The Magic of the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 Explained and Why Fujifilm Should NOT Make an XF 35mm f/1.4 MK II

The Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 Magic

Why an article about Fujifilm’s oldest X-series lens, the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4, in 2019?

Because our recent poll has shown, that the XF35mmF1.4 is the most loved Fujinon lens overall, and I thought that, based on official Fujifilm statements, we try to investigate what makes this lens so incredible popular and loved.

Fujifilm said that, when designing the XF 35mmF1.4, they had 2 choices:

  • follow the MTF test criteria and create a lens that scores high at MTF charts
  • don’t care about specs & charts and design the lens thinking at the real life use

Fujifilm went for the real life use, and the result is a lens, the Fujinon XF35mm f/1.4, that is “decent” according to MTF charts, but amazing in real life. To know more about it, check out the XF 35mm f/1.4 development story at fujifilm-x.

Also Fuji Guy Billy recently said here, that Fujifilm did not want to create a clinically perfect lens, but a lens with character. We could call it a “perfectly imperfect” lens, a unique lens, or, in other words, a lens with a “magic touch“.

I also remember Fujifilm saying a few years ago, that while designing the Fujinon XF35mm f/1.4, they decided to go for a slower focussing lens, because they saw that, with a faster focus mechanism requiring a different internal design, the XF35/1.4 would have lost its “magic“. If I find the article, I’ll share the link here later on.

  • fuji-x-forum: That 35mm f1.4 magic in other Fujinon lenses?

XF 35mm f/1.4 MK II ?

And now comes the part that will make me extremely unpopular and you will probably ban me from FujiRumors. :)

While working on this article, I thought that maybe Fujifilm should NOT make an XF 35mm F1.4 MK II (which is your first choice for a MK II version according to this poll).

But before you destroy your keyboard while typing angry comments, give me a chance to explain why.

In the light of what Fujifilm officially stated, I agree with what FR-reader (and X-Pro line lover ;) ), PC1512 said here:

People need to understand that the existing 35 1.4 will never be “updated” with a magic new motor and suddenly be quicker focussing; the optical formula people like so much is the reason that it’s a slower focussing lens, because of the weight of all the elements which are designed to be moved as one unit to achieve focus.

To speed that up significantly you need to change the optical formula, which means it becomes an entirely different lens. Effectively that’s what they did when they produced the 35 f2 – and wisely kept the 1.4 still available as an alternative.”

We love our Fujinon XF35mm f/1.4 for its “magic”… a magic that would probably go lost in a Mark II version.

Do you want weather sealing?

Well, when I destroyed my Fujifilm X-E2 (I had to jump into a river with all my gear), despite my desperate attempts to rescue my X-E2, the camera died forever, but my beloved Fujifilm XF35mm f/1.4 survived, and still today it works like a charm. So I am confident it will survive also if I am catched by some rain.

Do you want faster autofocus?

Try to get a Fujifilm X-T3, which breaths new life into older lenses in terms of AF speed.

I’d love to hear what you guys think about it… and yep, I have my shitstorm helmet on ;).

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