The Fujifilm X-T4/Fujinon XF50mm f/1 portrait combo
Fuji’s new camera body-lens combination for portraits
Making great portraits is an art. Getting the right portrait involves many factors. Most notably, 4 factors need to shine when making a portrait that stands out. In this blog, I want to talk about why the Fujifilm X-T4 (released in 2020) and the Fujinon XF50mm f/1.0 R WR is the perfect combination for anyone interested in doing portrait photography with a Fujifilm X lineup camera.
About the model
What makes a great portrait
Several qualities make a portrait stand out:
- Great subject isolation
- A captivating expression that gets the observer curious
- Out of the ordinary posture or angles
- A fantastic or original subject look
Excellent subject isolation (bokeh) from the Fuji 50 f/1
To get a great shot, subject isolation is king. The person’s face must be the center of attention. How the background interacts with the subject is very important.
There are not a thousand ways to isolate your subject. In a studio environment, you can play with the appearance of the background via your backdrop choice. For a location shoot, You can pick a spot that has a stunning dramatic feel to complement your subject. But sooner or later, you will need to rely on bokeh.
Bokeh comes from getting low depth-of-field. This is where the subject you focus on is sharp and all other things in front and behind the subject are blurry. You get this by opening up your f-stop to the lowest number.
When looking for a lens that gives you good bokeh, you have to watch out for three things.
- The lens you buy must have the lowest f-number possible
- The lens must keep its image quality even when you open up your aperture
- The bokeh it delivers must be to your liking (subjective)
At f/1.0, the Fujinon 50mm opens up options
Lenses with an F-stop lower than f/2.8 are extremely rare. Lenses that have an f-stop under 1.2 are even rarer. The Fujinon’s f/1.0 puts it in a class all its own. It makes for a lens that can offer photographers razor-thin depth-of-field.
The Fujinon 50mm f/1.0 stays sharp at all aperture openings
There is always an image quality tradeoff when you open a lens to its maximum opening. Often, when opening up a lens iris, image quality and image sharpness suffer. The Fujinon 50mm f/1.0 does not have this problem. Or should I say, has it less than others? It keeps this quality regardless of whatever F-stop it is at. It is pretty amazing.
Unique world-class bokeh
I cannot stress how magical the bokeh is on this particular lens. For me, nothing even comes close. The Fujinon 90mm or the GF 100mm are good for bokeh but are left in the dust by the XF50mm f/1.0 R WR. The 50mm f/1 even has a fresco feel to it. I haven’t seen anything like it.
The Fujifilm X-T4 the perfect portrait combo
If Fujinon 56mmf/1.0 takes care of point 1 above, the Fujifilm X-T4 really takes care of all the others (points 2,3,and4).
Nailing your shot when the subject offers you that one perfect expression in portrait photography is critical. Low depth of field shooting opens up the possibilities of losing focus, so having a camera that can get what you want fast is essential. The Fujifilm X-T4 has many state-of-the-art features that ensure getting the shot when you feel that it is there.
Eye-auto-focus, burst rate with the X-T3’s X-Processor 4 CPU are right on point. The camera body offers tracking AF, 0.02-second auto-focus speed, and excellent low light autofocus performance. All this paired with a lens that reacts to all the X-T4 has to offer. By having the X-T4 and XF50mm f/1.0, you increase your chances of getting that expression when you want it.
The downside of the Fujifilm X-T4/Fujinon 50mm f/1 combo
Unfortunately, none of this ideal setup comes cheap. Both the camera body and lens are part of Fuji’s latest 2020 flagship products. The Fujinon XF50mm f/1.0 R WR retails at roughly 1499 USD and the X-T4 retails at 1699 USD. But, when comparing similar results from other manufacturers, the results tell the tale. Fuji offers a relatively less expensive option to competitor’s lenses and bodies like the Canon RF f/1.2 at 2299USD and Nikkor Z50mm f/1.2
If you can stretch your budget, no other Fujifilm camera body-camera lens combination is more perfectly catered to the portrait photographer’s needs. Sure, other lenses like the Fujinon XF56mm F/1.2 R APD and non-APD lenses are contenders, but auto-focus improvements and image quality considerations on the new 50mm f/1 are just too great to ignore.
All that’s left is up to you
Like all great portrait photographers, you still have to hone your skills with your subject and gear. Although I cannot guarantee perfect pictures, I know that you’ll be set with a great portrait photography tool kit using this lens-camera combo.
I am a photographer, videographer, and copywriter living in Quebec City, Canada. I also have a YouTube channel and an Instagram account dedicated to creation and creativity via my main loves of photography, music, and writing.
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