To evaluate the real-life performance of the Fujinon XF 50mm f2 lens, I shot this exterior scene at every aperture setting using a Fujifilm X-Pro2 mounted on a tripod. The X-Pro2 was set to 200 ISO and the lens focused on the centre of the composition. The corner and centre crops shown below were taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles below and presented at 100%.
For my lens tests on other systems I normally shoot in RAW and process the files with corrections disabled to see what’s happening behind the scenes. But the more I shoot with the Fuji X system, the more I appreciate the out-of-camera JPEG performance, especially when using Lens Modulation Optimisation (LMO) with Fujinon lenses. I’ve also found few RAW converters which can do justice to the X-Trans sensor. So in line with my other XF lens tests, I’m going to present crops from unaltered out-of-camera JPEGs here (with LMO enabled as default) as I believe they show the lens in the best light. I did of course also shoot the scene in RAW and if I find a workflow which delivers good results in the future I’ll update this review with RAW comparisons as well.
Anyone who’s interested in the XF 50mm f2 will be wondering how it compares to the earlier and brighter XF 56mm f1.2 lens, so moments later I shot the same composition with that lens throughout its aperture range. With its slightly longer focal length, the XF 56mm f1.2 captures a slightly tighter view, so for my corner crops I’ve decided to compare the same section of the frame, rather than the real-life view. As such the corner crops below show different parts of the composition, but represent identical parts on the frame, allowing you to judge their relative sharpness.
The XF 56mm f1.2 kicks-off the sequence at f1.2 and straight off the bat delivers respectably sharp results into the corners. There’s unsurprisingly a little darkening in the corners due to vignetting, but it’s barely visible. The XF 50mm f2 joins in at f2 with an equally impressive result, that’s also respectably crisp in the corners. Both lenses sharpen-up a little as their apertures are closed, arguably peaking at around f5.6, but I’d be very happy using either at larger – or even their maximum – apertures.
Scroll down and in the second table you’ll see how they compare in the centre of the frame. Note the longer focal length of the XF 56mm f1.2 means its crop shows a tighter area than the XF 50mm f2, so try to look beyond the resolving power to their relative sharpness overall, and also how closing the aperture impacts the quality.
Like the corner crops, both lenses are very respectable when shot wide-open, although again arguably attain maximum resolution round f5.6. From my tests here I’d say there’s little to choose between them in terms of real-life resolving power. Luckily there’s plenty to choose between them in other respects as described in my In-Depth review page. Head over there for all the details or check out my sample images page using the tabs above.