a full-frame camera.
The optics are impressively good, and photos can be shot wide open at 1.4 without sacrificing on sharpness. It does decline a little around the edges when it’s fully open like that, but the difference is so minimal you’re not likely to see it.
I think this lens great for street photography and lifestyle images as its very flattering to facial features and produces colours that are true to life.
Let’s just say the Fuji scientist got their colour science on lock.
There is no visible distortion with this lens, and you can focus super close up without seeing the distortion that can make macro photography so tricky.
Fuji 35mm Lens Autofocus and Manual Focus
If you prefer to photograph on autofocus, this lens is a great option. In good lighting conditions, it focuses fast and accurately. In poor lighting, it does have a tendency to hunt a little, but not for very long.
If, however, you do prefer manual focus, keep in mind that this lens is pretty slow and precise. The focus ring is controlled electronically rather than mechanically, so there’s no focus scale and not enough resistance.
The aperture ring can feel a little loose, and you may find yourself wishing there was a little more tension. But the clicks are smooth and exact. It’s definitely preferable for those who prefer autofocus, like myself.
Fujifilm 35mm Lens Review Bokeh
Bokeh is the quality of out-of-focus parts of any image. It’s the way the lens renders the light in these parts. Bokeh is not easily definable as you look at individual images – but a lens with great bokeh makes a surprising difference in the overall atmosphere of your pictures.
This lens has fantastic bokeh and makes your images look dreamy. It blends creaminess and sharpness in a way that’s earned it many fans in the professional photography field.
Best for What Type of Travel Photography
The 35mm f/1.4 lens is ideal for street, landscape, and portrait photography, making it some of the best travel gear to have on hand. Now, you may be the type of photographer who likes to have a lens for each photography style.
And often this is the best option, as you can cater to the distinct styles carefully. But if you want an all-rounder, this is your lens.
The great bokeh, clear sharpness, lack of distortion, and the easy simple build, all make it the perfect lens to have around, portrait photography, with creamy blurred backgrounds and a sharp focus on facial features.
Wide landscape shots that capture the beauty of the moment, leaving nothing out. Street photography that doesn’t need to be shot from too close in order to perfectly capture the detail. And the quick autofocus will mean that you don’t miss out on the moment.
The only travel photography this may not be suited to is wildlife photography. Most wild animals have very good ears, and could be startled by the soft whirring sound of the focus rings. There are lenses that are totally silent – so if your focus is wildlife photography and you don’t want to take the risk, it may be better to go for one of these.
Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR vs. XF 35mm f/1.4 R
Another, later 35mm prime lens from Fuji is the Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2. Released in 2015, it was a more affordable alternative to the f/1.4.
How do these two lenses compare, and is the f/2 WR better suited to some types of photography than the f/1.4 R? Let’s look at their specs, and do a comparison of the two.
Fuji 35mm f2 Image Quality
The image quality of the f/2 lens is outstanding. It’s got a decent aperture range and takes clear, beautiful photos. Bokeh is excellent, and distortion is minimal even fully open.
However, image quality is not entirely on par with the 35mm f/1.4 lens (she is the superior of the two lenses, and I am not basis at all). It doesn’t shoot as well in low light, and if you prefer to shoot at a shallow depth of field, the f/1.4 is definitely the better option. If not, though, the 35mm f/2 is definitely worth considering.
Fuji 35mm f2 Review Weight
Excluding cap and hood, the Fujifilm 35mm f2 WR weighs only 170g. This makes it a fair bit lighter than the f/1.4 R – and it also has a fully metal exterior, so you’re not sacrificing quality on the build.
Fuji XF 35mm f2 Price Range
The f/2 WR is a good deal cheaper than its older cousin, at about £389. This makes it a an affordable option, and while it doesn’t work quite as well for quite as many types of travel photography, it’s a very well-priced general use lens.
The Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 WR has weather sealing, while the XF 35mm f/1.4 R does not. So if you’re shooting in more unpredictable weather, the newer option may put you more at ease. Water-resistance, in particular, can be very helpful in Europe.
I mentioned earlier that the f/1.4’s autofocus is not entirely silent. This camera lens, developed 4 years after the other, is. The silence makes only a very little difference, but if it’s something you’re specifically looking for in a lens, then this is the better option.
This is also great if you will be using you 35mm for video.
Now that we’ve compared the specifics, it’s easy to identify which types of photography each lens is best suited for. The f/1.4 lens is ideal for portrait photography and photographing in low light conditions because of its large aperture.
The f/2 WR is better suited to photographing in poor weather conditions. So street photography in all conditions – as long as the lighting remains decent – is great with this lens.
Differences between the two Fujinon 35mm lenses are relatively minimal. Both lenses have excellent bokeh, minimal distortion, and generally great specs. Both have a lens construction of 8 elements in 6 groups and a metal frame.
If you’re looking for something cheaper to start out with, the f/2 WR is the better lens. It’s lower price and weather resistance make it a great starting lens for anyone getting into the field.
The lens is also compatible with all Fuji X-mount cameras, making it a convenient option for anyone with more than one camera from this series.
However, for owners of the Fujifilm X-Pro1, X-T/X-T3/X-T4, the F/1.4 lens is the greater investment, due to its better range and perfect shots. In my humble opinion and after using the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 for 2 years now. Its the far superior lens of the two.
Fuji 35mm f/1.4 Lens Review Recap
This compact, affordable lens is one of the three original Fuji X prime lenses and is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fuji’s flagship X series system (such as the Fujifilm X-T2 and the new Fujifilm X-T4).
It’s the ideal all-purpose lens for travel photographers, beginners, and photography enthusiasts.
Whether you prefer long-distance street photography, wide landscapes, or complex portraits with minute details, the f/1.4 lens is a treat to have on you. Just toss it in your jacket pocket or your camera bag, and set out to capture those unique moments and candid shots.
Compared to the younger f/2 WR lens, the f/1.4 has some definite strengths and weaknesses. It isn’t weather-resistant, and it’s costlier. But with such great specs and a long history of top image quality, the cost is well worth it.
Buy the Fujifilm 35mm 1.4f lens here, and head out to take your own gorgeous travel photos.