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Fujifilm Lenses For Portraits: XF 23mm F2 WR vs XF 35mm F2 WR

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

In this article, I will be mainly focusing on the portraits aspect of Fuji XF 23mm F2 vs XF 35mm F2. I will provide side-by-side photo comparison to help you decide which one will be more suitable for you. The photos are all original X-T2 JPEG from my shoot with Kyleigh the other day.

Color, Contrast and Skin Tones

Below are two original Fujifilm X-T2 JPEG photos taken from the same location. The left is 23mm F2 WR and the right is 35mm F2 WR.

23mm F2 WR on the left vs.35mm F2 WR on the right

Unlike the previous comparison with 35mm F1.4 vs 35mm F2, this comparison of colors for F2 lenses is very similar. The contrast in the 23mm is slightly stronger. However, overall, these two lenses have similar color tones in the original JPEG.

Full Body Portraits

23mm F2 WR on the left vs.35mm F2 WR on the right

The background of the 35mm F2 looks smoother than the 23mm because there are more bokeh at the similar distance and framing for the 35mm F2. In order for the 23mm F2 WR to get the similar bokeh effect, I have to take couple more steps closer.

Based on your photography style, you can choose which type of background you like. I can see that some people might want less bokeh for the full body to get the context of the environment. In that situation, 23mm F2 would be good. For me, since I like more bokeh and smoothness, I like the 35mm F2 full body shot more in this category.

Backlight Portraits

I love backlight a lot in my portraits. My comparison will always include the differences of backlight quality between two Fujifilm lenses.

23mm F2 WR on the left vs.35mm F2 WR on the right

The quality of the sunset ray circle is better in the 35mm F2 WR than 23mm F2 WR at the similar distance. The sun ray circle is smoother and evenly distributed than the 23mm F2 on the left. The 23mm has some uneven ray that coming out of the sun ray circle.

Below is another set of example when I took couple more steps away from the model.

23mm F2 WR on the left vs.35mm F2 WR on the right

The result is similar. I like the backlight rendering of the 35mm F2 WR better. At the same distance, the 35mm F2 has smoother background and better sunlight circle at the light source. 23mm F2 has some uneven light that coming out of the sunlight circle.


Here are the prices that are currently listed in Amazon:

35mm F2 is 50 dollars cheaper than the 23mm F2. I feel like 35mm at the similar distance produces better bokeh. It's more affordable, and 35mm F2 renders the backlight better. I would buy the 35mm F2 WR if I am starting out in Fujifilm X camera system.


In summary, both are very solid. Here are some highlights for each lens:

  • 23mm F2 WR - Good for contextual street style portraits, better for coffee shop style portraits since it will include more environment, stronger contrast.

  • 35mm F2 WR - better bokeh and backlight rendering, provide a sense of smoothness in the overall photograph, better deal at $349 dollars than 23mm F2 at $399.

If you haven't read my previous blog post about the 35mm F2 vs 35mm F1.4, check it out for that comparison as well. Thank you so much for your support.

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