« Print Offer Coming Up! | Main | Reader Print Offer: Leigh Perry »

Thursday, 15 August 2019


"First of all it's got that typical Planar-type variation between the open apertures (ƒ/1.4–ƒ/2.8) and the optimum apertures (ƒ/4–ƒ/8 in this case). The open apertures retain some classic softness in the corners that I think improves pictures taken in "available darkness," the very situations in which you want to use open apertures. Stopped down it's magnificently sharp—not that razory, analytical, flat, hard, wiry sharpness people are impressed by these days, but the full-bodied, dimensional sharpness you get from lenses with good large-structure contrast and exceptional coatings." --MJ

You have described as well as I've read it being described why I love the Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G (which is glued permanently to a D750). It took me awhile to learn this lens, and I'm still learning as I go, but either by accident or intention it makes images that make me smile.

The one thing with the 58mm, no issues with bokeh (at least that I can see, I'm no expert), but I'm gratified to hear it's quite okay for me to be shooting in the f/4-f/11 range, which I frequently find myself doing. I've been of a mind that it's two lenses in one, and you've explained why.

The 58mm also gets a lot of criticism online regarding sharpness wide open, but I have no complaint.

I actually DID do an OCOLOY with this lens (on an X-E1):

Didn't like it at first, love it now, apart from its tendency to produce giant faint red flares that cover half the frame sometimes.

I bought the Fuji 35 f/1.4 when I got an X-E1 a long time ago. Very nice lens but I always found the focus annoyingly slow and missed a lot of shots with it. Later got a Pro2 and really got sick of the 35 f1.4's focus issues and sold it for what I paid for it on the Fred Mirnada site. Bought the 35 f2 in silver as I now had a X-T2 in graphite (at this point I had destroyed my Pro2 with a beer spill, but that is another story) and they look great together. I have had a few people ask me about my film camera as that camera and lens pairing looks very old school. Long after I sold the f1.4 Fuji released a FW update for that lens and a lot of folks say that it focuses a lot better (sigh). However I like the f2 on the X-T2 a lot. It feels perfect on it and the focus is very snappy. Can't see going back to the f1.4.

I've owned and used both these lenses--traded the f 1.4 for the f 2.0 because it's size made more sense with the X-Pro series. Combing through Lightroom now for example images, I see ones I like a lot from both lenses, including some with lovely Bokeh. That said, there's nothing that absolutely blows me away Bokeh-wise, like that of the Canon 35 1.4. That is a lens I loved dearly, but I am years out of the Canon system.

I occasionally get an Earworm.
My baby does the hokeh bokeh
My baby does the hokeh bokeh
My baby does the hokeh bokeh

The only cure I've found is f/8.

OKay, this makes me deeply pleased, as the 35 1.4 is my second favorite Fuji lens(the 16 1.4 still blows me away just a tad more). The 35 + the in camera stabilization makes for a wonderful tool - it's a great One Lens, One Camera combo but as you pointed out, Fuji glass is small enough that's there's not so much a need to over minimize. It definitely feels closer in form to old Nikkor 35/2 AF or Canon 50 1.8 EF version 1, but that's not a horrible thing.

I've only ever had the XF 35mm f/2. The moment I put that lens on my XE-2 I was in love. (It was one of my first Fuji lenses.) But the public love and adoration for the original 35mm f/1.4 has always called to me. Every now and then I try to convince myself to buy a copy and give it a try, but I never do. And your post...didn't help me at all. :o)

You must have been reading my mind. I was wondering whether you would post any photo examples. As enjoyable and entertaining as your prose my be, even a few examples from your everyday surroundings are better than no examples at all. Thank you for adding icing to the cake.

I feel you on the normal lens addiction. I have an older film Leica and have been picking up off brand and older 50mm lenses just because I am interested in the differences between them. Gah. I probably have 6 or 7 of them and I react with GAS whenever I see one.

It's tough when you find your "home" focal length.

So I thought, yeah. This is my lens. I can see why other people can't handle it—can't deploy it properly—but I can. I like a lens that fights back a little, that you have to get to know, that reveals its glories to those who understand it.

So, your dream lens would be the lens equivalent of a classic Porsche 911?

I can understand that.

Mike, it sounds like you really like the venerable 50 1.4 Takumar. Did you prefer it to the 55 1.8 for any particular reasons? OK, I may need to find a clean example of the 1.4 because I still use a 1971 vintage Spotmatic occasionally.

[Oh, to shoot with a Spotmatic and not own a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar is a travesty. They're not expensive. Just get one, then you'll have it. --Mike]

I also liked the packaging of the f2 better, as well as the quiet focusing. But I preferred the rendering and optics of the 1.4. As you said it's like having two lenses in one. So in the end I kept the 1.4. Which is basically the only lens I use.

And I am happy that I don't do video as you have to choose between noisy focus and focus breathing. :-)

“This could have been made with a Zeiss Contarex lens.”

So Fuji is where Zeiss were in 1958?


