Review: TTArtisan 27mm F/2.8 — A Cheap Fujinon Alternative

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 on a Fujifilm X-T5

The Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR is my favorite lens for Fujifilm cameras. The problem is that it’s also my wife’s favorite lens, and between the two of us we only have one copy. When she’s using it, I typically go with the Fujinon 35mm f/2 instead, which is a really good lens, too, but I like the 27mm just a bit better. The other problem is that the 35mm lens, while small, is bigger than my 27mm pancake, and it doesn’t fit into my travel camera bag (I have it set up where my Fujifilm X100V and Fujifilm X-E4 with the 27mm fit really nicely into a little camera bag—the 35mm lens is just a tad too big). When TTArtisan recently announced their inexpensive 27mm f/2.8 autofocus pancake lens, I thought maybe this could be a good solution to my problem.

The TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 feels well built. There’s mostly metal in the construction, and at 0.2 pounds, it’s definitely lightweight. It has an aperture ring, with f-stops from f/2.8 to f/16, and third-stop clicks in-between. It has 6 elements in 5 groups, and 7 diaphragm blades. 27mm is full-frame equivalent to 40.5mm, and is pretty close to what they eyes see. The minimum focus distance is about 13.5 inches. It accepts 39mm threaded filters—the lens came with a tiny hood that screws into the threads. The rear cap has a USB dock for firmware updates. Overall, the lens looks and feels pretty good.

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 on a Fujifilm X-T5

I really like the manual focus ring. It has the right amount of give, and the amount of focus change per turn is great. I like this lens better as manual-focus than autofocus. Why? Autofocus is loud and slow. Fujifilm’s 27mm isn’t their quickest or quietest, but the TTArtisan is noticeably noisier and slower (I tried it on an X-T5 and X-E4 with the same result on both). It reminds me a lot of Fujifilm’s 18mm f/2 pancake. I said of that lens, “Autofocus is the slowest I’ve experienced in a Fujinon model, outside of macro lenses that have a long range to cycle through. It’s also the loudest.” The TTArtisan’s autofocus performs very similarly. My wife has been around cameras and lenses nearly as much as I have—she shoots with a Fujifilm X-T4. A couple days ago I was playing around with the TTArtisan 27mm and she happened to be nearby, and she asked, “What’s that noise?” I answered, “This new lens, it’s trying to focus.” Her response was, “I’m sorry.” Maybe I just got a bum copy, or maybe they’re all that way—either way, it was a bit disappointing, but not completely unexpected for cheap gear.

The other aspect of the TTArtisan 27mm that’s similar to the Fujinon 18mm is size, as they’re pretty close to the same dimensions—the TTArtisan is just barely smaller. I said in my review of the 18mm, “Whereas the 27mm is a true pancake, the 18mm f/2 is only sort-of one, as it’s a little on the large size for this category. Think of it more of a Japanese pancake than an American flapjack, or maybe it’s a short stack.” It’s definitely smaller than the 35mm f/2, though, and it passed the fit-test in my travel bag. So when my wife is using the Fujinon 27mm, I can choose to attach the TTArtisan 27mm or the Fujinon 18mm to my X-E4, and it will still fit alongside my X100V.

What about image quality? There’s some strong vignetting that never fully goes away—by f/8 it’s extraordinarily minimal, but at f/2.8 it’s very pronounced. You can use the vignetting creatively, or stop down… it’s not too bad at f/4, and definitely not a big deal by f/5.6. It’s pretty sharp in the center at all apertures, but a little soft in the corners wide-open. I think the lens is optically best at around f/8, but certainly acceptably good at all apertures—even f/2.8. Bokeh (which is the quality of the out-of-focus areas of an image and an overrated aspect of image quality) is alright—not bad, but not my favorite, either; can be slightly “swirly” at f/2.8 when close-focusing. I didn’t notice chromatic aberrations or anything like that, but it might be because the camera is fixing it automatically. There is some noticeable barrel distortion. Lens flare is mostly well controlled, and sometimes kind of interesting (I’ve yet to decide if I like it or not). Overall, image quality from the TTArtisans 27mm isn’t as good as the Fujinon 27mm, but still pretty good.

