Fujifilm recently announced a new XC 35mm f2 lens, a low budget version of the XF 35mm f2.
Here is a detailed look at the difference between the new Fujifilm XC 35mm f2 (nifty-fifty) and the higher end XF 35mm f2.
Years back I did a review on the XF 35mm f2 and never really fell in love with the lens, but it definitely has its place in my setup. It’s just an insanely practical lens and useful in just about every situation. I always felt the lens was too expensive for what it was, so it’s really nice to see Fujifilm release a more affordable version. Finally, they have a nifty-fifty at half the price of the XF 35mm f2. $200 vs $400.
A lot of people might think f2 isn’t fast enough, however, I would say, that depends on what you need. On the new APS-C bodies by Fujifilm f2 lens is totally fine for even night street photography because the ISO performance in these new cameras is so good. The only thing you don’t get from the f2 lens is that really nice bokeh like seen with the 35mm f1.4.
Which is fine, not all styles of photography require you to shoot super shallow depth all the time. Especially for the street or casual photographer. I sort of look at lenses like these as more small lightweight action lenses, they have their place and their purpose.
So finally now, the kit zoom lens wielding hobbyist can have a taste of that sweet prime lens greatness without breaking the bank. This was a super-smart move, and this lens is going to be a very important part of the system.
Fujifilm XC 35mm f2 – B&H
Fujifilm XF 35mm f2 – B&H
Fujifilm XF 35mm f2 vs Fujifilm XC 35mm f2
What’s the same
There are a few things that are the same between these two lenses and a few that are different. Choosing which lens you need should be fairly obvious.
It’s hard to know exactly for sure if the optical chemistry and design are identical but I’m pretty sure it’s the same, based on what I’ve seen from various samples.
The XC features the same silent stepping motor as the XF 35mm f2 so it’s fairly capable even when shooting in AF-C mode.
|Image Quality||XF 35mm f2||XC 35mm f2|
|Coatings||EBC coated||EBC coated|
|Minimum Focus||1.15′ / 35 cm||1.15′ / 35 cm|
Build quality and materials.
The outer barrel on the XF 35mm is made of metal and the lens mount is made of metal, while the XC lens is all plastic.
There is no aperture ring setup on the XC 35mm f2, so you will have to dedicate one of your dials to control the aperture, which can be a little annoying.
Here is a comparison of build quality features.
|Build Quality||XF 35mm f2||XC 35mm f2|
|Size||2.36 x 1.81″ / 60 x 45.9 mm||2.3 x 1.83″ / 58.4 x 46.5 mm|
|Weight||6 oz / 170 g||4.59 oz / 130 g|
|Focus Mech||Silent Stepping||Silent Stepping|
Image Quality Overview
I won’t get too detailed with the image quality since you can just read my XF 35mm f2 review. Both lenses should be the same, I do however want to point out a few things.
Image Quality Is Clinical . . . Maybe
You see this term thrown around a lot. I like to apply it to lenses that are designed all for sharpness and or perfect smooth bokeh at the cost of everything else. You know, those 20 element Sigma lenses or even some of the Nikon Z prime lenses you could say are a little clinical, although the Nikon’s usually do have some interesting character.
But those “clinical,” lenses always lack one important thing, Micro-Contrast / Lens Pop.
There is this idea floating around that this doesn’t exist. However, Zeiss talks about it on their website, and since I’m always one to go against trends and the norm, I’ve been doing a lot of testing lately to really see if it’s a thing. And I can say, I’ve gone back and forth with my 12 element Z 85mm and some of my other lower element lenses, and the Nikon just doesn’t have the same tonality as some of my other lenses. So it is a thing.
These little 35mm f2 lenses do have really nice tonality. They also have insanely good saturation and contrast, better than the XF 35mm f1.4 by a little bit.
Why is this good tonality important?
Because when shooting black and white or even street photography or just people, you want tonal details. It’s super important. For the general average joe, working many photographers, it’s one of the most important attributes a lens can have.
But, it’s not as important when shooting models that you will post-process into looking like plastic barbie dolls, a look still used by so many portrait photographers for whatever reason. This is why it’s sometimes good to have more than one lens in the same focal length.
It’s been a while since I’ve shot with the 35mm f2 so I wanted to go out and see how it performs on the X-T3 compared to some of the new cameras like the Z6. I will say that Z 50mm f1.8 lens with the Z6 is probably the fastest focusing experience I’ve ever seen.
So how does this 35mm f2 compare to that massive expensive lens?
It’s not quite as fast or as responsive. Some of this is the camera some is the lens. It struggles to track just a little more. Most of the time it’s fine, but with kids running around and running towards you, it does miss with AF-C sometimes so you will need to be pretty disciplined at setting your AF-C modes for the appropriate situations. I find for kids the SET 1 – Multipurpose is the best.
So the AF is pretty good by modern standards, just not the best. Really if you’re using a modern camera with these modern lenses and you’re not getting focused shots . . . it’s probably not the gears fault and you’ll likely need to work with the settings a little more to match the situation.
Latest Samples From The XF 35mm f2
Since this is such a great multi-purpose lens, I really like bringing it to situations where you want to keep things small and light, and you don’t want to be annoying to the people around you with big camera gear. That is the whole point of this XC 35mm f2 I think, casual photography.
Here are some samples I shot with the XF 35mm f2 of the little ones at their school.