Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 90mm F2 LM WR
- Weight: 1.19lbs/540 Grams
- Weather Sealed: Yes
- Filter Size: 62mm
- Angle of View: 17.9 Degrees
- Focusing Distance: 1.97 feet/60 centimeters
- Max Aperture: F2
- Minimum Aperture: F16
- Image Stabilization: No
- Mount System: Fuji X
- Price: $949
- Maximum Magnification: .2x
Quick Facts about the Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 WR
- Weight: 15.7 oz/445 Grams
- Weather Sealed: Yes
- Filter Size: 67mm
- Angle of View: 28.5 Degrees
- Focusing Distance: 1.6 feet/50cm
- Max Aperture: F1.2
- Minimum Aperture: F16
- Image Stabilization: No
- Mount System: Fuji X
- Price: $999
- Maximum Magnification: .14x
Table of Contents
Why compare the Fujifilm 90mm F2 and the 56mm F1.2 WR?
After testing almost every Fujifilm telephoto lens, I figured it was time to test, review, and compare the best options within this category. They are a similar price, both lenses are designed portrait-based photography, and their a renowned for their sharpness.
However, these lenses are very different in one category, their release date. The 90mm F2 was released in 2015, and it is one of Fujifilm’s earliest lenses. Meanwhile, the 56mm F1.2 WR is one of the newer Fujifilm lenses. (Also known as Mark (MK) II or Fuji-luxes)
So, let’s compare the 56mm F1.2 WR and the 90mm F2, and see which lens is best for you.
Who are both of these lenses for?
People looking for a prime, telephoto lens that excels in sharpness are going to be satisfied with these lenses. So, wedding photographers are going to be extremely satisfied with their output. (If they can deal with the compromises such as autofocus, and almost too much reach with the 90mm F2.)
In general styles of photography, I found that the 56mm F1.2 WR excelled more often. If something was a bit too close, I would switch to a vertical plane. With that focal length, it paired nicely with a 35mm lens.
Meanwhile the 90mm F2 is strictly focused on landscapes and portraits. I do believe that the focal length is limiting in regards to indoor photography such as weddings. However, if you can create more space between your subjects and the photographer, it might be alright.
What other XF Portrait Lenses Exist?
Fujifilm has now had over 10 years to develop their Fujifilm XF mount. This leaves us with numerous options such as…
The F1. Bokeh-licious. Premium Price. Inconsistent autofocus.
- Fujifilm XF 50mm F2
The budget “Fuji-cron” version of the portrait lens, the 50mm F2 has fast autofocusing speeds and it is weather resistant.
The 50mm F2 and the 23mm F2 make a formidable street combination.
- Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 (non-WR)
The first version of this lens is slow, but it can be found for less than $500 in a used state.
- Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 ADP
Something to do with smoother bokeh…
The jack of all trades for the telephoto zoom options, the Fujifilm 50-140 is the best-performing lens in regards to sharpness for a zoom.
Build Quality Comparison
For both lenses, the build quality is going to be excellent. I am not concerned with the long-term use of either of these lenses, especially as this 56mm F1.2 refresh included weather-resistance!
The outer-construction is metal, and it certainly is not cheap-quality, either. Upon examining the lens, I did not see any major build quality concern, and I would happily take both into a waterfall, sandstorm, or just Iceland in general.
Dials, Knobs, Switches, and Feet
OIS was omitted on 56mm F1.2 WR and 90mm F2, so we do not have an optical image stabilization switch.
Plus, the lenses are not too large, so there is no need for a tripood foot. They balance well on the larger bodies (due to their optical size, they could be a bit front heavy on the X-T20).
Finally, both have marked aperture rings.
In summary, the 56mm F1.2 wins the sharpness category versus the 90mm F2. Although the sharpness is very similar, the biggest difference was in the corners at both F2 and F8.
All around, I don’t expect anyone to complain about the sharpness of these lenses.
- At F1.2 and F1.4, the the 56mm F1.2 WR is significantly sharper. So much so, some may even argue that you won’t even be able to use the 90mm F2 at these apertures. 😉
- At F2, this is where the actual comparison starts. I found both lenses to perform excellently. Despite it being the minimum aperture of the F2, the 90mm is going to hold-up well. There was a slight increase in performance with the 56mm F1.2 WR in the top-left corner. However, you shouldn’t notice this too much in real-world tests.
- From around F2.8 until about F8, both the 90mm F2 and 56mm F1.2 WR performed extremely well. This is for both the center and corner sharpness. The 90mm F2 probably peaks in sharpness around F4-F5.6, and the 56mm F1.2 performs the best around F4.
- Where the sharpness begins to change again is around F8. However, it’s only in the corners.The center sharpness remains the same. I felt like the 56mm F1.2 WR has a slight-edge within this category, and it held up well for about five-stops. This isn’t to say that the 90mm F2 is lacking in regards to sharpness.
- As is customary with Fujifilm, both lenses usually are not used past F11 or so. Both the 90mm F2 and the 56mm F1.2 WR have a maximum aperture of F16.
On a full-frame equivalent scale, these lenses are extremely popular. The 56mm F1.2 translates to an 85mm F1.4, and the 90mm F2 is the kind-of equivalent of the 135mm F2.8.
To me, the 56mm F1.2 is everything I want in a portrait lens. You are still able to make out the background, but it certainly has the 3D pop of the subject.
