Testing out the Fujinon XF 50mm f/1 R WR
I was fortunate to be able to test out the wonderful Fuji 50mm f/1 lens. This is actually the faster autofocus mirrorless lens available on the market. It's quite the accomplishment especially considering its outstanding performance wide open.
The way I got a hold of this us by using the incredibly generous programme provided by Fujifilm in the UK through their Fujifilm Connect website, which after registration provides plenty of services for Fuji owners. Part of those services are the Loans programme which is provided on behalf of Fujifilm by Hire A Camera. The Loan process is quite simple and it enables you to either try out a camera, a lens or both! Moreover you can not only get a X series camera but also the coveted GFX line which features the medium format sensors and lenses that cover that. This is a whole nother league that I cannot wait to try out for myself.
Anywho, I've been toying around with utilising the service from Fuji and their partner Hire A Camera for a while and I finally made a decision when I received a notification that the f/1 lens was up for hire.
The real beauty of this service is that you can actually loan gear for free! Yes, if you book a weekend service, you get the gear delivered and collected by a courier from your home completely for free. Usually you receive it on Friday and give it back on Monday, although due to some courier availability I managed to get the lens much earlier, on a Wednesday, under the same terms.
Fortunately enough the day I received the lens the weather in London had much improved and the sun was out. As soon as I was in my lunch break, I left the house and went to straight to the river bank by the Thames overlooking Westminster to give the lens a spin. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to ride this lens as wide as possible, so I slapped a variable ND filter on it so I can keep it around the f/1 apertures. Wow was I surprised on how well this lens handles even at f/1. Comparing to my cheapo vintage Minolta f1.4, this lens is light-years better in handling vignetting, sharpness and bloom. Even tho I have the Minolta for it's character I loved the f/1 sharpness and performance.
Even though what I was capturing could be considered more of a landscape type of image, I could still see some degree of separation of foreground objects which all things considered where 10 or more metres away already and such defocus wouldn't otherwise be expected. Not when you're a shooting a sort of median focal lenght of 50mm.
The next point to try was taking photos of a human subject of course. I called up my trusty friend friend and often times my stand in model to give this lens a run for it's money. We met on cold weekend day In Soho, London and just did what we do best - roam the empty streets of the once hectic West End and were just looking for interesting lighting and backgrounds. Again I really wanted to push the resolving power of this lens so I shot everything at f/1 mounted on my trust Fujifilm X-T3 camera. I had eye detection and it a pretty good job at getting the critical focus point on my subjects eye. When shooting so wide open the depth of field becomes so shallow that at most satiations your focus lands on only a fraction of one's eye so it's very important to nail focus.
Taking photos of Daniel with the Fujifilm f/1 was a great pleasure and I am extremely happy with the images that I came back with. And also since getting my first Fujifilm camera almost a year from know I feel that I have definitely developed a certain aesthetic with the images that I capture and the way that I process them. I do go for a certain film like look which lends itself on the way Fujifilm have placed themselves in the market with their cameras that feature a strong nod to camera design of day past and their beautiful in camera film simulations.
The one thing that I wished to try a bit more was some filming with this lens. Although I tried a couple of test recordings, the lack of any stabilations, either from the lens or my camera put me off the idea as the footage would be too shaky, unless on tried, to be of any worth. It me worth trying that out on the Fujifilm X-T4 oneday with it's built in sensor stabilisation.
All in all I had a great time shooting with this lens and could definitely see myself using it again if the opportunity arises.