This is one of Fujifilm’s finest and best optical lenses that Fuji fanboys and fangirls should consider owning. Especially if you do not own any portrait lenses and plan to get one, you may consider this gem. I know it’s not a cheap lens, so save up the money and aim for this one. You will fall in love with it.
XF56mm f1.2 WR is one of the most anticipated lenses ever released. When it was announced at the X Summit NYC back in September 2022 together with the X-H2, I think I can hear many fans (including myself) of this 85mm (full frame equivalent) screaming to get one.
But lady luck is not with me. Somehow I did not manage to get one since it launched. It took me longer than expected and together with the help of my friend to get one.
Design and Build Quality
It comes with Fujifilm well-built, well-constructed, and well-weight lens. At 445 grams, it is actually not as heavy as it sounds. Fujifilm keeps the best clicky aperture ring and smooth manual focus ring (focus-by-wire) experience. They are still as satisfying as the other FujiFilm lenses.
They also include the auto-aperture lock button too, which I think is pretty standard for Fujifilm’s new-generation lenses. Similarly, Fujifilm includes a plastic hood instead of a metal hood (like the good old days).
As the name suggested, it comes with weather resistance too. As I mentioned in another post, this is something a pro lens should have nowadays.
The filter size is 67mm. This is considered a decent size for a mid-telephoto lens (and not too painful for photographers spending on filters).
What can I complain about this lens’ image quality? At wide-open, it is undeniable the clinically sharp image quality I have ever seen among the Fujifilm lenses (but personal opinion, XF80mm f2.8 is still the sharpest lens). I seldom use this word to express the image quality but it is definitely breathtaking.
As for the background blur, I love how beautiful the fall-off between the focused subject and the other is. Unlikely some other lenses from third-party manufacturers where the bokeh are hard and harsh, the bokeh from this lens is rendered very smoothly and very pleasing to my eyes.
Speaking of chromatic aberration, there is no purple fringing to be seen. Again, this is a benchmark from Fujifilm. But for vignetting, there is a tiny vignetting at the corners at wide open. This is very impressive for an f1.2 lens. Of course, you can either remove the vignetting in post-edit or step up the aperture value.
The lens/focus breathing is good here. The focus distance did not change dramatically as you change the focus distance between the Minimum Focus Distance and infinity and vice versa. But I cannot say this lens will be a great lens for videographers (I will share more later).
It may not be the fastest from Fujifilm but it is a quiet one. It focuses fast if the subject is slightly off-focus and under well-lit conditions. Otherwise, the lens might give some wobbly focusing experience and might take quite a while to focus lock onto the subject. I do experience being unable to focus on the subject and that is mainly under extremely low light or challenging conditions.
If you are wondering how much better is the new one and the original XF56mm f1.2, I tested with the original one before and I can say that the newer one does focus much better and faster.
What contributes to the “not the fastest” focusing lens? I guess that it is missing the Linear Motor (LM) (as the name of the lens missing out the LM, suggested that there is no LM) which is designed to drive the focus lens group faster and quieter.
According to Fujifilm, they use the DC motor.
Minimum Focus Distance (MFD)
The MFD is 50cm, which is remarkably short for a mid-telephoto lens and also a huge improvement from the original XF56mm f1.2 at 70cm.
The image quality taken at MFD is very impressive too. Some lenses do have some characteristics shown up at MFD such as a soft glowing effect and this lens does not have any.
At 999 USD, it is definitely not the cheapest portrait lens out there in the market and the price of this lens set it far apart from its peers and competitors.
Who are the competitors? We have Viltrox 75mm f1.2 in the market at almost half the price of the XF56mm f1.2 WR and Viltrox 56mm f1.4 at 299 USD. Not forgetting that we also have the Sigma 56mm f1.4 and the original XF56mm f1.2 is priced just a little more than the Viltrox.
I kind of dislike the plastic hood it provided. When I keep the lens hood facing inwards, it blocks the aperture ring and I am unable to control it. So some possible solutions will be:
- Mount the lens hood facing outwards;
- Remove the hood completely / not mounting the lens hood at all;
- Set to Automatic Aperture control and then control via the front command dial to get my shots.
Don’t get me wrong, I always do mount the lens hood facing outwards for long-duration shots. I just find it cumbersome if I want to do some quick snapshots.
Who is this for?
Putting the price aside, this lens is easily my recommendation for professional portrait photographers. But as for street photographers, journalists, and documentary photographers, I will leave it to you for your consideration. The focal length might be too tight for some to get used to but it is a good focal length to complement other focal lengths such as 28mm/35mm (in full frame equivalent). Be it with your primary camera or dual camera setup.
As for videographers, I think it is a great lens to use if you need the wide-open f1.2 aperture for your work. Also, the autofocus sometimes does have some jerking, so probably need to manually focus it or alternative external controls.
As my title said, this successor is almost perfect. What is the missing piece? For me, everything is perfect, the lens size, the weight, and the superior image quality. Only if Fujifilm could introduces the LM instead of using the DC motor, it will be a perfect lens. Of course, there might be many factors or reasons that stop them from using LM.
Thank you for reading.
1. All the shots taken here are shot by me.
2. Most of the shots are straight out of the camera with some shots edited via In-Camera Raw Processing or Capture One.
3. The opinions are based on my experience. If there is any mistake, please kindly drop me a message and I will gladly make the amendment.
4. I reserve ownership of these images, if you wish to use my images, please notify me.
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