Dressing up the new compact standard lens
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Not too long ago, Fujifilm added a 35mm f/2 WR (Weather Resistant) model to the line of excellent XF lenses. Already owning the ‘original’ 35mm f/1.4 since early 2012, I was decided to let this one pass. Until I put a trial copy on my X-T1…
The 35/2 is compact, light and more importantly has a very fast AF. Sharpness is very uniform across the frame. And of course it is weather resistant. All that makes it a lens that will almost always find its way into my bag when I venture outdoors.
I will keep my 35/1.4 as well though. It has the extra stop for low light shooting, a pleasing bokeh and sharpness fall-off towards the edges at wide apertures, a shorter minimum focus distance and a more generous manual focus ring. That makes it great for portraits and close-ups.
As shown above, the 35/2 comes standard with a front lens cap and a tiny plastic screw-on lens hood. My copy easily gets loose or – when tightened more – becomes very hard to unscrew. With its short 12mm depth it probably does not catch much stray light, but it does protect the front of the lens from banging against stuff. And, when used with the optical viewfinder (OVF) of the X-Pro1, it does not block the finder view at all, even at the closest focus distance.
Fujifilm also announced the LH-XF35-2, an optional metal bayonet hood with a retro-styled vented design. That one comes at a price though: €69 list, €59 retail (in Belgium). I have not yet seen this hood, and do not plan to order a copy (unless it gets a lot cheaper).
Note that both Fujifilm hoods allow for mounting the lens cap directly on the lens, inside the hood.
If you read my earlier All about that Hood article, you know that I use alternative lens hoods on virtually all of my other XF lenses. So what are our options for the 35/2?
As soon as I had decided to get the 35/2, I ordered a couple of alternative hoods from my trusted Hong Kong based eBay vendor gadgetworldexports. There’s a ‘normal’ and a ‘vented’ one, both made of light metal and sharing the same 43mm screw mount with the default hood.
The normal lens hood (above in the middle, US$3.99 incl. international shipment) is about 27.5mm long, and should offer maximum protection against stray light. It makes the 35/2 look a lot longer. It clearly obstructs the view through the X-Pro1’s OVF, but doesn’t make it unusable. The front of the hood should take a 46mm pinch-on cap, but I don’t have one on hand to verify.
The wide lens hood (above at right, US$3.99 incl. international shipment) shares the vented retro design with Fujifilm’s optional hood. Just under 20mm long, it offers a nice balance between bulk and protection. I prefer such a screw-on mount over a bayonet one, as the hood attaches more solidly to the lens; it does of course take longer to mount or remove. Because of the three open ‘vents’ the OVF image is not affected very much. You can mount a 52mm pinch-on cap on the hood for further protection.
Which lens hood to use where and when?
With that many choices, picking a lens hood for the 35/2 becomes a matter of personal preference. The small Fujifilm one comes standard in the box, and the pair of eBay alternatives costed me less than US$8, so there’s little reason not to have all three around…
The Fujifilm plastic one is the most compact and discrete. It looks very well on an X-E1 or X-E2 body, and probably with an X-T10 as well.
The standard metal one offers maximum protection from stray light, so use that one when you want to avoid flare. I use it when shooting portraits or close-ups.
The wide vented one fits the style of a retro body, so it becomes my preference on the X-Pro1. Unless you want a completely unobstructed OVF image: that’s where the tiny plastic one shines.
Here’s an update of the overview table from my earlier All about that Hood post on alternative lens hoods:Click on any image to see a larger version