My 6 Favorite Portrait Lenses For The Fuji X Series System

My 6 Favorite Portrait Lenses For The Fuji X Series System:

I Haven’t posted much about Fuji lately, so while I’m waiting for my chance to use the new XF 16-80mm f4 R OIS WR lens, I thought I’d write up an article about my 6 favorite portrait lenses for the Fuji X Series system.  From time to time, I receive emails, and DMs on my Instagram asking me about my preferences for portrait lenses when it comes to Fuji.  So, here they are in no particular order.

Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens:

If I had only one lens in the world, it would be a 50mm.  It would actually be an f1.4 lens because I find that to be the best in terms of size and versatility for me, of course.  For my own work, I use 50mm probably 95% of the time even when I have the opportunity to say use a longer focal length, for instance.  I’m a 50mm guy that’s just how it is.  So, I’m starting off this list with my favorite equivalent, the XF 35mm F1.4 R lens.  This was one of the first lenses to come out for the X Series system.  Being one of the first, it has an older design in terms of build, and the autofocus was not that fast when it was first introduced.  But issues like aperture blade chattering, and the autofocus has sped up considerably over the years thanks to firmware updates.  It has always been a pretty formidable lens in terms of optics but now, it’s a great all-around lens thanks to the improvements brought to it by firmware.

↑ The Fujifilm X-T2 and the XF 35mm f1.4 R lens.

Bottom line is I love this lens.  I owned it when it was first released, and traded it in for something else later on.  However, I missed it so much, I ended up buying it again. To me, this lens is just so versatile.  Optics are stellar, F1.4 adds more versatility, and you don’t really pay for it in terms of size because the lens is still very compact.  Autofocus is much, MUCH faster now, especially on newer bodies like the Fuji X-T3.  I use this lens all the time for portraits with no issues at all.

If you want to read my full review of it, you can find it here.  It’s an older review, which I will probably update soon.  You can also purchase it at B&H Photo.

Fuji XF 35mm f2 R WR Lens:

If you don’t need F1.4 though, the XF 35mm f2 R WR lens might just be the lens for you.  It’s even more compact than its faster sibling, it has weather-sealing, and since it’s a newer design, it’s build quality is arguably better.  It’s also significantly cheaper all while also producing excellent image quality.  I did a comparisons between the F1.4 and the f2 lenses here for those interested; both performed amazingly.  Lastly, this is a speed demon in terms of autofocus.

↑ Fuji X-T1 with the XF 35mm f2 R WR lens.

This lens is one of the best Fuji lenses to come out in my opinion. When I reviewed it, I was so tempted to buy one after.  Ultimately though, I knew I wanted an F1.4 lens, which is what finally convinced me not to buy it.  However, it was not an easy decision, and I still think about it to this day.

You can find my full review of it here.  For those interested, you can also purchase it at B&H Photo in silver or black.

Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 Mark II Lens:

Now, let’s just say you want something truly unique, and like me, you’re most comfortable with a 50mm equivalent.  One of my favorite lenses that I ever reviewed is the the Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 Mark II.  Yes folks, f0.95. This is an ultra fast lens, that is purely manual focus.  It’s also a fantastic overall performer, and can be used just like any normal lens, if you choose to stop it down to achieve excellent results.

↑ Fuji X-T2 with the Speedmaster 35mm f0.95 Mark II.

The best thing about this lens is it’s very easy to live with.  For one, I found it surprisingly easy to focus at f0.95. While it is an ultra fast lens, it is still very compact as you can see in the pictures; it’s around the size of the XF 35mm F1.4 making it a great everyday lens even though technically, one could view this lens as something more specialized because of the large aperture.  Lastly, the price isn’t outrageous.  It’s list is $599, which is the same as the XF 35mm f1.4 but right now, there’s even a big discount knocking the price down to $479.

If you want to read my full review of it, you can find it here.  You can also find it at B&H Photo in black or silver.

