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Should You Buy Third-Party Lenses? Thoughts From Years of Testing

· 1.March.2024

One of the great things about the Fujifilm X system is the cost of entry when compared to full-frame or medium-format systems. APS-C has come a long way over the years and the image quality, while not technically superior to larger formats, has reached a point where it does most things for most people and that difference is no longer the dividing factor that it was. These days, even as a full-time working photographer there are very few times when I wish I had a camera with a larger sensor for the work that I do. 

​​While the X Series bodies are extremely competitively priced for their feature sets, Fujinon lenses are oftentimes very close in price to their full-frame counterparts. Sometimes, they cost even more! It only takes a moment of looking to see that Canon offers a 50mmF1.8 lens for under $200 and Nikon offers an 85mmF1.8 for under $800. These two lenses, on a full-frame sensor, will provide almost identical depth of field control and creative possibilities to the $799 XF 33mmF1.4 and $999 XF56mmF1.2 lenses respectively. Granted, the Fujifilm lenses gather more light, but in the end, this only really contributes to closing the gap in terms of ISO performance and shallow depth-of-field that the larger sensors have the advantage in. In the end, they’re much of a muchness.

​​​Once we start to factor in the weight and cost of equivalent lenses, we can understand why many photographers, especially hobbyists, would begin looking to third-party alternatives for their lens purchases. This is especially true now when larger third-party manufacturers like Sigma have dipped their toes in the Fujifilm market, so we can find very high-quality lenses at a significantly cheaper price now. Then you have brands like Viltrox producing seemingly impossibly priced lenses and, in the extreme budget corner, brands like TTArtisan and Yongnuo not only offering manual focus lenses as they always have but also an increasing number of autofocus lenses as well.

This is an excerpt from an article by Dylan Goldby in issue 95 of FUJILOVE MAGAZINE (February 2024).

You will find the remaining part of this article in FUJILOVE MAGAZINE.

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