56mm f1.2 FujiFilm Lens Review

I'll start this review by stating that I don't know much about technical specifications.  You can read all that on the Fuji website.  What I do know is how to manipulate this lens to make, what I hope you think, are beautiful images.  I have been in the photography industry for close to 15 years and have been making images since the mid 70's.  After shooting film for many years I made the switch to digital in 2005.  Late last year I switched from all Nikon gear to Fuji and am so glad I made that change.

When I purchased my Fuji XT-1 there was a used 56mm f1.2 (Non APD) available.  The full price for this lens is $999 US but available, at the time of this post, for $799 from B&H.  I love portraiture and the price was right so I went for it.  I haven't regretted that decision, not for a minute.  I use this, almost exclusively, for portraits.  Over the years I have experimented with portraiture but never was very serious about it.  I'd taken the typical, standard, family images, but never felt excited by this type of photography.  That has changed.  Earlier this year I started working with two different models, Devi and Marie Jean.  What's nice is that I get to direct the process.  I choose the clothing, poses, surroundings and the lighting.  The only person I have to blame for poor images is myself.   The pressure is off when you don't have to please a client, catering to their needs and style constraints.  Don't get me wrong, I like to get paid for my work but it is nice to freely shoot whatever your heart desires.  

Marie Jean of modelmayhem.com

This lens is very basic compared to other Fuji lenses.  No WR (Weather Resistance) and no OIS (Optical Image Stabilization).  There is an aperture ring and a focus ring.  No window showing focul distance and no switches for other features.  56mm on a crop sensor is the same as an 84mm in full frame equivalent.  Fuji also sells a 50mm to 140mm zoom at f2.8 but I prefer the 1.2 aperture on the 56.  Playing with light is the goal of a photographer and the more f stops you have the more you get to play.    

Marie Jean of modelmayhem.com

In the studio, paired with a speedlight in a softbox, I was able to obtain clean, clear images with nice color.  I am used to using manual focus and having the focus peaking feature is a major perk of the Fuji system.  For the image below this came in very handy, having to focus past the sheer fabric.

Marie Jean  of modelmayhem.com

Marie Jean of modelmayhem.com

On a recent boudoir shoot this lens performed perfectly.  There was limited light but I felt the use of a flash would change the feel of the images.  I love working with natural light and the fast aperture allowed just that.

The room I was working in was small but I still had the room I needed to obtain the images I was looking for.  I do have to admit that the images from this lens are a little soft, but not so much so to be distracting.  I believe it adds to the images overall look and feel and is what makes this lens so special.  It also means that I don't have to spend a ton of time editing out imperfections.  

All of these images were edited in Lightroom with slight saturation, exposure, sharpness and contrast adjustments.  There was also some spot removal here and there.  These were also edited from the RAF or raw files.  

I usually hate images of myself.  I was actually able to capture this image, holding my iPad in my hand to activate the shutter and I actually like it.  

What I know for sure is that I have just begun to discover what this lens is capable of.  Portraiture has become a new favorite genre for me and I believe it is because of this amazing lens.  I have been pushing the limits of my photography and am looking forward to seeing what I can achieve in the near future.  

Boudoir, Art Nude, NSFW, Call It What You Want, I Took A Stab At It! (NSFW/Nude Link)

Link To Original Post

Below are more images from this photo shoot that incude nudity.  I created this blog entry so that people would have the choice to see the NSFW/Nude images from this shoot.  

Fuji XT1, 35mm f2, Natural Light

Fuji XT1, 56mm f1.2R, Natural Light

Fuji XT1, 35mm f2, Natural Light

Fuji XT1, 35mm f2, Natural Light

Fuji XT1, 35mm f2, Natural Light

Fuji XT1, 35mm f2, Natural Light

Fuji XT1, 35mm f2, Natural Light

2016 Mid Year Review, All In With Fuji

So this is my first full year shooting exclusively with Fuji Gear.  That gear includes the Fuji X100T, XT1, 18-55 zoom, 56mm f1.2 and the 35mm f2.  I have always gravitated toward landscapes.  I love the outdoors and am lucky enough to live in California, a place that contains such varied landscapes within a short distance.  One of those places is Yosemite National Park, it has always been my favorite landscape location for obvious reasons.

Fuji XT1, 18-55 f2.8-4.  Clearing clouds, Yosemite Valley from the tunnel view rest stop.

Fuji XT1, 18-55 f2.8-4.  Clearing clouds, Yosemite Valley from the tunnel view rest stop.

People warned me that I might not like the Fuji gear for landscapes.  That I might not be able to duplicate the results that I was used to with my Nikon gear.  

Fuji XT1, 18-55 f2.8-4.  El Capitan taken from the tunnel view rest stop, Yosemite National Park.

