Lens Review – Fujifilm XF 50mm f1.0 is finally here.
Recently, I had the opportunity to review one of the newest lenses in the Fujifilm X series – The Fujifilm XF 50mm f1.0.
To briefly sum up my experience, it’s a wonderful lens for portraiture and cityscapes. Additionally, it also happens to be one of the sharpest XF lenses I have ever used. While I’m predominately a travel photographer, I decided to use this lens for an all-day, outdoor portraiture and cityscape shoot. I had this latest lens paired with an XT4 camera body.
If you’ve been considering purchasing a new set of lenses or are simply just curious about what this one can bring to the table, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about the latest in the lineup of XF lenses.
The Lenses’ Build
The Fujifilm XF 50mm f1.0 carries a weight of 845 grams and a diameter of 77mm. With 12 elements in 9 group configuration, this lens isn’t the smallest and lightweight offering in the lenses lineup. But the quality lens result will enticed you to utilize it in almost any photography sessions.
Built for Street and Portraitures
The XF 50mm f1.0 has an extremely fast and accurate auto-focus feature. Throughout my shoot, it had no problems focusing on the subject at all, even with complicated backgrounds or in low light settings. Coupled with the natural sharpness of the lens, every single intimate detail from the original scenery could be captured in the resulting photos, from stray strands of hair to tiny leaves in the background.
While detail-oriented photos do wonders for cityscape shots at f8.0, it may occasionally be a bit too harsh for portraiture shots. For softer photos, I turned the aperture down to f1.0, which made some of the background buttery smooth, while still managing to keep the areas of focus in razor sharp detail. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the same shot, but with the aperture setting at f1.0 and f5.6 respectively. You might notice how the model’s face stands out in 3D from the gentle, soft blend of the background colours.
Here are a few shots that may help you get a better feel of what the lens is capable of. These shots also showcase the legendary fast autofocus and accurate feature, as well as the sharpness of the lens.
In addition to that, here are some backlit shots, with one photo utilizing the flash function, and the other without. I deliberately shoot against the light and allows lens flare to be included in the image. My reason is to test the autofocus under strong back light and how does the flare perform when included.
The Highly Sought-After Bokeh Effect
Recently made famous by phone commercials showing off their camera features, the bokeh effect is highly sought after by both instagrammer and portraiture photographers alike for its beautiful, dreamlike appearance. Due to the XF 50mm’s wide range of aperture settings, I was able to achieve a bokeh effect that’s comparable to some of the iconic lenses in the market.
Here is a series of the same picture taken with different aperture settings, namely F1.0, F5.6, and F11.0, with each producing with very different amounts of bokeh in the background.
In fact, I am excited to try out the lenses’ ability to keep the subject in a shallow depth of field for videography. The tracking and bokeh effect on video is astonishing. Videographers can also consider using these lenses when they need to constantly keep a subject in full focus while tracking the subject. This is possible with the camera’s accurate auto-focus feature.
Autofocusing in Video
Aperture Testing from f1.0 to f16
Image Quality of Fujifilm XF 50mm f1.0 Lens
Arguably one of the most important aspects to consider when buying a new set of lens is the resulting image quality. From image distortion to chromatic aberration, a photographer’s worst nightmare would be needing to slowly comb through all photos and correcting these little mistakes when they could have easily been prevented with a good set of lens.
Throughout my time with the XF 50mm f1.0, I did not face any noticeable problems with the image quality. There was no visible distortion, nor was there any sign of colour casting. No visible chromatic aberration in any of the photos taken in harsh daylight. But I do notice in one of the photo taken with flash, there is purple fringing on the metal reflection. (Refer to the model’s watch taken with flash)
In fact, with the stabilization of the XT4 camera body, I was able to capture handheld images at a shutter speed of 1/25 seconds, without any additional light sources.
At the end of the day, we’ll need to ask the million-dollar question: Is the lens worth its price tag?
While I will not be able to answer that question for you, here are some aspects you might like to consider. In my experience, it’s one of the smoothest and sharpest lenses currently available by Fujifilm, and one that would certainly be helpful for portraiture, street and cityscape photographers; less so for sports or action photographers. Its wide aperture allows photographers to try out different styles and proves to be no hassle even in handheld, or low light situations.
Photography is not an exact science. All photographers have their own preferences when it comes to their gear. However, the best way to determine if a lens is for you is to take into consideration the types of photos you would typically take, and factor in what the XF 50mm could do for you.
If it fits your particular type and style of photography, then by all means, the Fujifilm XF 50mm 1.0 is an amazing set of lens to have in your arsenal. When you get used to handling it, it might just become your all-time favourite set of lens for future projects. Otherwise, if you’re still undecided, the best course of action might be to test the lens in the showroom, and only purchase them when you’re absolutely sure you’ll love it.
To conclude, this lens is worth investing for both photography and videography.
(Disclaimer: I am Fujifilm X-Photographer, currently using GFX system. This lens review is unbiased based on my user experience from the 2 weeks of testing. In some photos, there are minimal editing using Adobe Lightroom, but rest assured it is done only when needed.)
Summary of my findings in points
- Beautiful Bokeh created by the lens
- Fast Autofocus feature
- Shallow depth of field which is very useful when doing photo / video works
- The flare performs well in back light
- The lens is slightly on bulky and on the heavier side due to the internal lens elements.
- The images on f1.0 tends to be on a softer side
- The sharpest aperture is around f4.0 – f8.0 range
- No distortion
- Sharpness of the lens is good