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Torn between 27mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/2.0 need your opinions please


xtrans

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Hi guys,

I will soon purchase my first x system. I used dslr and micro 4/3 systems previously. I am just torn between the 27mm and 35mm fuji lenses. I have no specific purpose. I just want to have a single prime on my camera and shoot everything with it for a long time (Maybe a whole year). I am specifically looking at the primes and not considering a zoom lens at this point. If you would share your opinions with me to help me out choose my first fuji prime I would really appreciate it.

Thank you

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Both lenses are good with different strong points.

 

XF27 - sharp lens, good for street and general photography.

XF35 - Sharp lens. Better bokeh, good for portrait. Good one lens for all. Great balance between color IQ, sharpness, bokeh and size.

 

I went for the 35 as I do lots of portrait. It's also my favourite x lens.

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Thank you very much for your response. Did you pick up the 2.0 or 1.4 version of the 35mm ? Would you mind briefly sharing your experience with it please ?

 

Both lenses are good with different strong points.

 

XF27 - sharp lens, good for street and general photography.

XF35 - Sharp lens. Better bokeh, good for portrait. Good one lens for all. Great balance between color IQ, sharpness, bokeh and size.

 

I went for the 35 as I do lots of portrait. It's also my favourite x lens.

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two very different lenses.

 

My first ever fuji lens was the 35 f1.4 and for some time I used it as sole lens (I like shooting with a “ normal” focal perspective which is the focal closest to the measure of the diagonal of the format).

 

The 27 is a different lens altogether and personally I don’t see them as alternative but somewhat complementary.

 

Since there has been the announcement that sooner or later there will  be a new version of the 23mm f2 which is made to complement the 35mm f 2 I personally am considering the option to buy those two.

 

23 & 35

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Thank you very much for your response. Did you pick up the 2.0 or 1.4 version of the 35mm ? Would you mind briefly sharing your experience with it please ?

I went for F1.4 version as the F2 version was not out yet.

 

Lovely lens. Good color and great bokeh. Compact and fast. Sharp wide open. I can take almost any kind of photography with it. Would've been great if it focuses closer. It's a lens I'd recommend if you only want to buy one.

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I love how compact the 27mm is. With it attached, in a way you create a whole new camera because it has the look and form factor of a larger point and shoot. It's easy to stow in a coat pocket. Perfect for street photography and very underrated in image quality.

 

That being said, I would definitely go for the 35mm for what you re talking about. It's a much more versatile focal length, has an aperture ring, an extra 1 or 2 stops of light depending on the model you buy, and it has a better build to it.

 

For me, I found that the best use of the 27mm is to attach it to my X-E1 and leave it. If I'm traveling, that's my backup camera and my street camera. Wonderful little lens, but for a long term body of work I'd take the 35mm every time.

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From experience, when I first entered the x system I bought the X-E1 and 35mm 1.4. i.e. a one lens system like you are planning on buying. 

 

I knew very little about photography at the time and although this combination was great for learning I would probably take a different route if I had the chance again knowing what I know now. 

 

The 35mm (52mm equivalent in full frame terms) was not versatile enough in terms of focal length, there were shots I just couldn't make. For example landscapes and townscapes whilst travelling could have benefited from a wider angle. 

 

For a one lens system which would need to adapt to various subjects and scenes I would definitely buy a 23mm (35mm equivalent in full frame terms) - either the 23 1.4 or wait for the rumoured but likely 23mm 2.0 with weather resistance. There's a reason why premium fixed focal length cameras (Fuji X100 series and Sony RX1 etc) are 35mm full frame equivalents in focal length because they are most versatile. 

 

Bide your time and you could probably pick up a used X-T1 at a reduced price (when the X-T2 comes out in the summer) and pair it with a weather resistant 23mm 2.0 lens which would give you a versatile one lens system which can deal with multiple situations as well as inclimate weather. You can then add to the system depending on whether you think you need extended width or reach. 

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I did a few months with only the 35/1.4 on an X-E1 and I loved it.

 

There are some limitations due to the focal length, especially indoors when trying to capture larger subjects like cars in a museum or so, but similar issues exist for a 23 or 27 as well. 

