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Thursday, 26 December 2019


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There's a really simple way to get your beloved 35mm f/1.4 to be tad wider.

Step further back.

[That wouldn't be ideal. --Mike]

I want that lens too. And stepping back is never the same as a different angle of view. The 27 2.8 is the right angle of view, but not as high quality as what you are looking for. What I really wish is that I could get the optical engineers who designed the Ricoh GR lens to make something for Fuji.

All I want is a nicely made modern normal (for whatever sensor I'm using) f/2.8 Tessar. I don't care who makes it, I'd fall over myself to give them my money.

"Only because, deep down, I'm an idiot."

I'm going to steal this for my memoir title. :-)


Interestingly, my favourite lens is the Leica 35mm f1.4 (non-aspherical). It might be about the same size as your favourite Fujinon.

It's not the sharpest of lenses but it has interesting characteristics:

1. It is small and compact.
2. It uses funny Series VI filters.
3. It is dream like and soft at f1.4. Some vignetting.
4. It has a mix of softness and improved contrast at f2.0
5. Sharpness improves markedly after f4
6. Nice "Bokeh" at larger apertures.

I use it as an art lens for street photography to bring back images looking like taken half century ago.

While on the subject of Fuji. any thoughts on the X-Pro 3?

Optically, it looks like your ideal lens already exists for Micro Four Thirds, in the form of the Panasonic 20mm. Unfortunately it seems to be a bit wider than 40mm-e in practice, and of course lacks your physical requirements such as aperture ring and weather sealing. It's never heard the word 'flare' though.

Moving back is great. Sometimes. Do check how close the cliff edge is behind you first (or just the traffic lane)! Also, moving your position changes the perspective; sometimes not enough to matter, sometimes even positively (which is another reason to think about moving). Also sometimes negatively.

Hence zoom lenses; especially on movie sets, where things are regularly done to utterly absurd levels of precision (as the only way to make that many elements come together at once).

Also, idiot is such a demeaning term; I prefer perfectionist.

Most people just write Voigtlander, which is incorrect but convenient.

Mike, I now know what's going on my tombstone.


"Hatefully sharp"? Churlish, indeed!

Brutally sharp, as in brutally honest, I get. But hatefully sharp/honest?

I'm about to turn fourty next june 2020.
20+20=40. it all makes sense, does it not ?
I adore the 20mm pancake for MFT but it's so slow.

Fuji, I swear if you release that dream lens, I'm getting an XT3 right now.

Let me add that AF needs to be quick and decisive.
I'm with you on f1.8 and don't wish another f2 (yeah, hairsplitting).
Sizewise, it should stay small too : let's say fujicron territory.

I love the current 27mm f/2.8, it is a natural fit to both the XPro2 and the XE3. But mechanically it does feel a little clumsy. My dream Fuji lens is a ruggedised version of the current 27mm: as tiny as the current version, but with a stronger mechanical build and preferably with internal focussing. An aperture ring would be great but since that would probably mean a larger size, I let go of that wish. The slow aperture of f/2.8 is ok with me, it suits the way I use this focal length.

I'm also a 40mm fan. My favourite is the Voigtländer 40/1.4 that looks very much like their 35/1.4 which both look like the pre-ASPH Leica 35/1.4. The 40/1.4 fortunately does not need series VII filters, behaves better optically than the VC 35/1.4 and a lot better than the Leica 35/1.4 but isn't any larger.

Its only downside on Leicas is that there are no 40mm frame lines, and the lens as it comes brings up the 50mm frame lines. However, the situation is easily corrected by adjusting (filing) one of the bayonet tabs so that the 35mm frame lines are activated. Leica frame lines being what they are, the view through the finder is then almost perfect for shooting objects that are at medium distance or further.

In any case, the images this lens produces are sharp enough with nice bokeh, and the lens is fast and tiny. Everything's good.

I gotta say, I liked the post well enough, but the comments are real gems!

That 35 is the first lens I purchased when I ventured into the Fuji realm and is still my most used; so much so that sometimes I wonder why why I bought any others even though they are all fine lenses.

I’m asking for such a lens for a long time since I didn’t find the 27mm f/2.8 enjoyable to use and pretty bland regarding results (even if it unquestionably gets the job done).

If it’s not asking too much, throw in some optical stabilization if the size penalty it’s not too big, all the non X-H1 users will sure appreciate it.

It sure doesn’t seem like it’s a popular focal length for manufacturers, a conspiracy-oriented mind would even play with the idea of they’re profit calculations on selling both a 23mm and a 35mm instead of just one lens in the middle of those two. But probably this is more like a market-demand decision.

Even on the realm of manual focus lenses, there’s nothing that seems to fit the bill regarding being a well-balanced normal FoV lens, either they’re slower lenses (like the meike 28/2.8) or big/heavy (like the Kamlan 28/1.4).

An even more niche-like lens I would love to see would be a 40mm f/1.2. It would be my perfect lens for full-body environmental portraits, optimized for smooth bokeh. Some extra reach compared to a 35mm for extra subject isolation, but not too much so it maintains a close to normal FoV, not suffering from the unnatural compression of the short telephoto lenses typically used on portraits. In resume something equivalent to the fast 58mm lenses on full-frame (thinking of the legendary Rokkor 58mm f/1.2).
Of course such a oddball lens will never exist, but since we’re dreaming on ideal lenses... :)

You could adopt/adapt an FA31 Limited, from the other optical team whose focal lengths appear to be pulled from a hat. Perhaps all primes should be prime numbers, just to be authentic..

