Fujifilm's insanely fast f/1.0 lens is the first with autofocus

Fujifilm has unveiled the world’s fastest autofocus lens, the XF50mmf1.0 R WR designed for its APS-C sensor X-series mirrorless cameras. It joins a very rare club of f/1.0 or lower lenses that includes Nikon’s f/0.95 Z-Noct. Such lenses have very large apertures that let users shoot clear photos in low-light situations, with very shallow depths of field.

At 4.07 inches long and 1.86 pounds, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR lens isn’t tiny, but it’s not huge, either, considering the 12 lens elements in nine groups. By comparison, Fujifilm’s 56mm f/1.2 lens weighs .9 pounds and is three inches long, while the full-frame Z-Noct is 6 inches and weighs 4.4 pounds.

Fujifilm

Unlike the manual focus Z-Noct, Fujifilm’s f/1.0 lens has an autofocus system that will make it easier to use. Fujifilm said that it’s “fast and precise... even in near darkness,” and added that manual focus is easier too thanks to a new focus ring design.

Autofocus lenses with extremely low f/stops are notoriously tricky to build because of the razor-thin focal plane, which might explain the XF50mmf1.0’s long and winding development cycle. The only other autofocus f/1.0 lens in recent memory is Canon’s full-frame EF 50mm f/1.0 L SLR lens, which was discontinued in 2000 but is still worth thousands on the used market.

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The XF50mmf/1.0 R WR makes a strong statement for Fujifilm’s lens design team, but its not out of reach like the $8,000 Z-Noct. You can get one for $1,500, which is a relative bargain for a product with such unique specs. It’s now up for pre-order with shipping set for the fall.

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