 

If I were to go for a one lens system for a longer period of time it would be either the 23/1.4 or the 35/1.4. I would not go for f2 versions for the simple reason that the larger aperture give additional artistic as well as exposure leverage which is important if you have only a single lens. I can live with f/2, like on the X100T, but I like the additional options I have with a faster lens. 

 

The 27 would not be my choice because of the slow speed and missing aperture ring. The image quality is more than good enough, but f/2.8 just isn't cutting it for a single lens system.

 

For deciding between 23 and 35, do yourself a favor and ignore all the "the 23 is more versatile" or "the 35 is better for this" comments. They are just opinions from people who don't know you so how can they give you a good recommendation?

 

Look at your own photo library, figure out which focal length you used most and which gave you the best photos (that doesn't have to be the same). Pick the one where you like the results best and that will work for what you like to photograph over that "one camera one lens" period. You might want to go for a compromise if you can't decide. Or go for a two lens system. Whatever works for you. 

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out of the two lenses you mentioned, i'd go with the 35mm. Having a pancake lens is nice for size and weight, but part of the X series experience is the aperture ring. like cug said, you will need to decide what focal length works best for you. I prefer shooting at the 50mm equiv. range, but others the 35mm equiv. if you look through your photo library and see if your shots are more normal focal length or wide, that should help with that aspect. Another good option to make it a multi lens set is to pick up a legacy lens and adaptor. It won't be as sharp or perfect as the new fuji lenses, but i personally like the look some of the legacy glass has. There are quite a few fast 50mm options available. 

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Telling someone to pick a focal length they use the most could completely constrain other shooting opportunities and it doesn't sound like the OP shoots a specific genre of subjects / scenes. I suppose they need to clarify what they mean by 'shoot everything' for a year... At present I would interpret that as shoot anything or multiple things of a likely diverse nature that requires a versatile focal length and in some people's opinions this would be the 23mm (35mm equivelant).

 

I do agree though that an aperture of 1.4 gives more creative freedom.

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Why those two lenses?

 

I don't own XF35F/2

 

I do have the XF-35 F/1.4, and XF-27 F/2.8

 

If I could only have one, i'd pick the 35.

 

However i'd recommend playing with the focal lengths and see what suits you

 

Fuji has a nice web app to compare focal length

 

http://fujifilmxmount.com/comparison/en/test-our-lenses

 

you may find some cheap lenses 2nd hand, as their was recently a lot of X-Pro 1 packs with xf18 and xf27 sold, so some people will have duplicates

 

edit

 

comparison has been updated to include new lenses

Edited by Tikcus
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Thank you all very much for your responses. It helps immensely.

 

 

From experience, when I first entered the x system I bought the X-E1 and 35mm 1.4. i.e. a one lens system like you are planning on buying. 

 

I knew very little about photography at the time and although this combination was great for learning I would probably take a different route if I had the chance again knowing what I know now. 

 

The 35mm (52mm equivalent in full frame terms) was not versatile enough in terms of focal length, there were shots I just couldn't make. For example landscapes and townscapes whilst travelling could have benefited from a wider angle. 

 

For a one lens system which would need to adapt to various subjects and scenes I would definitely buy a 23mm (35mm equivalent in full frame terms) - either the 23 1.4 or wait for the rumoured but likely 23mm 2.0 with weather resistance. There's a reason why premium fixed focal length cameras (Fuji X100 series and Sony RX1 etc) are 35mm full frame equivalents in focal length because they are most versatile. 

 

Bide your time and you could probably pick up a used X-T1 at a reduced price (when the X-T2 comes out in the summer) and pair it with a weather resistant 23mm 2.0 lens which would give you a versatile one lens system which can deal with multiple situations as well as inclimate weather. You can then add to the system depending on whether you think you need extended width or reach. 

I really find the 23mm lens the closest to my liking but it is a bit too expensive for me at this point. I consider the 27mm as an alternative to it since it is closer by focal length and much cheaper. I kinda feel like I might have a harder time with 35mm but it is so popular as everyday lens and the f/2 version is within my budget.

 

Telling someone to pick a focal length they use the most could completely constrain other shooting opportunities and it doesn't sound like the OP shoots a specific genre of subjects / scenes. I suppose they need to clarify what they mean by 'shoot everything' for a year... At present I would interpret that as shoot anything or multiple things of a likely diverse nature that requires a versatile focal length and in some people's opinions this would be the 23mm (35mm equivelant).

