Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R WR review: new portrait king for APS-C mirrorless cameras

A portrait painter always carries an 85 mm

Once is not custom, we are going to push an open door by affirming that an 85 mm is the real point of entry into the world of portraiture. It is a popular focal length which, coupled with a very large aperture, allows subjects to be highlighted while elegantly erasing the background. The Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R WR (therefore 85mm f/1.8 in 24×36 equivalent) is thus the perfect tool for successful portraits.

Ideal for highlighting the subject

During our tests, we were able to note that the background disappears well at the largest apertures, allowing the subject to be highlighted. The bubbles of bokeh, as for them, are very round in the center and take on the shape of a cat’s eye as soon as you get a little closer to the edges. In addition, they are completely smooth and devoid of defects, for a very soft background.

A fearsome autofocus

In the “old world” of SLRs, very bright optics (f/1.2) put autofocus systems to the test. Issues now resolved with the focus system on the sensors.

For our part, we tested the XF56mm F1.2 R WR with the two most demanding Fujifilm cameras of the moment, the X-H2 and the X-T5. The success rate was very good during our tests. Between the high-performance autofocus systems of the cameras and the new AF motors integrated into the focal length, the autofocus is formidable. The detection of the eye or the subject is done almost immediately, without problem, and this, even at f/1.2.

shooter with this 85 mm equivalent becomes a real pleasure, while its “ancestor” was more painful to use. The development remains quite silent, without being totally inaudible.

We could have hoped for an optical stabilization

The most modern APS-C hybrids from Fujifilm have mechanical stabilization of the sensor and will compensate for the movements of the photographer without too much difficulty. However, and despite the very bright aperture, once the lens is mounted on an older and more compact hybrid, such as an X-T3, an X-E4 or an X-Pro3, you should expect to encounter some camera shake issues, especially in low light; a “problem” that optical stabilization could have compensated for.

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