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 STM Lens:

If you want something closer to a traditional portrait lens, the Viltrox 85mm F1.8 STM, which is a 127.5mm equivalent, is a great choice.  At f1.8, it’s a fast lens, which is great for ultra shallow depth of field shots, as well as when you’re working in dimly lit areas.  It’s sharp, well made, and while it’s a third party lens, it does have autofocus, which in my opinion, is a huge plus.  Focusing an 85mm lens (127.5mm equivalent) at f1.8 manually, isn’t always an easy task.

↑ The Fuji X-T3 with the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 STM lens.

At the price of $399, it’s also a steal, if you ask me.  Just for comparison sake, the XF 90mm f2 currently costs $949.  The XF 90mm is a superb lens but you do end up saving quite a lot of money by going for the Viltrox 85mm f1.8.  It isn’t just a great value too, it’s a great lens regardless of price.

If you want more info about it, I reviewed it here.  You can also find it at B&H Photo.

XF 56mm f1.2 R APD Lens/Non-APD Lens:

I don’t think I can write up an article about portrait lenses for Fujifilm X Series cameras without mentioning the XF 56mm f1.2 R lens.  This lens is an 85mm equivalent, which is a popular focal length for many portrait photographers.  It’s also one of my favorite portrait lenses for the Fuji X Series system.  It’s expensive, there’s no doubt about that but it will definitely deliver the goods.  This is one of the best portrait lenses out there regardless of manufacturer.  The bokeh is especially pleasing, and it will make you want to shoot everything at f1.2.

↑ The Fuji X-T3 with the XF 56mm f1.2 R APD lens.

There are actually two versions of this lens: There is one they call the XF 56mm f1.2 R APD lens, which incorporates an apodization filter to produce an even smoother bokeh effect.  It’s more expensive, and there are slight downsides to it when compared to the non-APD version like slower autofocus but this version is my preference.  The lens produces some of the most beautiful bokeh in my opinion.  The bokeh is smooth and breathtaking.  I also just love the fact that it’s just unique.  It also does focus noticeably faster on newer generation cameras like the Fuji X-T3.

If you want to read my review of the non-APD version, you can find it here.  I’ll probably review the APD version in the future but keep in mind that both lenses are very similar.  If you’re interested in this lens, you can also purchase it at B&H Photo: APD version and the non-APD version.

XF 90mm f2 R LM WR Lens:

The last lens on my favorites list is the XF 90mm f2 LM WR lens.  I keep saying this statement, “this is one of my favorite Fuji lenses” but what can I say, Fuji does make some great lenses ;).  It is ultra sharp, the autofocus is quick, and the lens is also weather sealed.  It delivers killer bokeh as well.  At $949 (currently $849), it’s not cheap, and it’d be nice if it had image stabilization because this is a 137mm equivalent but overall, this is about as perfect as you can get for a portrait lens for your Fuji camera, if you ask me.

↑ The Fuji X-T1 with the XF 90mm f2 R LM WR lens.

I currently own an XF 56mm f1.2 R APD lens but when I was purchasing it, I couldn’t decide between the 56mm and this 90mm.  I absolutely love what the 90mm produces.  I think in some ways, I love it more than the output out of my XF 56mm f1.2 APD.  I did buy the 90mm first but I ended up exchanging it for the 56mm because focal length wise, I just had more use for the shorter lens.  Still, I plan to add the XF 90mm f2 to my collection one day.  This is seriously one of the best Fuji lenses out in my book.

My full review is here, and you can find this lens at B&H Photo as well.

So, those are my 6 favorite portrait lenses for the Fujifilm X Series system in no particular order, of course.  I review more lenses, I’ll probably add or remove stuff off my list but these are the lenses that have stuck in my mind the longest when I think of portrait lenses for the Fuji X Series system.  If you have one you particularly like that I did not mention, feel free to add it below!  There are a lot of great lenses out there, and I’m sure I forgot one or two that I used :).  Plus, there are plenty I did not review, and these are only my favorites.  I’m sure all of you have your own.  Thanks for stopping by!

19 comments… add one
  • Steve

    Hi Patrick,

    As usual, an interesting read. Since I don’t do portraits, I was surprised that I have two of the lenses you mentioned. The 35mm f0.95 and the 35mm f2. I’m very happy with both. I used to have the 56 f1.2 but when I no longer had any use for it I sold it. In came the 50 f2. Smaller and focusses faster. I fits my short telephoto needs perfectly.


