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153 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The portrait lens former Canon shooters should switch for.
I am a professional wedding and portrait photographer. I shoot both traditional, posed portraits and candid, photojournalistic-style shots. I've shot Canon digital for the last 10 years, using everything from the 10D to the 6D and a whole bunch of full-frame and APS-C and APS-H models in between. Of course, through all those bodies, the glass is the biggest reason I stuck...
Published 9 months ago by joeink

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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Expected Better
This is another love-hate Fujifilm X-series experience for me. Optically this lens is very nice - perhaps the best in the entire series. But the ergonomics fall short for me. First, while folks claim that it is quick to auto focus for their use, I found that on an X-E1, it is too slow for an active subject - the moment is gone by the time it's ready. Second, its...
Published 2 months ago by Evan S


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153 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The portrait lens former Canon shooters should switch for., April 24, 2014
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
I am a professional wedding and portrait photographer. I shoot both traditional, posed portraits and candid, photojournalistic-style shots. I've shot Canon digital for the last 10 years, using everything from the 10D to the 6D and a whole bunch of full-frame and APS-C and APS-H models in between. Of course, through all those bodies, the glass is the biggest reason I stuck with Canon, eventually narrowing my main focal lengths to a few primes and a couple of key zooms.
85mm (full frame) is my favorite focal length, along with 35mm for the wider end.

I began with the classic, seemingly best-bang-for-your-buck Canon 85mm 1.8. It was reasonably sharp at 1.8 (usually) and sharpening up nicely by 2.8. The only thing was, it had horrendous chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) that made post-processing that much longer and more tedious. Enter the Sigma 85mm 1.4 at @ 2.5 time the cost of the Canon. A much better lens in terms of sharpness and color/contrast, as at 1.6, it was as good as anything out there, BUT I had to go through 4 copies to get one that didn't mis-focus (even with AF adjustment) or have some other mechanical issue. In a nutshell, not reliable enough for wedding work. So, I eventually caved and dropped the big bucks on the venerable Canon 85mm 1.2L II, otherwise known as the king of kings in the dreamy, bokeh-laden land of fast lenses. Now, the word "fast," as you've likely heard, merely describes it's light-gathering ability, because when defining it's focusing speed, this is an entirely ironic word. It's dog slow, it hunts. When you nail it, it's superb, but between the fact that it costs as much as a new 6D body AND a 85mm 1.8 and the fact that it weighs a lot (a detail that initially seems sexy, until you have to carry it around mounted on a 1DS MK III for 10 hours,) it gets old fast.

A couple of years back, I bought a Fuji X10, for a few reasons. I love the retro styling with so much manual control and I began to see some very nice tones from the camera, and I loved the direction the company was going in with the X100, but I couldn't justify the price for a fixed lens camera at the time, as I was still a full-time Canon shooter who had $10,000 invested in equipment and it didn't leave much flexibility for play money. Of course, the X10 was also a point and shoot with a tiny sensor, but the whole Fuji model is so well-thought-out and consistent, I was able to get an idea of the direction they were going in.

