Desperate Plea: Fujifilm, Please Redesign The 35mm ƒ/1.4 Lens Sooner Rather Than Later

With the 33mm ƒ/1 on the roadmap, Fujifilm really needs to create a “version 2” of their 35mm ƒ/1.4 as it’s quickly becoming a hole in their lens lineup. Consider their lineup: The ƒ/2 is the entry level/mainstream lens, the Zeiss Touit 32mm ƒ/1.8 is the enthusiast lens, and the upcoming 33mm ƒ/1 will be their professional level offering while the 35mm ƒ/1.4 languishes as its market no longer exists. Compared to the ƒ/2 lens, it’s sharper wide open with one more stop of light, but it’s bigger, slower to focus, too loud for vloggers and videographers, isn’t weather sealed and is more expensive. In it’s current form, there’s just no market for this lens anymore, especially with Fujifilm’s attempt to dominate in video.

Once an afterthought, video has become equally important to Fujifilm as stills, rendering the 35mm ƒ/1.4 all but worthless for most of today’s buyers.

To address this, I’d like to see them give the 35mm ƒ/1.4 the same focus ring with focus clutch and hard stops like the 23mm ƒ/1.4, an internally focusing design, silent Linear Motor, weather sealed body, 62mm diameter filter thread, and a 9-blade rounded iris, specifically in that order of desire with the last one being optional.

The X-T3 and X-H1 lets you choose between linear and nonlinear focus ring response to improve manual focus usability while shooting video. The ability to pop in and out of manual focus while recording is a huge benefit for vloggers but only the 14mm ƒ/2.8, 16mm ƒ/1.4 and 23mm ƒ/1.4 lenses provide this. (AF+MF doesnt work while recording video, nor can you switch from AF-C to MF on the fly). A completely redesigned “version 2” 35mm ƒ/1.4 that essentially utilizes the 23mm ƒ/1.4 lens body would also appeal to street photographers who want the 50mm field of view and the ability to use zone focusing.

Simply put: take the 16mm ƒ/1.4 lens and remake it as a 35mm ƒ/1.4, price it under $800USD, et voila! You have a lens that appeals to videographers, street photographers, and everyone in between. A “nifty fifty” that’s truly nifty, a lens that’ll be truly essential to most every Fujifilm X-Series owner. Because the current 35mm ƒ/1.4 serves no one: too loud for video, too expensive for what you get for photo.

In fact, none of their 35mm auto focus lenses are capable of zone focusing despite “street photography” being a core segment of the consumers Fujifilm markets toward and appeals to. The XF 35mm ƒ/1.4, 35mm ƒ/2 and Zeiss Touit 32mm ƒ/1.8 all lack the ability to zone focus. Unsurprisingly, the upcoming 33mm ƒ/1 will also lack it, if the sample models shown off at Photokina show the final exterior design.

Between their strong focus on video and popularity amongst street photographers, a reformulated 35mm with these features would prove to be exceptionally popular, and obviously sell far more units than the 35mm ƒ/1 due to its more universal appeal. It would fill a hole in their lens lineup left by an increasingly irrelevant 35mm ƒ/1.4 that appeals neither to videographers nor photographers in its current form.

The XF 35mm ƒ/1.4, 35mm ƒ/2 and Zeiss Touit 32mm ƒ/1.8 all lack the ability to zone focus and are incapable of switching in and out of manual focus while recording.

This lens was once an excellent value from the inception of the X-Series system until now. Unfortunately due to Fujifilm’s push to dominate in video, the introduction of the ƒ/2 lens, and the announcement of the 33mm ƒ/1, the 35mm ƒ/1.4 has lost all reason to exist in its current form. A complete redesign, implementing these features, could create a lens that outsells all of their other lenses by appealing to the widest range of users and without having to compromise.

9 thoughts on “Desperate Plea: Fujifilm, Please Redesign The 35mm ƒ/1.4 Lens Sooner Rather Than Later

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  1. The Fuji 35mm f/1.4 is a great, great lens. It gives a beautiful, classic rendition of light and out of focus areas while being plenty sharp enough. A true classic. I hope they never discontinue this version.

  2. No they don’t, and there is still a market for it as it’s one if not the vey best apsc lens on the market, anyone who thinks otherwise is probably not a fine art/street photographer but someone obsessing with things like sharpness, autofocus speed and noise and blaming his lack of vision on gear (like 95% of internet “photographers”).

    1. if one is not a fine art/street photographer, they’re just a visionless, gear obsessed fake?

      so what does that make you?

  3. You might have missed it, but Fujifilm cameras have a distance scale with DOF “zone” in the viewfinder, which allows you to do “zone focusing” with any lens, with or without markings. I find the viewfinder scale way easier to use — and much more precise — than the little markings on the lens barrel.

    1. nope, didn’t miss it. the utility of zone focusing is partially lost if i’m already putting the viewfinder up to my eye. nor does it necessarily retain your focus setting when the body is powered down.

      and it doesn’t overcome the lack of hard stops.

      1. I verified, on my XT-3 it actually retains the setting between power up/down and, when the camera is off, rotating the focus ring won’t change the setting. Pretty convenient.
        You don’t even need to take the camera to your eye, the distance scale is on the back panel, so you can shoot from the hip at all times…
        I think it is a great lens.

      2. i’m glad it works for you. however, as i explained in my post, it doesn’t work as well for me in comparison with lenses like the 16mm and 23mm ƒ/1.4 that do have a focus clutch and hard stops.

        i’ve learned to adapt but my preference is still my preference.

      3. one more thing, you mentioned that the focus ring doesn’t affect focus while off, which is expected since it’s a “focus by wire” system for all of Fujifilm’s lenses. however, focus clutch equipped models do change focus while off, in a sense… if you move the ring, when powered up the lens will automatically move to match the focus ring’s new position, which is a feature i appreciate on my 23mm, again, for the reasons i’ve stated prior.

        it just reacts more like a mechanically linked focus ring, something i’m far more used to.

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