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Jun 042012
 

As a follow-up to the Zeiss 18mm F4.0 vs. Fujinon 18mm F2.0 lens review, I figured I’d do the same test for the Zeiss 35mm F2.0 vs. the Fujinon 35mm F1.4 lens. I’m sure there are many of you out there are curious to see how these lenses will stack up against each other on the Fuji X-Pro1 and an APS-C 1.5x crop body. The Buzz around the internet as well as here on Photohead Online, has been the Fujinon 35mm F1.4 is a very good lens with amazing performance. In a previous article on portraits, I used the Fuji X-Pro1 with the Fujinon 35mm F1.4 and was very impressed by the sharpness of the lens and how well it performed with a wide open aperture. The Zeiss has a reputation for being a great environmental portrait lens and a low light street photography lens for the 35mm format, it is also praised for its performance with a wide open aperture.  So let’s see how each of these lenses did.

Setup

For this set up, I used ISO 100 in open shade, I shot the Fujinon 35mm at: F1.4, F2.0, F2.8, F4.0, F5.6, F8.0, F11, F16, and then the Zeiss 35mm at: F2.0, F2.8, F4, F5.6, F8.0, F11, F16, F22. For each shot I took a 100% crop from the top edge, the center, and the bottom edge, then I used Adobe Photoshop to place these three crops on a row next to each other. I did this for every F-Stop and placed them in one column. I did it this way so you can judge the edge to edge sharpness of each F-Stop and as you go down the column you can see how the sharpness changes as you increase the F-Stop. I know, It’s hard to follow, even for me!

Results

Full Test Image: Zeiss 35mm F2.0 vs. Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Full Test Image: Zeiss 35mm F2.0 vs. Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Test Result: Zeiss 35mm F2.0

Test Result: Zeiss 35mm F2.0

Test Result: Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Test Result: Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Conclusion

With the reputation for having great edge to edge sharpness at a wide open apertures, both lenses performed up to the hype. The Fujinon has a modern lens formula, and is specifically made for the Fuji X-Pro1. Yet the Zeiss 35mm in all its legacy glory can still  play ball in the big leagues. It maintains its performance on the APS-C sensor and does it quite well. The Fujinon however, is made so well that it is the winner of this test. It gets a High Value to Cost Ratio for its performance at a wide open aperture, as well as price, weight, compactness, and versatility. The Fujinon 35mm edges out the Zeiss 35mm lens in each of those categories, but by just a little.

Lets break it down. In Aperture range, the Fujinon Wins with a max Aperture of F1.4 compared to F2.0. The Price of the Fujinon is $600.00 USD compared to $1100.00 USD new for the Zeiss. The Fujinon 35mm is extremely light and compact compared to the Zeiss, which is completely made of metal and extends over 2 inches when mounted with an adapter to the camera body.  I give the versatility edge to the Fujinon because it has autofocus and although, the autofocus is nothing to jump up and down about, it is the best out of the Fujinon lenses currently. You can also use the macro mode to focus closer than the Zeiss 35mm F2.0. Considering all this, I recommend the Fujinon 35mm F1.4 lens over the Zeiss 35mm F2.0 lens. If maximum pixel resolution is your thing, the lenses are close, but the Zeiss has an overall pixel-level resolution over the Fujinon. It is really only noticeable in the sweet spot around F8.0. In all practicality, carrying the Fujinon around would be much more convenient in my opinion. The purpose of having this system to me is to have a light weight, portable camera system, that will give as close to DSLR quality as possible. So carrying around a bunch of heavy lenses is somewhat contradictory, but such is the case with many things that photographers do for the sake of performance. 🙂 If the Zeiss 35mm F2.0, was the only lens you were to carry, and you are embracing the “one lens” philosophy, the Zeiss is a great way to go because it gives you a 52.5mm angle of view (35mm full frame equivalent). Then you can easily use cool techniques such as zone focusing, or hyper-focal focusing. You will now not have an excuse for missing a shot because the autofocus wasn’t fast enough. Go out and capture that “Decisive Moment”. Happy Image Making!!

