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

The Camera Comparison That Almost Happened – Or, I Bought A Broken Sigma DP2 Quattro

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Sigma DP2 Quattro

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

A few weeks ago I found a used Sigma DP2 Quattro for sale from a large camera store for a ridiculously good price. It claimed that the camera functioned properly and was in good shape, with only some minor signs of wear. I quickly snatched it up!

I was excited to give the camera a try. Several years ago I owned a Sigma DP2 Merrill, and it was simultaneously the best and worst camera I’ve ever used. It was incredibly slow, frustrating and particular, but, in the right conditions, it delivered amazing image quality, better than any camera I’ve ever shot with. Some of the issues that I had with the DP2 Merrill had supposedly been improved with the DP2 Quattro, while also delivering even higher quality images, so I didn’t want to let the opportunity to purchase it pass me by.

Now the Sigma camera isn’t necessarily expensive. It has an MSRP of $1,000 but can pretty easily be found brand-new for $900, and it can be had used for about $700 if you shop around. That’s still a lot of money to drop on a camera considering that I could spend that money on other things, such as feeding my four kids. Like many people, I have a limited budget to spend on camera gear, and so I have to choose what I will purchase wisely. I saw the chance to buy what was supposedly a great condition DP2 Quattro for under $600, so I clicked “add to cart” and figured that if I didn’t like it I could turn around and sell it without much trouble.

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Sigma DP2 Quattro & Fujifilm X100F

I was particularly excited to do a side-by-side comparison with the Fujifilm X100F. I was already planning on how to write the article to post on Fuji X Weekly, even before the package arrived. I thought it would be fun to see how these two very-different-but-kind-of-similar cameras would perform when pitted against each other.

Sadly, when the package arrived, after charging the battery, I discovered that the Sigma DP2 Quattro that I had purchased was a dud. It was broken. The rear screen would flash alternating purple, green and white and nothing else. It would not capture a photograph or recognize the SD card. Besides that, it was not in the condition that had been advertised, and it looked like the previous owner didn’t take good care of it. It was not at all what was advertised on the website.

The camera store offered to fix it or give a refund. I chose refund. I didn’t want their junk. Thankfully it wasn’t a huge hassle, but it was a waste of my time. I’m disappointed that they would be deceitful about the condition of their used item, and it might not have been intentional, but it was deceitful no less. I won’t be buying from them any time soon, if ever. The whole situation is too bad.

The lesson, if there is one, is if something seems like it’s an unbelievable deal, there’s probably a reason for it, and it’s likely that you’ll find yourself disappointed. At least that’s my take on it.

Fujifilm X100F vs. Sigma DP2 Merrill

My current camera is a Fujifilm X100F and I used to own a Sigma DP2 Merrill. Both of these are fixed-focal-length digital cameras that can fit into a large pocket. I thought it might be worthwhile to briefly compare the two. Perhaps someone right now is trying to decide which one to buy.

The Sigma DP2 Merrill was introduced in 2012. It has Sigma’s unique three-layer APS-C Foveon sensor with a whopping 46 megapixels (15.3 megapixels on each layer). It has a 30mm (45mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens permanently attached to the front.

The Fujifilm X100F was introduced in 2017. It has Fujifilm’s unique APS-C X-Trans sensor with 24 megapixels. It has a 23mm (35mm equivalent) f/2 lens permanently attached to the front.

Both the DP2 Merrill and the X100F have excellent image quality. They both have great lenses that have a few minor flaws. There are a lot of similarities.

Let’s take a look at a few example photographs from both cameras:

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Red Field, Green Field – Tehachapi, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill

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Red Bicycle – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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From The Past – Mojave, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill

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Have A Seat In The Filth – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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The Desert Cross – Mojave, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill

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Building Storm Over Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Cheese – Big Bear, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill

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Look What I Drew – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rangefinder & Film – Stallion Springs, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill

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Ilford Harman Technology – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

There’s a lot to love about both of these unique cameras, but which one is better? Which one should you buy? I’ll share with you my opinions based on my experience of using both.

Where the Sigma DP2 Merrill is better:

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Hall Loves You – Newberry Springs, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill

The DP2 Merrill has a slightly sharper lens than the X100F. Even though the Sigma camera has almost 90% more megapixels, the actual resolution difference isn’t nearly so big, with the DP2 Merrill just winning out with perhaps a 10% advantage. The DP2 Merrill has a little bit larger dynamic range, particularly in the highlights.

At base ISO, the Sigma DP2 Merrill produces superior image quality to the Fujifilm X100F, but not by a large margin. Honestly, the DP2 Merrill at base ISO has the best image quality of any camera that I’ve ever used. But the X100F isn’t very far behind.

Where the Fujifilm X100F is better:

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Haugen – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100F

The X100F has a five stop high-ISO advantage over the DP2 Merrill. The X100F creates far superior JPEGs. The X100F is much, much quicker. Everything “auto” on the camera is superior. The X100F has way better battery life (which is an understatement). It’s significantly better designed and better looking.

Basically, the Fujifilm X100F is a better camera in every aspect outside of lens sharpness, resolution and dynamic range, where the DP2 Merrill wins by a small margin.

Conclusions

Which one is better is for you to decide. I can’t choose for you which one you’ll like more. I will say this: some of my all-time favorite photographs were captured with a Sigma DP2 Merrill, but I love my Fujifilm X100F. The DP2 Merrill has enough negative aspects about it to make it a frustrating experience, but boy did it make nice-looking pictures! The X100F makes nice-looking pictures, too, without hardly any bad points.

One of the big differences for me, and the reason that I prefer the X100F, is time. My time. The time it takes to get a finished photograph. You have to shoot RAW with the Sigma camera, and you have to use their painfully slow software (maybe it’s better now) to process the RAW files. I would have to dedicate 15 to 20 minutes (and sometimes more) per exposure to edit the Sigma pictures.

The Fujifilm X100F files, on the other hand, are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. No editing. Just shoot and upload. My time is limited and precious, and I literally save hours and hours and hours by not having to post-process my photographs.

If you have lots of free time to spend sitting at a computer, the Sigma camera is a very good option. If not, I’d look at the X100F.