The Fujifilm 50mm f1 R WR is my favorite lens, but it may have just been dethroned. The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR is a new portrait lens designed to keep up with Fujifilm’s higher-resolution sensors. It adds weather sealing, improved autofocus, and an 11-blade aperture. And it sits at the same list price as the previous version.
But the best part of this lens isn’t listed in the technical specifications: the mix of super sharp subjects without compromising classic Fujifilm character. This lens may have just found a sweet spot to create technically great images that don’t feel sterile.
Table of Contents
The Big Picture
The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR mixes super sharp centers with Fujifilm character, and the results are quite beautiful. Subjects pop from the background with sharp eyes in a sea of bokeh. Best of all, the lens maintains Fujifilm’s character. The colors are lovely, and the lens still produces beautiful flare. What’s more, Fujifilm added weather-sealing to make it more durable.
I’m a bit bothered by the sound of this lens’ autofocus motor though. It’s not too terrible, but it’s certainly louder than the autofocus on the Fujifilm 50mm f1. Pixel peepers may also find some occasional purple fringing in high-contrast areas.
Overall, the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR is so good that I’m debating if I should trade my 50mm f1 for it. The 56mm is noticeably sharper, lighter, and focuses closer. It’s not perfect, but it delivers a great blend of sharpness and character that I think many Fuji-tographers will love.
I’m giving the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR five out of five stars.
- Sharp wide open
- Beautiful flare
- Sturdy metal build
- Soft backgrounds
- Round center bokeh with cat-eye edges
- Closer autofocus capabilities
- Smaller than the 50mm f1
- Loud autofocus
- Occasional chromatic aberration
I used the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR on the Fujifilm XT5. Both are on temporary loan from Fujifilm.
The 56mm f1.2 is Fujifilm’s first X Mount lens to use an 11-blade aperture. That helps create more rounded bokeh. The optical design is also made for higher-resolution sensors, like those found in the Fujifilm X-H2 and X-T5.
The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR has the classic look and feel of a Fujifilm prime. It’s short but wide, weighs about a pound, and takes up a three-inch slot in a camera bag. The 56mm is more compact and lighter than the Fujifilm 50mm f1 lens.
There are just two dials and one switch on the lens. The first dial out from the mount — the skinniest one — is the aperture dial. It’s labeled but is also easy to adjust by feel while looking through the viewfinder, and a switch locks the aperture in place to prevent accidental setting changes. The largest ring is for manual focus. These two rings are easily differentiated by size, position, and texture.
The front of the lens takes 67mm filters. It ships with a large plastic lens hood.
Metal lenses are one of the reasons I switched to Fujifilm. Fuji’s metal primes feel amazing and the 56mm is no exception. The lens looks and feels like it fits right in with my other prime lenses.
The WR in the name means this lens is weather-resistant. The lens survived getting splashed on as well as an accident involving a toddler and some frosting. And I didn’t find any dust spots on the images during my tests.
The first thing I noticed about the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 is the autofocus, which is pretty loud. The focus system sounds louder than other Fujifilm lenses I’ve used. This was true on both the XT5 and XT4 bodies. If you are shooting in a silent room, the autofocus is noticeable. That’s unfortunate if you’re shooting a wedding ceremony or trying to be stealthy for candids. While I don’t think someone several feet away will be distracted by the lens, I found the noise annoying.
The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 is more portrait than sports oriented. In this genre, expect around 10 to 15 percent of shots to be soft. There are plenty of keepers using this lens with the eye AF on the XT4. On the XT5, I had more misses: around 20 to 25 percent. The autofocus performance will vary widely, based on what body the lens is paired with. But, for portraits, I think this lens is plenty sufficient.
The 56mm does focus a bit closer than the 50mm f1: 1.6 feet away rather than 2.3 feet. It’s also an improvement from the previous version, the 56mm f1.2 R without WR weather sealing, which focused as close as 2.3 feet as well. That’s another perk for this lens as it allows for close-up portraits. Getting in close will also naturally increase the appearance of bokeh in the background.
Ease of Use
There’s no learning curve for existing Fujifilm users. I typically shoot with two XT4s, with a prime lens on each. Straight out of the box, I am able to mount this lens and shoot without pulling my eye from the viewfinder.
