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....
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.
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!
Going in for a head and shoulders, here's the 60mm again wide open at f/2.4
And again the wider field of view and beautifully narrow depth of field of the 35mm f/1.4
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...