A few weeks ago in a moment of madness I decided to buy the Fuji 56mm F1.2 portrait lens – equivalent to 85mm in full frame format. Here are my first impressions. The build quality of the lens seems very good – a large and solidly built piece of kit but not disproportionate in size when fitted to the X-T1 body. The lens hood is plastic (an advantage in my opinion over metal as it is very light) and perfectly functional.
In use the lens has so far performed very well and is able to capture a good image in very low light (the first shot below was taken in a poorly lit crypt). The autofocus is not as fast as some equivalent lenses and can hunt a little in low light – not surprising given the amount of glass being moved about by the motors but you will want to be aware if planning to use the lens for action photography rather than just portraiture.
Overall I think this lens is a game changer if you are using the Fuji X system and have not yet invested in a fast prime lens. Images are astonishingly sharp and the shallow depth of focus when shot wide open makes subjects leap out of the frame almost as though they are in 3D. In the first shot below you can see that the eyes are in focus but the ears are not – the depth of focus is really that shallow.
The only problem you are likely to come across with this lens is that the fastest shutter speed on the standard X-T1 is only 1/4000 unless you upgrade the firmware to version 3. This is perfectly adequate for most situations but this lens gathers so much light when it is wide open that the normal shutter cannot operate fast enough in bright light meaning you have to stop down the lens to get the shot which negates the benefit of having a fast lens. If you are thinking of buying this lens makes sure you upgrade your camera firmware to include the electronic shutter option as that goes to 1/32000 which will allow you to exploit the lens in all lighting situations.
Overall I am delighted with this lens – have hardly had it off the camera since I bought it.
Fuji XF 56mm R lens sample images
The bokeh (the out of focus area) is very good when shot wide open – an example is below showing out of focus candles appearing as large round globules.