Fuji XF 35mm f1.4: Then and Now

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ean10775, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    When I dabbled with the X-E1 + 35mm in February 2013 (before any firmware updates really came about) I found that while I really liked the rendering of the lens, the AF left me quite unimpressed (both the speed of focusing and its ability to lock focus in anything but the best light). I know a lot of improvements have been made with regard to new cameras and new camera and lens firmware.

    Would anyone who has used the 35mm with the system from its release who is now using it on either an X-E2 or X-T1 be able to comment on the improvements they have seen, if any?

    I'm planning on getting an X-T1 and ordered the lens from Amazon (pre-rebate expiration) but its on backorder for a couple weeks. My gut tells me to cancel the order and just go with the X-T1 + 56mm as a companion to my X100S, foregoing the 50mm FOV for now and see how I get on with just the 35mm/85mm FOV combination. While the $150 rebate on the 35mm is what caused me to jump to order, $449 is still a lot of money to spend on a lens that, while very nice, wouldn't likely be the getting the use that the 56mm would for my portrait and sports work. In contrast I was able to justify the 50mm f1.8 for my Canon system because it was only $75.
     
  2. Dacalac

    Dacalac FujiXspot Veteran

    301
    May 1, 2013
    Los Angeles, CA
    Mike
    As a 35mm user, If I were to be starting out now with a focus on portrait and sports work, I'd opt for the 56mm instead. If you want to shoot wider then the 23mm would also be a good investment. From what I can tell it's a great combo that can handle almost any situation. Plus there is always the 55-200 if you need the zoom.

    The 35mm is still a great lens which see's a lot of use from me as a street/documentary style shooter. I started off with the X-Pro1 and 35mm and I was in the same boat as you in which I loved the lens but hated how slow it was. Over time though they made a lot of great firmware updates which helped immensely. I then switched to the X-E2 and have little problems catching focus. It may not be as fast as some of their other lenses but it was leaps and bounds beyond what I started with!
     
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  3. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    Thanks Mike - the 23mm doesn't really interest me as I already have an X100S that I'll be keeping to cover the 23mm FOV. In honestly I don't see a whole lot of difference in what can be achieved with the 23mm that can't with the X100S (yes the 23mm is faster and certainly sharper wide open and at f2, but its much larger and still doesn't offer the 3D 'pop' that you get from a fast 35mm lens on a FF sensor in my opinion).

    I did have a play with the 35mm on an X-T1 at my local shop (I'm assuming both had the latest firmware, but maybe that's a poor assumption on my part) - The 35mm did seem snappier that what I remember during my time with it, but still noticeably slower than the 56mm. I'm thinking I'd rather just put the $449 toward the cost of the 56mm and live with a two FOV kit for a while. If I really miss the 50mm FOV I can look for a used copy of the 35mm at a later date. I've got a couple MF lenses that fall in between the 35mm and 85mm FOV if I really need them in a pinch for some reason.
     
  4. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FujiXspot Veteran

    276
    Dec 30, 2013
    behind an [X°]
    Ken
    I don't own the X-E2 or X-T1, just the XP1 but I think I'm gonna sell the 35mm that came with my cam. I haven't even taken it to where I live now - not that there's anything wrong with it, nada, but 35/50mm have never really been my cup of tea. I wouldn't even miss f1.4, for me the background/context is just as important as the main subject(s) - YMMV.
     
  5. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hood River, OR
    Kyle
    I never tried the 35 before last week (when it and the X-T1 arrived), but there is no problem whatsoever with it focusing quickly and accurately on that combo, that I can find. Someone somewhere probably finds it too slow, but for normal people it should be perfectly fine. I've never been frustrated by it, I barely even think about focus with it, which is strong praise when you think about it. The 56 1.2 is still on back order, so I can't compare yet, but the 14 is here, and there's not really any difference between their focus speeds or accuracies that I can see.
     
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  6. drewbot

    drewbot FujiXspot Regular

    138
    Feb 1, 2013
    Toronto
    The XT-1 with the latest XF 35 firmware works leaps and bounds better than the original XE-1 that you had (and me too).
     
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  7. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hood River, OR
    Kyle
    ^ I was hoping so. Because the combo I have is fantastic, and if people are griping about THAT speed, I was going to be more than a little unsympathetic.
     
  8. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    Thanks all. I'm probably still going to hold off and just go with the 56mm and see how I get on. I was really tempted by the 35mm that came up for sale in the Marketplace forum for a great price yesterday, but seeing as I don't even have the camera yet figured that for once I'd choose not be impulsive and jump the gun. Someone got a good deal though.
     
  9. glick

    glick Guest

    I have been looking for the the 35mm XF 1.4 but every place I looked online is out and has it on backorder. Bhphoto, amazon, adorama, keh.com, etc. How is that possible? I just ordered an XE2 from amazon and now wont have a lens for it for 2-4 weeks? :( Boooo.
     
