Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens
The XF 35mm f/1.4 R is a fast, high-performance standard prime lens. It’s versatile and pleasant to use, and although it suffers from edge and corner softening, the outstanding centre sharpness will be more important for most photographers choosing this lens.
With an angle of view close to that of the human eye, the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R is a general-purpose lens for shooting a variety of subject types, from event photography to landscapes, fashion and product shoots. It’s compact and light enough for street and travel photography and the fast f/1.4 maximum aperture makes it ideal for low light shooting.
Announced in January 2012, the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R was one of the first lenses released at the initial launch of Fujifilm’s cropped-sensor cameras. This fast standard prime lens has an effective focal length equivalent to 53mm in 35mm format. But its age is showing; unlike more recent lenses, it’s not weather sealed. Nor is it stabilised, a relatively minor issue for our tests, which were carried out with the Fujifilm X-T4 camera body, which has integrated stabilisation with a claimed correction of up to 6.5 stops.
Angled view of the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
Side view of the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The optical design of this lens, shown below, features eight elements in six groups with one all-glass aspherical element and Super EBC coating to minimise internal reflections and improve light transmission, boosting contrast and colour fidelity. It comes with a high-quality metal barrel and mount plus a precision-machined 1/3-step aperture ring that provides precise and versatile exposure control.
The optical diagram for the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens, showing the position of the aspherical element. (Source: Fujifilm.)
Attractive out-of-focus bokeh is promised through the use of seven curved iris diaphragm blades, which produce a circular image at all aperture settings. Image sharpness is enhanced by rounding the edges of each blade. The short flange back distance of just 17.7mm aims to maximise across the image area.
The unusually-shaped metal lens hood for the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The lens is supplied with the normal front and end caps plus a squared-off metal hood (shown above) that comes with its own push-on rubber cap. A soft carrying pouch is also provided, although neither it nor the hood was supplied with the review lens.
Who’s it For?
With an angle of view close to that of the human eye, the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R should be viewed as a general-purpose lens for shooting a variety of subject types, from event photography to landscapes, fashion and product shoots. It’s compact and light enough for street and travel photography and the fast f/1.4 maximum aperture makes it ideal for low light shooting.
The normal focus range of this lens is from 80 cm to infinity but it can focus as close as 28 cm in macro mode delivering a maximum magnification of just 0.17x. At this distance, it’s only suitable for taking close-up shots of relatively large subjects, although its f/1.4 maximum aperture offers plenty of potential for depth-of-field control.
The internal micro motor that drives the AF system in the camera has the potential to produce enough noise to be detected while shooting movies. And, while the AF speed is fine for capturing stills at modest burst speeds, subject tracking might be problematic when recording movies with older cameras, although we found no issues with the X-T4 camera used for our tests, thanks to its highly efficient and configurable AF system.
For those who require weather resistance, Fujifilm also offers the slightly slower (and also cheaper) Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens, which is also marginally smaller and lighter than the f/1.4 version. It performed very well in our Imatest tests.
Build and Ergonomics
Build quality if generally good, thanks to a metal body and mounting plate which on the review lens were well put together. There’s no rubber flange around the lens mount to keep moisture and dust out but the front and rear caps fitted snugly so the lens should be well protected during transit.
Powering up the camera pushes the inner barrel out by a couple of millimetres but the front element does not rotate, allowing the hassle-free use of angle-critical filters. The focusing ring is located at the front of the outer barrel. It’s approximately 16 mm wide and mostly covered with fine ribbing.
Because focusing is driven from the camera, this ring turns through 360 degrees when the camera is switched off. During manual focusing, a distance scale is displayed in the camera’s viewfinder or on the LCD screen.
Typical of all Fujinon lenses, this lens has a dedicated aperture ring tucked in behind the focusing ring. It’s roughly 10 mm wide and ridged on the trailing edge. Aperture values are engraved along the leading edge in one-stop intervals, with unmarked 1/3 stop click steps between then.
