Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 vs. 35mm f2 | Lens Comparison

 

Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 vs 35mm f2 Lens Comparison

 

When deciding between the Fujinon 35mm f1.4 and the 35mm f2 there is lot to consider and a lot to compare. Both lenses have very different builds and produce very different results. Should you upgrade to the 35mm f1.4 or just stick with the f2. Or, is each lens unique enough to justify owning both?

Each lens is catered for different environments and different styles of shooting and one lens isn’t necessarily better than the other because they each provide a different set of features. In this comparison, I’ll go over the pros and cons of each lens to help you decide which lens is best for your style of shooting.

To sum it up, the 35mm f2 is really more of a casual, adventure lens while the 35mm f1.4 is more of a pro portrait lens.

Lens Stats – 35mm f1.4Lens Stats – 35mm f2

35mm Equiv – 53mm
Aperture Range – f1.4 – f16
Minimum Focus Range – 11.02″ (28 cm)
Aperture Blades – 7 Rounded
Design – 8 elements in 6 groups – 1 aspherical
Coating: Super EBC Coating
Weather Sealed: No
Filter Threads: 52mm
Focus Type: Stepping Motor
Weight: 6.60 oz / 187 g
List Price: $599

Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 Review (coming soon)

Order – Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto

35mm Equiv – 53mm
Aperture Range – f2 – f16
Minimum Focus Range – 1.15′ / 35 cm
Aperture Blades – 9 Rounded
Design – 9 elements in 6 groups – 2 aspherical
Coating: Super EBC Coating
Weather Sealed: Yes
Filter Threads: 43mm
Focus Type: Stepping Motor (Silent)
Weight: 6.00 oz / 170 g
List Price: $399

Fujifilm 35mm f2 Review

OrderAmazon / Adorama / BHphoto

 

Fujifilm 35mm f2 / 23mm f2 Metal Lens HoodAmazon / Adorama / BHphoto

Lenses For Fuji X Mount

 

 

 

Build Quality

 

 

Internal Focusing / Weather Sealing

Buying and using lenses isn’t always about bokeh and low light performance. There are some really cool features that come along with the 35mm f2 that make it very appealing.

For one, it uses an internal focusing system and is weather sealed. This means there are no external moving barrels or elements and the lens is less likely to suck in dust and moisture. Pair that up with the weather sealing and you have a really nice travel lens.

Most lenses get dusty over time, and while weather sealing is nice on the 35mm f2, it doesn’t make the lens invincible. But, if you are traveling out to deserts or dusty environments, you will really appreciate this lens.

If you only ever use autofocus, you could even pop a UV filter on and tape up the focus ring and get even more protection.

That being said, my 35mm f2 has some pretty big specs of dust inside. I’m not sure if the dust was already in the lens and it came loose and found it’s way onto the element, or if it sucked it in somehow over time.

 

 

Size & Build Quality

Both lenses are about the same size, but the 35mm f1.4 is 17g heavier or about .6 ounces. This pretty much means they are about the same weight.

When looking at size alone, I can’t really say there is much of an advantage to the 35mm f2 over the f1.4. Both are small and light enough to be comfortable on any Fujifilm camera.

When looking at build quality alone, the 35mm f2 is nicer. It’s a single barrel with internal focusing, so nothing moves. The 35mm f1.4 has two barrels where the outer barrel dances around when focusing. I’ve dropped the 35mm f2 from waist high on concrete by accident once, and everything is still fine. Most lenses wouldn’t survive that. Don’t drop your lenses obviously.

You’ll also notice the 35mm f2 takes advantage of the mirrorless flange distance more than the 35mm f1.4. Look at how the rear element protrudes out so it can get as close to the camera shutter as possible, then compare it to the 35mm f1.4 where the rear element is more recessed. The only other Fujinon prime lenses that share this feature are the 56mm f1.2, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4 and the 23mm f2, but of all the lenses the 35mm f2 and the 56mm f1.2 stick out the most. This is a hot topic in the Canon and Nikon communities right now because of their larger Z and RF mounts so I thought I would mention it. Fujifilm has already been designing lenses like this for years.

 

 

Lens Hoods

Lens hood designs are very different between these two lenses. The 35mm f2 comes with a cheap plastic lens hood that screws onto the filter threads. To use a UV filter with the lens hood, you screw the filter into the hood, or you can screw the filter onto the lens then screw the lens hood onto the UV filter. I personally don’t like this design and I’ve stopped using the lens hood all together and just use a UV filter.

 

 

If you’re like me and don’t like this plastic lens hood, Fujifilm has made an all metal vented lens hood that attaches to the barrel of the lens rather than the filter threads. It’s a really nice improvement in both design and aesthetics and I highly recommend it.