My first Fuji lens was the 35/2. Bought it with an X-Pro1 in a package deal. Later I bought the 35/1.4 but with the XP1 it was slow and clunky. Now with the XP2 it's faster and less clunky. And the pictures from it are pretty. But I still like using the 35/2 best based on size, speed and general handling. And the pictures are also pretty. Win/win.

I hopped on that bandwagon before the XF train even left the station (I pre-ordered an X-Pro1, the 35 f/1.4 and the 18 f/2 as soon as they were announced, not normal behavior for me). The 18 is sort of "meh" in my opinion so the X-Pro1/35 f/1.4 combo stays together 98% of the time. The 35 is so pleasing to my eye that I wonder if I'll just be disappointed should I give in to the occasional temptation for the 14 or the 90.

I wouldn't mind though if it made a bit less noise. Now, thanks to Mike, I'll never hear it click-clacking away without thinking of pirate ships on the high seas!

It's really time for somebody to do the project where they show us a bunch of pictures taken with different lenses, otherwise identical situations and subjects, and describe the differences they see. Because I completely believe people who talk about lenses having different renderings and such (beyond gross flaws), but I'm totally useless at actually seeing it.

This was hard-to-impossible 50 years ago, but it's trivial today. I don't unfortunately have a full-frame mirrorless body, or I could just do it for myself. Also it should be better to start with lenses somebody knowledgeable in this area believes will be interesting to compare.

Of course I could compare Micro Four Thirds lenses this way for myself. Or for that matter I could compare the center portions of the frame of any lenses for myself. But for full-frame, reaching back to classic lenses seems to make this a more interesting project.

I'm not thinking of the infinite-work version of he project where one tries to include all interesting lenses. I'm thinking of the "teach people what you're seeing" version of the project where you compare a small handful of lenses, on multiple subjects, and write usefully about the results.

Somebody have the knowledge, gear, and energy? (Mike, I figure you don't have the time; but maybe if somebody who had the energy to do a starter article with a few examples asked if you'd host the article?)

G9 shootout?

In 2015 out of curiosity I rented an XE2 and the 23 1.4/ 56mm 1.2 Combo. That is some sexy lens gear but the focus speed was just lame. My only other camera was at the time a Nikon D3 and even my screw drive '90's lenses crushed the Fuji for everything AF. Granted the XE2 was not the quickest and I'm confident my XPro2 is a far better beast for the older lenses but I've gone with the 'crons instead. So far a 35mm and the 50mm fill the bag. I am still drawn to the 56mm though and all these gushing reviews about the 35 1.4's "look" pull my attention. Please tell me they just aren't that different.

The Foghorn Leghorn style commentary only makes it more valid... Otherwise, you’d be doing it all wrong...

Great article.

I feel the same about the 23/1.4, and the Zeiss 100/2 with an adapter.

BTW have you tried that ... adapters for fuji-x are cheap, and you suddenly get access almost all your old lenses. The m42 adapter is cheap, and you can shoot with the SMC tak again...

This capability was one of the reason I went mirrorless in the first place :)

When is 52mm not 52mm? When it's equivalent, of course.

Here a 52mm (e) shot, made with a 6mm iPhone Xs telephoto lens. The phone is a couple inches above the (plastic) drinking glass. FOV has nothing to do with close-focus or DOF.

Mike, at one time yoe had instruction on how to post photos on TOP. Unfortunately, I looked high and low, and can not find them. Meh!

Here's the photo that was meant to be seen above https://photos.app.goo.gl/mkWhAUTNuX5w1sRg8

Funny, just a couple of days ago I went shooting in the old quarters of Lisbon (Portugal) with the same combination - X-H1 and 35 f1.4. Just feels great.

The intense organic luminosity of the Fuji 35/1.4 is simply incomparable. ;)

I'm a total sucker for your lens endorsements, and will have to order this one. I've been enjoying an adapted Pentax 28 2.8 F on the X-H1. Very nice look and colors at medium distances, with good contrast. At infinity, sharp, but not quite up to the best modern lenses, which really doesn't matter unless I'm on the computer looking close. Also have the 28 3.5 K lens, larger, with more elements I think. Need to test that one more too. Fun stuff.

I completely agree with David Dyer-Bennet's comment. I just can't see the differences between the way each lens of the same focal length renders, beyond the very obvious. I know I like what comes from my SMC Pentax-M 50mm 1.4, while the Pentax-A f2 or the Pentacon f1.8 don't have the same effect. Why? I can't see it.
It would be great if you perhaps could show us what you see among the two fujis, and where to look for it.

I too like this lens a lot. It does take me back to my first days with a camera. I like the lens hood"s look and functionality but.... the flexIble rubber cap they provide with it can be dislodged with the breeze from a hummingbirds wing. For a camera company that pays so much attention to user interface it's a let down. The hard plastic lens cap (also supplied) can be placed on the lens with shade after a a little jiggling.

You know, Fuji makes a 27mm, 40mm-e. Tried that one yet? Thoughts?

Maybe a legitimate and fulfilling side hobby to the larger hobby is lens comparisons and searching for character. Maybe you will never choose, but will enjoy the comparison and process as a legitimate passtime reserved for those that know. More like being a member of a wine appreciation club than photography club.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007