Why Prioritize the Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 MK II Lens Now?

Why update the XF56mm f1.2 so soon after the XF50mm f1.0 was launched?

It’s no secret that some of Fujifilm’s XF-Series lenses are getting rather long in the tooth. There is certainly no shortage of people who’d like to see some updates. As the Fuji cameras get better and better, some of the older focus motors struggle to keep up. These older lenses particularly struggle with video autofocus. The XF18mm f1.4 was a great place for Fuji to start: it’s a versatile focal length many photographers and videographers will love. But now, we’re possibly getting the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 MK II. Should Fuji have prioritized other lenses instead? Read on after the break.

The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 MK II Will Probably Be Great

Fuji XF56mm

According to FujiRumors, their next update may be the XF56mm f1.2. That’s a bit surprising so soon after the release of the new 50mm f1.0 lens.

The original XF 56mm f1.2 is a well-loved lens in the Fuji community. There’s also little doubt as to why; it’s sharp, the bokeh is gorgeous, and it fills the 85mm equivalent portrait lens slot perfectly. It is getting a bit on in age, however. This lens was announced in January of 2014. As a result, I’m sure many people wouldn’t mind a facelift of this lens. Its autofocus has been criticized in terms of speed and video performance. It’s not a weather-resistant lens. And there are a couple of places it could use improvement.

It really doesn’t need a lot, though. Perhaps some more capable autofocus motors would be nice. Maybe Fuji can improve on the build with weather-sealing. It’s also possible that Fuji is just looking to update its lenses to resolve higher resolution sensors. But overall, the XF 56mm f1.2 is in a pretty good spot, even being as aged as it is. As a result, it would be a big surprise if the XF 56mm f1.2 MK II was anything but great.

The 50mm Elephant in the XF 56mm Room

It will be a little shocking if the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 MK II actually shows up so soon after the new 50mm f1.0. Fuji wowed a lot of us with that lens recently. There isn’t much else like it in the native APS-C world. Sure, there are a few third-party manual lenses with f0.95 apertures, but no other native choices. The XF50mm f1.0 really made people think twice about the XF56mm. What’s a bit confusing is, why update the 56mm when we already have three great choices in that range? We now have the 50mm f1.0, the regular 56mm f1.2, and the 56mm APD. Should the 56mm f1.2 really take priority over other lenses in the XF lineup?

Fuji Has Other Lenses in Need of a Refresh

Strangely, Fuji didn’t focus on updating all of the wide and standard lenses first. If the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 MK II is to be the next lens release for Fuji, anyway. There are a ton of people who would love to see the 16mm f1.4 updated. In fact, the 23mm f1.4 and 35mm f1.4 lenses are also screaming for an update. Not only would action photographers benefit from that, but videographers would rejoice as well. The whole line of f1.4 primes has a reputation for comparatively poor autofocus in video. A couple of these lenses also desperately need to be weather-sealed. It would be nice to see all three of those lenses updated before the 56mm.

Videographers and action photographers certainly can, and do, use portrait-length lenses. However, the three wide to normal length primes are more versatile and frequently used in general. Therefore, we’ve got to wonder if updating the 56mm first is the right move.

Maybe Fuji Will Surprise Us

The optimist in me wants to think the order of Fujinon lens updates for X-mount isn’t important. Hopefully, 2021 will be the year of updated Fujinon lenses. The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 MK II won’t be as confusing if Fuji announces they are also updating the other fast primes. The order in which updated lenses rollout won’t be as important if they update them all. Because then, in the end, most of our needs would be met by at least one of the lenses. My hope is that will be the case.

Fuji has come such a long way in a short amount of time. In some cases, their older lens designs are all that’s holding their cameras back. If Fuji can get their fast XF primes weather-sealed and fast focusing, they’ll be even more of a force. Hopefully, these things are on their roadmap, and we’ll see them implemented soon. What lenses would you like to see Fuji tackle first?

John Bradford

John is an Arkansas based landscape and outdoor photographer. Originally from the Texas Panhandle,he grew up in Oklahoma and now lives in NW Arkansas with his wife and two pups. John shoots mountain bike events, landscapes, and nature/wildlife primarily, but enjoys shooting portraiture and cityscapes as well. He has multiple years of experience working in camera sales. John is also passionate about shooting film. When not working with cameras, John spends his time on the trails hiking and mountain biking. He also maintains two small YouTube channels, one for mountain biking, and one for photography.