It has been a couple of weeks now since I’ve been using the Fuji X-E1 with the 35mm f1.4. This camera is incredible (read some of my initial thoughts here), and so is the 35mm f1.4!
This lens is super sharp and produces some great colors. The all metal construction has a great build quality. It feels solid, but it is not too heavy. Autofocus is alright, but not comparable to a DSLR of course. The autofocus is crippled by the contrast detection. And since I haven’t had any other X-Mount lens to compare yet, I have no idea if a different lens (i.e. the new 18-55mm) is actually focusing faster. The manual focus is a focus by wire system. So manual focus is smooth, but quite “slow”. You turn it quite long to get from infinity to close focus (In MF you can use the AE-L / AF-L button to initiate AF and then do some manual focus adjustments though). The good thing is that you can actually decide in which direction you want to focus to infinity. In other words either a Nikon or a Canon user can feel right at home.
On my Nikon I own a couple of f1.8 fixed lenses. Those lenses are incredible and I always thought f1.8 is “good enough”, but having used this Fuji f1.4 lens I’m now having this WOW moment. The shallow depth of field is incredible. The high ISO capabilities of the X-E1 alone are incredible, but with f1.4 I almost can see in the dark (look here and here for more high iso examples).
The lens comes with a nice rectangle metal lenshood. I’m usually a huge advocate on using lenshoods. It protects the lens and it improves image quality. But one reason why I bought the Fuji X-E1 with the 35mm was the compact formfactor. With the hood attached I just think the overall size is a tad to long. Moreover the provided rubber cap for the lens hood looks nice but falls of quite easily.
The X-Series cameras are APS-C cameras. These cameras have a cropped sensor, so a 35mm sensor is actually 1,5 times bigger. Therefore the field of view of the 35mm will be 52,5mm – The so called nifty fifty. This is quite a useful field of view, and with the added macro abilities the Fuji 35mm f1.4 turns into a quite nice allrounder for a lot of things.