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Fujifilm XF Fujinon 50mm f/1.0 R WR Lens Review

John Riley reviews the new Fujifilm XF Fujinon 50mm f/1.0 R WR lens, the large aperture auto-focus lens from Fujifilm for X-Mount cameras.


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Fujinon XF 50mm F1 Front Oblique View


The fastest, brightest AF lens for mirrorless cameras has arrived, in the guise of the new Fujinon XF 50mm f/1 optic. Intended for the Fujifilm range of APS-C format cameras it joins an illustrious set of fine lenses, giving us an equivalent of a 76mm f/1.4 lens on full-frame. In other words, in terms of depth of field we get an enhanced ability to throw backgrounds out of focus and in terms of focal length we get a field of view equivalent to a 76mm lens on full-frame. Normally I would consider the equivalent to be that of 75mm f/1, and in terms of exposure that is so. But in this case, the lens is clearly aimed at offering reduced depth of field as a short telephoto portrait lens, so the depth of field question may be more important. However we view it, it remains the fastest AF mirrorless lens, so let's see how it performs with the 26.1MP Fujifilm X-T4.


Fujifilm XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR Handling and Features

Fujinon XF 50mm F1 On Fujifilm X T4
 

We have a chunky lens that weighs in at a relatively modest 845g. It balances very nicely with the X-T4, but the diameter is such that it may have to be mounted further forwards on some tripod heads. When placed on a flat surface it is solid and does not wobble about like some other cameras have recently been seen to do. It does however point slightly upwards because of the lens diameter. The finish is excellent, being a beautiful glossy black that unfortunately is also quite slippery.

The supplied large round lens hood bayonets firmly into place and needs no locking catch. The bayonet fit surrounds a conventional 77mm filter thread.

There is a wide manual focusing ring that operates electronically and is utterly smooth in operation. It is conceivable that when activated the MF operation could be accidentally nudged, depending on the photographer's hold on the lens, so some may decide to leave the camera switched to AF only. Focusing is down to 0.7m, or 28 inches, giving a maximum magnification of 0.08x. It is a pity that the lens does not focus closer, but to be fair this is probably the case for most short telephoto lenses. Really close focus is the purview of zoom lenses or macro prime lenses.

The aperture ring is the usual beautifully designed feature that we find on Fuji lenses, but here not as over-engineered as on some. There is an A setting to refer control to the camera body, but the lens design seems to favour using the aperture ring for its intended purpose. It would be useful to have a lock button for the A setting, both to keep it engaged if required and to keep it from being accidentally engaged if the ring is being used manually. In any event, it operates lightly put positively in one-third of a stop increments.


Fujinon XF 50mm F1 With Hood On Fujifilm X T4

Optical construction is 12 elements in 9 groups, including 1 Aspherical and 2 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion). The diaphragm has 9 blades, promising improved bokeh. Fuji's Super EBC, Electron Beam Coating, technology is well known to be effective. In terms of design objectives, spherical aberration has been allowed to stay in at open aperture to make this an ideal optic for portraits, with a sharp central core and softer edges to give the appropriate bokeh effects. Stopped down, the lens becomes crisper over the whole field and peaks at around f/5.6.

AF is achieved using a DC motor, which is fast and accurate. It is quiet but not totally silent. A gentle whirr can be heard that is not too obtrusive. The lens is weather-resistant, a most welcome feature, and has 11 seals to achieve this. There is no built-in IS as no doubt the precision needed for focusing precludes this complication, but the X-T4 body claims 6.5 stops of stabilisation so it is not needed in the lens.

Apart from the minor matters noted, handling is overall very impressive and certainly enjoyable. We know this is so when we suddenly realise we have shot about three times as many images than usual for a review. Clearly there is something that really gels with this Fujinon lens. It has that sense of being a “pixie dust” optic, one that has a little magic attached to it.
Fujinon XF 50mm F1 Rear Oblique View


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