Can we still trust Fuji? That is the question that many are asking today in the wake of the release of the Fuji 56/1.2 APD.
The lens, a very-slightly tweaked 56/1.2 which has had a filter added to “enhance bokeh,” has newbs all a twitter at the prospect. MOAR BOKEH!
Actual sample images, which show that there is VERY little difference for your extra $500 and the loss of a FULL STOP of light, are being ignored by the aforementioned newbs.
Go take a look at these links:
Does this mean you should immediately sell your 6 months-old standard 56mm? Well, I won’t — and I certainly won’t feel cheated. What this amounts to is choice, not replacement, upgrade or deprecation. As far as I’m concerned, neither can disappoint.
I don’t see anyone who shoots in the same kind of settings as I do selling their 56mm f/1.2R to get their hands on the APD version, but you could consider it to be a slight improvement to an already awesome lens for those who haven’t yet picked up a Fuji 56mm f/1.2R, or often shoot in situations that would benefit more from the APD filter, whatever those situations might be (my emphasis).
But professionals and serious enthusiasts who have bought into the Fuji ethos on the basis that they were producing quality gear and had a strong and definite direction for the brand, have been left dismayed and confused.
The issue isn’t that this is a total niche lens, something that a lens manufacturer could be expected to produce once the basics – like, say, a couple of all purpose 2.8 zooms, not to mention a proper macro and a decent flash system (preferably with off-camera capabilities) – have been attended to.
The real problem is that this lens appeared out of nowhere.
Fuji has (had?) a roadmap, which, while not everyone was thrilled about the timing of certain lenses, at least gave a direction and some certainty.
They then updated the roadmap a couple of months ago, and while there was wide-spread dismay at the pushing back of the 2.8 zooms (seeing a theme?), people appreciated being updated as to timelines and products (a 16/1.4 was added, along with a (much anticipated) 90/2).
And then this bizarre bolt from the blue.
I get that adapting the current 56 into BOKEH MONSTR 56 it wasn’t a terribly hard thing to do. But that’s not the issue. Any company has a limited R&D budget, and time and money spent on fluff like this means someone wasn’t working on the 2.8 zooms. Or the macro. Or the flash system.
We constantly hear about how Fuji listens to its customers. And it’s clear that they do, it’s one of the reasons we’re here. But who asked for this? Marketing?
It’s not just that it’s a fairly pointless luxury lens – the current 56/1.2 (which I own and love) is a stellar piece of glass, with MOAR BOKEH than you can shake a stick at – it’s the loss of trust in Fuji’s decision-making and planning. Why have a roadmap, which you diligently update, if you are going to pop up a luxury lens out of nowhere?
The WHOLE POINT of a roadmap is to tell people you know where you’re going and let them buy into that vision. To lob a luxury lens into the mix while delaying the absolute basics is bad enough, but do it in secret? They surely knew this lens was in the pipeline when they released the updated roadmap a couple of months ago, so this feels like deception.
And just like the first time that you see a questionable text message from someone else on your partner’s phone, trust is an easy thing to lose, and significantly harder thing to rebuild.