Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 Review


In this Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 review, we’ll look closely at one of Fuji’s sharpest shooters.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the first version of the highly acclaimed Fuji 56mm portrait lens.

Fujifilm loves the 56mm focal range as this is the third iteration of an X Series prime lens with a 56mm focal length.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR

Robust lens that delivers stunning image quality, exceptional performance, and beautiful bokeh backgrounds.

The original Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 hit the market in early 2014, providing a sharp and wide aperture prime for portrait photographers.

At the time, it sported the widest aperture of any Fujifilm X Series lens.

In a surprise move, Fuji released an alternative version, the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR APD, in late 2014.

As a Fujifilm photographer, I initially thought it didn’t make much sense.

Why release the same focal length and aperture lens within the same year when other focal lengths were in demand? Especially a new version that didn’t offer a significant improvement over what was already a great lens.

Fortunately, Fujifilm has taken the time to build upon the legacy of their applauded 56mm mid-telephoto lens options.

Not to be mistaken with the previous lenses, the newest Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens arrived in late 2022 with improved autofocus performance and weather sealing.

It also optimized the image clarity further than many thought possible, especially since the first two 56mm lenses were optically impressive.

The first two versions of the 56mm lens featured good, but certainly not reliable, autofocus performance, especially when shooting wide open in low light.

I’m pleased to report that the latest Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR takes everything Fuji learned to deliver an excellent portrait prime.

Let’s dive into the review to discover what makes this one of the best Fujifilm lenses.

Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R WR Specs

 

Pros

  • Tack sharp image quality
  • Exceptional depth of field
  • Bokeh beast!
  • Built to last and weather-sealed
  • Ideal portrait lens at 85mm equivalent
  • Fuji’s 56mm legacy on board
  • Manual focus and manual aperture rings
Cons

  • Autofocus misses in low light
  • No linear motor autofocus
  • Focal length – 56mm (85mm FF equivalent focal length)
  • Angle of view – 28.5°
  • Maximum aperture – f/1.2
  • Minimum aperture – f/16
  • Minimum focus distance – 50cm (19.7″)
  • Maximum magnification – 0.14x
  • Filter size – Ø67mm filter thread
  • Lens configuration – 13 elements in 8 groups
  • Dimensions – Ø79.4mm×76mm (3.13″x2.99″)
  • Weight – 445g (0.98lb)

Build & Ergonomics

A 56mm camera lens resting on a metal railing, with a blurred brick building in the background.A 56mm camera lens resting on a metal railing, with a blurred brick building in the background.

Upon first picking up the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2, you realize how solid and robust it feels.

At 445g (0.98lb), it’s certainly not a lightweight lens, yet it doesn’t feel burdensome even when paired with a larger flagship body like the Fuji X-T5. 

That pairing weighs just over 1 kg (2.2 lbs) and still feels compact enough, even for a professional kit.

The sleek black Fujifilm XF 56mm features a full metal, weather-sealed body.

Once again, pair the lens with a weather-resistant Fuji X Series body, and you have a kit you can use in any weather conditions.

Despite its heft, it’s well-balanced with larger Fuji bodies and gives the photographer a great deal of assurance.

If you mount it on a smaller X-mount body, the width of the lens will make the camera stand on its tippy toes.

Black and white photo of a digital camera with dials on top and a large lens, set against a dark grey background.Black and white photo of a digital camera with dials on top and a large lens, set against a dark grey background.

Putting aside the specs, the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 is a joy to shoot with primarily because it fits neatly and comfortably in your left hand.

A broad, finely ridged focus ring with a smooth, well-dampened glide controls manual focus.

The manual aperture ring features a ridged control ring with each full stop marked. An aperture lock releases the ring from the auto setting.

The aperture ring, paired with the manual ISO and shutter speed dials on a Fujifilm body, allows for total control over the exposure triangle.

The gorgeous glass lens configuration and optical formula boasts 13 elements in 8 groups, including 2 aspherical and 1 ED element.

Focus Performance

A cyclist in a white helmet and gray outfit rides a road bike in an urban setting with storefronts and passing cars in the background.A cyclist in a white helmet and gray outfit rides a road bike in an urban setting with storefronts and passing cars in the background.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/8000 SS | 200 ISO | f/1.2

I shot with the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 in street scenes, portraits, and during a concert at a very dark venue.

The focus system was responsive and accurate, and with eye or face subject tracking turned on, it stayed on target.

When paired with a flagship body like the Fujifilm X-T5, the DC motor-driven 56mm kept pace with the demands of the X Processor 5.

However, the focus performance of the Fujifilm 56mm didn’t quite hit the mark every time.

At times, the focus would hunt and lock on an out-of-focus subject.

It was not a regular occurrence and only happened two or three times during my testing of the lens.

