Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R Fuji X Pro 1 Super EBC

Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R Fuji X Pro 1 Super EBC

This lens has quickly reached cult status, does this standard live up to the hype?

This lens is a beautifully built standard, constructed entirely of metal. At least anything you touch, including the filter threads, which is a nice departure from the standard plastic these days. The aperture ring is reminiscent of older lenses with nice metal knurls and nice positive 1/3 stop click stops. The focus ring is similar quality, also with all metal knurled grip. The hood is nice and positive and the lens has two caps. One that goes on the hood since it is not a reversible style, and a second that goes on the filter thread. Thankfully the cap on the threads can still be removed with the hood in place. The hood has a nice positive bayonet mount which makes it easy to take on and off even with the lens cap on.

The lens is a modern design 8 element lens with 1 aspherical element, and a nice 7 curved bladed diaphragm, which remains fairly circular until about f/2.8 or f/4. By f/5.6 it is mostly polygon. The 52 mm filter threads are standard for many large aperture standard lenses, so filters are easy to find. The lens has a typical minimum focus distance of about 0.3 m and a maximum magnification of 0.17x. It is well weighted at about 187 g, feeling not too heavy nor too light. This lens is nearly the same size as a classic 50 mm f/1.4 lens from the film camera era.

In use, the AF motor is a stepper motor style, and it does make audible focus noise, on par with a quieter screw drive system. Focus remains quick if the lens doesn’t have to hunt the range, but if it does it takes just over a second to go full range. The lens seems to have a long throw, so it should be very precise, but take a little longer to go end to end. In normal circumstances the lens will focus in just a fraction of a second.

The manual focus ring is slightly slippery due to the metal knurls. I think rubber would provide a better grip, but wouldn’t last as long or feel as high quality. If you are used to doing quick back and forth motions to manually focus, and stopping on the sharpest point in an instant, this lens won’t work great for that. You have to slow it down as it takes a fraction of a second for the motor to respond. The best way to manually focus is to prefocus using the AE-L/AF-L button and tweak manually, but turning quickly back and forth will work if you slow it down just a bit to compensate for the “lag”.

Now how about the optics in a 35 mm f/1.4? The only other standard class f/1.4 lens designed for APS-C at this time is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, which is notoriously bad in the corners. Does this slightly longer standard lens do better?

Optical Performance

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Please click on the tab you want to view. Only 1 tab may be active at a time. MTF, Distortion, and Lat CA data acquired using Imatest

Comments on the Results

These are results from LR4.2, at this point I don’t know if LR4.2 automatically applies any corrections to the image. I have never seen a lens with such high MTF50. I wonder if this is due to the lack of AA filter. It performs way above what a 16 MP sensor should. The MTF20 is so far off the charts it isn’t funny. This doesn’t mean much since it is above the nyquist frequency, but Imatest seems to report this type of number when you get very crisp image edges and maybe some alias artifacts. I imagine this is happening due to the lack of AA filter making the edges crisp (remember this is a monochrome chart).

Distortion is excellent for the class at -0.38% (numeric average for all apertures), which makes me wonder if corrections are being applied.

Lateral CA is also well controlled, having only about 1/2 pixel width at the edges. Longitudinal CA is very visible at f/1.4, but good for the class of lens. It mostly disappears on stopping down (see graph photos at end of review).

Purple fringing is visible, mostly at f/1.4, but it isn’t bad. Average for this class of lens.

Coma and astigmatism are pretty negligible, but there is some deformation of the bokeh circles in the corner wide open that disappear once stopped down.

I will update flare resistance and post some gallery shots in the next week or so. I noticed veiling glare when shooting right next to my studio lights, so it is a good idea to use the supplied hood.

I measured the focal length to be 37.5mm based on 1:53 magnification. This is typical for 35 mm lenses, and makes this lens a long standard equivalent of 55mm on 135 format.

Pros and Cons

Effective Resolution

Aperture Weighted Center Partway Corner
f/1.4
14.5 MP
16 MP
14.2 MP
9.5 MP
f/2.8
15.8 MP
16+ MP
16+ MP
14.4 MP
f/8
15.9 MP
16+ MP
16+ MP
15.2 MP

Bottom Line

Wow, what do I even say about this lens. Wait, I do. Amazing. This lens is good like the SMC Pentax 31mm f/1.8 Limited is good, but it is half the price and half a stop larger aperture. An instant classic for sure.

At f/1.4 the Fuji is noticeably worse than other apertures, but very good for the class of the lens. I am impressed. No real complaints about the performance. Corners do come up a bit slower, but still are excellent by f/2.8. It is a good value at the asking price.

My graphs are set for the 16 MP Sony sensor cameras I tested, so I might need to tweak them as I test more lenses on this sensor. I think the off the chart results are caused by lack of AA filter and the sharp edges resulting from that (similar to what I would get if I applied a lot of sharpening to an AA filter camera). If I keep getting off the chart results with other lenses I will re-think my testing strategy for this body. I will come back and update this review if I change anything significantly.

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Gallery

The gallery images are © 2012 Eric Tastad, and may only be used for personal evaluation of the lenses. Click the play button and click “visit gallery” in the upper right to download full size images.

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  1. [...] ERPhotoReview tested the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4: see the optical performance of this lens here. [...]