The Unfair Fight - Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR vs Viltrox 56mm f1.4 AF STM

Started 2 months ago | User reviews thread
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Pennyfan Contributing Member • Posts: 709
The Unfair Fight - Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR vs Viltrox 56mm f1.4 AF STM

It has became my tradition to make a side by side comparison test when I am replacing one of my existing lens with a new one of same focal length. I named this comparison The Unfair Fight, because the current price for the new 56mm f1.2 is roughly 3.5 times more than a Viltrox f1.4, and yet I am still doing it because the comparison can show me if my money is well spent.

I had the 1st generation Fuji XF56mm f1.2 - one of the 1st Fuji prime lenses I acquired when I stepped into Fujifilm X world. Unfortunately it never meet my expectation as a premium Fujifilm prime lens, the sharpness is only okayish across the whole frame, the focusing speed is slow and noisy, and the twitching behaviour of DC motor really bothered me at the time. it was simply not reliable enough for jobs, often went home with many blurry photos and missed many important moment.

I sold it when the Viltrox 56mm f1.4 launched in 2020, although the Viltrox worked better for me, it is not a perfect lens. I like the quieter, faster auto focus, the greater centre sharpness and the tighter aperture ring, at the same time I had to deal with its weaknesses like flare, CA, side/corner softness and no weather sealing.

As a 35mm and 85mm shooter, ever since I bought the XF23mm f1.4 LM WR, I hope Fujifilm will give 56mm the same level of update. Finally in 2022, we have the XF56mm f1.2 gen II, it's now weather sealed, has better optic that can resolve high resolution sensor, improved AF speed and not that much larger or heavier than its preceder.

I pre-ordered it right after the launch event, picked up last Friday and did the test during weekend. The sharpness blew Viltrox out of water, in every aperture and across the whole frame. No more CA, flare is also well controlled. I like the closer min. focusing distant but it is only a bonus, this lens is still a specialised portrait lens, not a macro.

I am pretty happy with all the upgrades but one, Fujifilm choosed to bring back our old friend DC motor. I still have doubt with its AF speed, the hit rate is yet to be tested in real world applications. I can feel the improvement, although not by much, so I can only tell myself it will get better when I purchased the upcoming X-T5 with new X-processor 5 and its new algorithm.

Other than the sharpness, I also included the flare and min. focus distance comparison. I could do the bokeh one if I had time, but I think they are well tested in many other reviews.

I hope you enjoyed reading my feedback about this lens, again it is not a lab test review, I did it more for my own reference and think at the same time it might help others with their purchasing decision.

 Pennyfan's gear list:Pennyfan's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm X-T5 Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8R LM WR Venus Laowa 65mm F2.8 Macro Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS WR +4 more
Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R WR
Prime lens • Fujifilm X
Announced: Sep 8, 2022
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