Granted, I was shooting black-clad musicians in extremely dark conditions.

Despite the lack of linear motor focusing, the new lens demonstrated significant improvements over its previous version.

The improved AF speed is especially evident.

The 56mm f/1.2 R lens met and exceeded my expectations in every other setting.

Image Quality

Young woman in a plaid shirt outdoors, looking away thoughtfully with a background of blurred green foliage.Young woman in a plaid shirt outdoors, looking away thoughtfully with a background of blurred green foliage.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/2000 SS | 200 ISO | f/1.2

Every Fujifilm photographer can attest to the image quality produced by the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2.

It’s well-known amongst Fuji communities that the lens delivers some of the sharpest and cleanest images to date.

Wide open at f/1.2, the 56mm achieves defined subject separation and fantastic background effects.

Thanks to the 11-round-bladed diaphragm, delicious bokeh appears in portrait or product shots even at f/2.8.

Closing down the aperture to f/5.6 creates a pleasing background blur and draws the eye into the composition.

Aberrations and lens flare, especially wide open, are well controlled — the included lens hood further manages flare.

That said, I rarely relied on the lens hood, even when shooting in bright, sunny conditions.

Other lenses operating with such a wide aperture suffer from uncorrected distortions.

Fewer can boast the new lens’s build quality, technical specifications, sharp images, or stunning bokeh clarity.

The optical design of the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens effectively manages chromatic aberration, contrast, and vignetting while producing sharp images at any aperture.

It’s exactly what you want in portrait work, making it a must-have lens.

At narrower apertures, edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity are evident.

Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R WR Sample Images

Here are some sample images taken with the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 WR lens using a Fujifilm X-T5.

Smiling man standing in a grocery store aisle with shelves stocked with jars and cans, looking at the camera.Smiling man standing in a grocery store aisle with shelves stocked with jars and cans, looking at the camera.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/1000 SS | 800 ISO | f/1.2

Man in a cap and jacket looking at another person in an industrial setting with exposed brick and photography equipment.Man in a cap and jacket looking at another person in an industrial setting with exposed brick and photography equipment.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/250 SS | 3200 ISO | f/1.2

A woman pours a drink at an outdoor wooden bar counter lined with glasses and bottles, with colorful artwork in the background.A woman pours a drink at an outdoor wooden bar counter lined with glasses and bottles, with colorful artwork in the background.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/8000 SS | 200 ISO | f/2

A woman in a plaid shirt smelling flowers in a lush garden, depicted in black and white.A woman in a plaid shirt smelling flowers in a lush garden, depicted in black and white.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/2000 SS | 400 ISO | f/1.2

An elderly butcher interacting with a customer over a meat counter, with another worker packaging meat in the background under bright lights.An elderly butcher interacting with a customer over a meat counter, with another worker packaging meat in the background under bright lights.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/2000 SS | 800 ISO | f/1.2

A tattooed man using his phone to record an event, surrounded by other attendees in a dimly lit room.A tattooed man using his phone to record an event, surrounded by other attendees in a dimly lit room.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/125 SS | 3200 ISO | f/1.2

A small brown chihuahua with fluffy fur peeking over a couch cushion, surrounded by a textured blanket.A small brown chihuahua with fluffy fur peeking over a couch cushion, surrounded by a textured blanket.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/125 SS | 1600 ISO | f/1.2

A man with a beard wearing a denim jacket gives a thumbs up in a black and white photo.A man with a beard wearing a denim jacket gives a thumbs up in a black and white photo.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/500 SS | 2000 ISO | f/2

Woman wearing glasses and an apron organizes produce at a market stall filled with fresh vegetables, including tomatoes and artichokes.Woman wearing glasses and an apron organizes produce at a market stall filled with fresh vegetables, including tomatoes and artichokes.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/1000 SS | 800 ISO | f/1.2

Young woman in a plaid shirt, resting her chin on her hands, looking thoughtful, with a blurred fence and stairs in the background, in black and white.Young woman in a plaid shirt, resting her chin on her hands, looking thoughtful, with a blurred fence and stairs in the background, in black and white.

X-T5 + 56mm f/1.2 WR | 1/500 SS | 400 ISO | f/1.4

How I Tested the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R WR

A fujifilm camera with a prime lens and wrist strap placed on a surface in an indoor setting, possibly a market area.A fujifilm camera with a prime lens and wrist strap placed on a surface in an indoor setting, possibly a market area.

I had access to the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens for a little over two weeks.

I was fortunate to also have a loan unit Fujifilm X-T5 digital mirrorless body at the same time.

I paired the 56mm with the X-T5 to shoot various photography genres during that time.

Being a street photographer, I took the lens and camera body combo on regular street walks around my hometown of Melbourne (Australia).