Hanging Garden Light – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/3.2 – Upcoming recipe

The TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 is only $160, which is an extremely good price. If the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 is out of your budget or you’re having a difficult time finding a copy, this is a pretty good alternative. If you can afford the Fujinon model, I recommend that instead because it’s better; however, the TTArtisan is pretty good yet very affordable. For those on a tight budget, I don’t think you’ll find a better pancake lens for your Fujifilm camera.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 Autofocus  Amazon

Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR   Amazon   B&H

Example photos, captured with the TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 lens, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs:

Early Morning Lamp – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @ f/2.8 – “Superia Xtra 400
Night Blossoms – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Superia Xtra 400”
Autumn Leaves on a Green Bush – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/4 – “Nostalgia Negative
Lemon Bowl – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/4 – “Superia Xtra 400”
Dark Coffee – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Timeless Negative
Western Boots – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Superia Xtra 400”
Cowgirl Boots – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/2.8 – “Kodak Tri-X 400
Illuminated Branch – Buckeye, AZ Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/5.6 – “Pacific Blues
Rose in the Garden – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/5.6 – Upcoming Recipe
Afternoon Bougainvillea – Bcukeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/4 – “Pacific Blues”
Blue Sky Bougainvillea Blossom – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 + TTArtisan 27mm @f/6.4 – Upcoming recipe

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Just Announced: Fujinon 30mm f/2.8 Macro

Fujifilm just announced a new lens: Fujinon 30mm f/2.8 Macro. This is a “standard” prime lens with a 45mm (equivalent) focal-length. It’s a macro, and its closest focus distance is about 4″ from the sensor, which is great. While the f/2.8 maximum aperture may not sound especially exciting, it’s important to know that impressive maximum apertures aren’t a big deal on macros. The 30mm f/2.8 macro has a linear motor and is weather-sealed. Overall it seems like a high quality Fujinon lens.

I love macro lenses because they’re often very sharp and quite versatile. The one downside is that there’s a lot of range to scroll through when focusing, and because of this they’re not quite as quick as non-macro lenses. In Fujifilm’s lineup, you have two other macro options: the 60mm f/2.4 and 80mm f/2.8. The 60mm is old, slow, and optically inferior, although still a good lens. The 80mm is excellent optically (one of the absolute best, actually), but is bulky and expensive. At $600, this new lens is not overly costly, yet seemingly quite capable and pretty compact. This new 30mm option will be an appealing choice for those interested in macro photography, or those wanting a good walk-around lens with extra versatility.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Preorder your Fujinon 30mm f/2.8 Macro: Amazon B&H

Orders will apparently ship on November 17.

In other (but related) news, AstrHori has released a 28mm f/13 Micro Probe lens that has 2x magnification! If you want to get really close, and do some crazy closeup pictures of bugs or flowers, this is a lens to strongly consider. I don’t think you’d put this unusual lens on your camera for street photography or portraits—you might poke someone’s eye out—but for true macro photography, this is one you’ll want to take a good look at. If you are a dedicated macro shooter, this is a lens to get excited for; however, with that said, I’ve never used it and cannot attest to the image quality—I don’t doubt that it’s decent, I just have no firsthand experience. If you only occasionally dabble in macro photography, then the Fujinon 30mm is probably a better choice for you. The good news for macro photographers is that you have two new options. Yea!

The AstrHori 28mm f/13 Micro Probe is available for $739 on Amazon.

New 27mm f/2.8 Pancake Alternative by TTArtisan

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 … photo courtesy of Pergear

I’ve told you before that the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 is my favorite lens. I have the new version with the aperture ring and weather-sealing—the old version is optically identical (and the autofocus is identical), but it lacks an aperture ring and weather-sealing and costs just a little more for some reason. While the “Mark II” 27mm f/2.8 is the better option, it can be a little difficult to find. Fujifilm has had a difficult time getting the lens to stores, and stores sell out pretty quickly after they receive them. A number of you have stated your frustration trying to get your hands on one. There is a new alternative, though: the TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 Autofocus.

I’ve shot before with a different TTArtisan lens—the 35mm f/1.4—on a Nikon Zfc, and was actually impressed by the image quality. It was no Fujinon or Zeiss or anything like that, but it was noticeably superior to the Nikkor 28mm lens that came with that camera. I suspect that this one will be similar: deliver decent image quality, have character, be solidly-built, and cost a lot less. In fact, the MSRP is only $160 (or $150 if you buy direct from Pergear), which is very affordable for an autofocus lens. If you can’t find the Fujinon 27mm, or if you cannot afford the Fujinon lens, this seems like a good alternative to consider.

