DPR

Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR field review

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Introduction

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm F1.0 R WR is an especially bright portrait prime for the company’s X-mount cameras. As its super-fast maximum aperture (and corresponding premium pricing) might suggest, it’s something of a niche product.

With a roughly 75mm-equivalent focal length after accounting for the APS-C sensor size used by X-mount bodies, it’s aimed at both photographers and videographers seeking shallow depth of field for an aesthetic reminiscent of that from a full-frame camera.

Available since Fall 2020, it carries list pricing of $1,499.95.

All images edited in Adobe Camera Raw 13 with adjustments limited to white balance, exposure, highlights, shadows, white and black levels. Sharpening and noise reduction at ACR defaults.



Key specifications:

  • Mount: Fuji X-mount
  • Focal length: 50mm (75mm with APS-C crop)
  • Aperture range: F1.0 – F16
  • Stabilization: No
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Close focus: 0.7m (27.6″)
  • Maximum magnification: 0.08x
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Hood: Included
  • Weight: 845g (1.86 lb)
  • Optical construction: 12 elements in 9 groups (2 ED, 1 aspherical)
ISO 160 | 1/8000 sec | F1 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

Fujifilm’s 50mm F1.0 R WR has two fairly close alternatives among the company’s XF lens lineup: There’s the much more affordable XF 56mm F1.2 R, as well as the related XF 56mm F1.2 R APD which is priced identically to the 50mm F1.0.

In comparison to these alternatives, the 50mm is both just slightly wider-angle and brighter than either, but it’s also much bulkier and heavier. It weighs more than twice as much as do the 56mm optics, while its barrel is 14mm (0.5″) wider and 34mm (1.4″) longer. It also necessitates use of pricier 77mm filters, versus the more affordable 62mm filter size used by the 56mm lenses.

ISO 160 | 1/40 sec | F2.8 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Jordan Drake

It’s worth noting, though, that it’s also weather-sealed, whereas neither 56mm lens includes any sealing to keep out the elements. It also has a nine-bladed aperture, as compared to seven-bladed irises in the 56mm lenses.

Of course, that doesn’t tell the entire story for the 56mm APD. It has a price tag 50% higher than the standard 56mm (and identical to that of the brighter 50mm) for a reason. Its design includes a circular-graduated apodization filter which softens its bokeh at the expense of some light transmission and the requirement that you use slower contrast-detection autofocus even on camera bodies that would otherwise be capable of hybrid AF.

ISO 160 | 1/1250 sec | F2 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

If your primary goal is to save money, you’ll want to compare the 50mm F1.0 to the 56mm F1.2. But if you want the best possible bokeh – and if you’re considering buying an F1.0 or F1.2 lens, that’s probably true – then you’ll want to compare it with the APD version instead, negating the price difference and leaving size, weight, weather sealing and focus performance as the main differentiators.

Compared to…

Fuji XF 50mm F1.0 R WRFuji XF 56mm F1.2 RFuji XF 56mm F1.2 R APD

Price (MSRP)

$1499$999$1499
Optical construction12 elements, 9 groups11 elements, 8 groups11 elements, 8 groups plus apodization filter
Aperture blades977
Weather sealedYesNoNo
AF driveDC motorDC motorDC motor
Minimum focus distance / max magnification0.70 m (27.6″) / 0.08x0.70 m (27.6) / 0.09x0.70 m (27.6″) / 0.09x
Filter size77mm62mm62mm
Diameter x Length
(no hood)

87mm x 104mm (3.4″ x 4.1″)

73mm x 70mm (2.9″ x 2.7″)

73mm x 70mm (2.9″ x 2.7″)

Weight

845g (29.8oz)

405g (14.3oz)

405g (14.3oz)

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Fujifilm has yet another prime lens in this focal length – the affordable, optically excellent but less ambitious XF 50mm F2 R WR. It’s in a rather different class than the options above, but it remains a solid option in the Fujifilm lineup if you’re looking for a portrait prime that won’t break the bank or your back.


Handling

The Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR is bigger, bulkier and heavier than any other Fuji XF prime lens of a similar focal length. In fact, among all XF primes only the XF 200mm F2 is heavier or has a broader barrel, while only the 80mm, 90mm or 200mm primes are longer. (The 200mm F2 absolutely dwarfs the 50mm, though.)

With that said, it’s still not really that big when one considers its bright F1.0 maximum aperture, nor does it really feel unduly heavy either. It feels rather similar to a typical 85mm F1.4 lens on a full-frame camera, and its magnesium alloy barrel is still easily manageable.

Balance is quite good with a larger body like the Fuji X-T4 we shot with, but with smaller bodies the 50mm F1.0 will likely feel rather front-heavy. In-hand, the lens feels extremely solid, and the all-metal construction oozes quality.