Page 1: Zeiss 18mm F4.0 vs. Fujinon 18mm F2.0

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  6 Responses to “Zeiss 35mm F2.0 vs. Fujinon 35mm F1.4”

  1.  

    Thanks for the effort you put into the reviews for both the 18mm and 35mm lenses. I’m looking at the corners to see if there is any smearing for each of the zeiss lenses? I don’t notice it in the large photo, but since you don’t have 100% crops of the corners, I can’t tell. Thoughts?

    •  

      Rob, Thanks so much for your comment. Thanks for your kind words. The Zeiss 18mm F4 has some minor smearing at F4 and its pretty close to the edge of the frame. The smearing is almost gone at F8.0 and completely gone at F11. I’ve included some crops for you to see. Please let me know is there is anything else I can show you. The Zeiss 35mm has no smearing at all. I can email you some crops if you want to see for yourself. Hope this helps. Thanks for your participation on this site. Happy Image Making!!
      First image at F4.0 and second image at F11
      Zeiss 18mm Corner Crop at F4.0
      Zeiss 18mm Corner Crop at F11

  2.  

    I’m considering getting the X-E1 in a couple months and I currently own a Zeiss Biogon 2/35 which I use with my NEX-5n. I absolutely love the Zeiss and it’s probably the best lens I’ve used and own, regardless of system.

    Anyway, I’m really having trouble deciding if I should keep the Zeiss as my main lens on the X-E1 (I’ll also buy a Fuji XF 18mm) or if I should also get the Fuji 34mm f/1.4 and go with both, though I really don’t want to spend twice for lenses in the same focal length. My main concern is the lack of focus peaking or other form of manual focus aid on the Fuji, though usually manual focusing is not a problem for me as I constantly use it on my 5D Mark II (I have an EF-S focusing screen).

    Could you share your opinion on this? What do you think I should do? I really appreciate it.

    •  

      Italo, First thanks so much for your comment! As you know the Zeiss is a very nice lens and usually when I make recommendations about equipment I ask what will you be shooting mostly with your setup. This matters because lenses and cameras are the tools photographers use to make great images and you should be using the right tool for the job. That being said, this is my opinion based on the info you gave me. Since you experience shooting manual focus and you are comfortable with it, I would stick with the Zeiss and the Fuji 18mm f2.0 with the Fuji x-e1. This is my thought process. The Fuji x-e1 has a better evf than the x-pro1 and currently I have no problems manual focusing with the evf of the x-pro1 so the x-e1 can only improve your user experience. The lack of focus peaking is a non issue to me and although focus peaking is nice, it is like decorative icing on a chocolate cake! Plus with the manual focus on the Zeiss you can zone focus and use hyperfocal focusing to be even quicker. Now if you are shooting sports, kids, any fast moving objects or people this is not the lens and probably not the camera for you either. Great for general image making, landscape, street photography, life lifestyle, etc. I love my x-pro1 and maybe because of my RF roots, I use it more than my Sony Nex 7. I just like the way it looks too!

      As for doubling up on the 35mm, I would save my money for another lens. The new 14mm lens is looking really appealing! Hope this helps! Please ask any other questions that you may have!

  3.  

    If you were a landscape shooter and lived at F8 and infinity would you still recommend the Fuji 35/1.4 at F8 over the Zeiss 35/2

    •  

      Short answer NO.

      Depending on the versatility that you want and need for the type of images that you want to make, that will skew the scales in favor of one lens over the other. They are pretty close. Price wise the Zeiss is a around 300$ more. Versatility Fuji has autofocus. If you are a landscape shooter “living at F8”, then I would get the Zeiss. As a landscape shooter your shooting pace is much slower, you don’t need autofocus, system bulk is a minor consideration, but the Zeiss is slightly sharper across the board. Lens contrast is slightly higher (just a tad) on the Zeiss and thats good for landscapes. So my personal pick would be the Zeiss for those reasons. It also feels great to use. It’s hard to describe, I feel very connected with the weight and the metal and the smoothness of the focusing ring. I’m old school maybe but for some it matters.

      Hope this helps, thanks for your comment.

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