Last year, I finally got my hands on an X100. I loved it, to a degree. It was wonderful to hold, to shoot with. It was unobtrusive and didn't scare anyone. But the lens was only good, not great. 35mm is my bread and butter length and I'd grown quite accustomed to the insanely gorgeous, sharp at 1.4 images my Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART lens had been giving me, and in the end, the Fuji, limited in it's single focal length attached to what looked to be a very promising sensor, wasn't going to take the place of that lens. So, it went back up for sale.
Then, I got a hold of an X-E1 with the 18-55, which as many have attested, is a fantastic kit lens, BUT the AF was slow and hunting in low light. I still began to see the promise of the system and loved the images I was getting with this one, but it was before the firmware updates. Then, I got an X-Pro 1 with a 35mm 1.4 and it really started to become a contender, the whole system that is. The lens was nice, the images were nice, the AF was still slow, but as I looked at the Fuji lens roadmap and saw what was coming, I began to think, "I may eventually be able to move from Canon," which is a thought I did not have lightly.
Still, I went through all of last season with my full Canon gear, shooting a few shots at one wedding with the X-E1 and few at another with an Olympus OM-D EM-1 (which was quickly discarded as the glass to sensor size is never going to work for my style.) As this season approached, I began to dread two details- 1) Having to hunt with the heavy 85mm 1.2 and 2) Having to not only lug around all that heavy Canon gear, but also try to get close, candid shots without someone recoiling at the sight of a gigantic camera near them. So, I began to voraciously read up on the XT-1 and the 56mm 1.2 and the 23mm 1.4, as well as the firmware updates of the XE-1. It all began to really look good, as in really good. I rented and XT-1 and a 23mm 1.4. I am not lying when I say that within a few hours, I was taking pictures of my 5D MK II, my 6D and my Canon glass and putting it on Ebay. Rash? Perhaps, but as soon as I dumped those 23mm 1.4 shots into Lightroom and saw that they were tack-sharp and the dynamic range was insane, that did it. I had read enough reviews from enough trusted sources to know that the 56mm 1.2 would be the 23mm's equivalent, and, to now make a very long story short and hopefully relevant, I can say I know as the truth that this is indeed the case. I have been using the XT-1 with the 23mm and 56mm and the XE-1 with the 14mm 2.8 and 55-200mm for the better part of a month now and after having just shot an engagement shoot with ALL FUJI gear for my first time ever, I am here to say that I have 100% faith in this system. Not only that, but I prefer the images I am getting from this system vs. the Canon.

The 56 is what the 85mm 1.8 would be if it were sharp wide open and without chromatic issues. That may not seem to you that it's worth a thousand dollars, but to me, it is.
I rarely shot the 85MM 1.2 at 1.2, though when I did, I loved it, and so I cannot lie that I will miss that in the tiniest way, BUT the way that the RAF files come from this camera (not to mention the jpegs and did I really just say that?) is one thing that Canon cannot do.
The 56 is solid, it's fast, it's built as beautifully as any lens I've ever owned. It's small and non-threatening. It has a close focusing distance as well, so if you really want that up close portrait where everything but the eyes or the lips is thrown into a dreamy background, this will deliver that in spades.

This lens (along with the 23mm 1.4) made it possible for me to switch, confidently, to an entirely new system with a smaller sensor, so while the price may intimidate some people, for me, it's a bargain.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT PORTRAIT PARTNER: Detailed and Dreamy, March 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
The announcement of the FUJINON 56mm f/1.2 really strengthened my desire for the X-T1 camera (and to step out from my DSLRs to a compact system), so I preordered the body, the vertical grip, and this lens--my first and so far only Fuji glass for the x-series Fuji compact camera system.

I shoot a lot of PORTRAITURE. Headshots, environmentals, bridals, fashion, journalism. The 85-90mm focal length is one of my favorites. Tight if you move in close, yet loose enough to get just enough background and sense of place when you back up some. And the size of the glass is not too big or heavy for easy carry and quick use. I also like a small prime as it forces you to move around and find the best angles (rather than zoom in and out)—I find that I generally shoot better when using primes because I work harder for the better composition.

This lens has extraordinary BUILD QUALITY, just leaps above the plasticky (yet pricey) offerings of other major brands. I'm not knocking the quality of the glass of competitors, but the general sense of build and aesthetics doesn't usually come close to this. The Fuji just feels like it was built in another time period, when mechanical engineering and quality components was important.

The MANUAL FOCUS RING is honestly one of the best i have ever felt. Damped with just the right amount of resistance with silky smooth turning...and a good amount of range for intricate focus feel. You almost wonder if its at the expense of a faster AF though. The autofocus does work well, it is smooth and generally locks on target quickly and accurately. It does have a bit of noise however, more than i would like, especially for video use, but the MF is so nice that it would be more useful in focus pulling for video anyway.

