Fujinon XC 35mm f/2 review

I have already written a post on why I think that the release of this lens is a clever move by Fuji. It’s the only thing that they did not have within their lineup: a cheap nifty fifty equivalent lens. Mattias Burling, in one of his recent videos, declared the 50mm equivalent his second favorite focal length! The Fuji 35mm f/2 ticks all the boxes he mentions: affordable, all-around and sharp.

I own a Fujifilm X-E1, and I adore the system. I have owned an X-T1 for a short while, but I like the rangefinder design too much. Unfortunately, I am also a preferred prime lens shooter. This proved an issue, as the only cheap prime lens was the 27mm f/2.8, which is still €400, where I shop. This combination would be quite dissonant to me, as I still haven’t upgraded to a more recent camera. Fuji does have other affordable zoom lenses, but I like my primes! Especially a 50mm equivalent, so I have been looking at the XF 35mm. Up to now.

My Fuji camera, used for this review.

The announcement of this lens made me really excited. Same optical formula as its more expensive sibling, small size and, how can I forget, €200,- ! This price makes it the cheapest Fujinon branded lens on the market. The only alternatives are either vintage lenses, which also provide a lovely experience, or Chinese Fuji-mount prime lenses, which are also fully manual and tend to compromise on optical quality. According to DPReview, this lens is sharp at its maximum aperture. You won’t find that with most of the Chinese lenses, let alone vintage lenses.

For this review, I went to the Hague to shoot some photos in different conditions. Daylight, sunset (which was coincidentally lovely and pink), city and nature. I could not be more happy with the results.

All images have been adjusted only in the basic exposure settings. I had a think about the color profiles, but as most people will tend to use the Fujifilm film simulations, I have applied either the Pro Neg Hi., Astia or Provia simulation to the photos.

The lens is made completely out of plastic, but I like the light weight that comes with it. Of course, Fuji would not have made their cheapest lens out of the best materials. For a plastic lens, it feels absolutely fine. It reminds me of the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f/1.7.

But it is sharp. It is amazingly sharp. On the page linked at the bottom of this review, I will link to the original RAW files, so you can have a look at them. Even at f/2, like the photos above, it is beautifully crisp at the center, and the corners are absolutely fine. As I have only ever used vintage lenses on my camera, I did not know that my X-E1 could make such crisp images.

The colors that this lens produces are very neutral, but work exceptionally well with the film simulations. No exaggerated shadows, little to no chromatic aberrations and very nice skin tones.

As a person with a cheaper Fuji camera, I am very excited to be able to use this lens. Autofocus is where you want it to be, though not lightning fast. It is there, though! Electronic aperture, small size, not adapters, focus to infinity. For this money, I am a very happy man, and I would recommend this lens to any person with a more affordable, maybe used, Fujifilm camera.

RAW files used for this review + some more

Thank you for reading, let me know what you think of the lens or what you would like me to review next!

– Robin

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