The 35mm f1.4 comes with a metal lens hood that is not rounded. I don’t know the purpose of this design other than it makes it more difficult to use the standard lens cap. To compensate, the lens comes with a plastic cap that fits over the top of it, but this comes off easily and you’ll likely lose it.

 

 

Build Quality Winner: Fujinon 35mm f2

While I would dock a point because of the plastic lens cap on the Fujinon 35mm f2, but then Fujifilm offers that metal lens hood which is really nice. 

 

 

Auto Focus

 

It’s always hard to talk about autofocus in a written review, the best I can do is talk about personal experience because the AF capabilities changes depending on what camera you’re using.

Overall, the Fujinon 35mm f2 is faster at focusing and more reliable. When you’re dealing with slower or older cameras, like the X-T100 or the X-Pro2, you’ll notice this performance gap a lot more than with a new cameras like the X-T3. On the X-T3, I’m finding focus to be fast enough on the 35mm f1.4 for even the most hyper kids.

On those slower cameras, the auto focus has to adjust the element to fine tune the focus, so you end up getting this pecking action with the 35mm 1.4. Since the 35mm f2 focuses a lot faster and quieter, this happens in a fraction of the time. On the X-T3 the pecking action is mostly eliminated and the 35mm f1.4 can focus as fast as the lens can throw that element, which is pretty fast.

However, if you shoot a lot of AF-C with face or eye tracking, the 35mm f2 will still have a noticeable advantage, and it will be a lot smoother and quieter even on the X-T3.

Since the 35mm f2 focuses silently, it will be your best option for video. The 35mm f1.4 chatters a lot more, both with the aperture and the focus motors.

I still like to use the 35mm f2 when using my older or entry level Fujifilm cameras when going out with my daughter, simply because I like the faster AF and with kids, I shoot a lot with AF-C with eye or face tracking as well. As I shoot more video with my Fujifilm X-T3, the 35mm f2 is proving to be a very valuable lens.

 

Autofocus Winner: Fujinon 35mm f2

 

 

 

Sharpness

 

Center Sharpness

Between the Fujinon 35mm f1.4 and the f2, center sharpness is very close. The Fujinon 35mm f1.4 is sharper than the f2 at those faster apertures like f1.4, f2 and even f4.

By f4 and f5.6 sharpness is very close, it was so close I couldn’t tell with the regular chart and had to shift to the Japanese Yen, which has more of that luscious fine detail. When looking at the bill, you can see there is overall just more detail and slightly better sharpness with the f1.4 lens at those mid apertures.

 

 

Edge Sharpness

The 35mm f1.4 lens is slightly better in the edges until about f5.6 where they are very close in sharpness. Which means the 35mm f2 is actually pretty good. 

 

 

Corner Sharpness

When looking at corner sharpness there is an obvious advantage to the Fujinon 35mm f1.4. Corners are a bit soft on the 35mm f2, but it seems to be mostly isolated to just the corners. With a lot of lenses that I test, usually the corners are bad because there is a sharpness fall-off that moves out from the center to the edges and it’s the worst in the corners. This lens is fairly well correct except for those extreme corners so I would say this corner performance shouldn’t be a deal breaker since the weak performance is mostly isolated to just the corners and mostly at apertures under f5.6.

 

 

Overall, the 35mm f1.4 does perform better in the center and much better in the corners and even in the edges at those faster apertures. By higher apertures like f8 the difference isn’t as extreme except the 35mm f2 does still have some corner issues that never resolve.

Sharpness Winner: Fujinon 35mm f1.4

 

 

Bokeh

 

Bokeh samples are taken with the Fujifilm X-T2 and the X-Pro2. I hand held these to get as close to the same framing and lighting as possible.

I have to say, this comparisons really threw me off. Even though the f2 is a full stop slower and should have a full stop difference in terms of depth of field, it doesn’t.

The bokeh looks really, really similar. Definitely not a full stop like seen in the 23mm f1.4 and f2 comparison, but more like a half stop or three quarters. I’ve seen different lenses produce different depth of field at the same apertures in the past so this must have something to do with the design. Unless I’m crazy? Am I? I don’t know.

I think this has to do with field curvature. Only the very center of the 35mm f1.4 is giving us a full stop of extra separation, then along the edges it changes.

Both lenses produce a similar bokeh in terms of quality, they both swirl slightly, but the 35mm f1.4 does produce slightly creamier results with better separation and falloff. The 35mm f1.4 also has a slightly more visible field curvature so you see more of that creamy bokeh in the center and it falls offs off towards the edges.

These samples have not been color treated and are mostly straight out of camera. The cameras had matching settings except shutter so exposures often came in slightly different so I nudged the exposure in post a little to match so they should give a good representation of contrast and saturation when wide open as well.

