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Lens Comparison: Zeiss 32mm f1.8 vs Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 (X Mount)

by Chris Gampat on 05/23/2013

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm vs Zeiss comparison product shots (3 of 3)ISO 4001-500 sec at f - 2.8

We’ve been playing with the Zeiss 32mm f1.8 for a little while now on the Fujifilm X Pro 1 and it dawned on us from the comments that it could perhaps be a competitor to the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4. The lenses share many similarities but also have a couple of key differences.

So which one comes ahead of the curve?

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 and Zeiss 32mm f1.8 on the Fujifilm X Pro 1.

Ergonomics and Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm vs Zeiss comparison product shots (2 of 3)ISO 4001-170 sec at f - 4.0

Both lenses feature aperture rings and focusing rings to work with Fujifilm’s system. However, the Fujifilm’s rings are metal while Zeiss’s are rubber. Zeiss did this to prevent your fingers from touching a cold ring in freezing weather. Both lenses also have a metal exterior, though Fujifilm’s feels better in the hand.

Fujifilm’s lens is also just a bit smaller than Zeiss’s offering.

Ease of Use

Both lenses operate the exact same: they are primarily autofocus lenses and neither have a depth of field scale for manually focusing.

Autofocusing Speed

We put the lenses in a head to head test. Zeiss’s lens seemed to be a bit better when focusing using ambient lighting in my apartment and overall, it will still focus faster than the Fujifilm in most situations.

Image Quality

For this test, we put the each lens on the camera, focused on the same spot, and change the aperture throughout the range from f1.8 to f16. Fujifilm’s lens only goes this far while Zeiss only opens up to f1.8. Here are the results.

Zeiss 32mm f1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 32mm comparion for x pro (1 of 7)ISO 2001-950 sec at f - 1.8

f1.8

f2.8

f2.8

f4

f4

f5.6

f5.6

f8

f8

f11

f11

f16

f16

Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

f1.8

f1.8

f2.8

f2.8

f4

f4

f5.6

f5.6

f8

f8

f11

f11

f16

f16

In our eyes, the Zeiss lens took the lead. What do you think?

Conclusions

While both lenses are quite good, Fujifilm has a major advantage with a more affordable offering while also retaining a better build quality. However, Zeiss has faster focusing and better image quality. This is kind of a tough test to consider but we should all take comfort in knowing that both lenses are excellent.

But on a personal scale, I’ve always had a love for Zeiss products the same way that Steve Huff loves his Leicas. And in the end, I’ll have to give the win to the Zeiss despite owning Fujifilm’s lens.

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