I do agree though that an aperture of 1.4 gives more creative freedom.

I thought shooting everything was clear enough. I will shoot all subjects with one single prime lens. I know that choosing an all round lens won't give me the results of a specialized focal length, but that's what I'm looking for, jack of all trades, master of none kind of lens.

 

Why those two lenses?

 

I don't own XF35F/2

 

I do have the XF-35 F/1.4, and XF-27 F/2.8

 

If I could only have one, i'd pick the 35.

 

However i'd recommend playing with the focal lengths and see what suits you

 

Fuji has a nice web app to compare focal length

 

http://fujifilmxmount.com/comparison/en/test-our-lenses

 

you may find some cheap lenses 2nd hand, as their was recently a lot of X-Pro 1 packs with xf18 and xf27 sold, so some people will have duplicates

 

edit

 

comparison has been updated to include new lenses

The reason is among the jack of all trades type of lenses these two were pretty much the only ones that were within my budged at this point. Thank you very much for pointing me to the web app it is very helpful in my case.

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What body will you have ?

 

I knew what you meant but a previous poster didn't understand where I was coming from so thought if you could clarify further it would help validate my point :)

 

Check out my Flickr (the earlier shots) https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/130557165@N04/ to get an idea of what you can shoot and the perspective with the 35mm 1.4. I was still able to shoot a hotch potch of travel stuff with varying subjects / scenes it's just certain types of scenes like landscapes and townscapes or tight spaces / large buildings / street scenes could have done with extra width.

 

If you could only choose between the 27 and 35 go with the 35 for sure (whether it be the 1.4 or 2.0) they are superior optically (the 2.0 will have better corner sharpness but I love the 1.4 for creating nice out of focus areas in product / close subject shots / portraits) than the 27mm.

 

The 27 is a pancake lens so doesn't have as much glass to focus light from acute angles therefore although it has excellent centre sharpness, sharpness towards the edges degrades quickly and this will show on wider shots of landscapes for example. The 2.8 aperture is slow for a normal focal length prime and the couple of mill extra in width isn't worth it in my opinion.

 

If you like subject isolation go for the 1.4. If you would prefer sharpness across the frame when shooting landscapes / townscapes or whenever this is needed go with the 2.0 - especially if you plan on getting a weather resistant body.

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I really find the 23mm lens the closest to my liking but it is a bit too expensive for me at this point. I consider the 27mm as an alternative to it since it is closer by focal length and much cheaper. I kinda feel like I might have a harder time with 35mm but it is so popular as everyday lens and the f/2 version is within my budget.

Firstly, you should consider how often you shoot in low light situations with no flash.

If you shoot a lot indoors - I would recommend XF 35/1.4 (for faster shutter, not shallower DoF) instead of XF 35/2.

Otherwise I would choose XF 27/2.8. It's really cheap (180-190 EUR or so) second-hand and you can't go wrong with this lens. It is usually better to crop for narrower FoV than to stitch two photos.

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I do wonder about the XF23mm F2. I currently have an X-T1 with 3 lenses (16, 35f2 and 56) and the X100t for a small, pocketable camera that covers off the 35mm field of view. I'm expecting an X-Pro 2 any day now to replace my X-T1 - but I wonder whether it will also replace the X100t as well, when a smaller 23mm lens comes out. That way I may be able to do all my photography with just one camera and no more than 4 lenses. Depends on how easy the XPro/23mm combo is to just carry around, I suppose.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Edited by Warwick
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Hmpf. Let's take a look at that as I can't agree with much of what is in this post.

 

[... lots of stuff ...]

 

XF27 f/2.8

 

It is very sharp across the frame. It used to be my second sharpest lens after the Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8. Mine is about as good across the frame as the XF23 f/1.4, only beaten clearly by the XF90 and the Zeiss. Other lenses might be better at a certain aperture or certain characteristic but as an average of apertures from f/2.8 to f/8 the 27 is one of the best lenses I have tested from the Fuji line up. It does drop of significantly from f/11 on though.

 

It has a light barrel distortion which is well corrected in software, either in camera or Lightroom and also some coma but both aren't really problematic. 

 

There seems to be some significant spread between various XF27 lenses, I tested two of them and both were very close together, but there are other results on the net to be found which show weak edge performance which I can't reproduce with the lens I have here. So be aware and test the one you receive.

