First Look: Fujifilm XF35mmF2 R WR

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With the XF35mmF2 R WR, Fujifilm adds yet another contender to the already crowded field of X-mount standard primes. Wonder why? Here’s your answer.

X-T10 with optional handgrip and XF35mmF2 R WR
(shot with X-T1, XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR + XF1.4x TC WR)

At first glance, adding a XF35mmF2 prime to an already existing lineup of XF35mmF1.4 and Zeiss Touit 1.8/32 offerings looks like an unusual choice. But then again, the new XF35mmF2 R WR is slimmer, lighter and less expensive than its internal competition. It’s also weather resistant and tailored to the hybrid viewfinder of the X-Pro1 (and its highly anticipated successor).

Size comparison: Zeiss Touit 1.8/32, XF35mmF1.4 R and XF35mmF2 R WR
(shot with X-T1, XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR + XF1.4x TC WR)

Despite its attractive price tag, the XF35mmF2 R WR is made in Japan with a high build quality and an all metal exterior. The aperture ring may very well be the best I’ve ever encountered in an XF lens, and I also like the handling of the focus ring. To me, they feel “just right”.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/3.2, Lightroom

With 9 rounded aperture blades, the XF35mmF2 R WR delivers pretty smooth bokeh. The minimum focus distance (MFD) is 35cm, so you can get close to your subject. However, similar to the X100/S/T, shooting wide open at or near MFD can lead to some dreamy softness. It disappears as soon as you stop down to f/2.8 or f/3.2.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2.8, Lightroom

According to Fujifilm, the optical construction of 9 elements in 6 groups (including two aspherical elements) achieves a “perfect balance of high image quality and compact size”. While this sounds an awful lot like marketing hype, I have to admit that despite using an unfinished pre-production sample, I was able to extract images with very impressive detail even when shooting wide open.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2, Lightroom

The lens features the smallest diameter of the line-up, which means that even with the tiny screw-in lens hood that’s included with it, the XF35mmF2 R WR will not interfere with the bright frame in the X-Pro1’s hybrid viewfinder. That said, the lens also looks pretty nice to me on an X-T1 or X-T10.

X-T10 with optional handgrip, XF35mmF2 R WR and screw-in lens hood
(shot with X-T1, XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM WR OIS + XF1.4x TC WR)

As an alternative to the tiny plastic screw-in thingie, you can also buy a more substantial metal lens hood (LH-XF35-2) that can be fitted on the regular lens hood bayonet:

No matter which of the two lens hood options you pick, the included 43mm protective lens cap can always be directly attached without removing the hood.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2, Lightroom

Please click here for the full album with XF35mmF2 R WR sample images.

Thanks to the inner focussing system and stepping motor, the lens features quick and silent autofocus operation. I also couldn’t make out any “aperture chatter”, but then I’m super-old and almost deaf, so what do I know?

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2, Lightroom

With its unobtrusive form and size, I found it rather easy to take quick people snapshots with this lens.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2, Lightroom

Image quality appears to be very good at various aperture settings, but it’s worth mentioning that the lens exhibits optical barrel distortion that is digitally corrected at the RAW conversion stage (as long as your RAW converter supports Fujifilm’s lens correction metadata). The extent of this correction is comparable to the digital distortion correction in the more expensive Zeiss Touit 1.8/32 lens (so it’s much less prominent than, for example, in the Leica Q). As you probably already know, the classic XF35mmF1.4 R is optically corrected for distortion and hence doesn’t apply any digital distortion correction.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/9, Lightroom

While digital distortion correction isn’t a practical issue in most cases, quality hogs may want to switch it off or reduce it in RAW converters such as Capture One Pro or Iridient Developer. Sadly, there’s still no option to switch it off in Adobe Lightroom 6, Silkypix 6 (including RAW File Converter EX 2) and Fuji’s built-in RAW converter (aka the JPEG engine).

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/14, Iridient Developer + Lightroom, digital lens distortion correction off

Thanks to Fuji’s proven Super EBC coating, shooting against backlight wasn’t much of an issue during my pre-production testing. That said, please note that Fuji stated that the image quality of my pre-production sample wasn’t final, so results may be even better when the final version of the lens starts shipping in November.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2, Lightroom

Who should buy this lens?

If you already own the great XF35mmF1.4 R and are happy with it, there’s little incentive to switch—as long as you can live without weather resistance. However, if you are in the market to supplement your “kit zoom” with a small, affordable, high-quality standard prime lens, the new XF35mmF2 R WR may be just what you’ve been looking for. With its fast and silent inner focussing and mature build (did I mention the super-nice “clicky feel” of the aperture ring?), it’s obviously the more advanced choice, but that doesn’t mean that results will look better than with the legacy XF35mmF1.4 R. Or maybe they will?

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/8, Lightroom

Once production samples are available, a little shootout between the Zeiss Touit 1.8/32, the XF35mmF1.4 and the XF35mmF2 should be interesting. Time permitting, I am up for it, but my current priority is to finish my new (e)book “The Fujifilm X-T10: 115 X-Pert Tips”, which is in the layout correction phase and should be out in a few weeks. That said, the printed version of the brand-new second edition of “The Fujifilm X-T1: 111 X-Pert Tips” is already available along with its ebook sibling.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2.8, Lightroom

While Fujifilm claims in their press release that new firmware will be necessary to fully support the XF35mmF2 R WR, my X-T10 running production firmware 1.01 didn’t ask for any firmware update. In addition to that, I didn’t experience performance differences between using the lens on my X-T10 and on an X-T1 running a pre-release version of firmware 4.10, which is supposed to be officially available on October 29.

X-T10, XF35mmF2 R WR, f/2, SOOC JPEG (Classic Chrome)

What’s next? If you haven’t already done so, please read my First Look on the upcoming XF1.4x TC WR teleconverter for the XF50-140mm (and the upcoming XF100-400mm and XF120mm lenses).

And don’t forget to click through my Flickr album with XF35mmF2 R WR sample images.

For your convenience, here’s a TOC with links to my previous X-PERT CORNER articles:

Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (German version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems. His new ebook The Fujifilm X-T1: 111 X-Pert Tips is available at Rocky Nook.

2 Kommentare zu „First Look: Fujifilm XF35mmF2 R WR

    Riley Escobar sagte:
    21. Oktober 2015 um 08:47

    The lens IQ looks pretty good. I wish it was even smaller though, it doesn’t look that much smaller than the 35mm f/1.4.

    Probably a translation error, but when you say “With 9 rounded aperture diaphragms” I think you meant to say “With 9 rounded aperture blades”,

      Rico Pfirstinger geantwortet:
      21. Oktober 2015 um 09:17

      Sure, but the press release is calling them diaphragms. I have changed it, though.

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