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The Fujifilm 35mm F/2: My Favorite Lens For Boudoir… and Just About Everything Else!

· 26.August.2016

Hey everyone, Anthony here. I’ve been contributing to FujiLove for almost 5 months now, and I have not really talked much about my own work as the majority of my pieces have been on gear and other technical topics. Tomash suggested that I go with something a bit more personal this time, help you all get to know me a little better, and I thought that was a great idea.

A quick bit of background on myself. I am a boudoir photographer based out in the northwest corner of the United States, in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. I have been heavily into photography for probably close to 6 years now, but only started doing boudoir professionally within the last two years sporadically, with a big push/emphasis on it this year. I have shot with Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras over the years but my current rig is the Fujifilm X-Pro 2, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

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In my last piece I spoke about why  I love to shoot with older vintage Pentax manual focus prime lenses and now I utilized them in my boudoir photography. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about my current favorite Fujinon lens, the 35mm F/2 R WR, and why I have made it my primary boudoir lens.

First off, I have always been drawn to the 50mm and 35mm focal lengths the most with my portraiture, and since the 35mm F/2 R WR provides that classic ~50mm field of view it is really no surprise to me that this lens quickly became my favorite native fuji lens. But focal length aside, a number of other things stand out to me with this lens including the build quality, design, and AF capabilities.

Fujifilm 35mm F/2 Boudoir Sample

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 – 35mm F/2 @ F/2, 1/200th, ISO 800

I am often asked why I chose to go with the F/2 lens over the F/1.4 lens, as you most commonly expect a portrait shooter to prefer that shallower depth of field, so my choice is maybe a bit against the grain. Put plainly, I don’t need the extra stop of light and the shallower depth of field is not something that I need in my images. In my experience, and this is totally subjective so you likely have a different perspective, I rarely want that razor sharp depth of field in my portraits, in fact, I am often stopping down to F/2.8 unless I am specifically looking to isolate one detail.

The 35mm F/2 is fast, accurate and more importantly – much, much quieter than the 35mm F/1.4 and this was a key piece to my decision. It is already scary for my clients to be getting naked or mostly naked in front of me, some strange man they likely have not met before. The last thing I need is my lens to be a distraction during the shoot because of the noise it makes while focusing.

While paired with my X-Pro 2 the 35mm F/2 R WR makes for an incredibly compact package, which is much less intimidating for my clients – who are ‘real women’ not models – than a huge full frame DSLR would be. In fact, I have found that the camera and lens combo is actually a great conversation piece, as they (my clients) often ask if I am shooting on film or how old the camera is when they first see me pull it out of my bag. It turns out to be an easy way to discuss my photography and my style of shooting and to get them more comfortable me and the whole situation.

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 - 35mm F/2 @ F/2, 1/125th, ISO 200

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 – 35mm F/2 @ F/2, 1/125th, ISO 200

I am also a big fan of the working distance that the 35mm F/2 R WR gives me. I like to be close, but not too close, to my clients when shooting them. I want to be able to talk in a normal voice and have them be able to hear me over the background music that I am playing during the shoot – with longer focal length lenses I have found that unless I raise my voice over a normal talking level and or keep the music so low you can hardly hear it, that my clients can have a hard time hearing me because I am too far away.

The 35mm F/2 allows me to be close without being in their personal space and at the same time it provides a wide enough field of view that when I do step back I can still grab ¾ and full body shots without having to back up across the room. The only time I need anything else is when I want to go for an environmental or wide establishing shots, and really I can do them with the 35mm F/2, but something like the 23mm F/1.4 or the newly announced 23mm F/2 are likely better for that given the effective 35mm field of view.

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Fujifilm X-Pro 2 – 35mm F/2 @ F/2.8, 1/125th, ISO 1600

Beyond the boudoir though I would have to say that the 35mm F/2 is my walk around then most of the time. I use it to shoot my family photos, sports (on occasion), headshots, portraits, nature, etc. It would be very safe to say that it is my favorite native lens currently, for boudoir or anything else.

As for possible contenders to dethrone the 35mm F/2 as my favorite native lens? That is up in the air and hard to say, but I have been liking to experiment with wider shots lately, wider than my 28mm Pentax but longer than my 18mm F/2, so I think that the newly announced 23mm F/2 could be in the running for sure. We will have to wait and see on that one though, I wasn’t one of those lucky enough to play with it already.

Fujifilm 35mm F/2 R WR Boudoir Sample

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 – 35mm F/2 @ F/2.8, 1/125th, ISO 500

So there you have it, my favorite boudoir photography lens is my Fujifilm 35mm F/2 R WR. Its ease, versatility and speed make it the tool that I choose on a regular basis, and bottom line – it allows me to capture what I want without getting in my way at all.

If you are interested in more samples of my work taken with the Fujifilm 35mm F/2 R WR you can take a look below or jump on over to my website, which is full of other great examples.

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Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a photographer based out of the beautiful pacific northwest. He specializes mostly in boudoir photography, but also enjoys a variety of other photography niches in his free time. Find Him On His Website.

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