The exterior of the lens barrel is extremely clean, with only two controls on offer. Save for both manual focus and aperture rings, there are no other controls whatsoever, with the 50mm F1.0 foregoing the buttons and switches that adorn many modern lenses.

Both the focus and aperture rings are fly-by-wire rather than mechanically-coupled. The manual focus ring moves smoothly and provides good accuracy with a just-right amount of dampening. The aperture ring moves in 1/3 detents, offering a similar feel to Fujifilm’s other high-end primes.

The aperture ring is clearly labeled in white text, and also provides a red “A” position allowing for automatic aperture control. When set thusly, the lens will control aperture automatically if you’re in Program Auto or Shutter Priority modes, but will hand off aperture control to your camera’s command dial if you’re shooting with your camera body in Aperture Priority or full Manual control.

There’s no in-lens image stabilization, a feature Fuji offers only in its zooms and a couple of primes with focal lengths above 80mm. There is, however, comprehensive sealing against dust and moisture. In all there are 11 seals protecting both control rings, joins between components and the interface between lens mount and camera body.

Up front, there’s a 77mm filter thread, a fairly common size but one which will prove a bit pricier for filter purchases than will the 62mm filter threads of Fuji’s 56mm lenses.


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Autofocus and focus breathing

With a DC motor providing for autofocus drive, and a substantial-enough mass being moved that you can feel the AF drive in operation, it’s not surprising that AF performance isn’t a strong point of the XF 50mm F1.0. It’s definitely on the slower side, with a full-rack AF time of of roughly 0.8s to 1s for the lens to transition from MFD to infinity. In practice, it feels notably sluggish.

When shooting portraits in the studio, that’s no big deal. But for less controlled subjects like weddings, street photography, candids or low-light journalism, it’s borderline and you may find yourself with missed shots as a result. And for sports, it’s simply not sufficient to keep up with the action (and not necessarily this lens’ purview anyway).

ISO 160 | 1/125 sec | F8 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

We also noted some occasional issues with autofocus hunting for heavily-defocused scenes, likely exacerbated by the lens’ unusually fast maximum aperture. And with a minimum focusing distance of 70 cm (27.6″) for a maximum magnification of just 0.08x (1:12.5), we also found ourselves wishing we could get closer to our subjects more than once, especially for tightly-cropped portraits of smaller infant faces. (We didn’t have similar problems for adults, however.)

ISO 320 | 1/160 sec | F1 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Jordan Drake

There is some good news for videographers, however. We were surprised – shocked, even – to find that there’s no visible focus breathing, something that tends to plague lenses of this type. That makes the XF 50mm F1.0 an intriguing option for cinema shooters seeking really shallow depth of field.

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Image quality

As you might expect of a portrait-oriented lens with such a wide aperture, the XF 50mm F1.0 delivery really luscious, creamy bokeh, but does so at the expense of image quality in some other respects. A lack of sharpness wide-open is to be expected and isn’t necessarily a concern for a lens of this type, but significant LoCA could prove to be more troublesome in real-world shooting.

When shooting wide-open, results aren’t that crisp, as you can see by comparing to this similar shot stopped down to F2.8. Additional sharpening in post-processing would help, though.
ISO 160 | 1/10000 sec | F1 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

Sharpness

Wide-open sharpness isn’t a strength of the Fuji 50mm F1.0, but in a lens primarily aimed at portraiture, it’s not necessarily what potential buyers will be looking for in the first place. At its maximum aperture of F1.0 it’s just not very sharp, and although you’ll see improvements as you stop down, even image shot at F1.4 and F2 can look soft, and you won’t hit the sweet spot in terms of sharpness until around F2.8.

ISO 160 | 1/60 sec | F1.0 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

The good news, though, is that while it’s not tack-sharp at its widest apertures, it nevertheless delivers a very flat plane of focus. Regardless of where in the image you set focus from and what aperture you’re shooting at, center to corner sharpness is very consistent. And of course, if you need a crisper image when shooting at F2.0 or wider, you can always sharpen a bit in post-processing.

Bokeh

As you’d expect of a lens that’s clearly designed to yield a shallow depth-of-field, the XF 50mm F1.0’s bokeh is definitely on point. When shooting wide-open, it’s very well-behaved, yielding very smooth bokeh with not a hint of onion ring or soap bubble effects. Its bokeh is clean and beautiful, as is the transition from foreground to background.

“Jordan, get off your phone!”
ISO 160 | 1/500 sec | F1.6 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

Really, there are only a couple of minor concerns in terms of bokeh. Firstly, we noticed a tendency towards cat’s eye when shooting at apertures wider than F2.0, even towards the center of the frame. It’s mostly gone by F2.0. And despite the 50mm F1.0’s nine-bladed aperture, you’ll start to notice the bokeh taking on a slightly polygonal shape from around F2.0 or 2.8 or narrower.

