PhotoBeast

The Photography Blog from Beastmaster.co.uk

Fuji X-E1 – The Journey Towards The Fujinon 35mm 1.4 Prime Lens

12 Comments

Carnival Mask

We recently went to Venice for a city break armed with both our Fuji X – E1 with the kit 18-55mm lens and our Canon 400D, which was firing through the barrel of a Sigma 70 – 300mm zoom.  Because the Fuji zoom lens is an above average stock lens we had most bases covered with this set up. Back home though and  we decided to give some thought to adding a lens to our kit but the question was what to go for?

To help with this decision, I looked through our photos to see how we were shooting and it seems that with the Fuji X-E1 we shoot wide at 18mm, as below,  or on full zoom at 55mm as above. We rarely shot somewhere in between. At 18mm I was either shooting at around f8 to f10 doing cityscapes or I wanted the lowest aperture I could get f2.8, or I was at 55mm zooming in close to get the detail as with the carnival masks shot above.

Venice

With the Canon we were picking out stuff further afield and getting the detail up close and dirty. Peanut especially enjoys the zoom work and snaffled perhaps our favourite shot of the trip, capturing the two gondoliers chatting below at 190mm.

Chillin'

This points us to a number of possible lenses then.

First, as we like 18 mm, we could go for the 18mm F2 R and enjoy the lovely possibilities offered by the even lower F2 aperture.  Looking back on our photos and seeing the proportion of our photos shot at this length makes this at first seem a great choice. The camera would be smaller still and even lighter and 70% of our photos would be covered by this lens.

Secondly, we could add a zoom – the XF55 – 200 mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. This would give us image stabilisation which we do not have with our budget but capable Sigma zoom and would be a lot smaller than the Sigma bolted onto the Canon 400D. Knowing how much Peanut likes the zoom work and knowing that a 200mm covers most of her work, including the gorgeous shot above, this is perhaps a more tempting choice than the 18mm prime. With this in our armoury we would be Fujied up from 18mm through to 200mm.

Finally, there is the 35mm F1.4 R.  All the arguments are for, rather than against this lens to be honest, whether they be sensible informed ones, or the illogical and preposterous ones that usually sway both myself and Mrs Peanut. Wholly on the logic side are the facts. Fact Number one -  this lens gets rave reviews both by the professionals and by the budding enthusiats and semi professionals that can be found hanging around the vignetted corners of the virtual WordPress world – check out Simon Peckham’s thoughts. Fact number two – this lens has a thrilling F1.4, which guarantees gorgeous bokeh. Next we have justification through illogical logic. I never shoot at 35 mm, so what is the point? Well the point is that I never shoot at 35mm and clearly I am missing something by not doing,  so let’s get this lens and it will add to the width and variety of the photos we take.  Makes good sense don’t you think? Then there is the preposterous justification. Namely this comes with one very sexy lens hood. Not only that but the lens hood is not universally loved – it falls off easily apparently and when we read this we felt sorry for the poor ickle lens hood that looked so good but seems to perform so bad.

So there you have it, the 35mm F1.4 R gets our vote, basically because it has a very sexy lens hood that actually isn’t all that good. Santa be a good lad, put this in our sack and drop down our chimney early!

35mm

Author: Adrian Ainsworth

Interested in Photography, Watches, Style and Cars

12 thoughts on “Fuji X-E1 – The Journey Towards The Fujinon 35mm 1.4 Prime Lens

  1. Hi there!

    Nice article, good thinking, one question though.. Lens hood falls off easily? You mean the soft plastic lens cap for the metal lens hood falls off easily? I find the metal lens hood for the xf35 very efficient, and it is very sturdy (and discreet too).

    All the best,
    Dennis

    • Hi Dennis
      In truth I think you are right as I am still waiting for mine but the reviews I read picked up on an issue and perhaps it is more to do with the lens cap. Either way as you can see it isn’t putting me off and I can’t wait for mine!

  2. I have the 18-55 and the 35 f1.4 I ALWAYS try to find an excuse to use the 1.4 It’s truly amazing. Yesterday I spent the day with my grandson who wasn’t feeling well and I shot exclusively with teh X-E1 and the35 1.4 I came home with so many keepers…. I was originally going to take my D800 or D700 with the 24-70 2.8 but quite honestly didn’t want to haul all that weight around all day.
    As far as the lens hood: I’ve been shooting with the 351.4 and the 18-55 since I bought the camera and lenses in February and have yet to have the lens shade on either one fall off. And over the summer I went on a 10 day road trip to return with over 13,000 stock images. I shot the X-E1 anytime, anywhere and just threw it in my camera bag as I was moving around. Never, ever did the lens shade come off so I can only imagine what others are doing with the camera LOL.

    Enjoy the 35 if and when you get it. It’s not my range either that 35mm which makes it a 52 in 35mm equivalent but boy is the bokeh sweet and the lens tack sharp at ANY aperture.

    Now, if Fuji would finally release the 10-24 F4 my kit would be complete and I can begin to eBay the dSLR stuff which really doesn’t get used much anymore.

    Best,
    J

  3. The hood itself is great. The problems are: You need to remove the hood to take the lens cap on and off. The hood itself has a rubber like cap – rectangular like the hood itself – which always slips off the end of the hood. All that aside – the lens is spectacular!

  4. This is a ‘must have’ lens for me having read some of the reviews. Definitely on the shopping list… great choice Sir, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that Santa is reading your fab blog!

  5. Thanks Guys for stopping by and reinforcing the positive view of this lens and the news just gets even better, clearly the issue is with a fiddly cap and not the super sexy gorgeous must have hood! Now I really cannot wait for this baby to turn up!

  6. You’ll find that the hood also works great on the 60mm lens too. (Just thinking ahead for you…) I think the 60 is the sharpest of the current series. (The 35 and 14 are very close!) I don’t have the 18-55; I do have the 55-200 and think I largely lost my desire for zooms after more than a year with just primes. The 35 is, as you said, special.

    • With this hood then, ok the cap is fiddly, but you have all jumped to the defence of this sexy ickle hood, so clearly we are not the only ones smitten by it. And it fits the 60mm too…

  7. Actually the lens hood is brilliant. It never falls off, is very effective because of its rectangular shape and is very compact. If the new 23mm 1.4 does not come with a similar hood I may not buy it. This is a compact camera, I do not want a large petal shaped, nasty plastic hood.

  8. Pingback: miXed zone: 23mm, Photo Ninja, reviews, artifacts, lens turbo, Nikon vs Fuji, X-E1 give away and more | Fuji Rumors

  9. I think the lens hood is so good I never use the square rubber one or the click cap. The glass is safely buried in side Great ready to snap at a moments notice.

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