Is the Fujifilm 50mm f/1.0 Worth the Premium Over the 56mm f/1.2?

I am a long-time user and fan of Fujifilm’s excellent XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens. I’ve never even thought twice about another portrait lens for the system since I bought it, that is, until I saw the specs on the company’s new XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR lens.

It would seem so, at least according to YouTuber and Fujifilm ambassador Jonathan Branch IV. In his video, YouTuber and Fujifilm ambassador Jonathan Branch compares the 56mm f/1.2 to the 50mm f/1.0 in an unscientific portrait shoot on his Fujifilm X-T3s.

While to my eye, most of the photos appear to be almost exactly the same, Branch does talk about how much more he likes the 75mm equivalent focal length in the 50mm compared to the 85mm of the 56mm. It’s a bit of an odd duck as a portrait lens, since most times, the classic focal length on a full frame camera tends to be the 85mm. I tried to love my Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR lens for portraits, but I always come back to the shorter 56. It just renders such beautiful bokeh compared to most other lenses (and I don’t even have the APD version that’s designed for better bokeh), and the shorter working distance means easier conversation with my subject to put them at ease while photographing them.

One reason I’ll occasionally bust out the 90mm over the 56mm is that “WR” designation. The weather-resistance of Fuji lenses is top-notch, and sometimes, that can let me shoot in situations the 56mm can’t. That’s a key distinction also between the 50mm f/1.0 and the 56mm f/1.2, something that Branch didn’t talk about but that’s worth noting.

Curiously, while DPReview reports the 50mm f/1.0 to be a bit softer and slower in autofocus compared to the 56mm f/1.2, Branch reports the exact opposite to be the case. For me, the 56mm f/1.2 is so sharp wide open, I can’t imagine that any new lens could be much better.

What do you think of the 50 mm f/1.0? Will it find a home in your camera bag? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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