So back when the 23mm F2 R WR was released I did a quick comparison post between that and the 35mm F2 R WR, since then it has been one of the most popular posts on my site. So I figured now that the 50mm F2 is out and I have had a chance to shoot with it alongside the 35mm F2 in several scenarios, that now was as good of time as any to do another comparison post.
I have been working on the 50mm F2 R WR review and I have almost everything done for that, but I wanted to get this comparison post out first, as it is part of my review process. So without further blabbing, let’s jump into the comparison.
Comparing The XF 50mm F2 & XF 35mm F2
So referring back to my 23mm vs 35mm comparison, one of the things about those two lenses is that they are so close in size and appearance that at first glance it can be very hard to tell which one is which if you can’t see the focal length markings on the front element or the base of the lens. Thankfully, that is not an issue that is repeated here with the XF 50mm f2. The lens retains the same design styling and language overall, but thanks to its unique optical design, the lens is much longer than the XF 35mm F2. This makes mistaking the two lenses for one another a lot less likely to happen. When you grab the 50mm you will know that is the lens you have in your hand.
The entire F2 lineup to this point has featured wonderful auto focus performance and focusing speed. That is still true for the 50mm, but in terms of comparison, I would actually give the focusing speed win to the 35mm F2, by the slightest of margins. The 50mm F2 is still very fast to focus, but I found the lens to be a tad bit slower than the 35mm during my real world usage. (Now this obviously has some to do with my camera, the X-Pro2 as well, but since I used these both on the same body, all things were effectively equal) Now would a normal person, using either lens in an everyday situation notice a difference, probably not – that is how close they are. But for someone like me who is specifically looking for differences, there was a slight one, just edging into the 35mm’s favor (in my opinion).
One big difference between these lenses that is apparent right off the bat when you see them is the size of the focusing ring. The 35mm features a fairly thin focusing ring that is functional and works well, but is less than idea for those who do enjoy to manually focus. The 50mm F2 R WR on the other hand features a much larger focusing ring that is an absolute joy to use in manual focus mode with my X-Pro2.
The two lenses feel differently when they are being manually focused too, its not just about the size of the focusing ring. The 35mm has less resistance, it doesn’t feel loose on its own, but when compared to the resistance and force needed to move the 50mm’s focus ring the difference is apparent.
35mm F2 – Left, 50mm F2 Right
The only other real apples to apples comparison point for these two lenses is the aperture rings, which both work within what I would call the margin of error of each other. In other words, this is a non-issue. That said, I do want to say how its annoying to me that Fujifilm gave the 50mm a 46mm filter thread over the 43mm size that both the 23mm and 35mm utilize. One of the nice things about this series up to this point is that the filter sizes were all the same and the hoods were interchangeable (not sure why you would do this in most cases, but you could if you wanted to), as well, lens caps could be shared between lenses without issue. Now the 50mm is rocking a 46mm filter thread, meaning that you will need to have a set of items for the 23/35 and then one of its own for the 50mm. Is it the end of the world? No, but like I said, it was a little annoying once I realized this was the case.
So as I noted in the beginning of this post, I have had the opportunity to use the 35mm F2 and 50mm F2 throughout several shoots now. So below I have a sampling of similar shots from these two lenses. Now as per my usual disclaimer, this is not some lab test where each lens was used in exactly the same position, angle, etc. This is more of a real world comparison, where I used each lens, and after switching lenses I took some similar shots for the sake of comparison. If you want a true 1:1 comparison go check out a lab test site. Anyways, lets have a look.
XF 50mm F2 R WR & XF 35mm F2 R WR Sample Shots
So there you have it. A quick and dirty comparison of the Fujifilm XF 50mm F2 and XF 35mm F2. As you can see, in the examples I’ve shown, the two lenses compare well in terms of IQ. Which lens you decide to get should really be more focused on the sort of work you will be shooting as these lenses are so similar in performance, it should more come down to a question of use. That said, I hope this has been at least a little helpful to those who have been weighing their options and are looking at picking up one or both of these lenses.
Stay tuned for my full 50mm F2 R WR review, which I hope to be posting within the next week or so.