Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2 R WR - Lens Review
A Quick Look at the Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2 R WR
... with a comparison to the XF 56mm f/1.2 R
Thanks to Leo's Camera and the "Fuji Try Before You Buy" program, I have tested two short telephoto lenses from Fujifilm recently. A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the 56mm f/1.2, CDN $1149.00, and this past weekend I wanted to compare it to the XF 50mm f/2, CDN $599.00.
The 50mm f/2 R WR is the compact solution for your X-Series camera and gives you a focal length of 75mm (full frame equivalent). It is one of three options in the compact f/2 range, which also includes the XF 23mm f/2 R WR and XF 35mm f/2 R WR. This trilogy of lenses has become very popular with Fuji shooters due to quick autofocus, compact size, weather sealing and affordable price point. The 50mm f/2 is indeed nimble on my X-Pro2. You barely feel any weight of a lens when carrying the camera around your neck. The lens would easily fit in a pocket if you want to go light and perhaps switch between a couple of lenses on an outing. Colours and bokeh from the 50mm f/2 are very pleasing. I have read other reports of excellent bokeh and I was not disappointed. The provided lens hood does the job, fits perfectly and also aids in giving the lens a good balance on the camera. If you come from a DLSR world the lens is tiny and even in the X-Series it is on the lighter end of the scale.
Comparison to the 56mm 1.2 R
At 405g the 56mm 1.2 is more than double the weight of the 50mm f/2, which comes in at just 200g. This may be important to you. In my view the added weight is not that cumbersome and I actually prefer the feel of the 56mm f1.2, which is well balanced on the X-Pro2. If you are using a smaller camera, such as the new X-E3, I would reconsider this statement and perhaps lean towards combining it with the 50mm f/2.
It is hard to criticize the image quality produced by either lens. Both are sharp with gorgeous colours and bokeh. If anything the 56mm 1.2 perhaps renders a more clinical correct image to my eyes. The added stops makes the 56mm a more flexible lens as you can experiment with shallow depth of field shooting at f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.6 and f/1.8. This may not seem like a big difference but as a creative tool it gives you a different set of paint brushes to work with. The extra stop and a third also allows for higher shutter speeds at corresponding ISO value.
XF 50mm f/2 is the winner in regards to autofocus. It is silent, fast and accurate. I found the 56mm 1.2 hunting for AF at times. I went shooting in the pouring rain with the XF 50mm f/2. Although I took care of the lens and mostly had it covered, it was comforting to know it is weather sealed. The 56mm 1.2 is not weather sealed.
Which lens would I chose?
The 50mm f/2 is in no way a bad lens. In fact it is an awesome entry to the Fujifilm XF lineup and value for dollar is great. Note however that the compact f/2 lenses from Fuji are left out of the current lens sale, whereas the 56mm 1.2 is included. I could easily make a case for having both lenses depending on what you are shooting but if I was to make a choice, it would be for the 56mm 1.2 R. I feel that Fuji sprinkles a bit of extra fairy dust, should we just say quality glass, into their f/1.4 and f/1.2 lenses such as the 56mm 1.2 R. The ability to shoot with narrow depth of field is important to me and is worth the extra weight and money spent. If your heart is set on the 50mm f/2, don't let me talk you out of it. It has a lot going for it.
For my 56mm 1.2 review, please follow this link: XF 56mm 1.2 R - Lens Test
Below, a few photos captured with the 50mm f/2 R WR.