Fujifilm XC 35mm F2 Review
The new Fujifilm XC 35mm F2 is essentially a stripped-down version of the Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 R WR at half the price. It offers the same high levels of image quality and auto-focus performance, but loses the traditional aperture ring, weather-proofing, all-metal build quality and accessories that the XF version offers. On the plus side, it's even smaller and lighter than the already compact XF 35mm lens, but the main attraction is definitely that wallet-friendly price-tag.
The Fujifilm XC 35mm F2 lens is sharp in the image centre virtually throughout the entire aperture range, and the edges are very good from f/4 onwards. The fast maximum aperture of f/2 and the circular 9-blade aperture make it easy to creatively throw the background out of focus, achieving some lovely bokeh effects. Vignetting is practically a non-issue, and chromatic aberrations are very well-controlled too.
The auto-focus system in the Fujifilm XC 35mm F2 is just as fast, accurate and quiet as in the XF 35mm, and is one of the main differences when comparing this lens to the older XF 35mm f/1.4 optic, which is both slower and noisier.
In order to lower the cost of ownership, Fujifilm have removed some of the more expensive components used in the construction of the XF 35mm F2 R WR. There's no aperture ring, a key selling point for the Fujifilm system and a decision that will inevitably put some buyers off. There's also no weather-proofing at all, and the lens is made of plastic rather than metal, including the mount. Finally, there are no accessories included in the box other than the front and rear lens caps, and even the rear lens cap is a simpler push-on variant.
All of those omissions can be overlooked, though, when you consider that you essentially get the same sharp image quality and snappy auto-focus of the XF version in a lens that costs almost half as much. And for some people, the lack of an aperture ring will actually be a plus point (or at least not a negative one), simplifying the operation of the entire camera system whilst making it even lighter and more compact.
Overall, we still think that the Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 R WR is the most well-balanced "nifty-fifty" for X-series photographers, but if your budget doesn't stretch that far or you're not a fan of the traditional aperture ring, then the new simpler, lighter, smaller and cheaper XC 35mm F2 is pretty much a must-have addition to the kit zoom lens that's probably been permanently attached to your camera so far...
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||5|