I’m going to make it very simple: if you are on the Fuji X system and are into shooting portraits, get this lens. That’s the TLDR. 🙂
A fast 85mm has long been an essential lens for portrait photographers. It is a great focal length for anything from full-body to head and shoulder portraits, all while keeping the working distance fairly manageable. It’s no wonder so many portrait photographers choose the 85mm. On the APS-C Fujifilm X system, the closest 85mm equivalent is the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2.
I’ve had the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 for a while now and it has become a staple in my portrait kit. Along with the 23mm f/1.4, and 35mm f/1.4, a couple of bodies and the occasional strobe, it’s now all I carry for portrait sessions, the majority of which are families and couple sessions, as well as editorial assignments. I also use it quite a bit for weddings and even events when I want to have a beautiful, dreamy look to the images.
-Very sharp even wide open
-Smooth, beautiful bokeh
-Shallow DOF with beautiful background separation
-Size and weight
-Relatively slower AF
-No weather sealing
As you can see, the pros very much outweigh the cons. At the time of writing, none of the Fuji fast primes have weather sealing and they probably won’t for a while. The slower AF is honestly negligible for the most part, especially in portrait situations. However, if you’re shooting fast-moving subjects, it might be better to look elsewhere, like the 50mm f/2 or the 50-140mm f/2.8. Newer bodies like the Fujifilm X-T3 and the upcoming X-T4 focus much faster and more accurately with this lens as well. Overall, whatever camera body you have, the 56mm f/1.2 will serve you well for headshots and portrait situations. The images that this lens produces are just stunning and well worth the price tag.
Below are some sample images I’ve taken with the 56mm f/1.2 (most of them were shot wide open at f/1.2).
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