    • Patrick

      Thanks Steve!

      Appreciate you taking the time to read it! I forgot about the 50mm f2. That’s a fantastic lens. I’ll have to add that on next time :). Thanks for stopping by!



  • Anh

    Thanks for the post!
    What would be your favourite 2 or 3 prime kit for portraits? Would you even consider the 23 1.4 for environmental or does the 35mm 1.4 can do all of this is most situations if you just step back?


    • Patrick

      Anytime, Anh!

      Thanks for tasking the time to read it! My favorite three portrait primes would probably be the XF 56mm APD, XF 35mm F1.4, and the XF 90mm.

      As for the XF 23mm F1.4, it’s a fantastic lens but I just don’t like using a 35mm equivalent in general. Most of the time, I can actually get away with just the XF 35mm F1.4 :). That’s probably my “go-to” lens. Let me know if you have any other questions!



  • Anh

    Thanks for insights, Patrick! I used the 35mm 1.4 for one month and sold it just to try out the 23mm 1.4. Maybe it is just my variation, but I find the 23mm 1.4 kind of soft while the 35mm makes me want to use it at 35 1.4mm. Also normal people ( not super attractive models) look way better on 35mm 1.4. Great lens for sure, which I was missing and bought just again now =)

    • Patrick

      Hi Anh,

      Glad to hear you bought it again :). Speaking of the 35mm f1.4, I’m actually going to post my second review of it probably tomorrow :). I reviewed it a long time ago when it first came out but it’s been such a great lens, and so much as changed over the years. It’s an even better lens now, and I thought it deserved a new review highlighting some of its changes. I hope you enjoy your 35mm f1.4, and it was great hearing from you again. Thanks for stopping by!



  • Kathy Davis

    Thanks for the Fuji list! Which links to the 35mm f1.4 review, which links to the XPro-1 review, which sets me to wondering:

    You know, something like the the X-e2 and a prime lens or two costs (ebay) a bit less than the Leica D-Lux 7. Very attractive alternative.

    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy!

      Apologies for the late reply! I’ve been so busy recently. A lot of the older Fuji stuff is cheap, and still excellent. It’s a great way to get into their system. I still have my X-E1, and the electronics are slower. However, the image quality is fantastic. The second generation (X-E2, X-T2, etc.) had a nice combination of speed and image quality. If I wasn’t reviewing stuff here, I’d probably would’ve just kept my X-T2 instead of purchasing the X-T3.

      Plus, something like the X-E2 is rangefinder styled, which is right up your alley :). You have full manual controls, etc. Again, sorry for the late reply,



  • Well, if you ween’t busy taking photos & writing reviews, then all of us behind you wouldn’t have anything to talk about! So, please focus on all the good stuff.

    I did wind up ordering the X-E2, which leads me to a question: say I follow your link to Adorama, and they tell me the X-E2 is unavailable. But then I find a used one for $229.

    Does Adorama still know that I bought because of your reviews?

    Keep on clickin’ that shutter,


    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy,

      it’s the editing that is crazy lol. I definitely do not want to be rude to you or anything. After this weekend, things should clear up a bit hopefully haha.

      As for my link, thanks, I really appreciate it! How it works is if you click on it, it stays in their system for I believe 24 hours, so anything purchased, they should know it came from me.

      Glad you made the jump to the X-E2 :). What lens did you purchase or are you planning on getting the M adapter?



  • Good to have the info on your links to stores — I shop most at Adorama & now I know I can pass on the benefit no matter what I buy!

    Yeah I did get the X-E2s (at $229 wow) and the 18-55 kit. Your articles covered that pretty thoroughly. I also got the M-adapter — actually the main reason I got the camera.

    With the 50 Summicron, I was like, ‘oh! Now I see what Patrick’s been saying all this time: EVF was so fantastic. Not quite as good on the Elmarit 90, almost always useless on the Tele-Elmar 135. The 35 Leica R — I thought R->M->X was too over-the-top & didn’t try.

    You asked about the Tele-Elmar — it’s very Leica, sharp and great micro contrast. But even on the M, it’s hard to focus. Probably on the SL, with IBIS and the heavy body, you’d be just fine doing portraits. Or anything with a tripod.