  10. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    There will be one extra at Amazon as i cancelled my order


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    I haven't used the 35mm with anything more recent than the X-Pro, so can't say directly. But I can say that the difference with the 60mm between the X-Pro / XE1 and the current XE2 / XT1 bodies is pretty close to night and day. With the old bodies, the AF on that lens was so slow I wouldn't even think of trying to use it regularly for candid portraits. Static subjects were fine, but it was slow under the best of circumstances and incredibly slow under even remotely challenging circumstances. With the XE2 and XT1, I'd almost describe it as fast. I'd stop just short of that because it's still possible to get it to hunt if you fool it badly enough and the hunting process is still pretty slow. But it happens so rarely and takes pretty extraordinary circumstances to make that happen. And for most shooting, it just snaps right into focus. I actually cancelled my order for the 56mm once I checked out the 60mm again with the newer bodies. It's fast enough for me, I find the f 2.4 more than adequate for very narrow DOF at this focal length (the f1.2 on the 56 would be great for extremely low light, but I can't imagine using something that thin for much of what I'd want the lens for), it's much smaller than the 56 (at least without the hood), and it was about 40% of the cost.

    Given how much faster the 35mm was with the original bodies than the 60 and how fast the 60 is now, I'd have to guess the 35 would be as fast as you'd ever want or need. This was one of my first questions when the X100s hit - once the PDAF enabled sensor was used in the ILC bodies, how would well would the older lenses work with it? Well, the answer is pretty damn well. They're not quite as fast as the newer lenses, but the difference is small enough not to matter much anymore...

    -Ray
     
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  12. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    It's always interesting to read this sort of thinking out loud. I have the 56 as well as the 60, and have decided to sell on the 60 since beside the 56 it's only real benefit is it's (limited) macro capabilities. Instead I am replacing it with less than £100-worth of an Olympus OM 50mm f3.5 Macro plus a set of extension tubes; this will be more than adequate for my infrequent forays into macro (as well as getting closer than the 60) and means that I am not tying up more capital than I have to. MF is not a drawback for macro use, after all.
     
  13. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    The 60mm vs the 56mm is indeed an interesting one, especially when you factor in the top shutter speed and x sync speed of the cameras. If you're shooting outdoors you'll need to use an ND filter to shoot that lens under f2.4 and in the studio you won't be shooting it close to wide open due to the limits of the flash sync - leaving the 60mm with not much of a disadvantage for posed portrait photography. In low light f1.2 is fantastic but as Ray mentions your DOF becomes prohibitively thin at shorter distances or if your subject is moving (the very situation in which the fast aperture is desired to keep shutter speed fast enough to freeze that movement)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  14. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Much to my surprise (and somewhat to my chagrin, given that I sold my first copy of the 60mm!), I found myself ordering the 60mm during the sale early this month instead of buying the 56mm. I knew from prior experience that I really liked the sharpness and rendering of the 60mm but the AF was nigh impossible to use with people photos on the X-E1, and it wasn't a focal length I used much.

    When I placed an order for another 60mm this month I thought maybe I just had a masochistic streak for dealing with the sluggish AF :biggrin: ...but I have to say after the latest firmware update running on the X-T1 the difference in speed is pretty dramatic. It still hunts periodically, and it's still slower than the 14mm or 23mm lenses, but it's clearly improved. The 35mm and 60mm on the X-T1 now both remind me quite a bit of using the m4/3 Panasonic 20mm in terms of focus; reasonably fast, but occasionally hunts or racks in and out slowly.

    If I find myself doing a ton of portraits the faster aperture of the 56mm would probably be welcome to open more options for backgrounds. In the meantime though, I'm happy to have the 60mm fill the "short tele" role.
     
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  15. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FujiXspot Veteran

    276
    Dec 30, 2013
    behind an [X°]
    Ken
    Nor is it for portraits, landscapes, ... if the camera supports MFing in a proper way. AF is one of those features, that if it hadn't been invented I wouldn't miss at all and the main reason it took me two years to warm up to the XP1.
     
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  16. the sardonic iconic

    the sardonic iconic FujiXspot Veteran

    218
    Feb 2, 2013
    NYC
    I'm totally in the same boat. I bought the 60mm as a stop-gap solution until B&H has the 56mm in stock and I can stop by to pick one up... however, I'm finding myself very impressed with it's performance as a portrait lens. While it's the "worst" Fuji lens in terms of AF performance, it really is still quite usable and even does reasonably well with continuous tracking. Still, I'd love a bit more subject isolation when shooting full-body portraits, so I'll eventually bite the bullet for the 56mm and sell the 60mm.

    nW7Av7Ll.
     
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  17. ean10775

    ean10775 FujiXspot Top Veteran

    885
    Feb 13, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Eric
    Interesting you say that since I was really impressed with the full body portraits you did during your AZ shoot and the subject isolation you got with the 60mm there, as well as the mens fashion street shoot you did.

    Despite what I said above regarding the 56mm vs. 60mm I still plan on picking up the 56mm rather than the 60mm. I don't shoot much macro and will appreciate being able to shoot at f1.2 when I want/need to - well worth the additional cost of the 56mm for my purposes.
     
  18. val

    val FujiXspot Regular

    56
    Dec 27, 2013
    I find it to be completely usable now, I use it to photograph products a lot and while it's probably a smidge under the 18-55mm, it's still quick enough for me
     
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  19. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    409
    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I've had that Olympus macro for some time, and it is a very, very capable lens that I use with success on my E-M5. I'll try it on the X-Pro 1 too, once my adapter comes. I've never found auto focus with macro work very useful.
     
  20. rbelyell

    rbelyell FujiXspot Regular

    118
    May 14, 2013
    i hope no one minds my slghtly OT question, but with which camera model(s) do you get the split screen manual focus feature?
    thanks!