Fuji X Portrait Lenses - 60mm f/2.4, 35mm f/1.4, and 18-55mm zoom

The Fuji 60mm lens is significantly larger than the Fuji 35mm prime, but only slightly so if you take off the hood. 

The Fuji 60mm lens is significantly larger than the Fuji 35mm prime, but only slightly so if you take off the hood. 

I'm renting two prime lenses for a shoot next week - a Fuji 60mm f/2.4 and a Zeiss 12mm f/2.8. BorrowLenses sent them out a bit early and I wanted to get a feel for how they compare to my own lenses, the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 prime and Fuji 18-55mm zoom. I'll write about the Zeiss 12mm in the next post, focusing on the Fuji 60mm here.

My little Miriam was happy to help with a test shoot, as long as we were quick about it as the evening had become quite chilly as the sun bedded for the night. Since we were working fast and I was juggling four lenses in my jacket pockets I eschewed all extra lighting aids for these test shots using my Fuji X-E1. 

I was quite excited about renting the Fuji 60mm f/2.4 prime. Being a prime promises excellent image quality, with a little longer focal length than my 18-55mm zoom, and a few stops of extra aperture - this should be an excellent portrait lens. So, let's have a look at the 60mm wide open....

Fujifilm XE-1, XF60mm, ISO 400, f/2.4, 1/125.

Nice, but the problem is Fuji has made such an incredible 18-55mm zoom that the 60mm prime failed to impress me much. Here's the same shot from the 18-55mm, cropped in about 10% to make up for the focal length difference. 

Fujifilm XE-1, XF18-55mm, ISO 400, f/4, 1/60.

To my eye the 60mm shows somewhat better bokeh, but it also seems to be affected by flare and softness (yep, I did have that enormous lens hood on!). If I were to close down a few stops to minimize flare I would arrive at the same maximum aperture size as the 18-55 zoom, f/4 at 55mm, which itself produces a sharp and glare free image at that aperture.   

Next up is the Fuji Fuji 35mm f/1.4, which is an absolutely amazing lens. Field of view is of course different, but the contrast wide open is astounding and the shallow depth of field is beautiful. I really do love shooting with the Fuji 35mm wide open! 

Fujifilm XE-1, XF35mm, ISO 400, f/1.4, 1/500.

Going in for a head and shoulders, here's the 60mm again wide open at f/2.4

Fujifilm XE-1, XF60mm, ISO 400, f/2.4, 1/250.

And again the wider field of view and beautifully narrow depth of field of the 35mm f/1.4

Fujifilm XE-1, XF35mm, ISO 400, f/2.4, 1/500.

Funny shot there, my little gal was only able to give me a plastic smile at that point, the near freezing temps were starting to take a toll!

So, the 35mm is still my absolute favorite Fuji X portrait lens. The 60mm was a bit of a disappointment only because the 18-55mm zoom is so dang good! But I am looking forward to seeing the new 56mm f/1.2 when it comes out this Spring. That promises to be an amazing lens!

So chime in, what's your essential portrait lens? 

Update: I have changed my mind! After shooting with the 56mm f/1.2 I decided to give the 60mm f/2.4 a permanent home in my kit. Here's why...