I’m midway through my personal challenge of producing 35 photos in 35 days, all shot with a 35mm lens. The purpose of the challenge is to push me out of my comfort zone. With the smaller APS-C size sensor on the Fujifilm cameras, the 35mm lens is a standard lens giving a field of view close to what a 50mm lens would give on a film camera on a “full-frame” digital camera.
I’ve always found the standard 50mm lens to be a bit boring. When I started in photography, most everyone purchased a 50mm lens with their first camera back in the film days. There was nothing wrong with the 50mm lenses, they were cheap, small, and sharp. And back in the manual focus days they were usually well built. But it was exciting to buy something new, something longer, something wider (and something more expensive.) I know lots of people love the 50mm lens, I was just never one of them.
And then came the age of autofocus and digital photography. I was a long-time Canon shooter, and as much as I loved the Canon cameras and most of their lenses, Canon gave me little reason to like their 50mm lenses. The 50mm f/1.4 lens was sharp, had full-time manual focus override like their 28/1.8, 85/1.8 and other lenses close to that price range. But instead of using their fast and smooth ring-type USM focusing motor, they used a cheap micro-motor that was not durable and easily broken. They have a beautiful 50mm f/1.2 lens, well built, weather sealed, and great optics. But it is over-sized and at $1500, overpriced. That leaves their 50mm 1.8. Great optics. Cheap focusing motor, and plastic build. A good buy at only $125, but it felt like cheap plastic.
Fuji’s 35/2, which gives me the standard field of view that you get with a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, is an excellent lens for the money. Well built, great focusing, weather sealed, and a good price. As much as I like the lens, I don’t think it will become my favorite. My Fuji 23/2 lens gives me a slightly wide angle of view, about what a 35mm lens would produce on a full-frame camera, and feels much more comfortable for my shooting style.
I still have 17 days left in this challenge and I’ll see it through. But I’m guessing my light-weight travel kit will include my 23/2 lens and a short telephoto, perhaps the 90/2.