Why the 35mm?

For the past few years I almost exclusively shot with my 18-135mm lens. The lens is perfect for air to air photography, certainly with the 55-200mm on my second body. When traveling it allows me to shoot basically everything. The only problem is the size, which makes it difficult to stay under the radar of the people I’m photographing. The setup also screams ‘tourist’ to every local.

Until 2016 I used my 18mm F2 a lot, but somehow I stopped using this lens almost completely because the 18-135mm is just so easy. In the process I also gave up the lower aperture. This has been a problem a couple of times before. An example is the Porsche shoot I did last year where I had to crank up the ISO to get some decent photos. I did try the 18mm lens on that shoot, but it gave some distortions and the fixed focal length wasn’t what I needed.

Shooting in New York a couple of months ago made me realize again that the 18-135mm is too big. Shooting people unnoticed is almost impossible, even with the compact body of the X-T2.

So 5 years after buying my first Fujifilm camera I now finally bought a 35mm lens. Hoping that the 35mm will give me a focal length that I can use in different situations (air to air excluded) and an aperture (F1.4) that allows me to not only shoot in worse lighting conditions, but to have a beautiful depth of field too. I hope that combined with the 18mm or 18-135mm it will allow me to shoot everything I want when traveling and go unnoticed too.

I recently visited a botanical garden and took the 35mm out to test. It might be worth to note that the weather conditions weren’t ideal with overcast and rainy weather, but this also allowed me to test the lens in sometimes marginal conditions and see what the F1.4 can do.

Example images

You can find some unedited example photos below with the settings in the description.

Pros and cons

  • What amazed me the most is how sharp the lens still is at F1.4. My 18mm tends to become soft when it’s wide open, but the 35mm holds up just fine.
  • The lens is pretty fast on autofocus. I didn’t get to test it properly, but I will find out if it’s good enough the first time I go out and do some street photography.
  • It looks very good, it feels very good and it’s small. The size fits my X-T2 perfectly and will hopefully allow me to shoot more discreet than before.
  • It costs around €500, which is very ok for a lens of this quality.
  • Beautiful bokeh.
  • The only trouble I had is that it’s very easy to accidentally change your aperture. I’m shooting on F1.4 one moment and after just touching the lens I’m all of a sudden shooting at F5.6. If you don’t have an eye on your settings you might end up shooting a series at a another aperture than wanted.
  • It’s not really a problem with the lens, but I had a hard time adjusting to the fixed focal length. I’m used to zooming and not moving around too much. Now I was unable to shoot several photos because the lens wasn’t wide enough and for other photos I had to move around more. It’s more an adjustment rather than a problem, but I’m excited to see what it gives when shooting on my travels. I often don’t have the chance to move around when I have to act fast. So I hope I won’t miss too many photos. This is probably where the second body with the 18mm or 18-135mm will come in handy.

Edited images

These are the edited images from the test.


Thoughts, comments, questions? Let me know in the comment section below.

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