    Focusing in general on the X-E2s was wonky, manual or auto, Sometimes ‘oh, wow! I’ll just trade in my M and use this’. Other times — ‘hello! That was not where the peaking said focus was. WTF?”

    The camera & lens were used; maybe that was the issue. I wound up returning the whole deal. Great ride while it lasted, tho.

    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy!

      In terms of the links, thanks, I greatly appreciate it! I really do!

      Yeah, the price for used Fuji stuff is pretty good :). I am actually thinking about writing up an article about some of the older gear. It’s a great way to get into the system, and the older stuff isn’t so out of date as some would say it is.

      I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with focusing manual lenses on the X-E2S. I seriously thought you’d like it. Do you know if the X-E2S had the latest firmware? I asked because I know Fuji did introduce focus peaking in one of the X-E bodies through a firmware update (don’t remember which model). Well, at least you gave it a try; no real loss :).

      I’ve been thinking about purchasing a longer lens for portraits that’s why I was curious about the Tele-Elmar too. I’m looking at the Sigma 105mm f1.4. It’s HUGE lol (105mm filter thread). Google it when you get a chance. You’ll think I lost my mind haha.



  • Patrick — thanks for the note. I am totally behind an article on older equipment! I paid $229 for the X-E2s; if someone had handed that to me in 2009, I’d have run up & down the street screaming. Probably get arrested. It’s a fantastic camera!!

    Which I just replaced with the X-E3. Turns out, I was really impressed with these little guys. One exception: for now, I’m just shooting with my Leica lenses (and one Nikon).

    I know this is “sick & wrong” but I’m thinking of putting the M240 on ebay & just using the X-E3. It’s half the weight, a sixth what the M cost me, I can still pre-focus & pre-aperture; they’re both 24mp. And I find — who woulda thought- those Leica lenses feel good on the Fuji.

    If I go that way, I’ll need some Fuji’s for wide lenses. Articles like these are life-savers!
    Thanks for all the work you put in.


  • Kathy Davis

    I did look at the Sigma 105. By all that’s holy! (I teach; I don’t grt to swear)

    Do you need weight training to pick it up? We watch Art Wolfe on PBS and he always carries this tripod & enormous lens on his shoulder.

    You’re gonna lose ‘street’ creds with this one. Seriously, tho: I’m guessing the ‘bokeh king’ is why you’re interested?

    • Patrick

      Hahaha yes, it is huge! But have you seen the images from it? Google them, they look really nice. Yes, the bokeh is awesome but it’s a bit unique give the focal length and insane max aperture. It gives a really cool look similar to how a Noctilux produces a unique look for its focal length. Plus, 105mm is great for portraits, and the price isn’t really outrageous considering the quality of the images, focal length, and max aperture.

      But I’m still really, REALLY thinking about it haha. The size still scares me a bit. I think I had pretty good training with the SL lenses haha but this is like maybe another level in terms of size. I definitely would have difficulty finding a bag to fit this lens.

  • Kathy Davis

    Kind of like this?

    I *think* I get the point: a long lens is going to flatten everything. So the trick here is for the lens to be able to separate the subject from a very close background.

    I’ll be curious to see what camera bag you get. Your bag/camera shots are always so sexy. Which is probably responsible for my two Billinghams and one ONA 🙂

    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy!

      Yes, that’s the lens, and that’s what it can do. Haha glad to know you like my camera bag shots :). If you don’t mind me asking, which Billingham bags did you get? I’m using a big one for my daily user now…the 307, and I actually am a new owner of the Rucksack 25. I’m gradually moving over to the Rucksack because I have back issues. Of course, I don’t use these bags for street shooting haha. If I don’t hear from you before Thanksgiving, I wish you and your family a great one!

      Happy Holidays!


  • Graham O Randle

    Also very good is the Rokinon 85mm f1.4.
    Manual focus is no problem on Fuji (X-T3) with excellent focus peaking feature.

    • Patrick

      Hi Graham,

      Yes, that’s a great lens as well! I reviewed it a while back, and loved it! Thanks for stopping by!



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