I have fairly extensive experience in the Fujifilm X-Series now, having owned an X-T1 before taking a brief break to flirt with the Sony A7 series and eventually returning to Fujifilm. The X-Pro2 has been my primary camera and workhorse for now for coming up on two years, and today I wanted to get away from my talk about processing and speak to the gear again. So, as I was thinking about things that I could talk about, I figured that talking about my favorite lenses for the Fujifilm X-Series could be a good one – especially for those of you who are newer to the system.
So here we are, my three favorite lenses for the Fujifilm system right now – as of October 2017.
Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II
This lens has been getting a ton of attention across the web thanks to big name Fujifilm photographers getting their hands on it and raving about its image quality, build quality and ‘the look’ it produces paired with Fujifilm’s latest bodies. I was one of those that saw some of those first posts by other Fuji-X photographers about this lens and I had to pick it up for myself to give the Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II a spin.
To say that I loved this lens would be the biggest understatement of all time. Simply put, for the 2 (almost 3) months that I had the lens I can count the number of times that it came off my X-Pro2 on one hand. Now, I almost always prefer to shoot at 35mm on the Fujifilm system if space allows, so for me leaving this lens on my camera over my Fuji 35mm F2 wasn’t a crazy surprise.
Anyway, besides a horrible design choice by the engineers to give this lens a stepless aperture and the annoyance of having to manually apply a lens correction profile in Lightroom (easily done in batch, but annoying none the less) this lens would be my number one pick for Fujifilm photographers looking for a 35mm portrait lens. The only exception being those people who absolutely cannot live without AF, but with most portraiture, you should be able to focus quickly and accurately on this lens thanks to Fujifilm’s excellent manual focus aids.
Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 R WR
Yes, I know – two 35mm lenses in the same top three. But the XF 35mm F2 R WR really is a jewel of the Fujifilm system. It’s small, it’s compact, it’s weather sealed, it’s inexpensive – there is really very little bad that you can say about this lens in my experience. The only real complaint that I hear about it being about the F2 aperture from those who really want the XF 35mm F1.4 to up updated.
Anyway, this is my top Fujifilm XF lens that I actually own myself. Aside from those 2-3 months, I noted above where I was shooting almost exclusively with the Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II, this is the lens that is usually glued to my X-Pro2. I use it for just about everything that I shoot, from product photos to boudoir, to my family and everything in-between.
If you are looking for a Fujifilm XF lens that you can put on your camera and leave – this has got to be near the top of your list for consideration unless you happen to shoot in really small, cramped spaces often.
Fujifilm XF 23mm F2 R WR
Still Fujifilm’s latest addition to their F/2 lineup of compact and weather sealed lens series, the 23mm F2 R WR is my go-to lens when I am shooting in a smaller space than my 35mm F2 R WR will allow for. Honestly, my choice there would be the 27mm, but given the darker feel that I am usually shooting for the F2.8 aperture on the 27mm is too limiting. Anyway, I am off topic – back to the 23mm.
It is a toss-up, in my opinion, between the 23mm F2 and the 23mm F1.4. The F2 is smaller, quieter, focuses faster and is weather sealed. The F1.4 is faster (in terms of light gathering), has better bokeh, and a better manual focus experience. Image quality between the two is fairly similar as well – with a slight nod in the F2’s direction in my opinion. But regardless, I still stand by what I said in my 23mm F2 R WR review if you already own the F1.4 just stick with that, and if you are going to buy new and can live with F2 then get the F2 version.
I really enjoy the 23mm F2 R WR, however, since I am so often shooting at 35mm the wider view of the 23mm is often really jarring to me at first while I am shooting. But once I get over that, the experience is just wonderful, the lens is snappy to grab focus, and when paired with my X-Pro2 doesn’t get in the way of my optical viewfinder like the F1.4 does. If you like 23mm (35mm FF equivalent) then I can’t recommend the 23mm F2 R WR to you enough.
So, there you have it, folks! My top 3 prime lenses for the Fujifilm X-Series is a wrap and I hope that this post was helpful to those of you who have been wondering about what lenses they need to be considering for their Fujifilm kit. I will be heading out to NY for Photo Plus Expo (PPE) here on Friday, will be on the east coast for 10 days and have a ton of shoots planned so be ready for some great images and content coming in the next several weeks.
If you have any questions about my three lens choices above, or anything else related to my Fujifilm X-Series experience please feel free to leave a comment below or drop me an email and I will be happy to answer your questions as best that I can.