To the contrary I believe it has enhanced my landscape photography.  Fuji is able to capture color and detail in a way that my Nikon never could.  The optics of Fuji's basic "kit" lens (18-55mm 2.8-4) far surpasses the glass that I had on my Nikon, the 18-70mm f3.5-4.5.  My ultimate landscape lens would be the 8-16mm f2.8 if and when it is made available.  Until then, I am perfectly happy with my Fuji "kit" lens.  

Over the last six months I have also enjoyed shooting portraits more than I had in the past.  The Fuji 56mm f1.2 is an amazing lens.  I love the depth of field that this lens allows.  

Fuji XT1, 56mm f1.2.  

This lens has expanded my portrait capabilities in ways I cannot even begin to describe.  The images made with this lens have a unique look to them.  It has a soft quality but you are able to pull amazing detail from a subjects eyes.  

I have also started to explore fine art portraiture.  Using the 56mm f1.2 combined with off camera flash using the Yungnuo 560 TX paired with the 560 IV Speedlight I have been able to create some amazing images.

Fuji XT1, 56mm f1.2 paired with Yungnuo 560TX and 560 IV Speedlight.

Fuji XT1, 56mm f1.2 paired with Yungnuo 560TX and 560 IV Speedlight.

I'm not sureif it is the camera system or my newfound excitement for photography that has pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone.  The Fuji system is just plain fun for me.  It is light weight and the controls on their cameras are intuitive.  I have shot with a Nikon FE2 for close to 30 years and the Fuji system is the closest I have been able to come to that experience in the digital realm.  

Through this equipment I have rediscovered my love for photography.  I am pushing myself to shoot more.  I am drawn to new photographic experiences and adventures.  

Fuji XT1, 18-55mm f2.8-4.  Marin Headlands, Overlooking the Golden Gate.  San Francisco, CA

Fuji XT1, 18-55mm f2.8-4.  Marin Headlands, Overlooking the Golden Gate.  San Francisco, CA

Fuji XT1, 18-55mm f2.8-4.  Bodega Head, Sonoma Coast.  First Sunset of Summer 2016.

Fuji XT1, 18-55mm f2.8-4.  Bodega Head, Sonoma Coast.  First Sunset of Summer 2016.

Who knows where the rest of the year will take me but I know that it will be fun.  Pushing boundaries is the theme for 2016 and thanks to Fuji It is easier and more fun than ever.

Fuji XT1, 56mm f1.2 paired with the Yungnuo 560TX and 560 IV Speedlight.  



Model Mayhem Has Been Good To Me!

I broke down and paid for a model and I couldn't be happier with the results.  Don't get me wrong, i've been lucky to have worked with some amazing models over the last couple of years.  There is something about the change in dynamic when it's a paid shoot.

 I worried less about how much time I was taking and took the opportunity to work different angles and lighting positions.  I'm fairly new to off camera flash and wanted to spend some time playing with the light that a one light setup provided.  I was shooting with a Fuji XT1, a 56mm 1.2 lens and a Yungnuo 560 Mark III Speelight and the Yungnuo 560TX radio transmitter mounted atop the camera.  The flash was used in conjunction with a small, square, softbox.  

I worked with an amazing model from modelmayhem.com Marie Jean .  She arrived on time and ready to work and I believe we achieved some beautiful results.  

I'm a fly by the seat of your pants kind of photographer.  I try not to have too much of a preconcieved notion of what i'm going to achieve.  I have a general ideal but I am flexible with where that takes me.  I wait to see how the model works with me and the situation and try to capture what happens without too much direction.  

Most of my photography has centered around landscapes, still life and the occasional portrait.  Lately I have been excited by what I have been able to accomplish with portraits using both natural and off camera flash.  Light can be tough to master.  It's always changing and can either help or hurt you depending on how you use it.  The goal is to remember what worked and add that to your tool kit.  

For this shoot I had an idea that I had never tried and had no idea how it would turn out.  I've traveled some in Italy and Greece and have always been taken with how widows show their respects to their partners when they are gone.  In Greece there is a tradition that a widow dresses in black for the rest of their life.  I wanted to add some beauty to this idea in the form of the subject and some flowers.  The idea was great, but carrying it out took patience for me and the model.  Marie was fantastic and worked with me until I got the results I wanted.

The hardest part of the above image was getting the focus right.  I am still learning the capabilities of my Fuji XT1.  The light was very low in the studio and it was impossible to see well enough to use manual focus.  I set the focus to area mode and was able to capture this shot.  I couldn't be happier with this image.  I actually used the out of camera jpegs and worked them a little in LIghtroom.  

It was a pleasure working with Marie and I hope we get to collaborate again in the near future.  Here are a couple more images from this shoot.

Copyright Wineberg Images 2016