Last Updated on 08/07/2016 by Chris Gampat
Portrait Photographers all over are moving to the Fuji X series for a variety of reasons including, size/form factor, weight, and -ofcourse- Fuji’s outstanding colors and jpeg processing. So if you have or are considering a Fujifilm kit for some portrait photography what are some of the good lenses for the system?
In this roundup we have 6 incredible lenses for portrait photography on the Fuji X system, plus an added bonus recommendation. So lets jump right into it, shall we?
Fujifilm’s XF 35mm F/2 WR
In our official review we had the following to say about the Fuji XF 35mm F/2 WR:
“The Fujifilm XF 35mm f2 R WR is also small and has a low profile build that won’t attract the attention of strangers or other people. Combine that with the fast focusing abilities and you’ll be able to capture that candid photo you want before someone has a chance to break the moment.” — Read Our Full Review
A great low-profile semi compact option for Fuji shooters, the XF 35mm F/2 WR is fast focusing, weather resistant, and offers image quality equal to – and some might say better – its F/1.4 brother in most respects. However, if you are a fan of manual or zone focusing, we would probably suggest grabbing another options instead. Possibly the fastest focusing Fuji lens right now, so if you rely on AF, this is definitely a lens to consider.
Grab an XF 35mm F/2 WR over on Amazon now for $399.
Fujifilm’s XF 23mm F/1.4 R
In our official review we had the following to say about the Fuji XF 23mm F/1.4 R:
“Overall, it is the most versatile lens that you can use for the Fujifilm X series system and we considering to be the single best lens for Street Photography using mirrorless cameras out there. This is due to the autofocus offering and the clearly readable depth of field scale on the lens when shooting with the zone focusing method.” — Read Our Full Review
That traditional 35mm full frame field of view is great for many genres of photography, but especially for portrait photography. Combine that with the focus scale, good AF and smooth manual focus? This makes the 23mm F/1.4 R likely the best all around portrait photography lens out of Fuji’s native glass (on the mid-wide end of the spectrum).
Grab an XF 23mm F/1.4 R over on Amazon now for $899.
Fujifilm’s XF 16mm F/1.4 WR
In our official review we had the following to say about the XF 16mm F/1.4 WR:
“Fujifilm’s 16mm f1.4 is a great lens, but we’re not quite sure that it’s worth $1,000. This lens has weather sealing, sharp image quality, the best bokeh they could possibly give it, and a metal exterior that makes it tough. But it also will give users more fringing issues than we’d like, fairly slow focusing performance, and will most of all set you back $1,000. There is very little around that can even come close to what it offers, so in many ways that can help you justify the price.” — Read Our Full Review
Do you prefer more environment in your portrait photography? Then maybe Fuji’s 16mm F/1.4 WR is the lens for you, offering a FF equivalent field of view of 24mm, this lens has many of the same advantages that the 23mm F/1.4 offers, it is, however, on the spendier side of the spectrum.
Grab an XF 16mm F/1.4 WR over on Amazon now for $999.
Rokinon’s 50mm F/1.2
In our official review we had the following to say about the Rokinon/Samyang 50mm F/1.2:
“This lens is razor sharp, has a decent build quality, a very smooth focusing ring, gorgeous bokeh and has a fantastic price attached to it. If you’re an APS-C camera user, then you’ll be hard pressed to find something better for portraits; but get ready to scale back a bit on post-production.” — Read Our Full Review
Are you a fan of that classic 85mm portrait lens? Not a fan of AF? Then maybe the Rokinon/Samyang 50mm F/1.2 is a lens you should consider. These are a great deal, offer great image quality, and is still fairly compact.
Grab an Rokinon 50mm F/1.2 over on Amazon now for $450.
Fujifilm’s 56mm F/1.2
In our official review we had the following to say about the Fujifilm 56mm F/1.2:
“Fujifilm’s 56mm f1.2 is the sharpest mirrorless camera lens that we’ve tested. Not only that but it exhibits beautiful bokeh, pretty good color rendition, almost no distortion, focuses quickly, and is built well. It’s a bit expensive though, and for that reason we really only want to recommend it to the creme de la creme of the X series users. Shooting images of your cat or breakfast with this lens is a total waste and will make the theoretical photography gods weep tears of fixer fluid.” — Read Our Full Review
Probably THE portrait lens in the Fujifilm X Series system, the 56mm F/1.2 offers that classic 85mm field of view while providing everything you want in a stellar portrait offering – beautiful bokeh, sharpness, all of it. The only real downside is the price (compared to other X Series glass) and the size on some of the smaller X Series bodies. But, really – you can’t go wrong with this lens for portraits so long as you have the space.
Grab an Fujifilm 56mm F/1.2 R over on Amazon now for $999.
Fujifilm’s 90mm F/2
In our official review we had the following to say about the Fujifilm 90mm F/2:
“When it comes to pure image quality, it’s tough to beat a Fujifilm X-Trans Sensor and the company’s lenses. But the 90mm f2 is something that many have been dreaming of for a while. Of all the portrait lenses that we’ve tested for the system, it’s by far the best… You’ll fall in love all over again with the bokeh, sharpness and consistent performance that gives you very little reason to do any sort of editing to the images right out of the camera.” — Read Our Full Review
Weather sealing, that legendary 135mm equivalent field of view, stellar bokeh and sharpness. If you are a fan of tighter portrait lenses, then you really have nowhere else to look than the 90mm F/2, this is quite possibly the best portrait specific lens in the Fujifilm lineup currently, but – just as with the 56mm, it comes at a price.
Grab an Fujifilm 90mm F/2 R WR over on Amazon now for $949.
Bonus Option: Vintage Film Glass
If you enjoy the manual focus lifestyle and process, you can save some big bucks if you decide to augment your Fuji kit with some quality vintage film-era lenses. Many are optically excellent, and most can be had for a great deal compared to modern versions with AF and image stabilization.
That said, these are older lenses with older optical designs and coatings, if you are a pixel peeping image quality nazi then it is probably best to stay away from these or you will end up pulling your hair out (modern manual focus only lenses from Rokinon and others will offer better image quality but won’t be as good of a deal financially in most cases). However, if you can accept – or if you prefer – a level of imperfection in your images, old manual focus glass can honestly be a really fun and inexpensive way to enjoy your Fuji kit for portraiture.
You can find these everywhere too, check out your local craigslist and garage sales. Ebay is good, if you know how to spot scammers. We also recommend KEH, you can buy from them with confidence in knowing what you are getting. The other thing to note when buying old lenses is to pair them with good adapters, a poorly made adapter can make a perfectly good lens perform poorly on your camera.
Also, New Options Coming Soon
Lastly, Fuji’s lens roadmap in its most recent update saw that a 23mm F/2 WR is in the works and will likely be announced within the next 6 months to year. If it is anything like the 35mm F/2 WR it will likely be a great option for portrait photography as well. The roadmap also saw the addition of a 50mm F/2, and which will be worth looking out for next year as a great alternative to the 56mm F/1.2.