I always say I’m going to do a gear review, but never have. So welcome to my first ever review of camera equipment! I’ll warn you right now that I’m not much of a writer but I’ll try to do my best. And I’m not going to bore you with tech talk, or list off specs. I’m just going to tell you how it works with my style of shooting, and what I thought was good and what I felt was bad. Keeping it simple is always good, right?
A quick history of why I’m using Fuji more and more. I suffered a bad back injury a few years ago and have been hoping to get a lighter system ever since. I’ve been using a Nikon D3s and D600 for the past couple of years. After carrying my Nikons around NYC in 110+ degree heat last summer, I knew I needed something smaller and lighter. I went out and bought the XE1, and fell in love! I have upgraded to the XE2, which is my favourite camera now.
A few weeks ago Fuji released a lens I have been dying to get my hands on, the 56 1.2 If you are reading this for a review then I’m sure you know the specs. Its the equivalent of an 85 1.8 on a full frame camera.
My first impressions were that it was bigger and heavier then I imagined. That is in no way to say it’s too big. It balances perfectly on the camera and when out shooting I didn’t notice it feeling any heavier then the 23mm lens. The build quality also feels top notch. It looks and feels like this lens could withstand some abuse (but its not weather sealed so be careful).
I wanted to give this lens a proper test before wedding season started back up so I asked my friend Brittney if she was up for a quick portrait shoot in an old area of Niagara Falls. A few words about Brittney. She is a gorgeous model and awesome person as well! She was up for anything and was willing to brave the cold that is still lingering here in Niagara. We found some awesome abandoned buildings that served as the perfect backdrop and got to work.
We went out and the first thing I did was shoot everything at 1.2. And all I can tell you is wow! It is insanely sharp wide open. My full frame equivalent that I use is the Nikon 85 1.8 and the Fuji blew it out of the water wide open.
I didn’t have an assistant so everything was shot with just natural light. No reflectors, no speed light on camera, just whatever light was available. I tried it in back lit situations, in areas with high contrast and in the shade. I love the sharpness, the bokeh, and the skin tones it produced. I don’t think I stopped it down to more then f2.5 for the entire shoot. And as sharp as it was wide open, it was tack sharp by f2! To put it simply, this is a high quality portrait lens that produces fantastic results!
Things I didn’t love about it…. It doesn’t focus as fast as I’d like. It is quick, but I felt it was slower then my 23. And on extreme back lit situations it had trouble finding focus and missed a few time. But to be fair my Nikon cameras also miss in that situation too, so it wasn’t a huge surprise.
That’s it for cons! Honestly if you are on the fence about getting the 56, just do it. It is an amazing lens and is quickly becoming my favourite to use.
Here are a few pics from Brittney’s portrait shoot. I’ve included what aperture each were shot at and they were all edited with VSCO 03,04,05