Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs 56mm F1.2 APD Corporate Shoot Comparison

Originally posted 2015-05-28 10:37:56.

Fujifilm 55mm F1.2R and APD Comparison test
Side by side the 56mm F1.2R and APD version look nearly identical

I had an opportunity recently to compare the Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R with the newer APD version. They are both currently in production so the Fuji user has a choice on which to purchase. The APD version is about 60-70% more expensive. That’s about USD600 which may or may not be a major factor in your decision to purchase the lens. It is designed for the portraitist with the goal of controlling bokeh. Some disclosure. I own the original 56mm F1.2R and like it a lot, so had high expectations.

Outwardly the lenses look nearly identical. The giveaway is the “APD” on the lens barrel and orange T-stop markings. T stops show the actual light transmission. The special APD lens element does two things. The first is a positive and the second not so much.  Firstly and most importantly it makes the bokeh more pleasing to the eye and secondly it absorbs some of the light going through the lens. This means that shooting wide open at F1.2 you are only going to get the same amount of light transmission to the sensor as if you were shooting at F1.7 on the normal 56mm F1.2R. This is not an issue when shooting as todays sensors can simply bump the ISO a little. Please note that at F5.6 the effective T stop transmission is the same on both the lenses so the T stops markings cease at that point.

As shooting brick walls is not my thing I decided to take the lenses out on some actual photo shoots over a couple of weeks. My methodology was to shoot using a tripod so as to keep the subject and backgrounds similar while I changed lenses alternating between the R and APD versions. All photos were taken in aperture priority with the aperture set at F1.2 which is likely the most common scenario when using this lens.

Please also note that the differences appear more subtle on this web page than they do on a 24″ screen or in a print. The first four images below left me nonplussed. The differences were only obvious after very close scrutiny on a large screen. On the back of the camera I couldn’t see any differences so was feeling “ho-hum”. However when we started to shoot outside the difference in the background foliage was very apparent.

All photos taken with the Fujifilm X-T1.

Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs APD Bokeh

56mm F1.2R Control Photo

Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs APD Bokeh

56mm F1.2 APD. Note the subtle difference in the flowers and chairs.

Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs APD Bokeh

56mm F1.2R. Nice enough.

Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs APD Bokeh

56mm F1.2 APD. Again, very subtle difference.

Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs APD Bokeh

56mm F1.2R Control Photo. I liked the painterly foliage…until…

Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs APD Bokeh

56mm F1.2 APD. Very obvious quality difference in the foliage.

Part two will feature a model shoot. Click HERE for part 2



4 Replies to “Fujifilm 56mm F1.2R vs 56mm F1.2 APD Corporate Shoot Comparison”

  1. I see a lot of differences, but honestly, I’m not sure it works in most of situations (APD). But is great to have this option, need more practice with APD. Another matter, without APD bokeh is some more natural, photography way, where APD is interesting, but just blured for me. For creative use – very good. Common use – I’m not sure and I will have hard time deciding which version. Both lens are great and I will move on Fuji soon I think, years after using my lovely S3 Pro

  2. Cool, if you don’t mind the light loss and subsequent lack of speed in AF. The more expensive lens certainly has slightly better bokeh.

Comments are closed.