An ‘A’ position on this ring sets the lens to auto aperture mode, which can be combined with the A position on the camera’s shutter speed dial to permit full auto exposure control. No depth-of-field indicators are provided. The outer barrel slopes inwards to end with a solid metal mounting plate
The review lens was supplied with a Super EBC Fujinon protector filter, which we removed for our Imatest testing but attached again for taking all test shots. The supplied, rather bulbous, lens cap is easy to fit and remove, regardless of whether the filter is attached. But it can’t be used in conjunction with the lens hood, which comes with a push on rubber cap.
It’s difficult to manufacture fast lenses that deliver superior performance in both the central area of the frame as well as towards the peripheries. So it should be no surprise to learn that our Imatest tests on the XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens showed edge softening at apertures up to about f/4.0, where the highest centre resolution was recorded.
However, centre resolution was high from f/1.4 through until diffraction began to take effect at around f/11, as shown in the graph of our test results above. In addition, the edge and corner resolution improved with each increment in aperture up to about f/8 and the decline beyond that point was relatively modest. This is an impressive result.
Lateral chromatic aberrations are very well controlled and effectively negligible across the aperture range with both uncorrected raw files and JPEGs straight from the camera. The red line in the graph above indicates the border between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA.
Vignetting was also effectively negligible, with only a trace of corner darkening at f/1.4 when raw files were examined. We found it had vanished by f/2.8. Thanks to in-camera correction of JPEGs, this aberration is unlikely to be of concern for most photographers.
Rectilinear distortion was also extremely low with only a trace of barrel distortion evident in raw files. Once again, in-camera corrections will remove it from JPEG files.
We found the review lens focused both quickly and accurately with the hybrid AF system in the X-T4 camera, moving between close focus and infinity almost instantaneously. It also appeared able to locate and track moving subjects while movie clips were being recorded and switch quickly when a subject entered or left the frame.
Backlit subjects were generally handled very well and in most situations contrast and saturation were retained even when a bright light source was included within the image frame. There were a few instances of flare artefacts in one such shot and one instance of slight veiling flare in a backlit shot, even though the light source was excluded.
With a minimum focusing distance of 28 cm, this lens is not ideal for close shooting, although it can be used for close-up shots of large enough subjects. The f/1.4 maximum aperture has a very shallow depth of focus so care is required with focusing. The seven-bladed iris diaphragm can produce outlining on highlights, even at f/1.4 and out-of focus areas near the edges of the frame can show ‘busy’ bokeh, which increases as the lens is stopped down.
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Picture angle: 44.2 degrees
Minimum aperture: f/16
Lens construction: 8 elements in 6 groups (including 1 aspherical element)
Lens mounts: Fujifilm X
Diaphragm Blades: 7 (rounded aperture)
Weather resistance: No
Focus drive: Internal micro motor
Minimum focus: 28 cm
Maximum magnification: 0.17x
Filter size: 52 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 65 x 54.9 mm
Weight: 187 grams
Standard Accessories: front and rear caps, lens hood, lens pouch
Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355
Based on JPEG files captured by the Fujifilm X-T4 camera.
Vignetting at f/1.4.
Close-up at f/1.4; ISO 160, 1/750 second.
Close-up at f/2.0; ISO 160, 1/350 second.
Close-up at f/4.0; ISO 160, 1/90 second.
Close-up at f/5.6; ISO 160, 1/42 second.
Close-up at f/11; ISO 160, 1/9 second.
Contre-jour lighting; ISO 80, 1/400 second at f/11.
Slight veiling flare produced by angled backlighting; ISO 160, 1/280 second at f/2.8.
Flare artefacts; ISO 160, 1/1700 second at f/5.6.
Strong backlighting; ISO 160, 1/1400 second at f/5.6.
ISO 160, 1/640 second at f/1.4.
Crop from the above image at 100% magnification showing outlined highlights.
ISO 160, 1/600 second at f/4.5.
ISO 200, 1/450 second at f/8.
ISO 160, 1/350 second at f/3.6.
ISO 160, 1/210 second at f/2.5.
ISO 160, 1/250 second at f/2.8.
ISO 160, 1/320 second at f/4.
ISO 160, 1/900 second at f/5.6.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujifilm X-T4 camera.
RRP: AU$729; US$599
- Build: 8.9
- Handling: 9.0
- Image quality: 9.0
- Autofocusing: 8.8
- Versatility: 8.5