I believe that the TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 is a little bigger than the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, so it isn’t quite as pancake, but more like the Fujinon 18mm f/2 pancake. It has a rear-lens-cap USB connection for firmware updates, which I think is interesting. I’ve never used this lens personally to verify any of this, but maybe someday I will.

I personally wish that TTArtisan would have instead created a different focal length pancake lens—maybe that’s in the plans, who knows?—and I think a 23mm pancake or 50mm pancake or 12mm pancake would be nice options. For reasons that I don’t understand, there aren’t nearly enough good pancake options for Fujifilm cameras. I mean, a selling point of APS-C is the compact size (compared to full-frame), so why not offer more tiny lenses to take advantage of it? I do believe that competition is good, so I’m happy to see this TTArtisan lens as an option for Fujifilm photographers, and I hope they make more lenses that are similar in the future.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

TTArtisan 27mm f/2.8 Autofocus Amazon

Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR   Amazon   B&H

Vintage Lens: Vivitar 135mm F/2.8

I picked up a vintage Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens at an antique store in Texas for $15. It was not well taken care of, with scratches on the glass and dust inside of it, but definitely still in usable condition. My copy of this lens is M42-mount, and I just so happen to have an M42-to-Fuji-X adapter that I’ve owned for several years now, which allows me to attach this lens to my Fujifilm X-E4.

Vivitar lenses are interesting because Vivitar didn’t actual make lenses. They contracted with other manufacturers (most you’ve probably never heard of, but a few you have) to produce lenses for them. My copy was made in 1978 by Komine (as indicated by the serial number), which has been regarded as one of the “better” Vivitar manufacturers. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of inconsistency with Vivitar lenses, but they’re generally regarded as decent, and sometimes good. My copy of the 135mm f/2.8 seems to be good, despite the wear.

One thing that’s surprising is how small the Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens is despite its long telephoto reach. With the adapter attached to it, it’s still smaller than the Fujinon 90mm f/2. Fujifilm doesn’t have a prime lens that’s longer than the 90mm, except for the really big and expensive 200mm f/2, so the 135mm fills a gap in the Fujinon lineup. Really, Fujifilm should consider adding a prime lens that’s longer than 90mm, such as a 135mm f/2.8. Because of the crop-factor, this lens is full-frame equivalent to 202.5mm on my X-E4, which makes it great for wildlife or headshots, but challenging for other types of photography. Because of the focal length, unless your camera has IBIS, I recommend using a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 to ensure sharp photographs.

On my copy, the aperture ring, which has 1/2 stop clicks (that used to be common, but nowadays 1/3 intermediate stops are most common), works perfect, and the minimum aperture is f/22. The focus ring is smooth—a dream to use—and the minimum focus distance is about five feet.

The image quality produced by this lens is interesting. I’m not sure if it is the scratches and dust, or if it is simply the design of the lens, but there’s a slight “romantic softness” to the pictures. It seems to have slightly less micro-contrast compared to many of the lenses that I’ve used. It’s very reminiscent of what you get when you use a diffusion filter. I actually really like it, except for when the sun is near the frame, because the glare can be intense. I read that chromatic aberrations can be quite pronounced, but my copy doesn’t appear to be prone to it… or else the camera is automatically taking care of it behind the scenes.

I love going to antique stores and flea markets to find cheap treasures like the Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens. It’s not for use all of the time, but this lens can be a lot of fun and highly rewarding⁠—I’m so glad that I found it and took a chance on it. For $15, I really couldn’t be happier⁠—probably the best $15 I’ve ever spent on photography!

Some pictures that I captured with the Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens on my Fujifilm X-E4:

Urban Cycling – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600
Chevy Mirror – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Classic Mirror – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Green – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Concrete Steps – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Urbanscaped – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
High Rise – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
3 Lamps – Vernon, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Old House Roofline – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Ballyhoo – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Golden Lake – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 + Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Lake Sunset – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 + Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

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Lens Review: Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR

Fujinon 33mm f/1.4

Earlier this year Fujifilm sent me an X-Pro3 camera and Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens to try for a few weeks. The camera and lens are long gone—of the two, the one I miss the most is the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens. Yes, the X-Pro3 is great and was a lot of fun to shoot with, but that lens is something special!

