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4 minute read

Seeing the Light in Every Moment

John Branch IV finds out how the FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR mid-telephoto prime lens handles a day in the life of a professional wedding and portrait photographer

“There’s something that I really love about capturing a moment in time. And also taking that moment in time ‘out of context’ to show the best parts,” says John Branch IV. And after seven years as a professional wedding and portrait photographer, he certainly knows his stuff.

“For example, you may feel that you’re getting married in a location that isn’t very beautiful, but my job as a photographer is to capture the beauty no matter where we are. And I just really love that about photos,” he continues. “Capturing the beauty and the moment, and turning something ordinary into art.”

In order to do this, John needs a camera system that is not only lightweight, compact, and easy to use, but also feels right. “Fujifilm, to me, brings back the fun and excitement of photography. The color science, the body, and the size of the overall system makes it easy for me to stay in the moment and think about the images I’m making and the feelings they invoke instead of worrying too much about camera settings, buttons, and numbers.

“Other more practical reasons include things like the size and weight of the system. As a wedding photographer, I carry two cameras for eight hours or more on a wedding day. And at 35 years of age, keeping as much weight off my back as possible is a must,” he chuckles.

For John, the lens plays an enormous role in determining both the visual style of his images and the atmosphere they convey. “Choosing a lens, in my opinion, sets the whole mood of the photo. Especially if you create mainly with prime lenses as I do.” He talks about the effect it can have on the compression of the background and how much of the surrounding environment is included, then goes on to reveal his must-haves when choosing the perfect optic.

“The biggest things that stand out for me are sharpness, no matter what aperture I’m at, and also how much light I’m letting in. As a wedding photographer, making sure I’m bringing in a good amount of light, especially towards the end of the night, is very important,” he tells us. “Second, fast focusing is a must. When framing scenes that are fast-paced and always have a moving subject, fast focusing is extremely helpful. I also like to have this for any video work I might do.”

After hearing about John’s ideal lens, we were eager to find out what he thought of XF50mmF1.0. In order to see whether this superfast mid-telephoto prime was up to the pro challenge, he set up some sessions that mimicked the kind of conditions he often faces. He was specifically looking out for low-light performance and quality of bokeh.

“For this project, I set out to put XF50mmF1.0 in a few of my normal ‘real world’ scenarios,” he explains. “I was able to take XF50mmF1.0 to a multitude of lighting scenarios ranging from a bright and sunny day, to overcast, right through to low light. The goal here was to see how it performed under the pressure of a typical session that I would see myself in.”

The more John used the lens, the more he realized just how capable it was. “It was amazing,” he beams. “The focusing was fast. It was surprisingly sharp, even wide open. The background blur was to die for. And it held up well in video, too. I really enjoyed using it.”

He was particularly impressed with the lens’s huge F1.0 aperture and how, when combined with FUJIFILM X-T4’s five-axis IBIS, it helped him overcome challenging low-light conditions. “In my evening session, it was surprising how much light I was able to get into the lens. Pair this with X-T4 and I was able to take very stable photos at 1/50 sec and keep my ISO lower while getting great quality. Between X-T4’s low-light capabilities and this lens being at F1.0, low light is not a problem at all.”

We finished by asking John whether he would recommend XF50mmF1.0 – and he was in no doubt. “Totally. For anyone who needs a fast lens in low-light situations or just loves some good bokeh, this lens is a must-have.

“It has been an absolute dream to use. It performed in any situation I put it in. I know this lens is going to get a whole bunch of use in my everyday kit.”

FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR is coming soon to your nearest FUJIFILM Authorized Dealer. Learn more and read the full specifications here.


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