Greetings FujiLovers! I am Ritesh Ghosh, a street and documentary photographer from Kolkata, India. I have been using the Fujifilm mirrorless system for the past five years now and must admit that I am totally enthralled by it. I have owned three camera bodies and five XF lenses till date.My current camera set up includes my all time favourite the Fujifilm X-T1 and it’s advanced and powerful successor, the X-T3. My lens line up consists of the 18-55mm, 10-24mm, 23mm F2, 16mm F1.4 and the 50-140mm. Apart from the compact form factor which makes using the Fuji cameras extremely enjoyable, I believe the brand is committed towards making some of the finest lenses available in the market today. The XF series offers a wide range of focal lengths which cater to the various genres of photography. Be it wedding or street, fashion or travel, portrait or documentary, you have it all covered under the XF line up. Personally I love using the 16mm and the 23mm for my day to day Street. The 50-140mm and 10-24mm are my favourites when it comes to portrait and travel respectively.
While Fuji has ensured to price their lenses very competitively, some photographers have always wanted a cheaper and pocket friendly variant of the XF lenses. The company is known to listen to it’s customer requirements and deliver. Thus Fuji released the XC variant. These lenses were comparatively cheaper and delivered high quality images. Apart from its plasticky build quality, these lenses were on par with the XF line up when it came to the output.
Lately I had participated in an online photography contest organised by Fujifilm India. Tell your X Story was a thematic contest where the winner would be given a brand new XC 35mm F2 lens. I was excited at the possibility of having my hands on this lens and submitted some of my travel images from my recent trip to Thailand. To my surprise I did emerge as the winner and finally got to add the XC35mm lens to my existing line up. Going forward I shall be sharing my experience of using this lens on the streets of Kolkata.
My very first opinion about this lens when I held it for the first time was that it was extremely light and small. The body of the lens was an all plastic construction with a smooth focussing ring. The lens however did not have an aperture control ring unlike all my XF lenses. It came with a 43mm filter thread and a plastic back rear cap. Prior to owning this compact prime I had seen several review videos on YouTube from where I gathered that this little beauty was extremely popular among many International photographers. Most of them claimed that this lens produced some amazing images which could not be distinguished from its XF version. Having the lens at my disposal, I decided to take it out for a spin mounted on my X-T3.
As mentioned, this lens weighing about 130gms made my set up look small and not intimidating. I could easily carry my X-T3 using with a single hand. Stepping out onto the streets of Kolkata, I was a bit apprehensive about it’s focal length. Prior to this I had mostly used the 16mm and the 23mm for my street work. Both these lenses had a decent field of view, making it possible to shoot comfortably in the narrow alleyways. The XC35mm had a 52mm equivalent focal length which would make shooting in tight spaces a bit challenging. I decided to accept the challenge and started looking for subjects. After some initial hiccups I finally started getting hold of the 35mm and enjoyed composing.
This prime lens has nine elements in six groups which enabled me to produce sharp and crisp images. The AF operation was quick and near silent which made focusing a piece of cake. Fuji has incorporated a stepping motor which makes the lens focus quickly and with 90% accuracy. I found the lens to be sharp even wide open at f/2 and produced a creamy bokeh effect.
The only drawback of this lens is that it is not weather sealed and does not have an aperture ring. I believe that with adequate practice one can easily learn to adjust the aperture from the camera body by assigning this function to one of the command dials.
To sum up my review I would like to affirm that this little lens is a must have in your bag if you love shooting street portrait and have a flair for story telling. I would conclude by thanking Fujifilm India for giving me this opportunity to own the XC35mm lens and create some wonderful images with it.