Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 vs. Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens Comparison

by Patrick on August 3, 2013 · 19 comments

in Equipment Review, Other Reviews

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-3

Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 vs. Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens Comparison:

The Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R lens is one of the most popular lenses for the Fuji X Series.  It was the lens that I was looking forward to most when I first purchased my X-Pro1, and I’m sure it’s a first lens for many people.  It’s fast, it’s well built, it’s compact, and it produces fantastic image quality.  Recently though, Zeiss has entered the game with their Zeiss Touit series of lenses.

So far, Zeiss has produced two lenses for the X Series: a 12mm F2.8 and a 32mm F1.8.  I really enjoyed my time with the 12mm F2.8.  However, that’s not to say that Fuji’s XF 14mm is bad in any way.  In fact, I’ve only heard great things about the Fuji.  But the Zeiss is a great option as well if you want something wider than a 21mm equivalent.

With the Zeiss 32mm, things are a little different because I believe the focal length is a lot closer to Fuji’s XF 35mm lens yet it costs $300 more.  If you think about it, that’s 50% more then the XF 35mm, which many think is one of the best lenses for the Fuji X Series.  Is the Zeiss worth the extra money?

Build Quality Between The Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 And The Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens:

In terms of build quality, both lenses are made very well.  The Zeiss weighs a little more (Zeiss 210g, and the Fuji 187g) even though they feel like they weigh about the same in my hands.  The Fuji is shorter but in general, they both feel like they’re about the same size when mounted on the camera.  One feature that I like is that both lenses use the same size filters, which is great if you plan on trading your Fuji in for the Zeiss or vice versa.  I especially liked this because when I was testing the Zeiss, I was able to use my B+W ND filter from my Fuji when shooting wide open in broad daylight.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-2

There are some differences that I noticed though.  To me, the Zeiss feels like it’s built a bit better than the Fuji but this in no way means that the Fuji is built poorly.  The XF 35mm is still a very solid lens, and it’s actually the lens that I currently own.  I’m just thinking about the little things.  For instance, I don’t get the slightly hollow feel from the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 that I get from the Fuji.  Also, the aperture ring feels a bit tighter and smoother on the Zeiss.  The autofocus motor is also quieter on the Zeiss 32mm.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-1

But the lens hood of the Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R lens is built a lot better, and it seems to be designed better.  I was actually a little surprised to see such a generic lens hood for the Zeiss, especially since it costs $300 more than the XF 35mm.  It’s not a bad hood at all; I just think the XF 35mm’s lens hood is built and designed better.  I also find that the Zeiss lens hood is way too big.  If it was telescopic, then maybe it would be ok but to leave it attached while it’s in my camera bag just takes up too much room.  Plus, I don’t want to be taking it on and off all the time.  This lens is supposed to be a standard lens, which usually means that it’s pretty compact but with the lens hood on, it’s almost double the length.  I ended up leaving the lens hood at home whenever I used the lens.

Image Quality Comparison Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 vs. Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens:

Here are a few examples taken on a tripod from both lenses.  Both lenses are optically excellent but is there one that wins out by a significant margin?  In all honesty, I find it hard to tell which one really is better.   I’ve been using both for quite a while, and sometimes one seems sharper than the other and vice versa.

If I was forced to give my opinion, I would say that the Zeiss performs ever so slightly better at its wide open aperture than the Fuji does, and the Fuji performs slightly better than the Touit lens at smaller apertures.  But again, this is what I see, and only my opinion.  I also believe that the differences are very minute.  Overall, both lenses are excellent performers.  The photos below were taken using a tripod but environmental factors are still a factor.  I don’t own a science lab :) .  I took several shots with each lens at each aperture setting, and only used the best ones.  Here are the in-camera jpegs:

Set One:

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-2

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F1.4.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F1.8.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-Wide-Open

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at their widest aperture.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-4

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-3

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F5.6

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at F5.6.

Set Two:

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F5.6-Brick-2

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F5.6-Brick-1

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F5.6-1

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F11-Brick-2

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F11.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F11-Brick-1

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F11.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F11-1

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at F11.

Set Three:

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F5.6-Brick-2-1

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F5.6-Brick-2-2

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Brick-2-F5.6

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F11-Brick-2-2

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F11.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Clock-F11-Brick-2-1

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F11.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Brick-2-F11

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at F11.

