Last Updated on 12/15/2020 by Chris Gampat
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There’s no shortage of exceptional portrait lenses for Fujifilm cameras. You have the 56mm f1.2, the fantastic 90mm f2, and even the 23mm and 35mm f1.4 lenses, do a fine job. However, Fujifilm shooters have another portrait lens option in the premium Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR. This ultra-fast, super rugged, weather-sealed prime promises to be the only portrait lens you’ll ever need, but is it worth the $1,499.95 asking price? Find out in our full review.
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons
- Stunning bokeh
- While big for a Fujifilm prime, it handles very well
- For as much glass as there is to move, it focuses quickly in most situations
- Nice, natural color renderings
- Weather sealing
- It’s not cheap ($1,499.95), but it’s well priced for an innovative f1 lens
- The autofocus motors are quite loud
- At f1, the center is sharp, but the edges are a little soft
- Some flaring and contrast issues when shooting into the sun
All technical specifications for the Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR have been taken from our first impressions post:
- F1 aperture
- Weather sealing
- Metal body
- 9 aperture blades
- Close focusing of 0.7 meters (2.29ft)
- 77mm filter thread
- 12 elements in 9 groups
- 1 Aspherical element
- 2 ED elements
“The Fujifilm 50mm f1.0 R WR is incredibly minimalist when it comes to its design. It’s a sharp-looking lens that looks good when paired up with any Fujifilm camera body.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR – Ergonomics
Taken from our first impressions.
The first thing that will come to mind when you see the Fujifilm 50mm f1.0 R WR will be the lens size. The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is a big boy for sure, but don’t let that put you off. Sure, it’s bigger than any other Fujifilm prime except the 200mm f2, but the lens still handles well.
A quick look around the body of the lens will please Fujifilm shooters. You’ll find the wonderful aperture ring nestled at the rear of the lens. Right in front of that, you’ll find the larger manual focusing ring.
Around the business end of the lens, you’ll find the front element that has a filter thread size of 77mm. One interesting design feature is that the front element seems to be ever so slightly concave. In the above image, you can see the large lens hood. When attached, the lens hood adds about half the length of the lens onto the front. As we said earlier, this is a big prime for Fujifilm.
Apart from the manual focusing and aperture rings, there are no other physical controls on the lens itself. The Fujifilm 50mm f1.0 R WR is incredibly minimalist when it comes to its design. It’s a sharp-looking lens that looks good when paired up with any Fujifilm camera body, and it feels great in the hand.
“The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is priced like a premium lens, and we can assure you that it definitely feels like one.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR – Build Quality
There are no two ways about it; the Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is a massive chunk of a lens. However, you’ll be surprised at just how well balanced the lens is. Chris Gampat, our Editor In Chief, used the lens with his X-Pro 3 and X-T4 and found that it balanced very well. I have used it with the new Fujifilm XS10, and while being a little front heavy on the smaller camera body, overall, it was still straightforward to use. I never thought that the combo was unmanageable. The lens is on the heavier side of things at 1.86lbs. This, however, is due to the all-metal build and the massive pieces of glass.
We’ve had this lens with us for a few weeks now, and we have no doubts about its durability. I couldn’t test the lens out in the rain due to it being paired with the non-weather sealed Fujifilm XS10. However, we’re certain that it will perform just as well as Fujifilm’s other WR designated lenses. The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is priced like a premium lens, and we can assure you that it definitely feels like one. The Fujifilm 50mm f1.0 R WR will last you a very long time.
Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR – Autofocus
Given just how much glass the autofocus motors have to move around in this lens, you’d forgive Fujifilm is the AF performance was a little slower than normal. However, you don’t need to worry about that at all. The autofocus motors are a little louder than many newer Fujifilm lenses but are about on par with some of the older primes like the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R. On the X-S10, AF performance is more than good enough for its primary use as a portrait lens. In low-light situations, the lens did hunt a little, but this is more to do with the XS10 than the lens.
Again, our Editor In Chief experienced similar performance issues when he attached the lens to his X-Pro 3. However, when Chris used it with the X-T4, the lens was blazing fast and never missed a beat, even in low light scenarios. It’s not the greatest lens to track fast subjects, but this is to be expected. Still, no matter what camera you attach this to, you’ll find that it’s no slouch. Once it locks on to your subject, it won’t let go. The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR also works like a charm with Fujifilm’s eye AF as well. For its intended use (portraits), the lens performs just fine. You’ll find that it’s good enough for other genres too. Just don’t pick it up thinking you can shoot indoor sports with it easily.