In terms of brightness, you can see by looking at the shutter speed that the f1.4 lens is on average about a full stop brighter than the f2 lens.

 

 

To see if the 35mm f2 had shallower depth, I tested each lens at f2 and the results were very similar. It’s possible the field curvature of the 35mm f1.4 is changing the depth throughout the frame at f1.4, so the depth isn’t consistent across the frame. This is likely why some images from the 35mm f1.4 at f1.4 look like they have more depth than others. Here they both look very similar, as to be expected.

 

 

Coma Minimum Focus Distance

Here you can see how the minimum focus distance is a little closer on the Fujinon 35mm f1.4. It producer nicer background blur because you’ll get even shallower depth when this closer.

 

Coma | Same Distance | 7 Blade vs. 9 Blade Aperture

Here I matched the distance from the doll. It looks like the 35mm f1.4 is actually a little wider than the 35mm f2. So the bokeh ends up being a little smaller on the f1.4 lens, but you can still see the coma shape.

The Fujinon 35m f1.4 has a 7 blade rounded aperture where as the 35mm f2 has a 9 blade rounded aperture so you do get superior bokeh with the 35mm f2 when shooting at higher f-stop values.

 

Bokeh Winner: Fujinon 35mm f1.4 until about f2.8, then the winner is the Fujion 35mm f2

 

 

Vignetting

 

When you shoot with Fujinon lenses the RAWs and JPGS are loaded with a built-in lens profile correction. When you load the images into your editing software, they come fairly corrected.

There is a way you can remove the built-in lens profile corrections but you have to use Iridient Developer. It’s important to know what a lenses true vignetting looks like because if you plan on using the lens for astro or landscape work where you often need to lift the shadows, if the edges and corners are already corrected a half or full stop, this will limit how much shadow information you can pull out of those areas if it’s already been lifted.

When looking at the vignetting charts, you can see that the 35mm f2 has significantly more vignetting at f2 and f2.8, but by f4 they are all very comparable.

 

 

You can also see there is a slight color shift in the Fujinon 35mm f2 vignetting.

 

 

Vignetting Winner: Fujinon 35mm f1.4

 

 

Distortion

 

The 35mm f1.4 will not be corrected with the built in lens profile correction. What you see is what you get.

The 35mm f2 built-in lens profile correction does correct it.

After they have been corrected the 35mm f1.4 does have some subtle barrel distortion. The 35mm f2 once corrected produces some pincushion distortion.

In these samples when the build in lens profile is corrected you can see the 35mm f2 has a pretty nasty mustache barrel distortion.

 

Distortion Winner: Fujinon 35mm f1.4

 

 

Chromatic Aberrations

 

I am not really noticing any serious issues with Chromatic Aberrations. It’s all pretty standard and what you would expect with any modern lens design from an experienced company like Fujinon.

If you if you stress test it each lens you can find some CA, but in daily photos it’s pretty much non-existent.

When stress testing you get a little bit more CA and with the 35mm f1.4.

 

 

Chromatic Aberrations Winner: Fujinon 35mm f2

 

 

Art & Character

 

I wasn’t going to make an Art & Character sections because both lenses are very similar and most of the differences between the two are only seen at f1.4 with the 35mm f1.4 lens. But I’ve looked deeper into the differences.

Most of the differences with the art and character of the lens happen at f1.4. The XF 35mm f1.4 can just do things and create a look the 35mm f2 cannot. It’s not a huge jump though, not as big as you would think, but there is a little magical quality to it that’s difficult to explain.

 

Contrast & Micro Contrast & Color

I struggle with this one. Some of my samples look like the f2 lens performs better then others look like the f1.4 performs better. The f1.4 lens is sharper and that can throw off the eye when trying to look at micro contrast and contrast, especially when it’s this close.

I would call this a tie, or so close it doesn’t matter. The 35mm f1.4 is often sharper though so it does create a nicer image overall. However, I do find the 35mm f2 is just better at hitting that focus. So although the 35mm f1.4 is sharper in a controlled environment, images from the 35mm f2 often come out sharper because of focus.

 

 

Flaring

These lenses really don’t flare much at all as long as you keep them clean and don’t use UV filters. If you shoot into a setting sun you can sometimes get a few flares but the conditions have to be just right and overall it’s very difficult to make these lenses flare. In my recent tests I was not able to produce any results.

 

 

Focus Falloff

The Fujinon 35mm f1.4 does something interesting that threw me off at first. It’s shallow depth at the f1.4 aperture mostly happens in the 50% center of the lens, then it quickly drops off and performs closer to the f2 towards the edges. This is why the bokeh can look similar if the subject is blocking that 50% center and you’ll end up not seeing that glorious depth that happens in the center of the lens, you’ll only see the weaker dof along the edges.