The glass is SHARP as a tack, detailed, highly-resolving--even on the razor-thin edge of wide-open. Like all lenses it's even sharper stopped down a bit, especially to the corners, but the crispness is there, even across the entire focus plane at f/ 1.2.

The BOKEH is sublime, dreamy, creamy, soft and snugly for the backgrounds. I'm a bokeh hunter. I look at my backgrounds as much as my subject. I create lighting effects just for bokeh. So i had to have this lens, and it does not disappoint.

COLOR and CONTRAST are excellent, and DISTORTION is very well controlled. My only wish would be the MFD be a bit closer (it’s 70cm = 27.5” or 2.3 feet), but its not a macro lens and as such the ratio is only 0.09x (a bit less even than the 35mm f/1.4). Just think it could be a little more useful overall if it could focus just a bit tighter to fill the frame with the smaller objects (such as hands/rings portrait for wedding).

It is SOLID, mostly metal, with a superb FEEL in the hand, and in use on the camera it balances very well with the X-T1/vertical grip combo. Might be a bit bulky and heavy matched to the smaller bodies though. The filter thread is 62mm, and it comes with a plastic hood. The included hood seems quite long and large for the lens, and although i am sure it will do its intended job, I've adapted a step-up ring with a quality UV filter and a much shorter metal hood to mine (62-67mm) just because i want the lens to stay on my camera and fit in a bag easily with no cumbersome hoods, caps, etc. in the way of quick shooting. The larger plastic hood would probably be more effective for flare (I just use my hand when I need to) and possibly for protection in case of drops. The front element/filter does not turn, which is useful for polarizers and other sFX filters. The focusing mechanics are completely internal which keeps the lens at a consistent length.

The f/stops (on the lens) have softly-indented mechanical clicks--23 clicks between f/1.2 and f/16--with the "A" click setting to the far left. I love using a lens-equipped aperture ring, as I did in film days. Makes a quick transition between apertures easy and more intuitive while using your left hand and being able to keep your right finger on the shutter release.

I absolutely love very FAST PRIME lenses. I shoot in all types of environments, and lighting is not always so good-- a fast lens can be very useful for low light and to separate the subject from the background well. I also frequently use a short telephoto range for action/sports such as basketball. A poorly lit gym can make things hard, but a very speedy lens can help you to get the needed shutter speeds to stop fast motion (without having to use ultra-high ISOs). This lens will be useful for many subjects, and is actually worth the high cost for a lens with a maximum f-stop of 1.2. Of course it is not the same as having a full-frame sensor with a comparable full frame glass, but you certainly have the useful light-gathering ability of the fast f-stop regardless of DOF comparisons.

There is really not much to fault with this lens. It's a beauty, and it creates beautiful images. It makes it easy to work with and inspires my fingers to want to caress it into compositions. It is a glass jewel that works perfectly with the the X-T1 camera (and I am sure with all x-series Fuji’s), a marriage made in FujiFilm-land.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific specialty portrait lens for the X system, March 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
I've been waiting for this one since Fuji put it on their lens "road map" last year. Amazon delivered my Fuji X 56mm f/1.2 lens yesterday afternoon, and I immediately put it on one of my cameras, only to get the "please update camera firmware" display. Thirty minutes later, I could finally shoot some photos :)

Some random thoughts:

1. Wow is this thing sharp. Center, corners, everywhere, even wide open at f/1.2. Too sharp in some ways for a portrait lens. I'll be doing some retouching on portraits to smooth out the skin, as this lens shows every single tiny flaw.

2. It's well corrected, so the usual faults of very fast primes are minimized (haloing, longitudinal chromatic abberation, etc.) and there's almost no distortion. Very well done.

3. It's slower to focus on my X Pro1 and XE1 bodies than either of the zooms -- more like the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens. But the focus is exceptionally accurate (which I find normal with the Fujis compared to the phase-detect systems in DSLRs.)