“Whether you’re an old hat or new to photography, cameras these days make using ultra-fast lenses like this a doddle. You’ll have no issues creating gorgeous images with it.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR – Ease Of Use
The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is an easy lens to use, especially when paired with an IBIS infused Fujifilm camera. The lens is not stabilized at all, so keep this in mind. Still, follow the reciprocal rule, and you’ll be okay. Thanks to advances in autofocus and tracking, shooting at f1 is a piece of cake. Gone are the days where you’d have to take 10 shots to get one with eyes in focus. This was an all too familiar scenario when we used the old Canon EF 85mm f1.2 on DSLRs. Now you just point, half-press, and the camera sticks to your subject’s eyes like glue. On Fujifilm’s APS-C cameras, this lens has an equivalent focal length of 75mm. It’s a little odd, but you quickly get used to it.
In terms of controlling the lens, you have little to worry about. You have the aperture control ring, which is always nice. Still, if you don’t want to use that, you just switch it to A, and you can control the aperture from your camera’s body. The manual focusing ring is not a clutch-style that you pull back, nor is there an A/F switch on the lens. To switch between manual and autofocus, you need to dive into the menu system on the XS10 or flip the switch on the front of the camera in the case of the X-T series. Whether you’re an old hat or new to photography, cameras these days make using ultra-fast lenses like this a doddle. You’ll have no issues creating gorgeous images with it.
Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR – Image Quality
The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is quite impressive indeed. The image quality is fantastic overall. At f1, the center of your images will be razor-sharp, while the edges and corners will be a little soft. If you stop the lens down a hair, you’ll be blown away with sharpness levels. Still, this is not to say that shooting at f1 is a letdown. On the contrary. Images captured at f1 will still bring a joyous tear to your eye. The bokeh is splendid, and the colors are natural. Let’s break it down further below.
Creamy, dreamy, and as smooth as silk. The bokeh produced with the Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is a photographer’s dream come true. Especially for photographers who use APS-C cameras. You’ll find that at f1, bokeh balls are more cats eye shaped rather than perfectly round, but they still look sensational. Just look at the fall-off in the image above. If you’re a portrait photographer who shoots with Fujifilm, this lens is a must-have.
Chromatic Aberration, Flares, and Distortion
One weakness of the Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is the way it controls flares. It’s certainly not terrible, but I was hoping that the coatings would do more, especially as many natural light portrait photographers will shoot into the sun. You can see a blob of flare in the middle right of the frame in the image above. Also, you’ll take a pretty big hit in contrast when shooting into the sun.
If you turn off the automatically applied lens corrections, too, you’ll find that the lens does suffer from a slight amount of pincushion distortion. Again, it’s easy to fix, so it’s not a deal-breaker. Now, the lens has not exhibited any signs of chromatic aberration at all, so Fujifilm must be commended for that.
You’re going to get nice, natural colors out of the Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR. This is a boon for portrait photographers as it means skin tones render perfectly. The colors rendered aren’t muted, but they aren’t oversaturated either. They strike a perfect balance. When it comes time to edit your images you’ll just be able to skip over messing with colors. They’re that good.
As mentioned above, when shooting at f1, the center of the image will be tack sharp. However, the edges and corners will be slightly softer. Still, just stop the lens down a smidge, and wow! Sharpness for days, my friends.
You buy a lens like this to shoot wide open, and you’ll still be plenty pleased with the results you get at f1. Still, a lens is made to be used at all apertures, and this lens has tons in the sharpness bag no matter what f-stop you choose.
Extra Image Samples
The following images are in two galleries. The first set were shot with a pre-production version that was close to final.
These images were shot with a production version.
“Wide-open at f1, you’re going to get some of the best bokeh you’ll ever see on the APS-C platform. It’s a must-have for portrait photographers.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR – Conclusions
- Bokeh, glorious bokeh
- Wonderful, natural colors
- Weather sealing
- Easy to handle despite its size
- Slightly soft edges when shooting at f1
- Autofocus motors that are a little louder than most
- We wish it controlled flares a little better
I must commend Fujifilm for creating an f1 lens with autofocusing capabilities. Despite the amount of glass the motors have to push around, the lens is more than quick enough for its intended use, which is portraits. As you can see above, the lens can be used easily in various situations. Wide-open at f1, you’re going to get some of the best bokeh you’ll ever see on the APS-C platform. It’s a must-have for portrait photographers. Sharpness at f1 is great in the center of the frame, but stop it down a hair, and you’ll get edge-to-edge goodness. Portrait photographers will love the way the lens renders colors too. However, with the good comes a little bad. I wish the lens controlled sun flares a little better. Still, pick up this lens, and you’ll be flawed by the images you create with it.
The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR scores a fantastic four out of five stars. Is it worth the $500 premium at $1,499.95 over the already excellent Fujifilm 56mm f1.2? If you need weather sealing and want to have even more creative freedom, yes, absolutely. The 50mm f1 R WR is a fantastic lens that will serve those that love all things bokeh very well. Want one? Head on over to Amazon to see the latest prices.