What I remember about the development of the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens is that the original intention was for it to have an f/1 maximum aperture, but early in the design stages Fujifilm realized that in order to do so the lens would have to be both very large and very expensive, so they scaled it back to f1.4 instead. The 33mm focal length might seem odd until you take into account the APS-C crop factor—it’s full-frame equivalent to 49.5mm, which means it’s a “nifty fifty” lens.

Fujifilm already has a number of lenses that are close-ish to the 50mm (equivalent) focal-length: the 35mm f/2 (actually, there are two) and 35mm f/1.4 are just a little more telephoto, while the 27mm f/2.8 is a little more wide-angle (and is the closest “as the eyes see” lens in the Fujinon lineup). The 33mm f/1.4 seems a bit unnecessary when judged simply on this, but I do think it was a solid addition when Fujifilm released it last September.

The question on everyone’s mind is whether the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens is any good or not. Of course it is—”Fujinon” is printed on it, and that’s an assurance of quality. The lens is super sharp edge-to-edge, even wide open, but especially when stopped down just a little. This lens out-resolves the 26mp sensors found on the current lineup, and I believe is capable of resolving future higher-resolution offerings that are in the pipeline. Fujifilm built this lens with the future in mind, yet in the meantime it allows you to maximize current cameras’ quality potential. Bokeh is beautiful. Aberrations and flare are fairly well controlled. There is almost no distortion. There is a very small amount of vignetting in the corners when wide open, but it is extremely minimal—you’re not likely to notice unless you are looking closely for it. Sunstars are excellent. While I believe that the flaws in lenses are what gives them character, this lens has proven that position wrong, because this is a near-flawless lens that is oozing with wonderful character. Bravo, Fujifilm!

While some might have wished for that f/1 aperture originally intended for this lens, I found f/1.4 to be more than enough. In daylight conditions, it’s actually difficult to use that large of an aperture, but indoors or at night it can come in handy. It’s possible to get a very narrow depth-of-field, especially if you are focused near the minimum distance (about 12″). I find it interesting that the GFX 63mm f/2.8 is basically the same thing for GFX as the 33mm f/1.4 lens is for X-series, with the same equivalent focal-length and same depth-of-field at maximum aperture. Aside from the resolution difference, you’re basically getting “medium format quality” from this lens—I’m not exactly sure what that means, but know that the lens is superb.

Another thing that you probably want to know is that this lens is weather-sealed, so if you attach it to a weather-sealed camera body, you’re good to go out into the elements. While I didn’t find myself in very many situations where this came in handy, it could be important to you, depending on the type of photography that you do, and where you live. Autofocus is super snappy and nearly silent. Build quality is excellent.

The Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 is a little less than 3″ long and weighs about 0.8 pounds. It’s noticeably bigger and heftier than some Fujinon primes, including the 35mm offerings and especially the 27mm f/2.8. I found it balanced really well on the X-Pro3, X-T4 and X-H1, and it balanced moderately well on the X-T30 and X-T1, but it didn’t seem to balance well with the X-E4. If I did own this lens, I would still use it on my X-E4, but I’d likely use the 27mm f/2.8 much more often on that camera. Basically, this lens pairs particularly well with larger X-series cameras.

The Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens retails for $799, which is definitely on the higher end. Is it worth quadruple the price of the cheap XC 35mm f/2? Is it worth double the price of the XF 35mm f/2 or 27mm f/2.8? Is it worth 33% more than the 35mm f/1.4? I can’t answer that for you, but if it is a lens you will use often—an essential tool in your kit—then probably yes. If not, perhaps consider one of the other options. If you do buy it, I have no doubts that it will instantly become one of your favorite lenses, and you’ll keep it for many years to come.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 Amazon B&H

Example photographs captured using the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 lens:

Indoor Blooms – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/8 – “Fujicolor Superia 800
Sunlit Succulent – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/9 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”
Agave Blue – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/8 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”
Mutual Conversation – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/5.6 – “Agfa Ultra 100
Red – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/5.6 – “Agfa Ultra 100”
Boy With Nerf Gun – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/1.4 – “Vintage Color v2
Forgotten Post – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/1.8 – “Nostalgic Negative
February Reaching – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/5.6 – “Vintage Color v2”
Wild Gold – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/10 – “Vintage Color v2”
Desert Snow – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/6.4 – “Old Ektachrome
End Post – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 @f/1.4 – “Standard Provia

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The X-Mount Lenses That Sigma Should Have Made (Or Should Make Next)

Yesterday I published an article about the three Fujifilm X-Mount lenses that Sigma announced. These were already existing lenses within Sigma’s lineup, and they simply converted them for use on Fujifilm cameras. I stated that Sigma should have modified the lenses by adding aperture rings, because that is an important part of the Fujifilm experience. I also hinted (without downright stating) that Sigma should have filled holes in the Fujinon lineup, instead of going head-to-head with already existing lenses (hoping the cheaper price point is enough to entice potential customers). Yes, selling discount knockoffs (I don’t mean that to sound so harsh, because Sigma makes quality products) is one strategy, but I think offering something unique would be better.

