Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R APD for Portraits - Is it worth $500 dollars more than Regular Version?
Updated: Jul 21, 2021
Since 2013, I have been using 56mm F1.2 R for my Fujifilm portraits work. It was the first lens I bought for my Fujifilm X-T1. I love how unique the lens renders in the bokeh area, which is great for sunset backlight portraits as well. Thanks to Fujifilm US, I was able to test out a 56mm F1.2 R APD lens for three weeks. I did couple portrait shoots with APD and compared with my 56mm F1.2 R lens. In this article, I am going to share some of my thoughts on the 56mm APD lens.
First Impression - APD feels sharper at wide open portraits shots.
Image Rendering between APD and R
APD, is it worth for $500 more?
My First Impression - Very Sharp Lens
After I received the loan package from Fujifilm, I did a portrait photoshoot with Bulababy in Sacramento. The above half body shot was one of the first shots that used the APD lens. My first reaction was "It looks sharper straight out of the camera already. For 8 years using my regular 56mm, I immediately noticed the APD difference at the focus area". (Keeping in mind that, there is an extra filter within the lens for smoother bokeh effect. The actual light coming into the lens is about F1.7) However, shooting APD at wide open still feels sharper than shooting Regular at wide open.
Full Body Shots
Next, I wanted to check out how it looked when shooting full body shots at wide open. I asked Bula to sit in the middle of the parking lot and I stepped back about 10 feet away from her.
As you can see from above, the bokeh near her head area is very nice and rounded. The overall sharpness from shooting wide open for full body shots impresses me the most.
Image Rendering Side by Side with 56mm F1.2 R
Below is a side by side slider comparison with the 56mm F1.2 R on the same location.
Left: Fujifilm X-T4 56mm F1.2 R vs Right: Fujifilm X-S10 56mm F1.2 R APD
The image rendering from both lenses are very similar. From the full body shots, it is pretty hard to see the bokeh differences unless you zoom in very close.
Here is the full video of this shoot if you want to see more samples:
APD, is it worth for $500 more?
I think it really depends what style you choose to shoot. If you shoot a lot of detailed half body shots like the first photo in this article, I think the 500 dollars is worth it. The closer you shoot near the model, the more difference you will see between the APD and R. However, if you shoot a lot of street context portraits such as full body street portraits, Regular version is good enough since you won't see that much different at the background rendering.
One more thing to keep in mind is that APD has an extra filter within the lens, which attracts less light than regular version. If your photography style has a lot of low light or night environment, you should go for the regular version instead. It gives more advantage while shooting the low light.
In summary, APD impresses me a lot with the sharpness shooting at wide open while maintaining the Fujifilm unique characteristic rendering. It depends on your photography style, the APD might be one of the most used portrait lenses within your Fujifilm gears.
Thanks for reading :) More photos will be uploaded in my Instagram account: @caliallstaring.