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Fujifilm’s New 56mm F/1.2 Is a Bokeh Enthusiasts’ Dream

By Anthony Thurston on September 10th 2014

Amongst all of the other Fuji announcements from today, this new 56mm F/1.2 APD may not stand out, but when you learn more about it, you will see why this is a lens to keep an eye on.


Fuji already has a 56mm F/1.2, so what is so special about this updated APD version? To put it simply, this lens is identical to the 56mm F/1.2 in every way except for the new APD filter, which is specifically designed to render unique and especially pleasing bokeh.

[REWIND: Fuji Announces New Graphite Silver X-T1, With Updates]

The APD, or apodizing filter, is used to produce a controllable and aesthetically-pleasing bokeh, that is characterized by sharp main subjects, tremendously blurred background, and an overall three-dimensional quality. (Though it is a bit unclear HOW the APD filter is controllable). Additionally, an HT-EBC multi-layer coating has also been applied to elements to minimize surface reflections, flare, and ghosting for more contrast-rich, color-neutral results.

Overall, this is a premium version of their still stellar 56mm F/1.2, one that I personally am very curious to try out. I want to see what all the hoopla about this lenses’ bokeh is about. At any rate, if you are interested, you can pre-order the new 56mm F/1.2 APD now over on B&H for $1,499.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Konrad Sarnowski

    I. WANT. THIS. LENS. And X-T1 :P

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  2. Matthew Saville

    Could this be akin to Nikon’s DC portrait lenses, De-focus Control? Hmm, we’ll have to test it out…


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    • Michael Lin

      No, it is not akin to Nikon’s DC series, Matt. Fuji’s APD is similar to what Sony is doing to their STF lenses; it’s a specific lens design that allows “perfect” bokeh to be shown in the picture, unlike what Nikon does which is merely a “trick” but does not solve any fundamental problems of the bokeh.

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    • Michael Lin

      I don’t get it. It’s still APSC. LOL.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Michael, so what if it’s APSC. Crop bodies have Bokeh as well… Not sure how it being APSC matters here. Fuji doesn’t make a full frame camera, so why would they ever make a full frame lens?

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    • Stan Rogers

      Your technical assessment is bang-on, Michael, but you did sort of miss the f/1.2-versus-f/2.8 thing. 56mm/2.8 on APS-C is a little shorter (about 85mm equivalent) so it will have a tighter perspective, but the DoF/OOF would be very similar to 135mm/2.8 on full frame.

      As for the apodization itself, it uses a couplet (pair of lenses) that can be thought of (roughly) as a radially-graduated neutral density filter (clear at the centre, dark at the edges) that only works on out-of-focus things in the image. So instead of defined discs (with our without a hard outline edge), you get something that’s more of a fuzzy ball. The aperture of the apodization couplet determines how much the edges of the out-of-focus elements will be “de-footed”. (In Photoshop terms, it’s more like Gaussian Blur with a depth map than Lens Blur.) Things that are not in focus gradually melt away into pure, indistinct creaminess. NOTE: this will not give you the “bokeh balls” effect, so don’t look for it. But if you want subject isolation and a de-emphasized foreground/background rather than a special effects background, this is what you want. (You can always add the balls in post if that’s what turns your crank.)

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  3. Herm Tjioe

    $1500 !?!?!? Yeah it’s a 1.2 but still .. . .

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  4. Phil Bautista

    Drool. I’m not even a Fuji user and I want this. But picking this and an X-T1 would mean selling a whole shitload of gear. Oh well. I’ll just have to live with my 5D2-135/2 pairing. C’est la vie.

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