3 Best Portrait Lenses for Fujifilm Shooters

June 27, 2020

3 Best Portrait Lenses for Fujifilm Shooters

When it comes to the world of portrait photography, it is no surprise that it is much dictated by the lenses you have. A good quality lens for portraits, when used appropriately with the intention to create the storytelling element of photography, has the power to elevate the photograph on to the next level.

As a Fujifilm photographer, I often get asked about which is the best Fuji portrait lens to create beautiful images of people. The answer I gave might be a tad vague to some.

On one hand, yes, I do have my favorite, go-to lenses that I love, and I can talk about them all day long. But on the other hand, I don’t know a lot of things about the person who asked me that question. What is their style? What kind of portraits do they want to create? What kind of situations or locations do they prefer to shoot at?

What is deemed “best” by one photographer might have a different meaning to another and at the end of the day, it comes down to needs and personal preference.

In this blog post, the main Fujifilm camera bodies that I will be using as a reference are the Fujifilm XT-3 and the Fujifilm XH-1. 

What To Look For In A Portrait Lens

When it comes to choosing which Fujifilm portrait lens to get, there are two crucial aspects to consider: the aperture and focal length of the lens. The range of available portrait lenses for Fujifilm X photographers is quite diverse, depending on your budget, needs, and what kind of look or style you want to achieve.

For me, personally, I want to have a lens with a shallow depth of field (i.e. low aperture) to create that creamy background bokeh. I also prefer to have a slightly smaller focal length so that I have more space and flexibility to work with in the frame. I personally prefer to get closer and more intimate with the subject rather than having to move back or further away (as I might not have that luxury all the time when shooting on location).

Again, you may or may not share the same reasons as I do. Perhaps you might prefer to take a step back from your subject. Or you know that you have plenty of space to work around. And that is totally fine too!

Recommended Portrait Lenses 

I love having options and versatility when it comes to creating impactful photographs of people. I would highly recommend having both primes and zoom lenses in your photography kit.

I have tried, tested, and used various Fujifilm lenses for my portrait work and I found that the three most reached for lenses are the: Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2, Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4, and the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR.

Fujinon Xf 56mm F1.2

If I were only to have one portrait lens for Fujifilm cameras, it would hands-down be the Fuji 56mm f1.2. It is equivalent to an 85mm on a full-frame camera, undoubtedly one of the most popular focal lengths for portrait photographers.

The ability to produce a crisp, close-up portrait when shooting even with the largest aperture of f1.2, and to create a beautiful, creamy background and throw everything into gorgeous bokeh, are the primary reasons why this lens is attached to my Fuji cameras almost 90% of the time.

I use this lens mostly for headshots or half-body shots to emphasize the styling and beauty or make-up aspects of my subjects. What I love most about this Fuji lens is the shallow depth of field that allows for greater separation between the subject and the background. I’m able to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or f1.4) and still get crisp sharp portrait images.

Overall, the image quality, background bokeh, and shallow depth of field this f1.2 lens produces make it an ideal lens for portraiture. I would even say that this would be the best Fuji lens for portraits that I have in my photography gear kit.


Captured with the Fuji 56mm f1.2


Captured with the Fuji 56mm f1.2

Fujinon Xf 23mm F1.4 R

With the focal length equivalent to the 35mm on a full-frame, the Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 R is considered as one of the classic focal lengths well-loved by portrait photographers. This is ideal especially for environmental portraiture where the surrounding of the subject is part of the storytelling narrative. 

The f1.4 aperture makes it a strong contender for portrait work especially if you love soft bokeh and shallow depth of field in your images. This Fuji lens also has amazing low-light performance, almost at a similar caliber of its fellow portrait lens, the Fujinon 56mm f1.2.

From the range of Fuji lenses that I own, this would be my pick for lifestyle and travel portrait photography due to its focal length and capability to create beautiful bokeh. The freedom of having more ‘space’ in frame comes in handy whenever I’m physically constrained by space or room to move around.


Captured with the Fuji 23mm f1.4 


Captured with the Fuji 23mm f1.4

Fujinon Xf 16b-55mm F2.8 Lm Wr

This Fuji lens is considered as the fastest f2.8 professional room range in the Fujifilm lineup. It is equivalent to a 24mm – 84mm focal length on a full-frame sensor. I primarily use this lens when shooting environmental portraits (in which the focus of the photograph is more so of the background or the nature backdrop where the subject is placed) as well as shooting movements or moving portraits in an outdoor setting. 

I love the versatility that this lens offers as well as the weather sealing feature as I’m able to work and enjoy the photoshoot experience without having to worry so much about the weather. I’m also able to move around with ease, composing, and directing while also moving around to get the best angles and shots.

In addition, I often shoot horizontally from above and have the subject to lay flat on the ground (or inside a bathtub). The versatility of this lens allows me to compose my shots in the ways and angles that I wanted even while staying stationary at one spot; and without having to risk my own and the subject’s safety (i.e. if, touch wood, I fall from the ladder or wherever I needed to stand to get the perfect shot). 

Even though the Fujinon 16-55mm f2.8 is the only lens in the Fujifilm zoom range without image stabilization, I have not encountered any blur issues and the image quality that this Fuji lens creates is superb, with amazing sharpness across the lens with the constant aperture of f2.8. 


Captured with the Fuji 16-55mm f2.8


Captured with the Fuji 16-55mm f2.8 

Final Thoughts

The question of, “what is the best Fujifilm portrait lens?” is really asking, “what is the best one out there for you?” 

Only you can answer that.

If you are still looking for one that is best suited to your needs and your style of imagery, I would highly encourage you to experiment. A lot.

Hire or rent lenses and try them out first. Meet other Fujifilm portrait photographers and ask which lenses they love most and why.

Don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it! The more you know how to use a lens — and know what its limits and capabilities are — the more you will be able to create images that you desire.


Natalia Naa is a boudoir, fashion, and lifestyle portrait photographer and educator based in Melbourne, Australia. Find more of her work at:

www.natalianaa.comInstagram.com/natalianaa

90 Days Of Content

Over the next 90 days we are going to be working with some top artists to explore recommendations giving you solutions to problems we have all gone through. We are paying the writers a really fair wage for every original article, and we are writing about things that aren’t sponsored by any brand. There is no one but our opinion behind it. We would love it if you do use our affiliate links here so we can continue to keep writing awesome articles that you can trust.



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in PRO EDU BLOG

How I Got the Shot and The Job
How I Got the Shot and The Job

July 08, 2020

Capture breathtaking images in a natural environment. Brittany Smith shares how to find the right lighting setup when shooting with strobes outdoors.

Read More

Archival Permanence: The Truth About The Deception
Archival Permanence: The Truth About The Deception

July 07, 2020

Gain more insight about the concept of Archival Permanence. Explore the combination of factors that can successfully make prints last longer.

Read More

Best ND Filter for Landscape Photography
Best ND Filter for Landscape Photography

July 06, 2020

Filters are a crucial part of landscape photography to control light and balance exposures. Connor Mollison shares the best ND filters for these types of shots.

Read More