4. It's big -- larger than the 23/1.4 -- and on an X Pro 1 with a grip, this is starting to get kind of big for a "compact" camera system. But it does balance well.

5. Compared to my Canon 85mm f/1.2, it's of course smaller and lighter, and much less expensive. It allows the same amount of light through the lens (f/1.2) but there is some small difference in the depth of fielf characteristics, with the Canon offering more out-of-focus blur at the same subject distance. But in real life prints, the difference is small. (If you want to see all the arguments about this, there are plenty of places online to find them.)

6. Comparing autofocus with the Canon, I am getting a much higher percentage of perfect in-focus shots with the Fuji.

7. The lens hood is huge. But it reverses for storage.

8. At moderate subject distances, for example an environmental portrait shot from the waist up, the 56 shot wide open gives a pleasing out of focus quality to even fairly close backgrounds. This lens just renders very nicely.

9. You can buy one 62mm neutral density filter and use it on both this lens and the 23/1.4. This will let you shoot outdoors in bright daylight with a wide open aperture.

10. The Fuji 56mm is a specialty lens. If you know why you need it, this one won't disappoint. If you shoot portraits for a living with the X system, it's a terrific addition to the camera bag.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, March 19, 2014
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
I'm trying to think of something negative to say about this lens. I'm not having much luck.

The performance wide open is amazing. It just gets sharper as the aperture narrows.

The focus collar is a joy to use.

Fujifilm finally got the lens hood/lens cap right on this one.

The only negative I can come up with is you will need a ND filter to use this lens wide open in bright light. I can't find a high quality 62 mm ND filter on Amazon right now so I'm a bit frustrated.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the hype. This lens is THAT good., June 22, 2014
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
Let's get right to the point.

A thousand bucks is a lot of money. Sure, I get it. But I also know that, after shooting a wedding this weekend, this lens is as good or better than the Canon 85 1.2. Sure, it's technically 'slower' because of the APS-C crop, but that doesn't make Canon's better.

My points below based on apps 350 shots mounted on the X-T1 at a day-to-night wedding. Lots of mixed light.

+
Sharp, sharp, sharp...even wide open.
Chroma? Backlit, front, whatever. I've yet to find any.
Very, very pleasant bokeh.
Aperture clicks are distinct, improved over the 35mm 1.4
All metal construction. Build quality is world-class.

-
Rear element cap easily rotates and falls off. Fuji should redesign the cap. It's bad, but its only a cap.
Did I say cap? Fuji's design on the front cap is even worse. Seems like they gave up on the lens cap. Nitpicking here.
Focus is quicker than the 35mm 1.4, definitely faster than the Canon 85 1.2, just wish it was a just a hair faster.

Bottom line: This lens could perhaps drive body sales for Fuji, not the other way around.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best, March 27, 2014
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
Fuji is on a roll. They've created a highly functional set of bodies based on a single sensor (save for the x-a1), tweaking the controls and features in a couple fundamental ways to create a nice and relatively coherent lineup. As good as the bodies are, and believe me, they are great. The lenses are even better.

All Fuji lenses are world class relative to their role, and Fuji seems to focus on that, their role. Being a system based on APS-C sized sensors, they're recreating classic lens based on their cropped sensor. Here you have the pinnacle of that work. Effectively a 85mm lens in full frame 35mm (135) terms, this lens fills the role of the ultimate portrait lens. The fast aperture allows for both low light photography as well as subject isolation. While some may prefer a razor thin DOF, I Honestly find this lens to be more practical than a 85mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.2 lens, as it's depth of field is marginally deeper due to the sensor size.

