Hands-on with the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR

Fujifilm’s fastest lens is here – the new XF 50mm F1.0 R WR is a versatile low-light lens aimed at portrait photographers and creative photographers that need extremely narrow depth-of-field. Read on to learn more.

Hands-on with the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR

The gestation period of the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR has been lengthy – originally planned as a 33mm, the company’s engineers ultimately decided that the size, weight and cost penalties incurred by the wider field of view weren’t practical. Hence: Fujifilm’s fastest-ever lens is now a 50mm – or 75mm equivalent on the company’s X-series APS-C mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

Hands-on with the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR

Despite being ‘downsized’ at the design stage, the XF 50mm F1.0 is still far from a small lens, and weighs in at a considerable 845g (about 1.9lb) without the included (and very effective) hood or front / back caps. That’s a good deal heavier than the X-T4 shown here (526g, or 1.2lb).

Despite its weight, the mass is well-distributed, and the lens doesn’t feel too heavy or unbalanced on the (relatively chunky) X-T4. It’s unlikely to handle so well on many of Fujifilm’s smaller ILCs, but it’s also much less likely to be purchased alongside one of them.

Hands-on with the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR

As we’d expect for a high-end Fujifilm XF lens, the 50mm F1.0 features a large faux-mechanical aperture ring, for direct control over aperture, on the lens. By setting it to ‘A’, aperture can be automatic or manually controlled via the camera body in M and Av modes depending on your settings.

The broad knurled ring towards the top of this image is the focus ring, which offers ‘focus by wire’ control over manual focus, and it moves smoothly, offering fine-grained control over exact focus position.

Automatic focus is usable but (no surprise) not exactly fast, and because depth of field at wide apertures is so narrow, we did experience occasional issues with focus ‘hunting’ when a scene was heavily defocused.

Hands-on with the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR

Offering an equivalent focal length of 75mm, this is a perfect lens for traditional portraiture. Don’t expect to be taking any closeups though – the minimum focus distance of 0.7m limits the maximum magnification ratio to 0.08x. If you can’t visualize what that means, basically, in our shooting, there were several times when we found that we wanted to get closer to our subjects than we were able to.

Hands-on with the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR

Optically, the XF 50mm F1.0 is pretty complex, and construction comprises 12 elements in nine groups, including one aspherical and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. The front element is concave, and considering this is an APS-C lens, the front filter ring is relatively large, at 77mm.

Nine rounded aperture blades ensure circular bokeh at wide apertures – something that keen portrait photographers will appreciate.

Hands-on with the new Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR

The ‘WR’ in the lens name stands for ‘weather resistant’ and the XF 50mm F1.0 is sealed against dust and moisture incursion. You can see the rearmost gasket (which forms a seal against the camera lens throat) in this picture – it’s the black rubber ring around the outside edge of the mount. It’s also rated for operation in temperatures down to 14°F (-10°C).

The XF 50mm F1.0 will go on sale this fall for $1500 USD.

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