But, this has an advantage – focus falloff.

This phenomenon should technically increase the effects of focus falloff as it occurs along this boundary, this gives the image more depth with an almost 3 dimensional effect.

My exposures are not all exact here so only judge bokeh and falloff with these samples.

 

This is one big thing the 35mm f1.4 has that the 35mm f2 does not and you can really see it in this next sample. Look at how the depth is much greater in the center with the f1.4 lens as it forms almost this cone like depth that pulls you into the background. It creates this illusion of more depth and adds more of a three dimensional effect. A lot of fast lenses have more uniform depth in the background and they doesn’t create this cone of depth that pulls you in.

 

 

It seems like this is a trick lens designers are using to generate really nice looking focus falloff, because I’ve noticed my good falloff lenses do this exact same thing, like the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7.

 

Art & Character Winner: Fujinon 35mm f1.4

While the contrast, micro contrast and color are very nice with both lenses, the effects of that focus falloff with the 35mm f1.4 is very unique and and it can really enhanced the transition between what’s in focus and what’s out of focus for an overall added sense of depth.

 

 

Personal Thoughts

 

First, I have to start by saying both of these lenses are really nice. I prefer the 35mm f1.4, but that doesn’t mean the f2 is a bad lens and about 20% of my photos taken in 2016 were all done with the XF35mm f2. It is my family travel adventure lens and I use it constantly.

For my personal photography, like when I’m trying to make art rather than take a photo of a backyard bbq, I like the 35mm f1.4 a lot more and that is then lens I would choose if I could only have one. Yes, it’s not weather sealed and it’s slower at focusing, but it’s still very easy to work with especially with the fast AF of the X-T3.

 

 

These lenses produce about a 50mm field of view, which is an incredibly useful focal length for portrait photographers. Since both lenses are fairly close in price and in size, it’s really hard to justify not upgrading to the f1.4 if shooting art is the goal. However, there are a lot of reasons to still choose the f2 over the f1.4 because of the more robust build and improved auto focus.

 

 

The f1.4 lens is also better in low light, and it does have shallower depth, which is more useful with the 50mm field of view, compared to say a 35mm fov. A 50mm fov really lends itself to portrait photography and f1.4 will help you produce better looking portraits with better subject separation.

The f1.4 also has nicer corners, so your landscape photos will have absolutely no flaws when stopped down to f5.6 or f8.

 

 

The look (not the effect) of the bokeh on the f2 is surprisingly similar. In terms of the artistic quality of the bokeh, these two lenses both share a lot of the same characteristics, except the f1.4 has that extra bit of magic with how the focus falloff works This effect makes that subject separation look much nicer and it adds some extra dimensionality to the image. The f1.4 lens is also a full stop brighter, so you can keep your shutter at a faster setting to help freeze the action while not digging too deep into your ISO.

 

 

 

Fujinon 35mm f1.4 vs 35mm f2 | Bottom Line

 

 

When looking at these two lenses, the clear winner in terms of raw image output is the 35mm f1.4. It producer better bokeh and nicer corner sharpness plus it produces a full stop more light.

However, the 35mm f2 is a very important lens in Fujifilm line up because of what you can do with it and where you can take it. It’s a more rugged design that is fairly resistant to the elements. For the hiker or backpacker, boaters, spelunkers, the 35mm f2 is going to be the way to go, or if you like to shoot with continuous AF with face and eye tracking or shoot video, the 35mm f2 will run circles around the 35mm f1.4.

Unfortunately neither of these lenses are jaw dropping and the 35mm f1.4 is a little expensive when you compare it to the full frame Canon and Nikon 50mm f1.4. 

I’m really look forward to see what Fujifilm does with the 33mm f1, but find it a little disappointing that they have no plans of making a larger, better performing 35mm f1.2 for under $1,000, that would have been more practical. We’ll see how they price the 33mm f1.

 

35mm f2 Advantages – Weather Sealed, Internal Focus Design, 9 blade aperture which produces better bokeh at tighter apertures, faster AF, silent aperture and focusing.

35mm f1.4 Advantages – Full stop brighter, shallower depth (somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of a stop), overall better performance with sharpness, beautiful focus falloff, vignetting and distortion.

 

 

Fujinon 35mm f1.4 & 35mm f2 Sample Photos

 

When looking at these sample photos, you can really see they are almost indistinguishable  with color and contrast when I edit them in the same style. But with the 35mm f1.4, I get to play a little more with that depth.

 

Fujinon 35mm f1.4 Sample Photos

 

Fujinon 35mm f2 Sample Photos