Bokeh battle: 50/1 vs 56/1.2 vs 110/2 vs. . . a Christmas Tree

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Blue Swan Media
Blue Swan Media Regular Member • Posts: 373
Bokeh battle: 50/1 vs 56/1.2 vs 110/2 vs. . . a Christmas Tree
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I’ve been wondering for a while if I really ‘need’ my GFX system - after having it for about a year, I’ve yet to make any of those ‘big ass prints’ I’ve been telling myself were the reason for getting it, and I’ve also noticed that I never look at my existing big canvas prints close enough to (probably) see a difference. I like the ‘idea’ of owning a GFX system because it makes me feel more professional, but in reality it’s much bigger, the lens choices are far more limited, and the SOOC skin tones not as nice as the X-system.

When the 50/1 came out I wondered if that would be the final nail in the coffin, since the 110 is my ‘pictures that matter’ go-to lens for GFX. I’ve had the 50 for a couple of months, and finally had time today to do a direct comparison. I’m more interested in bokeh and DR than sharpness per se, since I shoot mostly people, so I choose the toughest background I could think of - a decorated Christmas tree!

Apologies for the subject, but I think it works OK. These were all shot wide open on a tripod with a 2 sec delay, though I forgot to turn off IBIS on the X-T4 so possibly they might be even better if I did that? I varied the shutter speed to compensate for aperture changes, and the ambient light was blessedly consistent during this. Shot in RAW then tweaked in LR to try to recover as much DR as possible, and also standardize WB between the three to 4900 and +10 hue. Focus point is the ‘D’ in Bird. Some observations:

1) 56 has the most ‘nervous’ bokeh, but we already knew that. Look especially at the area around the swirly pop ornament.

2) That said, none of these are what I would call ‘gross’ bokeh!

3) GF110 handles the lights most cleanly by a mile. Wow. This isn’t surprising - aside from sensor size leading to generally better IQ, f/2 just makes everything easier. Which makes the fact that the 56 comes in second here IMO, using an aperture of f/1.2, just really remarkable. The light blobs for the 56 have a little onion skinning, but don’t have the ‘inclusions’ you see with the 50. Some of the blobs with the 50 are really odd, looking like cells with nuclei in the middle. I’m sure there’s a name for this effect but not sure what it is.

4) Overall, I think the 50 has the ‘creamiest’ bokeh, yes even more than the 110 though it’s admittedly super close between the two.

5) Both X-series lenses are plenty sharp, but the 50 seems shaper to me. The deeper DOF from a shorter focal length vs. the 56 probably helps counterbalance the (slightly) faster max aperture.

Speaking personally, this comparison further re-enforces my doubts about the need for GFX. If that bag of bird food was a person, I’d be happy with the output of either of the X-series lenses. I like the 50 more because of the creamier bokeh and also because there’s more flexibility for cropping, but I would probably need to do a little post on some of the light blobs.

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 Blue Swan Media's gear list:Blue Swan Media's gear list
Fujifilm X100V Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm X-Pro2 Fujifilm GFX 50S Fujifilm X-H1 +20 more
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