 

XF35 f/1.4 and f/2

 

Between these two lenses there are reviews that show one or the other being stronger optically, I own both and can say that without a doubt the old f/1.4 beats the new f/2 lens easily in optical performance from f/4 on. Contrast, micro-contrast, center resolution, resolution across the frame, distortion are better on my f/1.4 than they are on my f/2. I have seen tests stating otherwise even though when looking closely at their examples, it shows that they actually get same results as myself. 

 

The f/2 is clearly a newer lens from Fuji, more solid barrel design, faster AF motor, nearly completely silent operation, tight aperture ring and the WR badge show this fairly clearly. Optically, the XF35 f/2 beats the old f/1.4 only at it's own wide open aperture and only in the wide corner area (not really close to the corner where the f/2 falls off pretty badly), which is kind of surprising – at f/2 the new lens shows more contrast in all parts of the except the center. 

 

The new XF35 f/2 is unfortunately absolutely terrible in terms of optical distortion correction. The barrel distortion is extreme. 

 

For landscapes between my two copies of the XF35 lenses the f/1.4 is better as it recovers much better over the whole frame from f/2.8 on where the two are comparable but from f/4 on the old lens shows clearly more details and more micro-contrast across the frame.

 

Regarding AF performance, the new lens IS slightly better, but only slightly. The old lens makes a lot more "fuss" about focussing with a noisy motor and some squeaks here and there though making it "sound" slower. 

 

You also have to be REALLY careful when looking at reviews of the lenses as all Fuji lenses seem to have variations between individual samples. So, you might get a really good XF35 f/2 or a really bad XF27 and your results can vary.

 

Also, one more word of caution with regard to reviews: some reviews use dcraw to develop the raw which used to be absolutely terrible in de-mosaicing x-trans files which means the resulting resolution graphs were really bad for the simple reason that the software was crap and not the lens.

 

Conclusion from above

 

If you are looking for best optical performance, the surprise here is that if you get a good copy of the XF27 it is optically better on average over the respective full range of apertures of each lens than either of the XF35 lenses. 

 

Now, that needs to be qualified though because if you take all three lenses and compare them from f/2.8 to f/8 only, the optically best I have here (and have tested personally) is the XF35 f/1.4. 

 

No matter though, if it is really the only lens used for a while then I would HIGHLY recommend the XF35 f/1.4 for the following reasons:

  • ​It recovers optically better from f/2.8 on than the newer f/2 lens.
  • It delivers one stop more light which results in more creative options shooting wide open as well as more exposure options shooting in dark areas AND it lets in twice (compared to f/2) or even four times (compared to f/2.8) as much light onto an auto focus system so can be more precise.
  • It is optically better corrected than the two other lenses.
  • The XF27 does not have an aperture ring which I personally find a downside but others might disagree here.
  • While f/2.8 is not really slow, it is two stops slower than f/1.4 with all the creative disadvantages and exposure downsides.

The field of few is actually quite a bit different between the 27 and the 35s. 

 

If the only viable financial option is between XF35 f/2 and the XF27 I'd go with the one that is closer to the preferred focal length. 

 

Waiting for 23 f/2?

 

Why on earth would someone wait for a lens that isn't even on the Fujifilm lens roadmap yet? The rumors stem from an interview where a Fuji executive said that "people have asked for more compact slightly slower lenses" and that they'll likely develop some of them. Really, you're going to wait because of a rumor? 

 

XF27 vs. any of the XF35s

 

I have not used the XF27 much in the last year since I bought the XF23. I basically pack it in my bag when I take the X-T1 on a longer trip to have an option to remove the ArcaSwiss plate from the camera, mount the XF27 and have a very compact system. But mostly I just take a bag with me and pack the 14, maybe the 23, definitely a 35 and maybe if I'm after portraits the 56 or 90. 

 

The XF27 is an okay "only lens" for me, but the XF23 and either of the XF35s are better "only lenses". I'm more a 35 than a 23 fan, but that's personal. 

Edited by cug
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I guess it's fine to wait for a lens if you have other lenses to use. But if you want to start the "Fuji adventure" waiting for the perfect thing will likely make you wait forever because there will always be something "better" on the horizon.

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