Taking the Fuji X-Pro2 and XF56mm to the streets

This lens could do some heavy lifting for you on the streets

This lens could do some heavy lifting for you on the streets

When I was reviewing the X-Pro2 for Fujifilm Canada, I tried it with the XF56mm f/1.2. I wanted to see if the increased resolving power of the X-Pro2 could get even more out of this amazing portrait lens, and the results really blew me away.

Fast forward to 2 months later, I now have my own X-Pro2 and my own XF56mm, which tells you how much I really fell in love with this combo, but I never thought I would be using a portrait lens like the 56mm for street photography.  Much has been written about the image quality and the sharpness of the 56mm so I won't go into technical details here, this is just a pseudo-review that focuses on my experiences of using it with the X-Pro2 on the streets. 

I am not really a studio portrait photographer, I prefer environmental portraits and candid street portraits, and that's the area in which the 56mm shines.  While this would never be my go to lens for street shots, I have been pleasantly surprised by the unique rendering of this lens.

56mm is the full frame equivalent of 85mm, which is a classic head and shoulder portrait focal length. Using it on the streets gives me a lot more reach, so I don't have to move around so much or move in closer on the subjects, the trade-off here is it won't put me right in the moment, so the result is not as gritty and intimate as the "in your face" type of close-up street photography.  Most street photographers use a wider focal length, such as 35mm or 28mm, and they would be working with a deeper depth of field so that most of the scene is in focus. With the 56mm, I not only keep some distance from the subjects, but also shoot wide open at f/1.2 to achieve a shallow depth of field. I find that the rendering of the background blur (bokeh) very cinematic, and it effectively eliminates some distractive elements in the background, so it puts the focus on the people's faces. Also, when I shoot wide open when the subject is at a distance, the depth of field is not as shallow, but it still gives me sufficient isolation power to make the subject stand out from the background. In other words, you can get some nice 3D pop in your images.

To me, the Acros film simulation mode and the XF56mm are made for each other, the results look cinematic and dare I say a little film-like.  For the images I am sharing in this review, here are my settings: 

  • Jpeg- Fine
  • Grain- Weak
  • Highlight- +1
  • Shadows- +1
  • Film Simulation mode- Acros standard

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you've enjoyed this picture-heavy post.  As you all know, May is photo month, let's all take advantage of the warmer weather and get to work!