Even if you prefer the uber shallow DOF of a full frame f/1.2 lens, you'll enjoy the profound sharpness this lens displays wide open, stopped down, or all the way to f/16. Simply put, it's always sharp, edge to edge. It becomes even sharper still when stopped down, and again, it's edge to edge. It's quite liberating to not have to choose between sharpness, composition, and DOF control, as this lens gives you the flexibility to use all apertures and the entire image while maintaining sharpness.

While Nikon and Canon create sensors that stretch the limits of many of their lenses, Fuji has created the opposite scenario. A lens that begs for a slightly better camera. Not so much in terms of resolution, although this lens can certainly accommodate that, rather a lens that begs for a faster max shutter and high speed flash sync to allow for faster apertures. As is often the case, there are workarounds, notably a neutral density filter. It's a good problem to have, as while even the best camera bodies quickly become superseded with the latest and greatest, a legendary lens can really stand the test of time. I fully expect Fuji to address these opportunities in future bodies.

The built is excellent. There are better built lenses, though they tend to cost far more, and this lens is not lacking in any manner. It's definitely a significant step up from my 12mm Zeiss Touit lens. The aperture and focus rings have a perfect balance of smoothness with little play. As always I would prefer a lock on the aperture dial, but honestly I've yet to even try this in auto aperture, as the beauty of this lens is in choosing the appropriate aperture.

I strongly recommend this lens, the Fuji XF system, and really any of their lenses to any photographer. It's such a great combination, and I have no doubts that if Fuji chooses to pack more megapixels into their sensors that this lens can hold it's own to extreme resolutions. It's just that good.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect Fuji FAST lens, March 14, 2014
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
As a former owner of the spectacular Canon 85 1.2L! Fuji has created its match. Faster focusing ofcourse than the canon with razorthin depth of field when you want it, if youown an x series camera and are serious about portrait length lenses, grab this. The colors are pure Fuji and the bokeh is exquiste. A good deal at its price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar piece of glass, July 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
I have only recently adopted the Fuji X-System based around the XT-1 camera. As a portrait and wedding photographer primarily I wanted this lens as soon as I got the camera. Turned out to be out of stock just about everywhere but after a few weeks of looking, Amazon got them in stock. This lens is pretty much as good as everyone says it is, and performs beautifully when shot wide open (otherwise, why bother). Although it is about the same field of view as an 85 mm lens on a full frame DSLR, the quality of the out of focus areas (bokeh) is not quite as good as, for example, the Nikon 85 mm f1.4. That being said, it is very good, and I doubt that anyone will have any complaints. It focuses quickly, has great color and contrast, and frankly, is a must-have lens for the serious user of the Fuji X-System. At almost $1000 of course, it ought to be good, and Fuji has delivered in spades.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As sharp as my Nikon 85mm 1.4!, March 28, 2014
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This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
This is a focal length with which I love to shoot. The perspective is just right for intimate portraits at a comfortable distance. In full frame, the Nikkor 85mm 1.4 has been my go-to lens. Now that I am transitioning into the MILC system, I'm delighted to not have to give up anything from build quality to image quality with this Fuji lens. I've shot with the X Pro-1, XE-1, XE-2 and now with the XT-1, and all of the lenses in the line up except the 14 and the 23. This is the best lens in the system thus far.

Other than having to spend a grand to purchase (actually a reasonable price for the quality), I can't think of a single thing to complain about. If you shoot portraits and it fits your budget, this lens should be in your kit.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome lens, March 25, 2014
This review is from: Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R (Electronics)
I ordered this lens months ago and have been waiting nearly two months to receive it. It arrived last week, and I am blown away by the crispness of the photos, their tack-sharpness, and the speed. I use this on my XE-2, and with my 32 mm Zeiss Touit I really don't need many other lenses. I keep a 55-200 around, but the 56 mm has become my walk around lens. It is just like my Nikon 85 mm AF-S f1.4 lens, which is my walk around on my D800. If you want sharp pictures, razor thin depth of field, or incredibly sharp pictures with a deep DOF, get this lens. Fuji have outdone themselves here.
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