After my in-depth review of the Fujifilm XF56mm ƒ1.2R WR on Fujifilm X-mount here and a promise to do a follow-up with samples from a portraiture shoot, this photo essay here forms review #2 of this update to the 2014 released classic XF56mm ƒ1.2R. Hope you will enjoy it.
*all samples shared here were edited from SOOC JPEGs under Provia film simulation (slightly edited) in LR CC Classic.
Equipment used: Fujifilm X-Pro3, XF56mm ƒ1.2R WR
Notably, the size & weight of the XF56mm ƒ1.2R WR on X-mount still makes it very attractive for outdoor walk-about portrait sessions, especially when we compare it to the XF50mm ƒ1.
Not touched on as much in part 1 was should current XF56mmƒ1.2R (gen 1) users upgrade to the new 2022 version so let us take a deeper look at this below.
While the 2019 X-Pro3 is hardly the ‘fastest’ among latest Fujifilm bodies but yes, the setup’s autofocus and eye/face detect was plenty reliable enough.Keeper rate was around 90% with the XF56mm f1.2R WR (in my own experience)
For Portraiture, auto-focus reliability and eye/face detect
There were times when I had hoped eye-detect would spring faster into action, but of course, that may have been too demanding to expect of the 2019 released X-Pro3. Obviously, this was not an action-themed and way slower-paced posed shoot which allowed the X-Pro3 to keep a good pace.
There were around 10% of shots that showed focused but ended up not on the big screen, and I can say that the keeper rate for a walk-and-shoot event is easily a good 90%. The more current bodies like the X-H2S (my review here) or X-T4 (my review here with the XF150-600mm) will indeed have much higher hit rates.
In everyday real-life, of course, I would not be doing a whole session shooting wide open at ƒ1.2, but for the sake of the review and that this piece of optics deserves to be used wide-open, why not?
Sharpness and rendering.
The XF56mm ƒ1.2R WR is sharp where it matters and renders more detail than the 2014 version, period. The next question is, “then, is it enough to make a difference?”
If one is into the general use of posting on social media and everyday photography, to be honest (I hope the Fujifilm sales team does not do anything untoward to me), the 2014 XF56mm ƒ1.2R is sufficiently sharp. I mean, it is a great lens, to begin with, and the main staple of portraiture photographers in X-mount for easily 8 good years, and I know of photographers who kept it instead of gunning for the epitome XF50mm ƒ1.
But, where it matters, the difference is there.
If you are the type who goes into the 100% and beyond crops in your post-processing, the difference is significant, and again, not every Fujifilm user will need to do so. On the 40 megapixels Fujifilm X-H2 and upcoming X-T5 (assuming its the same 40 megapixels sensor) it is a no brainer question that the 2022’s XF56mm ƒ1.2R WR has a clear advantage over its predecessor.
And lastly, of course, the addition of weather resistance goes some way toward adding versatility to the system’s usability. While I am sure most of us will not be photographing in incremental weather, it is always helpful to have weather resistance. The addition of the ‘A’ button on the aperture ring does little for me since I photograph only in Aperture and Manual modes.
For portraiture photography in X-mount, I can name 5 obvious choices now:
- XF50mm ƒ1.0 R LM WR (my review here)
- XF56mm ƒ1.2 R WR (the lens being discussed now)
- Sigma 56mm ƒ1.4 DC DN (my review here)
- XF50mm ƒ2 R WR
- Classic 2014 XF56mm ƒ1.2 R
And my answer will probably be that for the enthusiast or once-a-while portrait photographer, the Sigma 56mm ƒ1.4 DC DN, XF50mm ƒ2 R WR, classic XF56mm ƒ1.2R will mostly suffice, given that these lenses were pretty good to start with and are much friendlier on the pocket.
For the more demanding users, the XF56mm ƒ1.2R WR, in my opinion, is the best choice given how well it balances price, performance, and size. Of course, the XF50mm ƒ1.0 R WR is only for those who can make a fuss between a ƒ1.0 versus a ƒ1.2 shot and really demand nothing but the best Fujifilm X-mount can provide.
I could never figure out why Fujifilm did not include a linear motor in the XF56mm ƒ1.2R WR (production cost? weight?), but personally, I don’t think it will make a real difference given the use of the lens itself, which is still portraiture end of the day and not a lens one will frequently be using for fast-action, and that is why the XF50mm ƒ1 does not sport a linear motor either.
**In this sense, one can also consider the XF90mm ƒ2 and even crazier, the XF200mm ƒ2 (review here), but these are extreme focal lengths hence not for the typical user who probably needs a loudhailer to communicate to the model.
What would your choice be?
Thank you for reading.
The model here is Nicole, and she can be contacted at IG
- The Fujinon XF56mm ƒ1.2 R WR is a production set running firmware 1.0 and returned to Fujifilm Asia Pacific at the end of the review.
- All images shared were photographed by me and, for this review, post-processed from JPEGs in LR CC Classic.
- I always appreciate people sharing my work for non-profit purposes and hope that credit be duly made.