But with that said, these are relatively minor issues. Overall, this lens’ bokeh is very desirable indeed, just as you’d expect.

Flare, ghosting and sunstars

The Fuji XF 50mm F1.0 has excellent flare and ghosting-resistance, especially when using the highly effective lens hood which comes included in the product bundle. Even with direct sunlight on the front lens element, we saw only a very slight reduction in contrast and no noticeable ghosting at all.

Sunstars look decent, though the 50mm focal length would not be our go-to choice for producing sunstars. The 9-bladed aperture will give you 18-pointed sunstars, but as you can see, the rays vary somewhat in length and definition.

ISO 320 | 1/100 sec | F16 | Fujifilm X-T4 | Captured using a pre-production but near-optically final lens.
Photo by Carey Rose

Longitudinal chromatic aberration (fringing)

Wide-aperture lenses tend to be more prone to chromatic aberration, and the Fuji 50mm F1.0 doesn’t buck this trend, unfortunately. Longitudinal chromatic aberration or LoCA can be quite noticeable, even if you stop down to F1.4 or F2.0, giving foreground areas a distinct pink color cast, along with a green cast to background elements. That’s a shame, as LoCA can prove very difficult to correct for in post-processing.

Unsightly pink/green LoCA color casts are clearly visible in the mesh area at left of this image. Stopping down to F2 mitigates the issue, but it’s still visible.
ISO 160 | 1/8000 sec | F1 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

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Conclusion

What we likeWhat we don’t
  • Balances well with larger X-mount bodies
  • Truly luscious bokeh
  • Very flat plane of focus
  • Excellent flare and ghosting resistance
  • No focus breathing
  • Comprehensive weather-sealing
  • Solid build and good controls
  • Very effective lens hood in the product bundle
  • Not very sharp until F2.8 or narrower
  • LoCA color casts at F2.0 or wider
  • Cat’s eye can be an issue at apertures wider than F2.0
  • Slow autofocus and occasional AF hunting
  • Low maximum magnification
  • No in-lens stabilization
  • Fairly big and bulky
  • Quite expensive

As we noted at the outset, the Fuji XF 50mm F1.0 R WR is something of a niche product. With its extremely wide F1.0 maximum aperture, it’s clearly aimed at portrait shooters and those for whom a shallow depth of field is the overriding concern.

With that being the case – though it does have some shortcomings in the image quality department, including some noticeable softness when shooting wider than F2.8 – many photographers will happily overlook that in the quest for its gorgeous bokeh.

ISO 160 | 1/60 sec | F1 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

If anything should prove a concern on the IQ front, it would have to be this lens’ tendency to exhibit longitudinal chromatic aberration, which shows up as saturated magenta and green fringing in front of and behind the plane of focus, respectively, and is something that can prove troublesome to fix in the digital darkroom.

Another concern is its slow autofocus drive. If you’re using it in the studio, for more static subjects or you can plan your shots such that you only need tweak focus manually, it shouldn’t be a concern. But for more challenging subjects, candid portraiture and in lower light you’re inevitably going to miss some shots, and anyone interested in shooting action trying their hand at sports shooting should look elsewhere.

ISO 160 | 1/800 sec | F2.8 | Fujifilm X-T4
Photo by Chris Niccolls

There’s also no escaping the fact that by X-mount prime lens standards, this is a pretty large and hefty lens, and also one with a fairly steep pricetag. If you’re shooting with a smaller body and can live with contrast detect-only AF, you should definitely consider the 56mm F1.2 APD lens instead. And if cost is your primary concern, the standard 56mm F1.2 is a much more affordable alternative that’s almost as bright, and yet offers sharper imagery at its wider apertures as well as noticeably less longitudinal chromatic aberration (which is also true of the APD version).

But if you want the least distracting backgrounds for your portraits and can live with its cost, bulk and pricetag, it’s hard to argue against the XF 50mm F1.0 and its absolutely gorgeous bokeh.

Scoring

Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR
Category: Normal Lens
Optical Quality
Build Quality
Autofocus
Ergonomics and Handling
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR is a unique option for users of X-mount cameras, offering the widest aperture you can get while still featuring autofocus. It’s far from optically perfect, soft and with significant purple and green fringing at its wider apertures, but that’s not the point – if you’re after the sort of ‘look’ this lens offers, then the lens itself is worth a look.

Good for
Studio photography and fine art portraits in controlled settings, low light photography.

Not so good for
Events and action, street or candid photography and close-up imagery.
84%
Overall score

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DPReview TV review

See what our team at DPReview TV has to say about the Fujifilm XF 50mm F1.0 R WR.

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Sample galleries

Please do not reproduce any of these images without prior permission (see our copyright page).

Fujifilm X-T4

Fuji X-T4 with pre-production lens

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