SIGMA Lens Review for Fujifilm

SIGMA 56mm F1.4 lens for Fujifilm
Sigma Contemporary 56mm F1.4 DC DN lens for Fujifilm X Mount mirrorless cameras. December 2022. Photograph by Nishant Ratnakar

Introduction

A month ago, I had received a couple of new prime lenses from SIGMA India to test it out for a few weeks and give them my feedback and review.

SIGMA makes great third-party lenses for all the major camera brands that have interchangeable lens system. In the past, I had received a SIGMA 50mm prime lens for Canon for review too. That was a beautiful ‘Art’ series lens which gave very good results in my portrait and wedding photo projects.

It has been years since I moved on from Canon and as well as the entire Digital SLR ecosystem. Since then, I have been a longtime Fujifilm X mount mirrorless camera system user. I have never looked back since I made the switch to mirrorless cameras.

Fujifilm makes some great prime lenses for their cameras. I own and use the XF 23mm F2, XF 35mm F2 and the XF 50mm F2 lenses and they pretty much cover my work requirements on a given day. I largely do portraits and editorial work and tend to use the XF 50mm F2 lens the most in my commissioned photoshoots.

For a longtime the Fujifilm camera owners had very limited choices of third-party lenses, and they were all manual focusing lenses. Now the market for third-party lenses designed to be used with Fujifilm X series system has plenty of high quality auto-focus lenses made by global brands link SIGMA.

SIGMA prime lenses for Fujifilm X Mount Mirrorless Cameras

At the time of writing this review, SIGMA has three prime lenses for Fujifilm X series camera users.

  • The wide-angle, 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary
  • The standard prime, 30mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary
  • The telephoto, 56mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary

I received the 16mm and 56mm lenses from SIGMA India for a couple of weeks. I used them during some of my personal and commissioned work done during December 2022. The lenses were tested on my primary camera, the Fujifilm XT2. So, this post would only discuss these two lenses as used on this camera model.

Build Quality

Sigma Contemporary 56mm F1.4 DC DN lens for Fujifilm X Mount mirrorless cameras. Photograph by Nishant Ratnakar

Both, 56mm F1.4 and 16mm F1.4 have a nice build quality. The SIGMA website does mention that the lens have special sealing, but I am not sure how much of weather resistance these lenses have. Hence, I didn’t use them under any drizzle or rain. So, I wouldn’t be able to tell if the lens can withstand any splashes.

The lenses, especially the 56mm F1.4 is, are extremely lightweight even with the lenshood on. The lenses don’t feel front heavy on the camera when used.

Sigma Contemporary 56mm F1.4 DC DN lens with the lenshood on. Photograph by Nishant Ratnakar

The lenshood of 56mm lens was good fit on the lens. It snapped tightly on to the lens. But, the lenshood for 16mm lens was not the best fit. It took me a couple of tries everytime to screw the lenshood properly on to the lens.

Ergonomics when used with Fujifilm X-series

This is probably is the only challenge or notable issue for photographers like me who are used to Fujifilm’s design of premium camera lenses. All Fujifilm prime lenses have a dedicated ‘Aperture ring’ on the lens itself for photographers to change the aperture values. Also this design principle extends to the Fujifilm XT2 (and its successors) camera body too. There is a dedicated ring each to change the shutter-speed and ISO settings respectively on the XT2 camera body.

So our muscle memory to change the depth/aperture, shutter speed and ISO light sensitivity has the dedicated rings in place.

However the SIGMA contemporary lenses for Fujifilm cameras don’t have any dedicated Aperture ring. While using these lenses, initially my muscle memory would force me to look for that non-existing mechanical ring on the lens. But, the aperture can be easily changed using a dial on the camera body.

It will take a little while to get used to it if you have spent a lot of time using the Fujifilm prime lenses.

This is not a deal breaker to be honest. But, many of the Fujifilm users I know of, are using this camera system primarily because of the design and ergonomics. I hope SIGMA can someday create more fine-tuned lenses for Fujifilm users where the lenses will have that dedicated Aperture ring.

Cost

This is where SIGMA has an upper hand when compared to Fujifilm lenses of similar focal length and maximum aperture value.

The Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 lens is priced around 80,000 Indian rupees. Whereas the SIGMA 56mm F1.4 lens would cost about 36,000 Indian rupees.

The Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 lens is priced around 87,000 Indian rupees. While the SIGMA F1.4 lens would cost about 35,000 Indian rupees.

It is not hard to notice that SIGMA lenses of similar focal length are available for less than half the price of similar Fujifilm lenses.

This makes a strong case of SIGMA lenses being a real value for the money you pay.

Image quality

One might suspect that since these lenses are available at an attractive price point, the quality may not be that great.

But, that’s not the case. I used these two lenses in different lighting conditions and they performed very well.

The widest aperture would allow one to work well in low light conditions. The bokeh you notice, especially in the 56mm, lens is quite nice. Beyond the bokeh, I notice that the lens does produce sharp results, especially at a sweet spot of aperture around F4.

Focusing speed was good on both these lenses.

But, in low light and backlit conditions I observed that the auto focus mechanism would hunt for a bit before locking focus. Maybe, this could also depend on the camera model. I was using an older Fujifilm XT2 for these tests. The newer Fujifilm XT4/XT5 might give a faster result for auto-focus with these lenses under similar lighting condition.

The results

Image quality can be best told by the actual images. Here is a sample gallery of some of the work that I made using the SIGMA 56mm F1.4 and 16mm F1.4 lenses. Please take a look at it and be the best judge.

I am primarily a Portrait and Editorial photographer based in Bengaluru city. So, the photographs you see in this gallery are from my recent corporate head-shot sessions, editorial and documentary photography assignments for NGO projects, family portrait sessions and also some also personal work.

Click on any thumbnail to view in a full-screen slideshow

If you photograph using Fujifilm cameras, would you buy SIGMA lenses? Also, do you have any questions about these lenses?

Conclusion

SIGMA has made great quality prime lens for Fujifilm X Mount cameras available at an attractive price point. If one is comfortable using third party lenses or has budget constraint to get the more expensive Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 and 16mm F1.4, then SIGMA contemporary lens are a great choice. The ergonomics will change though if once is accustomed to using the Fujifilm XF prime lenses. There won’t be a dedicated Aperture ring on lens. But, that’s a trade-off for using third party lenses.

Would you buy SIGMA lens for Fujifilm mirrorless cameras? Or do you have any questions about these lenses? Do let me know in the comments.

Nishant Ratnakar
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By Nishant Ratnakar

Nishant is a Bangalore, India based Wedding, Portrait & Editorial Photographer. He is available for assignments across India. He also conducts photography workshops and offers personal photography mentorship.

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