With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun exercise to explore which Sigma lenses (that already exist) would fill holes in the Fujinon lineup. These are the lenses that Sigma should have released for Fujifilm X-mount, or maybe the lenses they should release next.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art

A high-quality mid-range zoom covering some very useful focal-lengths? A lens that is great for street, portrait, and travel? Heck, yeah! While Fujifilm offers a number of zooms covering all sorts of focal-lengths, they don’t have one quite like this.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art

Fujifilm has a 90mm f/2, and an 80mm f/2.8, but they don’t have an 85mm lens or a telephoto lens longer than 56mm that has a maximum aperture larger than f/2. Seems like a winner to me.

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Art

Fujifilm jumps from 90mm all the way to 200mm, and skips everything in-between. This would fill that gaping hole quite nicely.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 Art

Or go crazy with the “bokeh master.” This is a full-frame lens, but it might pair well with the upcoming X-H2….

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Contemporary

Fujifilm doesn’t offer a 45mm lens. 35mm? Yes. 50mm? Yes. But nothing in-between. Could be a nice “compromise” if you want both a 35mm and 50mm but can’t afford both.

Sigma 65mm f/2.8 Contemporary

Fujifilm has a 60mm lens, but if you want something just a bit longer, you have to jump to 80mm, which might be too long. Both the 60mm and 80mm lenses are macro, which can be nice, but they also have their challenges (lots of focus to scroll through), so a non-macro lens might be a good option.

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro Art

This might be a good in-between lens if you can’t decide on the 60mm and 80mm macros.

In my opinion, this list is what Sigma should have used when deciding on which lenses to bring to Fujifilm. These make a lot more sense to me. What do you think? Do you prefer the three lenses Sigma announced, or would you prefer some of these instead? Which lenses should Sigma release on Fujifilm next?

Whatever Sigma does, I hope that they don’t just change the mount, but modify the lenses to fit the full Fujifilm experience. As it stands now, I have zero interest in any of these lenses, mainly because of the lack of aperture rings. What do you think? Should Sigma include an aperture ring, even if they have to raise the price a little to do so?

Sigma Announces Three X-Mount Lenses

Sigma just announced three autofocus lenses for Fujifilm X-mount: 16mm f/1.4, 30mm f/1.4, and 56mm f/1.4. This is a big deal because 1) Sigma lenses are pretty darn good yet typically “affordable” and 2) it’s good to have options, which has been a little missing for Fujifilm photographers. These lenses can be pre-ordered and will ship in April.

I’m sitting here sipping my first cup of coffee, and already there has been plenty of press and early reviews published on these three lenses. What can I add that hasn’t already been said?

I’m glad that Sigma announced these lenses. I think it’s good. But I’m going to give you three quick reasons why you should not buy them. I’ll briefly explain why the similar Fujinon offerings are superior, and you should go with those instead.

First, there are no aperture rings on these Sigma lenses. Sigma literally took three already existing lenses for other mounts and made them compatible with X-mount. These lenses aren’t designed for the Fujifilm experience—they’re designed for Sony, in which you use a command wheel to adjust the aperture (yuck!). It is true that some Fujinon lenses work this same way, but most don’t. Most have an aperture ring, and that’s an important aspect of shooting Fujifilm. Sigma should have redesigned their lenses to include an aperture ring, but they didn’t, and I predict their X-mount lenses won’t sell as well because of this.

Second, behind the scenes, your Fujifilm camera is secretly fixing little flaws in the Fujinon glass. Fujifilm programmed their cameras to do this automatically, so you don’t know that there’s actually a little vignetting or chromatic aberrations or whatever else that doesn’t show in the pictures but is actually there if the camera wasn’t making this adjustment. Your camera won’t do this for third-party lenses. For the greatest optimization, stick with native glass.