Set Four:

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-1.4-2

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F1.4.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-1.4-1

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F1.8.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-F1.4

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both wide open.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-F5.6-2

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-F5.6-1

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-F5.6

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at F5.6.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-F11-2

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens at F11.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-F11-1

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 at F11.

Fuji-XF-35mm-vs-Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Grey-Brick-F11

↑ Fuji XF 35mm on the LEFT and Zeiss Touit 32mm on the RIGHT both at F11.

Testing like this doesn’t tell the whole story though because there’s not one lens here that is significantly inferior to the other.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you use these lenses in the real world, both will give you great image quality.  In a way, it’s almost like comparing a Ferrari with a Lamborghini.  Both cars excel in many categories, and honestly, they both go so fast, I don’t think I would really noticed if one was 0.2 seconds faster than the other in the real world.  I’m personally a Lamborghini fan but let’s be honest; I’d probably be just as happy if I had a Ferrari :) .  I don’t doubt that there are slight differences between these lenses but all I’m saying is that both lenses will get the job done.  None of these lenses will leave you wanting for more.  Where we might see more of a difference is probably when they are shot at their widest aperture.

Bokeh Comparison Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 vs. Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens:

With a wide open aperture of F1.8, the Zeiss Touit 32mm is slightly slower than the Fuji XF 35mm.  The Zeiss is also slightly wider in focal length.  Therefore, the Fuji should produce a shallower depth of field but I was curious as to how much better or how much of a difference there really is between these two lenses.  Both these lenses produce photos with beautiful shallow depth of field but is there a huge difference between the two?  Here are my results, which were taken with a Fuji X-E1 mounted on a tripod.  Since everyone has different tastes, you should draw your own conclusions when viewing these images:

Note: I’m not comparing sharpness or anything else in these sets of images; only shallow depth of field.  Also, these sets of photos were processed from their Raw files.

Set One:

Fuji-XF-35mm-F1.4-Bokeh-4

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens.

Zeiss-Touit-32mm-F1.8-Bokeh-4

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8.

Set Two:

Fuji-XF-35mm-F1.4-Bokeh-5

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens.

Zeiss-Touit-32mm-F1.8-Bokeh-5

 ↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8.

Set Three:

Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens.

Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8.

Set Four:

Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens.

Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8.

Set Five:

Fuji-XF-35mm-F1.4-Bokeh-3

↑ Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens.

Zeiss-Touit-32mm-F1.8-Bokeh-3

↑ Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8.

Samples Bokeh Shots With The Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens:

I thought I’d add a few examples that are not test shots from the Fuji XF 35mm that I’ve posted before in reviews and other random posts.  They were all shot at F1.4:

fuji-xf-35mm-fiat

DSCF0245 copy

DSCF0548

Fuji X-Pro1 and XF 35mm F1.4 R lens

Samples Bokeh Shots With The Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8:

Here are some examples taken at F1.8 with the Zeiss Touit 32mm.  These photos were taken from other posts and reviews as well:

Zeiss-Touit-32mm-F1.8-Fuji-X-E1-Flower-1

Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Fuji-X-E1-6

Zeiss-Touit-32mm-Fuji-X-E1-5

Zeiss-Touit-32mm-F1.8-Fuji-X-E1-Portrait-2

Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8 Vs. Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens Verdict:

Both these lenses will give you excellent results in real world use.  I believe that most people don’t doubt the image quality of the Zeiss; it’s whether or not it’s worth that extra $300 over the Fuji.  That $300 can be a tough pill to swallow, especially when the XF 35mm F1.4 R lens is already such a good lens.  I find the Zeiss is better built but the Fuji is still built very nicely, produces slightly better bokeh, and again, it’s $300 cheaper.  It’s really hard to fault the Fuji, and in my opinion, it still remains a killer deal for the Fuji X-Series.

Some of you might ask, which one would I buy?  Well, I’ve owned the Fuji XF 35mm since its release, and I love it.  But if I had to do it over again, I honestly don’t know which one I would buy.  I really don’t have a favorite, and therefore, I’m neutral in this comparison.  But as of now, I’m happy with my XF 35mm, and I’m probably going to keep it.  I like the better build quality of the Zeiss, plus it’s autofocus motor is quieter.  But at the same time, The Fuji is a lot cheaper, it has a slightly larger aperture, and image quality is arguably about the same or even slightly better with the faster aperture.  It really comes down to what you think because everyone has different opinions but only you will be shooting with the lens of your choice.