Despite their combined weight, the lens and body combo felt great to shoot handheld.

I used a wrist strap to support the kit and didn’t experience any strain or discomfort with this combo.

I also put the lens through its paces in portraiture and concert photography.

My personal opinion is that it’s the perfect lens for portrait photography, especially when you get in a bit closer to your subject.

Alternatives

Fujifilm is obviously very dedicated to the 50/56mm (75/85mm full-frame) focal distance, as it has five X Series primes around that range.

While discontinued, the original 56mm f/1.2 R lens captures stunning image quality and moves fast on the second-hand market.

The Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R APD offered a premium portrait lens option by altering the lens configuration.

It houses 11 elements in 8 groups, including one aspherical lens, two extra-low dispersion lenses, plus an additional apodization filter.

The apodization filter delivers smoother and more refined bokeh, especially wide open.

The aperture ring features two sets of f-stops – one in white to indicate the actual aperture and the second in red to indicate the apodized effect on the aperture.

Portrait photographers love this lens; however, in low light settings, its autofocus struggles terribly.

The other alternative is the Fujifilm XF 50mm f/1 R WR lens – check out our review.

The f/1 aperture should tell you all you need to know – it’s a fast and wide telephoto prime ideal for portrait or product photography at a pro level.

The bokeh beast is larger at 87mm×103.5mm (3.43″x4.07″) and beefier at 845g (1.86lb).

Build-wise, it’s another tank of a lens, and its sharpness and background bokeh is unparalleled.

If you’re anything like me and prefer to work with Fujifilm’s smaller, compact prime lenses, it’s hard to go past the Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2 WR lens.

The tiny compact prime measures 60.0mm x 59.4mm (2.36″x2.34″) and weighs a measly 200g (0.44lb)!

I’ve often shot with this lens, and its wide f/2 aperture delivers fantastic subject separation and background blur.

Value for Money

The Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens retails for around US$1,125.

I consider that to be a fair price for a premium telephoto prime with superior image quality and a fast f/1.2 aperture.

The value for money is evident once you check out the resolution and image quality on your computer or in print.

A professional portrait photographer looking for an ideal kit could opt for the Fuji X-T5 and Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R for around $3,000.

For comparison, the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD version still retails for around US$1,600, and the XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR prime retails for around US$1,650.

If you’re on a budget and looking for a telephoto prime, the Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2 R WR is hard to beat.

Its build and image quality demonstrate it’s not a cheap lens, but at around $460, it’s easily affordable.

The Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR isn’t the cheapest or most expensive option out of all the possible Fujifilm lenses.

It’s the Goldilocks of Fujifilm X Mount lenses, ideal for portrait photography.

FAQ’s

What is the Fuji 56mm 1.2 full frame equivalent?

The Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens delivers an 85mm full-frame equivalent focal length.

What is the minimum focus distance for Fuji 56mm 1.2 WR?

The Fujifilm XF 56mm has a minimum focus distance of 50cm (19.7″). However, the 28.5° angle of view and 0.14X magnification make foreground subjects feel closer than they are.

Is Fuji 56mm weather-sealed?

Yes, the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens is weather-sealed. The WR in its title appears on any Fujifilm lenses with weather resistance performance.

Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R WR Review | Conclusion

A black fujifilm camera with a fujinon lens, positioned on a dark surface against a black background.A black fujifilm camera with a fujinon lens, positioned on a dark surface against a black background.

I’ve had the good fortune to have a shot with all three Fujifilm 56mm lens versions.

However, this is the first one that I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.

It’s easy to set the latest iteration, the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR, apart from those that began its legacy.

The Fujifilm XF 56mm is easily one of the sharpest portrait lenses I’ve ever shot with.

Paired with a Fujifilm X-T5 or similar flagship model, the lens is perfectly balanced and performs at a professional level in almost every setting.

Despite a couple of minimal issues with the autofocus performance, the telephoto prime delivers fast, accurate, and confident focus performance.

The lens shines when shooting portraits or products yet still keeps pace, chasing the light in street settings.

I applaud Fujifilm’s dedication to sticking with a good idea and applying its Kaizen business methodology to continuously improve the quality of its products.

It’s not the first Fuji lens to receive a recent upgrade, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Regardless, Fuji’s upgrades to this new lens produce image sharpness surpassed by only a few other Fujifilm lenses.

The Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens is one of the sharpest lenses for Fuji X Series photographers, and it will delight with every bit of image clarity and resolution.

What are your thoughts on Fujifilm updating older lenses with the same focal length?

Have you shot with any of the Fujifilm 56mm lenses, and if so, what was your experience like?

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WRFujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR

Robust lens that delivers stunning image quality, exceptional performance, and beautiful bokeh backgrounds.



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