The Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD is a great lens. It’s not because it’s the sharpest, or has the best colour or an array of other sought after features. It’s great because it’s unique. Not unlike much of the Fujifilm X series cameras and lenses, Fujifilm stands out as different and this gives their cameras and lenses an edge over every other brand. Why? Because when you shoot with most 85mm equivalent portrait lenses, everyone seems to be aiming for the same effect in the same exact way. Not Fujifilm. They remind me of Minolta in the 80s and 90s with their Dynax-Maxxum series of cameras and lenses. They were trend setters and made unusual cameras and lenses that puzzled many (9 blade circular aperture, programmable hold buttons on the lenses, flare cutter aperture, Smooth Trans Focus technology (apodization tech!), AF 500mm mirror lens, etc.) but had a huge legion of fans that liked their unique approach.
So the first thing you need to know about this lens is that it’s tricky to shoot with it on the street. It’s great as a studio lens or if you primarily shoot portraits or headshots. I’m thinking wedding photographers and fashion photographers. Not that a street photographer couldn’t have one of these lenses and find it useful, but I would recommend having either a second body or another camera to capture the wider stuff. But when you do find something or someone to shoot, this lens is AMAZING!! I love this lens. It’s great. When the focus is right, the image is tack sharp, but try not shooting at f/1.2 while on the street as you’ll misfocus 50% of the time (unless you’re shooting things across the street). It’s not because there’s a problem with the lens or the autofocus system, but because the depth of field is so shallow that even an inch of movement from either you or your subject will make for an out of focus image. However, with a stable subject, I found I was happiest at f/2-2.8, and manual focus override on the new X series bodies makes it easier to make small adjustments. Also, since the X-T1 now has an electronic shutter that goes up to 1/32,000th sec speed, you can shoot wide open and still get the shot. Thanks Fujifilm.