When I think back over all the various lenses I’ve owned or used in the past decade, the Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 definitely stands out as one of my favorites. Who doesn’t love a good 50mm equivalent focal length, right? It’s incredibly versatile, has a wide aperture for use in the darkest of situations, and like other Fuji prime lenses, it’s lightweight and compact.
Then there’s the “magic” factor. Call it hype if you want, but it’s true. I hate following the trends so much that I actually wish it was false so I could go against the grain…but I do think there’s something to this unorthodox and subjective claim.
I’ve owned the 35mm f/2 as well. Unlike it’s predecessor, the 1.4, the f/2 version is weather sealed and oh, so quiet. For some, that’s more important than any unseen magical quality. I freely admit that the 35mm f/1.4 is a little on the slow side these days, with a focusing motor that can’t compare to the leaf shutter in my X70 or even the newer tech in the 35mm f/2.
But there really is something special about this lens in my book. Over the years I’ve found myself relying on it heavily as a portrait lens, which despite it’s versatile focal length, is where it really shines.
When I’m looking to document my kids, this lens is one of my go-to’s (along with the 18mm f/2 – but we’ll talk about that one in a different post). The 35mm f/1.4 is very sharp, even wide open, and because of it’s unique rendering, I find that it gives the images a bit of a filmic look – it has less of a digital, clinical feel than the rest of Fuji’s lineup. Corny though it may sound, I think this lens has soul. I know, I know, completely subjective.
Well, let’s be honest…isn’t most gear?
I think there’s a good reason that Fuji has never updated this lens with a Mark II. It is beloved of many and if it isn’t broken, don’t “fix” it!