Meanwhile, the bokeh on the 90mm F2 is the awkward “starting to melt away too much.”
Compression of the 56mm (85mm FF) vs the 90mm (135mm FF)
However, in regards to the bokeh-balls, the 56mm F1.2 WR wins in an easy competition.
According to the specifications sheet, the 90mm F2 has only a 7-bladed aperture ring. Meanwhile, the 56mm F1.2 WR contains an eleven bladed aperture ring.
Because of this, the 56mm F1.2 WR’s bokeh balls remain rounder, longer. This allows the corners to slowly get round-out too, which negates the cat’s eye affect in the 56mm F1.2.
I think it’s obvious from the photos above, the 56mm F1.2 WR can be pushed up to F2 and F2.8 if necessary. F4 might be a stretch. Meanwhile, there is a clear polygon shape with the 90mm F2’s bokeh balls by F2.8, and it is unusable at F4.
I always expect nice, pleasing bokeh balls across the frame. However, with every lens’s construction, this is rarely the case. The 56mm F1.2 WR has the best bokeh balls out of any Fujifilm lens I have tested.
Eye Autofocus Tracking
One of the biggest disappoints within my time using the Fujifilm system was the announcement that Fuji had decided NOT to use linear motors in the 56mm F1.2 WR.
Every single lens in the past year or two has had quick, reliable motors that were only limited in accuracy by the Fujifilm body.
So, the 90mm F2 actually wins in this category. It is noticeably quicker, and I was able to get smooth focus pulls that were quick. (This fits my style of video, which is actually very limited… but still.)
Meanwhile, I feel like the 56mm F1.2 WR can be used to create some cinematic shots that you see in movies, but you will want to be careful about the pull speed. It did show good tracking, however.
There is going to be color fringing on both of these lenses, and it is both purple and green. I felt like I noticed it a lot more on something like the 50mm F1, than either the 90mm F2 and 56mm F1.2 WR, though.
Both of the photographs above were cropped by over 100% in post-production, but they were JPEG’s.
Focusing Distance & Macro Performance
56mm F1.2 WR
|Focusing Distance||1.6′ / 50 cm|
90mm F2 WR
|Focusing Distance.||1.97′ / 60 cm|
In regards to the minimum focusing distance, the 56mm F1.2 WR wins this category. However, the 90mm F2 WR wins in the magnification ratio due to a longer focal length.
Neither of these lenses will be as great as the 80mm F2.8, or even the 30mm F2.8.
The starbursts were not bad on either of the lenses, but I did find the 90mm F2 a bit bettter.
However, the ghosting with the seven-bladed aperture did create a unique, annoying affect. The ghosts on the 90mm F2 were heptagon shaped.
I can often deal with the ghosts, as there are ways to incorporate lens flare into the image. But with this in mind, I would constantly be careful about how I introduce external, uncontrolled light into the photograph.
Why should I pick the 90mm F2 over the 56mm F1.2 WR?
- You already own the 16-55mm F2.8
I am not going to lie, the 16-55 and the 90mm F2 produce a wonderful two-lens combination that will be great for both photo and video. Prior to the release of the 56mm F1.2 WR, I think it’s probably the most useful combo.
- Video Work
I have watched some reviews that talk about the 90mm F2’s lack of autofocus in video mode. However, these videos were being tested with A) an X-H2s B) never revealed their autofocus settings. (Which is slightly frustrating)
Now, I don’t think Fujifilm’s video autofocus is at their competitor’s level, yet. However, after using the 90mm F2, I feel much more confident the problem is within the autofocus algorithm, and not this specific lens. When the time comes, this lens will continue to hold its weight.
Due to the only 10cm difference in focusing distance, the 90mm F2 has probably a shallower depth of field in some situations. However, this type of bokeh can lend itself to busy-ness if you are not careful.
Why should I pick the 56mm F1.2 WR over the 90mm F2?
- You already own the 50-140 F2.8
This is point is kind of rhetorical, but there are more than two extra stops of light gained with the 56mm F1.2.
- Image Quality
To me, there is no question. The 56mm F1.2 is going to produce great images. Therefore, any review taken that says it’s not good enough is lying. I would say this and the 23mm F1.4 WR (Mk II) are the two sharpest Fujifilm lenses I have ever used.
I was able to use the 56mm F1.2 WR indoors and outdoors. However, the 90mm F2 is just a bit too long for everyday photography.
My Final Ratings
Fujifilm 90mm F2
-1 for the aperture blades impeding on the ghosting and bokeh balls.
We lost an entre point due to not being able to rely on this lens indoors. I understand that some people are going to be aware of this attribute when they purchase it.
Total: 17/20 or about 85%
I think most people are going to be happy with the results from this lens, once you know how to use it. The 90mm F2 is sharp across the entire frame, the fringing is expected, and the bokeh is normal. It’s just hard for me to give a specialized lens anything above a 85%.
Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 WR
I hate deducting two points, but I found the autofocus to just make things and life difficult.
Fujifilm is not keeping up with their peers, and it’s starting to show in their lens construction, too.
85 millimeters is a highly functional lens. Does it create some unnecessary balance on smaller cameras? Yes. Are people going to notice it too much? No.
Total: 18/20 or 90%
For Fujifilm photographers, the only downside is the autofocus. Otherwise, this is a perfect lens by Fujifilm.