Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 on Fuji X-Pro 1

by bryan minear
March 26, 2015

I love my Fuji X cameras. I love their lenses. But I also love old MF glass, and it just so happens that I have a lot of it. This review will focus on one of my favorite lenses.

One thing that always sucked about shooting old manual focus lenses on my Canon DSLRs was that it is ridiculously hard to hit focus with a 1.2 lens. But the Fuji’s with their focus peaking make this a non-issue. I am an avid collector of old film cameras and I have a lot of older canon FD/FL lenses just collecting dust. Most of which came from my Grandpa, who was a photographer himself. My pride and joy lens, the Canon FL 55 f/1.2 was always incredible for my film work, so nabbing a $15 FX to FD adapter from amazon was a worthwhile risk to see how it would perform on a mirrorless Fuji. After pining over the Fuji 56 1.2 for so long, it would also give me a look at whether or not the focal length would work for me. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the 85mm focal length, and just couldn’t fork out the cash for the Fuji lens knowing that I have always been more of a wide shooter.

My initial assessment is that using manual focus lenses on the Fuji X-Pro 1 is really fun. Focus peaking is done really well and to be honest, I’ve started using manual focus on my Fujix lenses as well. One of the things that I loved about this line of camera in the first place was that it returned me to the 35mm film days of dedicated manual controls, and forgoing autofocus has the same effect. It really puts you more in touch with the photograph that you are taking. That being said, it is still really hard to focus at f/1.2. The Canon 55mm lens was obviously not made for a digital camera, and at 1.2 you get a different looking halo/blur effect around the areas you are focusing on, so I end up shooting a in the f/1.8-f/2 range because the sharpness really starts to pick up and the halo goes away.

This lens is fantastically sharp north of f/2, like, on par with my XF 35mm 1.4 which I deem one of the sharpest lenses I have ever owned across any platform. Click the image below to see a 100% crop.

YES! That’s manually focused (did i mention how much i love focus peaking?)

As far as weight goes, this lens is all metal and hefty. It feels a bit off balance on the X-Pro, but not so much so that its unwieldily. To be honest the adapter that I got adds the length that throws it just off balance. Its definitely easy to get used to.

The other A++++++ function of this lens is its butter-like focus ring. I really don’t understand why Canon stopped producing such a smooth ring on their lenses. It seems like all of the L series lenses that I have used don’t hold a candle to anything in the FD/FL lineup.

Being that this is my first review, I’m going to leave it short and sweet. If you have old lenses lying around collecting dust, pick up a cheap adapter and see what kind of result you can get. I recently also got a Minolta MD adapter as well to try out some of my old Minolta glass. For $15, who can resist that? If you have any questions or you would like to see more examples of this lens in action, leave a comment below, since the writing of this I’m sure I will have used this lens a ton more.

Thanks for reading!

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