The Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R would be my second Fujinon lens (the first being the XF35mmF1.4 R) for the X-Series system, and perhaps, for me, the most important focal length that I may acquire for this particular APS-C lens lineup. Why? Well, in 35mm-equivalency, the XF 56mm f/1.2 comes out to a focal length of about 85mm, which is my personal favorite for portraiture. I love to photograph people, whether it’s on the street or in the studio, and the compression that I can get from 85mm is ideal in my mind (though, I do have other favorites, as well).
XF56mmF1.2 R Specifications
• Focal length (35mm format equivalent): 85mm (f/1.8)
• 7 Blades
• 11 Elements in 8 Groups (Inc. 1 Asph. Element & 2 extra low dispersion elements)
• Angle of view – 28.5 Degrees
• Filter Size ø62mm
• Lens Type: Prime lens
• Maximum Aperture: f/1.2
• Minimum Aperture: f/16
• Focus Range: 0.7m – ∞
• Focus Type: Auto-focus
• External Dimensions: ø73.2mm x 69.7mm
• Weight: 405g
Size & Weight
The XF56mmF1.2 R weighs in at 405g compared to the XF35mmF1.4 R at 187g. At more than double the weight of the 35mm, it adds a bit more heft when shooting, but considering it’s still lighter than my previous portrait lens, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM (425g), and considerably smaller and lighter than the flagship Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM (1025g), it saves me a bit of anguish, to say the least. Not to mention, I’m already saving tons of weight by using the Fujifilm X-T1, which weighs in at 440g vs my previous main camera, the Canon 5D Mark II (810g). These Compact System Camera (CSC) lenses from Fujifilm’s X-Series lineup are so much more manageable for me. Granted, some of the recently-announced lenses from Photokina 2014 (Cologne, Germany), the XF90mmF2 R (one in which I reallllly want to try out, as it’s a 135mm-equivalent, another personal favorite portrait lens focal length) and especially the XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR (70-200mm equivalent) are rather sizable, which is to be expected when delving into larger focal lengths. I suppose we’ll see where Fuji goes from here, in terms of X-Series lens sizes. I want to see more compact lenses, but if it compromises the image quality, then size quickly becomes a non-issue for me. Once my portraiture lens range(s) are covered, then I’ll be quite content with my kit either way.
Image Quality / Performance – Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 R
For me, the ultimate decision for switching from the Canon system of camera bodies and lenses to the Fujifilm X-Series solely depended upon the performance of this particular lens. The verdict? I switched… and rather quickly. I knew immediately the moment that I took the Fujifilm X-T1 + XF35mmF1.4 R out for a street photography spin that I would be infinitely interested in trying out this 56mm (85mm-equivalent) lens for my professional portraiture / headshot work. The first day that I had the 56mm in my possession, I took it out for some Los Angeles street photography in a somewhat-crowded, outdoor shopping mall. 85mm is fairly tight for street, but I just had to know how this lens performed in this sort of environment (especially for photographing people). One of the very first things that I noticed was that it was really quick to autofocus. Not only that, but it was super accurate, as well! I was so thrilled that just about every shot I imagined turned out sharp and in focus. I probably spent more time viewing images at 100% on the LCD screen than I should have, but it really excited me. Oh, yeah… when I said that autofocusing was accurate and the images were sharp and in focus, I meant that I was shooting wide open at f/1.2! I was able to shoot for a while after the sun had begun to set, due to the massive amount of light that the lens was able to gather wide open. The bokeh is phenomenal for this sort of APS-C-sized lens, as you will see in the provided sample images. Color is in abundance (perfectly saturated), and I shot all of these images with Auto White Balance (which the Fujifilm X-T1 is quite capable at). Next up, I did a quick studio headshot session test of my girlfriend, Jessica, and I was instantly blown away. Studio portraiture, again, is something that I do a lot. And the results put a smile on my face. In conjunction with my Einstein 640 flash unit, the color is clearly so much more accurate than my Canon setup had been to this point (I only shoot RAW), and once again the autofocus was spot on. I had so many keepers, it was unbelievable. The cons of the Fuji system are the fact that the current flash synch speed is a mere 1/180th sec. shutter speed. This is somewhat disappointing, but hopefully it can be rectified with a future firmware update.
At the end of this quick photo shoot, I knew that Canon was a thing of the past in my life. Fujifilm has won my heart with the X-T1 mirrorless camera body and their superb XF56mmF1.2 R lens. I honestly, at this point, cannot see myself ever going back to a bulky DSLR. I just have no interest any longer, as I’m getting mind-blowing images with my Fuji, and it has, without question, reignited a major passion for the purity of photography that I haven’t felt since I first picked up a camera. I love the X-T1… and I LOVE this lens! Highly recommended! =)