The definitive portrait lens for the X system
September 08, 2014
If you're even considering this lens, I can only presume you're after a fast piece of glass; this lens delivers in spades.
The 56mm f./1.2 provides a practically surreal photographic experience. The amount of visual isolation this lens is able to provide is simply stunning; subjects appear tack-sharp while the out-of-focus elements fade away into a soft, otherworldly haze. The bokeh is....well, it's exquisite. Soft, ethereal, and dreamlike, photos taken with this lens have their own visual signature which marks each and every shot.
This is a laughably fast lens. Even when stopped to f/2-2.8, this lens is more than capable of shooting indoors and producing gorgeous images effortlessly.
With respect to image quality, this lens is unrivaled in the Fuji lineup, and holds its own against the competition with relative ease.
The only negatives I can admit about this lens are twofold: firstly, this is a substantial piece of glass. It's incredibly heavy, and built solid. You feel this lens around your neck when it isn't being shot. It's so large, in fact, that the XE1 does not sit flat on a level surface when this lens is attached to it; the diameter of the lens exceeds the camera body. Also, it's highly, highly conspicuous. This is not a street-shooter; this lens commands attention, whether you want it or not. Luckily, the moderate telephoto effect gives you quite a bit of working space in the event that you do take this lens to the streets.
Secondly, I have discovered that in low light, the autofocus on this lens can be a bit "searchy," particularly when wide open. This isn't necessarily an issue I've had often, but when the lighting is sufficiently poor, this lens can struggle.
Optically, the lens is absolutely worth the current $1100 price tag at the time I'm writing this review. Visit the FLickr account of anyone who owns this lens and marvel at its beauty. You will not be disappointed. This is why I can confidently give this lens 5/5 despite the negative comments I have mentioned above; never before have I used a lens so completely transformative. This lens makes magic.
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