In the real world, both lenses will produce stellar images, and differences between the two shouldn’t prevent anyone from creating great photos.  In other words, you have two great lenses here.  If any of you think that I’m giving Zeiss too much credit, think what you want but this is the first time that I’ve had a Zeiss product in my hands for such a long time, so there’s no favoritism going on here.  I don’t even own anything Zeiss, and I still own my XF 35mm.  But I think the Zeiss Touit 32mm F1.8, and the 12mm F2.8 are great additions to the X Series lineup, and I am definitely looking forward to more offerings from Zeiss.  I also think it’s great that Zeiss is building lenses for the Fuji system because it actually helps widen the appeal of the X Series system even more.  Who doesn’t welcome more choice, right?  Plus, I did enjoy my time with the Zeiss but that in no way makes the XF 35mm inferior.

The bottom line is this: Whatever lens you choose in the end, you’ll still get a fantastic piece of glass that will produce great results.  I posted this comparison simply because I had both lenses for a while, and I thought it would be fun to do.  I don’t have a favorite here.  Both of these lenses have their strengths and weaknesses, and therefore, I’m sure there are going to be people who will buy the Zeiss as well as many others who will buy the the Fuji.

That’s it for my comparison.  I hope you all enjoyed it, and thanks for taking the time out to read it!  Take care!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan M. Collopy August 4, 2013 at 3:54 am

Patrick,

Thank you for taking the time to test the Fuji vs. Zeiss, in 35mm vs. 32mm. True, they are “almost” the same, and have “almost” the same aperture. I to am happy to see other players investing in the Fuji X series lineup, however, I feel that with Zeiss, it’s a matter of who wants more status on a lens. With such a price difference, you are correct, you’d need a science lab to tell the difference. It’s like buying a cheap camera and putting a Leica lens on it.
I was really hoping to see a huge improvement with the Zeiss, but I think Fuji has a great product here, and it’s really going to be tough for any manufacturer to top it on the X series. I think the way the Zeiss is going to make it is if they produce other focal ranges, but I think Fuji is working on all ranges. Same with the 12mm vs. 14mm.
I like your review and appreciate your honesty. You and I both have the Fuji 35, it’s an awesome lens. There is no way I would purchase the Zeiss over the Fuji, not even if it was same price, but I’d be a little crazy to spend $300.00 more for lens with a smaller aperture, a “too large” lens hood, just to show off the Zeiss name, ha-ha. I’d rather invest more money in walking shoes and be out more using my Fuji. LOL.
Thanks Patrick, Alan

inthedarkroom August 4, 2013 at 10:46 am

A fair and balanced review. Findingrange is THE place for complete, impartial and useful comparisons.

Patrick August 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Hi inthedarkroom,

Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you liked it! Take care!

Patrick August 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Hi Alan,

It’s always great to hear from you! I hope things are going well for you. There is no doubt in my mind that the Zeiss is a great lens but the Fuji is also a pretty impressive lens. It’s a hard lens to beat, especially when it’s $300 cheaper. In some ways, it kind of reminds me of my grandfather’s old Nikon FM-2 (probably my favorite Nikon of all time) in that it’s just a great workhorse that gets the job done. You really have to respect that, do you know what I mean? On a side note, I wish I could find that old FM-2, and shoot a bit with it now ;) .

Zeiss does make great optics, and this 32mm is definitely one of them; but I think sometimes people forget that Fuji actually has a long history of making great optics as well. They’re old medium format film cameras were great, and I believe they collaborated with Hasselblad back in the film days on a couple of projects. Plus, they make great film :) .

Lol, “I’d rather invest more money in walking shoes and be out more using my Fuji”. You gave me a good laugh, Alan :) . $300 will buy you a pretty nice pair of walking shoes lol. I really did like using the Zeiss 32mm, and I really love the 12mm (18mm is just awesome) but as you said, Fuji really did a good job in designing the XF 35mm. More importantly, I just think the price is really decent for what you’re getting. I definitely am looking forward to some new Zeiss offerings though…I think the next one is a macro if I recall correctly.

Again, thanks for your comment, Alan! It’s always great to converse with you about camera stuff. Btw, the weather is great here in New York City, so I assume it’s probably pretty good where you are. Did you go out and take any pictures? I just came back from trying out my new lens, and the skies were so blue. There was a nice breeze, so it was great just walking around.

All the best,

Patrick

Meng Yeap August 6, 2013 at 1:27 am

nice comparison, a comparison that make me happy even i have to sacrifice the 18-55 for it,haha….bet it will be different if you made this comparison using NEX :)

Patrick August 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thanks, Meng! Well, at least now, you can continue to save up for the zoom :) .

