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Hands on: Fujinon XC35mm F2 review

The Fujinon XC35mm F2 looks like a lens nobody needs… until you start doing the maths

Fujinon XC35mm F2 review
(Image: © Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Our Verdict

This is the third 35mm lens Fujifilm has made for its X-mount cameras, which might sound confusing, but each has its place. At first, this one might seem unnecessary because the regular XF35mm F2 is hardly expensive – but at the entry-level end of the market, its new low price could make a considerable difference to photographers just starting out and with a restricted budget. We hope we see a few more low-cost XC lenses like this one!

For

  • Light weight and low cost
  • Same optics as XF50mm f/2
  • f/2 maximum aperture

Against

  • Plastic construction
  • No weather seals
  • No aperture ring

With the Fujinon XC35mm F2, Fujifilm has introduced the first low-price prime lens for its entry-level XA-series cameras and the new X-T200. The Fujinon XC35mm F2 offers the equivalent of a 50mm focal length in full frame camera terms, and a fast f/2 maximum aperture. 

Fujifilm already makes an XF35mm f/2 version of this lens, but the XC model will be half the price and is designed to tempt newcomers into trying new lenses. 

A low cost lens like this one might not be one of the best Fujifilm lenses for experts, but it's a great second lens for anyone who has bought an entry-level Fujifilm model like the X-A5, X-A7 or the new Fujifilm X-T200.

Specifications

Mount: Fujifilm X
Lens construction: 9 elements in 6 groups
Angle of view: 44.2 degrees
Diaphragm blades: 9
Minimum aperture: f/16
Minimum focusing distance: 0.35m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.14x
Filter size: 43mm
Dimensions: 58.4x46.5mm
Weight: 130g

Fujinon XC35mm F2 review

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Key features

The Fujinon XC35mm F2 doesn’t just share the same specifications as the XF50mm F2, it shares the same optical construction. This means it should equal the more expensive lens for image quality but will weight and cost a good deal less.

These savings have been made by cutting back on the construction costs. The body of the XC35mm F2 is plastic, as is the mounting plate where it attaches to the camera. Fujifilm says this is not simply to reduce cost, but to reduce the weight too.

Unlike the XV version, this lens does not have an aperture control ring, and it’s not weather sealed either. This is unlikely to matter too much to novices, who will be able to expand their lens system with a good quality optic at a relatively low cost.

This lens would make an ideal companion to the XC15-45mm kit lens sold with Fujifilm’s cheaper X-mount cameras. It gives better low-light shooting and stronger background defocusing wide open than you can get with the regular kit zoom. It does not have in-built image stabilization, however.

Fujinon XC35mm F2 review

The lens body and rear mounting plate are plastic, but you shouldn't let that put you off, especially at this price. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Build and handling

The plastic construction does stand out straight away, especially if you’ve ever used Fujifilm’s more expensive XF lenses. But it also feels extremely light, and you could put it in a coat pocket or even a trouser pocket and hardly know it’s there.

The lack of an aperture ring means the exterior of this lens is as plain as can be, but that does mean it also looks quite smart. The only control is the focus ring, though it’s likely most novice users will stick to autofocus, at least to start with.

Fujinon XC35mm F2 review

On an APS-C camera, a 35mm lens is a little long for street photography, but the Fujinon XC35mm F2 is certainly light and portable. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Fujinon XC35mm F2 review

The f/2 maximum aperture gives you much more opportunity for creating defocused backgrounds than a regular kit lens. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Performance

We were only about to try a pre-production sample of this lens, so the final performance may change. Even so, we found it focused very well and the images we captured look sharp and distortion free, and as good as the specifications and shared optical design with the XF35mm F2 would lead us to expect.

We’ll wait until we can run a production sample through our lab tests before we reach a definite conclusion, but the signs are that this modest-looking and affordable lens will actually perform very well.

Early verdict

This is the third 35mm lens Fujifilm has made for its X-mount cameras, which might sound confusing, but each has its place. At first, this one might seem unnecessary because the regular XF35mm F2 is hardly expensive – but at the entry-level end of the market, its new low price could make a considerable difference to photographers just starting out and with a restricted budget. We hope we see a few more low-cost XC lenses like this one!

Preorder the Fujinon XC35mm F2 at B&H Photo

Preorder the Fujinon XC35mm F2 at Wex Photo

Read more:

• These are the best Fujifilm lenses right now
• We pick the best Fujifilm cameras to buy
• Just starting out? These are the best cameras for beginners