In the middle of moving apartments, everything is in boxes, my new apartment is small, where the hell are my flash triggers. My loaner Fuji 56mm 1.2 R arrives...who cares about the move anymore? I was really hoping to get the 56/1.2 with the X-T1 again, because let me tell you...I really miss that camera. If I hadn't just purchased a Sony A7r recently to replace my 5D3, the X-T1 would be on order right now.
When I picked up the lens it came with an X-E1. The X-E1 had old 1.1 version firmware on it and MAN did it show. I mean literally...when you'd turn the camera on with the 56mm lens, right on the screen it said "Update firmware". You're not the boss of me camera!!! But after popping off a few shots with this thing before driving off, I saw how sluggish it was. After shooting the X-E2 and X-T1 last month the X-E1 felt sooooooo slllooooooowwww.
Off to the interweb!
I get back to the new apartment, find my Macbook Pro and head off to download the new 2.20 firmware from Fuji's website. 54Kb/s....really? In 2014? 38meg files should take less than a minute to download!
So the file downloads, I slap an SD card into the side of my MBP and it shows me the card is read-only. WTF? My laptop has been docked for a year a and I've been using an external SD/CF card reader, is my internal one broken? Some quick googling and I read somewhere that you have to slide the read/write slider in SD cards halfway in some MBPs. WTF Apple! So after two attempts I find the magical sweet middle spot and get the firmware copied. Put card in the X-E2, hold Disp button while turning on and follow the menu. Poww! Few minutes later, we're on 2.20.
Awakening the beast!
So if you haven't yet updated the firmware on your X-E1 (or X-Pro1 and X100 for that matter), what are you waiting for? SD card in read-only mode on your MBP? Read above. Dial up internet? It's worth the wait. Seriously....go upgrade. The responsiveness and AF performance alone warrants the upgrade. It's not quite as snappy as the X-E2, but wow, what a difference. Bravo Fuji........bravo!
The Fuji Feel
The build quality of the lens feels really great. Like any super fast lens, prime or not, the 56/1.2 is pretty heavy....and pretty big. Not quite Canon 50/1.2 big, but on a small mirror less camera like the X-E1, it's BIG. The focus and aperture rings feel fantastic. The step between f/1.2 and f/1.4 is a touch looser than the rest, but everything is nice and tight and fluid feeling without being overly tight.
Without a Fuji or Really Right Stuff grip on this thing, or at least a Thumbgrip, if you have big hands you will find the 56mm 1.2 is a bit awkward to have on this body. Not unmanageable, after all I did spend a few hours walking around with it, but noticeable, especially if coming from a bigger DSLR. I mentioned in my X-E2 review that you should get the grip....go get the grip.
So who walks around with an 85mm/1.2 lens? Nobody really. In Fuji's own product overview, they state "A fast F1.2 lens with a focal length of 85mm* that delivers beautiful background bokeh so it's ideal for portraiture." So if you're a wedding or portrait photographer using x-series cameras, and you haven't already ordered this lens....don't wait any longer. You will LOVE it! It's exactly what you've been waiting for. As a matter of fact.... why haven't you ordered it already?
Since the Fuji's are an APS-C sensor the DOF is not quite as shallow at 1.2 as what you would see on a full frame sensor. This is not a bad thing. The lens renders beautifully and there is such a thing as TOO SHALLOW of a DOF. Shooting at 1.2 is more like shooting at 1.4 or 1.8 on a full frame camera DOF wise depending on how close you are to your subject. But what do I know...I shoot landscapes.
I'm off to Ikea
So sadly, I was hoping to make a few phone calls and go shoot some portraits with this thing, but I'm sticking with my "one day" premise of these reviews and I simply have to focus on getting on with this move. So here are the next 10 hours in photographs with some notes...with the exception of the night pictures, everything was shot at 1.2 for the sake of shooting at 1.2. Some shots had some chromatic aberrations (as one normally gets with shooting at 1.2) but these were quickly fixed in lightroom. Click on any pictures to see larger version. Please leave comments below and share share share.
Fuji just keeps knocking them out of the ballpark and this stunning prime is no different. The build, the feel, and the optical quality of the Fuji 56mm 1.2 R are simply top notch. You toss in the fact that it's under $1000!!! Unbelievable! If you want a super fast 85mm equivalent prime...don't think twice about this beast! If you don't know what chromatic aberrations are, don't worry about buying new gear just yet, you have things to learn first grasshopper.