I’ve been working on my 2014 collection of images and I was shocked to see just how the 56mm lens has driven the progress in my work. You can see my 56mm portraits here. I have been quite a vocal advocate of the 60mm lens and this is in no small part due to the fact it re-energised my passion for portraiture nearly three years ago, back in the Spring of 2012. It was the first XF lens I bought to compliment my X-Pro1 and has a special place in my affection as a result. A recent lent test I carried out reinforced my belief that the 60mm holds up in all respects to the later lenses added to the Fujifilm X series despite it being a fraction of the cost of some of them. My gallery of portraits taken with the 60mm lens is here. This love for the 60mm lens has been put on hold since early 2014 when I took ownership of a 56mm lens and X-T1 combination. This arrived just in time for me to film the second section of my movie Illumination and I was duly commissioned by Fujifilm to shoot 5 chapters using just natural light with this pairing. These chapters are free to view here. Do I still love the 60mm lens? Yes but the 56mm has become a mainstay in my work.
I am a great believer of having a limited kit and getting to know it well. The same is true for lenses and this is why for the majority of 2013 right up to the release of the 23mm lens I was using the 18-55mm zoom for just about everything. The gallery of pictures taken with the 18-55mm lens is here. I shot the majority of my images using that ‘kit’ lens and it’s fair to say that I have no regrets whatsoever it is really sharp and up to the demands of the professional shooter. Now that I’m on primes for my wide and standard focal lengths the 18-55mm zoom will take a back seat in my world but it lives on in Julie’s Fuji X-E2 kit. Julie spends up to three months at a time in Africa on photographic assignment and she uses an X-E2 with the 10-24mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms. When the 120-400mm lens is released that will join her in the bush too.
I have been using the 14mm f/2.8 lens since the day it was released. It replaced the equivalent Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 I had with my Canon kit. The focal length is just a nats too wide for portraits for my liking however I put the lens to good use as you can see in this gallery of 14mm pictures. You can see if the perspective is for you because the pictures in the gallery are uncropped. When the 16mm f/1.4 is released I’ll be the first to put in my pre order.
A curved ball
Fuji have released a new zoom, the 50-140 f/2.8 OIS and it has blown me away. What to do? I have finally got used to the 56mm f/1.2, I can use it hand held wide open at f/1.2 using 1/250th second shutter speed. I can also use it with a monopod and work it down to 1/30th second with ease. The zoom however has OIS so it can be used wide open at f/2.8 using 1/30th second to get a similar exposure to the fast prime when both are hand held. There really is nothing in it unless your subject is moving and people do move so at times the 1/250th second option that the the 56mm lens gives me in low light is going to be a bonus. The zoom will really shine when it’s compared to the 90mm f/2 that is due for release soon. I’d have to be using 1/350th second to use the 90mm lens hand held and as my camera shutter dial is in full stop increments I’d end up having to use 1/500th second. (I know I can use the D pad to select intermediate shutter speed values but I just like using the top dials). The zoom is only 1 stop down on the 90mm even at 140mm and it won’t be much heavier either. I can see the 50-140 zoom getting regular use in 2014.
I am in the fortunate position of having several camera bags. For the Fuji X-T1, 14mm, 23mm, 35mm and 56mm primes I can use the Think Tank Retrospective 7 and when I’m out with the X-T1, 14mm, 23mm, 35mm and 50-140mm zoom I’ll be using my Think Tank Retrospective 30.
Feel free to discuss Fuji lenses or the portraits I’ve shot with them below.
PS: If you want to ‘grab’ any of the pictures for use in mood boards etc right click on the picture to open it in a new tab and drag it to your desktop. You can always pin them to a Pinterest board too.