I’ve long been a fan of the Fujinon 27/2.8. It, and the 35/1.4, are the most used of my wide selection of Fujinons; nod to the excellent 23/1.4 too. If the 27mm had a f/1.8 aperture for a bit more subject separation, it would be (my) ideal. I don’t care about the slow focussing. I fear however that Fujifilm aren’t that interested in marketing more primes.

My dream lens would be an 85 0.7 for Sony E mount, with tilt capability, and one that I could afford. Thank you Satan. I mean Santa.

Having coined the term 'bokeh' you have a track record for instigating new stuff - so if such a lens were to be created, no matter who the manufacturer, then a lens with this feature set would have to be called the 'Johnston'or at least have the letters MJ included in the name on the filter ring.
Mike, you already have a patreon following - perhaps start a cloud funding drive and get this lens on a production line. A project for 2020.

The Panasonic 20mm 1.7 in version 3 with fast focusing, IS, and water resistance would be a dream.

Doesn’t need to be quite as small, but considering Panasonic can fit IS and fast focusing into a lens as tiny as the 12-32mm pancake zoom, and having a precedent of rereleasing lenses with added weather resistance (25mm 1.4, 50-200, 100-300 for example), maybe it could happen?

I cannot agree with this more. I have the 27 2.8 and really like it but I think it's the one lens Fuji makes (and I have too many of them) that could be improved on. F2 is fine and add an aperture ring.

Everyone always wants something else.

I must admit, and it's probably only me, that I never saw the point of 40mm lenses.

They are neither one thing nor the other, in the no-man's land between wide-angle (35mm and wider) and 'standard'/telephoto (50mm and up).

The only reason I could see for them was that it must have been easier to design a decent 40mm pancake lens than a 50mm.

Still, enough people must have liked them for them to continue in production.

[It's closer to a true normal, if "normal lens" is defined as a focal length equal to the diagonal of the rectangle. The diagonal of FF is 43.27mm, the diagonal of the Fuji X-H1's APS-C sensor is 28.2mm. You can use an ordinary 28mm lens on a crop-sensor camera to get the feel of this.

But you might not like it and that's fine. Some people don't like normals; the rap against them in the received wisdom was always that they are "boring." --Mike]

Ad Copy: Introducing the new Buttersnon XF 27mm ƒ/1.8 OIS WR. A lens so sharp and buttery bokeh’d you could shave with it! :-)

The way you describe the Fuji 35 1.4 is how I feel about my Nikkor 58 1.4.

That said, I'm feeling like I need to put my 28 1.8 on my D7500 for a 42mm-e experience.

: )

Note on "true normal." My experience when using 28mm on APS-C is that there's no compression, and in that sense the image looks like how we see it. That's what makes it fun, or to some maybe boring.

For me, Panasonic G 20mm F1.7 mk3, please!
This time with fast autofocus, without silly unit-focusing design. Weather-resistance would be nice to have, aperture ring and image stabilization as well. It doesn't need to be as small as possible, but hopefully smaller than Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4, pretty please!

I've had Mk1, loved it, it was a match made in heaven for GF1, not so for GX7 - autofocusing wasn't as snappy. I replaced it with Leica 25/1.4, love that lens as well, but I miss 40mm-e FoV.

Add my name to the petition! I use the 27/2.8 a lot, but would much prefer it if it had an aperture ring and lens hood attachment similar to other XF lenses. WR would be nice too. f1.8 or f2 would be the icing on the cake.

I generally prefer the "wide normal" of 35/40mm equivalent FOV, and have both the 23mm/f2 and the 27mm/f2.8 lenses, and like both, and use both.

However, I have found the 32mm Zeiss Touit (48mm eFOV) "a tad wider" (than your 51.5mm eFOV, "long normal" 35mm Fuji) to be the lens that always wants to be on my Xpro2. I have the 35mm/f1.4 as well, but I seldom use it.

The 32mm Touit has plenty of the wonderful Zeiss-ness. It was initially priced above the 35mm Fuji, and being a stop slower, it had a hard time gaining sales against the Fuji.

A "sleeper" lens that deserves greater popularity, you should give it a try if you get the chance.

Is it an age thing?

I have started to prefer a 40mm (or equivalent) lens, instead of a 50mm, in later life.

I figure it gives me that fraction longer to react when photographing 'street' and is a reasonable compromise between 28mm and 50mm lenses, thereby avoiding clumsy & time consuming lens changes and carrying unnecessarily heavy bags.

I add my YES!!!!! When I had the XPro-1 my favourite (adapted) lens was an OM Zuiko 28/2.8, ~43mm equivalent. No, it wasn’t quite fast enough, but acquiring a 28/2 Zuiko didn’t seem to be quite worth it, especially considering that a Zuiko expert told me the coating on the f2 was a bit soft.

I especially liked the rendering in black and white - sharp yet pleasingly gentle gradation. That combination is pretty much the only regret I have in selling the XPro-1 to fund an X100-F

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