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.