Jorger August 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm

First of all, if Had to choose all over again I would STILL go with the Fuji. I support Fuji. Not too keen on the german stuff. However, I grant you the Zeiss looks sharper in comparison no doubt. For me, and my photo buyers though the Fuji 35 Kicks butt. And it’s smaller, and it’s cheaper. What else could you ask for? I’m in no way pretentious and have to say I shoot with a Zeiss, or a Leica lens, or whatever so I don’t care about name, only results.
J

Patrick August 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Hey Jorger,

Always great to hear from you, and thanks for leaving a comment! I completely see your point. I still own my Fuji XF 35mm :) . Their is no doubt that the Zeiss is a great lens but as I said in my comparison, the Fuji is one great little workhorse of a lens. It produces fantastic files, and it’s priced very reasonably. You really have to respect something like that. What more could you ask for?

Take care!

Patrick

Samuel August 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for the comparison! If I have to do it all over again, even if money is not a problem, I would still get the fuji 35mm. to me the bokeh is very important, more than sharpness. The Zeiss clearly have worse bokeh but only very slightly sharper than the Fujinon.

It’s fun reading your review :-)

James August 28, 2013 at 3:01 am

Thanks for your insightful and timely comparison.
Image quality-wise from a subjective viewpoint, it boils down to personal preference-vibrant or realistic, cool or warm colors.
From Set 3 comparison, the Zeiss photo shows clearer details of the left speaker and also the brown vertical lines on the right sofa in the background. The woman’s skin tone appears finer and smoother. The hair color is more vibrant. I personally prefer the Zeiss color. My two cents worth.

Joey G August 28, 2013 at 6:15 am

Zeiss should be more price competitive. Usually, the performance benefits don’t justify the higher price. Maybe Voigtlander-Cosina should join the XF club. They seem to get the price/performance ratio right most of the time.

Patrick August 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

Hi Joey,

Thanks for commenting! I agree with the price. The Zeiss, while also a great lens, costs %50 more than the Fuji yet the XF 35mm really delivers. It would be great if Voigtlander joined the Fuji crowd. They already make lenses for the 4/3 system…who knows, maybe that’ll happen for Fuji in the near future.

Take care,

Patrick

Patrick August 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

Hi Samuel,

Thanks for taking the time out to read my comparison! Yeah, the bokeh is really smooth with the Fuji. Even if the Zeiss is sharper in some ways, both lenses are so sharp, I think it’s pretty hard to notice a big difference in real world use. Thanks for stopping by!

Patrick

Patrick August 28, 2013 at 10:20 am

Hi James,

thank you taking the time out to check out my comparison! I completely agree. Both lenses are great, and in the end, it really comes down to personal preference. I still am not sure which lens I would buy if I had another chance because honestly, each has its particular strengths and weaknesses. The Fuji offers really excellent image quality for $300 less but I too prefer the image of the Zeiss in set 3 as well. It does look a little smoother and delicate. Thanks for leaving a comment!

Take care,

Patrick

Erlend Sæteren October 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

Nice comparing! I too guess that the difference is small. Both look good , but slightly different.
But there are in practical use one HUGE difference. The speed.
1.8 is 2/3 stops less than 1.4, which allows in lowlight the use of 3200 iso on the Fujinon where you must up to 5000 iso on Zeiss. That is a huge difference.

Patrick October 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hi Erlend,

Thanks for taking the time out to read my comparison! Yes, there are slight differences but both do look good. I have the XF 35mm but I’d be equally happy with the Zeiss one. In fact, I was a lot happier with the construction of the Zeiss but then again, it’s also more expensive. You bring up a GREAT point about the F stops. For some that along with with price might make some turn to the Fuji alternative.

Thanks for leaving comment! Btw, the photos on your website are great!

Take care,

Patrick

Yardley Zeng November 26, 2013 at 7:05 pm

The woman is smiling in the Touit so that makes for a more charming shot but not a better picture. The clock is absolutely clear for the fuji and the Zeiss well it is pandering to say it is better. Its highlights are too bright. Look at the numbers. There is a clear black line around the fuji’s but the Touit lacks that distinction. Not necessary to look further.

Patrick November 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Hi Yardley,

This is just a simple comparison post, and all the pictures in this post are here for only that reason. Nothing more.

Take care,

Patrick

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