Third, these three Sigma lenses are rather plain-looking. They don’t really match the retro-vibes of most Fujifilm X cameras because they look like modern lenses. Not all Fujinon lenses were modeled after vintage designs, but many of them were, and they match the stylings of the body much better than these Sigma offerings.

With all that said, there’s definitely a market for third-party autofocus lenses; however, they must offer something that Fujifilm doesn’t. It could be a focal-length and/or aperture. It could be quality. It could be speed. It could be size and/or weight. It could be price. What do these Sigma lenses offer that Fujifilm doesn’t? Let’s take a look.

Fujifilm offers a 16mm f/1.4 lens already—a high-quality, quick lens that’s smaller than the Sigma offering. The Sigma is less than half the price.

Fujifilm offers a 33mm f/1.4—a high-quality, quick lens that’s a similar size (and focal-length) to the Sigma offering. The Sigma is less than half the price.

Fujifilm offers a 56mm f/1.2—a high-quality, quick lens that’s a similar size to the Sigma offering (but larger maximum aperture). The Sigma is less than half the price.

Now you see why one would choose a Sigma lens over the Fujinon: to save some cash. They’re priced significantly cheaper while offering something similar. If you can afford it, the Fujinon lenses are better, but if not, this is a solid alternative that’s friendlier on the wallet. There are also lesser-expensive Fujinon options worth considering, which maybe don’t have the tech-sheet wow factor, but are otherwise fantastic lenses that you’re sure to be happy with.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 $449 — B&H
Fujinon 16mm f/1.4 $999 — Amazon B&H
Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 $399 — Amazon B&H

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 $339 — B&H
Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 $799 — Amazon B&H
Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 $399 — Amazon B&H

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 $479 — B&H
Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 $999 — Amazon B&H
Fujinon 50mm f/2 $449 — Amazon B&H

My Fujifilm X Camera Lens Recommendations, Part 2: Third Party

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Part 1: Fujinon

I listed my recommended Fujinon lenses for Fujifilm X cameras in Part 1. In this second segment I will give my recommendations for third party lenses. Like in the previous article, I will be focusing on what I’ve actually used, because I prefer to talk about what I have experience with. My opinions are based off of my own use of these different lenses.

Let’s jump right in!

Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2 NCS CS

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Salt & Stars – Bonneville Salt Flats, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm

The 12mm f/2 NCS CS ultra-wide-angle lens, which is sold under both the Rokinon and Samyang brands (it’s the exact same lens), is a great manual focus lens. It’s sharp with surprisingly little distortion and few flaws. Since it is so cheap, it’s a great budget-friendly alternative to the Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, or even a companion to it. Not everyone needs a lens as wide-angle as this one, but it’s a fantastic option for those who do. If you need something ultra-wide for astrophotography or dramatic landscapes, this is a must-have lens!

Meike 35mm f/1.7

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Securely In Father’s Arms – Mount Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

The Meike 35mm f/1.7 is a “nifty-fifty” standard prime lens on Fujifilm X cameras, and if you don’t mind an all-manual lens, this is a great budget-friendly option. In fact, it’s probably the best $80 you’ll ever spend on new camera gear! It’s not without flaws, though. You can read my review of the lens here. For the cheap price, I wouldn’t be afraid to try the Meike 28mm f/2.8 or the Meike 50mm f/2, either. In fact, you could buy all three for less than the cost of one Fujinon lens! The 7Artisans 25mm f/1.8 is a good alternative, which I reviewed here. I’ve never tried the 7artisans 35mm f/1.2, which is an intriguing option but a little more expensive.

There are, of course, plenty of other third-party lenses, of which I’ve tried zero. I know that the Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 II is highly regarded, yet it’s also on the expensive side of things. The Rokinon 50mm f/1.2 and Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 are two lenses that I’ve seen highly recommended by others, and, based on my experience with their 12mm lens, I’d definitely believe it. However, I don’t want to spend much time on lenses that I have no experience with. Instead, let me offer one other alternative: vintage lenses.

You can typically buy old film lenses for very little money. Since most people don’t shoot film any longer, these lenses are cheap, yet many of them are exceptionally good in quality. You will need an adapter to mount them to your Fujifilm X camera, since they’ll have a different mount. Just make sure you know which mount the lens is so that you buy the right adapter. Thankfully most adapters are pretty inexpensive. Below is a video that I made on this topic.