My Favourite Lens for portraiture (so far)

Over the years I have used a wide variety of lenses to do specific jobs. When I started and was working in zoo. I needed versatility and quality. With my Fuji S5 pro at the time I went for the Nikon  18-200 lens which was a fantastic all rounder. I could pull wide and get up close very quickly which suited the fast pace of a job which needed a quick change of perspective and focal length.

Move on nine years and there has been a sea change on how I shoot. I decide to switch to prime fixed length lenses for a number of reasons.  Firstly the leap in image quality was tangible - the sharpness I could achieve was something I could never compromise on. A bit like instant coffee you never want to go back  once you've tried proper filter and espresso coffee. In the same way I couldn't go back to zooms. Secondly It changed the way I decided to shoot. I would have to physically move to get the shot I wanted! This made me pay far more attention to my composition. 

When I switched to the X-series cameras by Fuji the lens collection needed to be built. I started with the Fujinon 35mm 1.4 which pretty much stayed on the camera all day at weddings. On a full frame camera it would be the equivalent of a 'nifty fifty' 50mm lens. 

Along came the chance to get the 56mm 1.2 (85mm equivalent on FF) and boy what a lens!
I won't be talking about the technical side of things but I am sure you can get that somewhere.
What this lens gives me is to get tack sharp images on location with a real sense of depth and clarity. It's out of focus areas (Bokeh) is beautifully rendered and helps the subject stand out from the background. 

Without the constrains of a wedding one can stand further back and still maintain the 3d nature of an image by shooting wide open.

Without the constrains of a wedding one can stand further back and still maintain the 3d nature of an image by shooting wide open.

Image quality

The quality of this lens still amazes me even shooting wide open at f/1.2 The subject is pin sharp and for portraiture it finds focus very easily. Get up close and keeping the focus on the eyes using the Fuji's digital zoom and focus peaking means even at f/1.2 I can get the eyes tack sharp. As you can see when you do head and should shots the background turns into a beautiful pulp!

I love this technique - I call it the Peeping Tom Shot

I love this technique - I call it the Peeping Tom Shot

Getting Creative

Using the lens creatively I can create a beautiful vignette and surround the subject with out of focus folliage that I'm hiding in. 

A Tactile Experience

Gone are the computer like cameras that Canon and Nikon produce. With an old style aperture ring, although it's a 'fly by wire' type lens it feels like a real camera experience.

And with such a light weight construction the entire set up weighs just 850g which is about 400g less than the Canon 5d equivalent with 85mm lens.

A beautiful combination of sharpness and out of focus blur makes it my go to lens for location portraits

A beautiful combination of sharpness and out of focus blur makes it my go to lens for location portraits

Verdict

I love this lens and it provides a beautiful combination of sharpness and out of focus blur makes it my go to lens for location portraits. whack the aperture wide open and see your pictures sing!

The only thing that might sway me away is the 50-140mm zoom which would give me more versatility and use ability if I want to switch to video more.