For beginners and first-time Fujifilmers, there’s an A switch on the lens for automatic aperture settings. That’s a little less self-explanatory than the little green auto icon on a camera’s mode dial. But now that you’ve read that last sentence, you shouldn’t have any major learning curves if you buy the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2.
The only thing that would make this lens easier to use is stabilization. There’s no in-lens stabilization here, just the stabilization in a camera body if you’re using one with it. That said, I did shoot Christmas lights with this lens wide open while the stabilization inside the XT4 was on and had no issues.
The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR is a sharp lens with Fuji character. The colors are classic Fuji. The flare is oh so lovely. That wide f1.2 makes backgrounds pop. And while there’s a tiny bit of aberration to edit out in some images, the overall image quality makes the 56mm a lens I want to add to my own kit.
With its wide aperture, longer focal length, and ability to focus at 1.6 feet, making bokeh is easy with the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2. Subjects boldly pop from nicely softened backgrounds. This is another one of Fujifilm’s lenses that don’t have me itching for my old full-frame DSLR and a f2.8 zoom at all.
This is the first X-mount lens to use 11 blades in the aperture design. That leaves bokeh balls nice and round at the center. The bokeh doesn’t onion ring and only occasionally looks soapy. But those points of light do turn to a cat-eye shape quite quickly. Sometimes, that cat-eye shape makes the bokeh appear to swirl a bit more. Other photographers may be more bothered by the oblong shape of the bokeh on the edges. While it’s worth noting the new 11-blade aperture, I think the bokeh from this lens and the 50mm f1 actually look pretty similar.
Color is the reason to choose Fujifilm, and the 56mm f1.2 doesn’t deviate from that trend. The lens allows Fujifilm’s color profiles to shine. In even lighting, colors are neither oversaturated nor washed out. There’s a clear mid-level of contrast in even lighting, more pop with flash, or more muted, washed-out tones when capturing lens flare.
I did, however, spot some occasional chromatic aberration around high contrast edges. The colored fringing was present in both RAW and JPEG, but editing took care of most of that fringe.
I was worried that, with the lens being made for high-resolution sensors, it might favor technical correctness and suppress flare. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Point this lens at the sun, and you can get soft blooms of light. Adjust how the lens is angled, and you can get either soft flare with more muted colors or flare with colorful ghosting circles.
The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 has flare and bokeh that feel quite similar to the 50mm f1. But, this lens is considerably sharper. I didn’t need to step the aperture down to get a sharp subject with this lens. If you want to place the subject on the edge, then sharpness is a little better at f1.8.
The eyes in the portraits from this lens are quite sharp. But, I wasn’t really bothered by skin imperfections. I think that’s the ideal mix of sharpness — eyes that pop, without that look-at-my-pores level of detail.
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who Should Buy It?
If you like Sony-level sharpness but love Fujifilm character, the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR is your lens. A subject’s sharp eyes will really pop from beautiful background bokeh. Colors need very little editing, and flare is amazing. It’s not quite as sharp on the edges, and there’s some chromatic aberration at times, but it’s a great lens for portrait photographers craving a mix of technical sharpness and character.
If you’re bothered by louder autofocus motors or really hate seeing chromatic aberration, you might want to hold off. We didn’t find colored fringing with the old version of this lens, but you can spot some here occasionally on things like backlit tree branches. Want one? Check it out on Amazon.
LensRentals lists the following technical specifications for the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR:
- Angle of View: 28.5°
- Aperture Blades: 11, Rounded
- Autofocus: Autofocus
- Brand : Fuji
- Filter Size: 67.0mm
- Focal Length: 56.0-56.0
- Hood Included: Yes
- Image Stabilization: No
- Item Type: Lens
- Lens Type: Normal Range
- Max Aperture: 1.2
- Maximum Magnification: 0.14x
- Mfr. Model Number: 16780028
- Minimum Aperture: 16.0
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 1.6feet
- Mount: Fuji
- Optical Design
- Groups/Elements: 8/13
- Aspherical Elements: 2
- Extra-Low Dispersion Elements: 1
- Physical Dimensions (ø x L): 3.1 × 3.0″
- Weight: 1.0 lb.
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