Why I Don’t Use Third Party Lenses For Fujifilm


This article will help you understand why I don’t use third-party lenses for Fujifilm X Series cameras – even though there’s much to like about some of the non-Fuji options available today.

I recall my first trip to Tokyo in 2015 when I stepped inside the photography icon Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku West.

Yodobashi is a department store chain, and the Shinjuku site hosts multiple buildings with one whole six or seven-story building dedicated to photography.

I was carrying a Fujifilm X-T1 and a range of Fuji X-Mount lenses – but I was also looking for something new.

I noticed a pair of non-Fuji branded lenses in the display case.

I had no idea that third-party lenses featuring the Fujifilm X Mount existed then, so I quickly researched online.

I was looking at a pair of Zeiss Touit lenses released for Fuji and Sony.

Zeiss released the Touit 32mm f/1.8 and Tout 12mm f/1.2 in 2013, and later the Touit 50mm f/2.8 for X mount and Sony’s E mount.

I didn’t blow my travel budget on a new lens… this time!

However, it opened my eyes to the possibility of excellent quality third-party lenses.

Besides, Zeiss optics are expensive, but not all third-party Fuji lenses have to break the bank.

What The Fujifilm X Series Lens Range Offers

Collection of Fujifilm X Series lenses

The Fujifilm X Series is the popular product line of Fuji APS-C digital mirrorless cameras, lenses, and accessories.

It stands apart from the medium format Fujifilm GFX range.

The X Series began life in 2011 when the original Fujifilm X100 launched.

While it wasn’t an interchangeable lens camera, it signaled a new age of digital mirrorless camera design, performance, and output.

The first interchangeable lens camera featuring the X Mount was the Fujifilm XPro 1.

It launched alongside three X-mount lenses: the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2, the Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4, and the Fujifilm XF 60mm f/2.4 macro lens.

Each lens offered excellent image sharpness, a wide aperture, and creative freedom.

While they weren’t fast-focusing lenses, they’re still available today and considered among the sharpest lenses in the range.

These days, Fujifilm offers close to 40 X Mount lenses developed specifically for its camera system.

It includes a comprehensive range of standard and telephoto prime and zoom lenses to suit creative and professional image capture genres.

The price range for Fujifilm lenses also varies to suit the spectrum of photographers’ needs.

Why I Don’t Use Third-Party Lenses

A fujifilm digital camera with a prime lens, placed on a patterned surface.A fujifilm digital camera with a prime lens, placed on a patterned surface.

Fujifilm XF 18mm f/1.4 – Solid and reliable

While it hurts to admit it, after much soul-searching, I’ve discovered I’m a bit of a brand snob.

I like the purity and cohesiveness between system components intended for use in unison.

For example, I play a lot of video games on my Nintendo Switch.

I play various genres created by some of the best game developers, including Square Enix, Atlus, and Massive Monster.

Regardless, the games developed internally by Nintendo sing to me the most.

Playing a Nintendo-developed game on a Nintendo gaming system is a level of purity that I desire and appreciate.

Gaming is not the only area where I enjoy and seek purity.

From the first Fujifilm X Mount camera to my most recent, I’ve only ever been interested in owning lenses made by the Japanese giant.

There are core elements of every Fujifilm lens that I work better with.

Putting aside the fact that a Fuji lens looks best on a Fuji camera, I love the optical quality achieved by each lens.

Moreover, most lenses are weather-sealed, deliver fast autofocus, and feature a tactile aperture ring for complete manual control.

The manual aperture ring and the camera’s manual control dials for Shutter Speed and ISO enhance my joy of photography.

Technically, Fujifilm developed the camera and lenses separately, but they also paid much attention to how the two would perform as a whole unit.

I like that level of intent.

Just because I don’t own any third-party X-mount lenses doesn’t mean I’m closed to the idea of trying them out.

What You Need To Know About Third-Party Lenses

 

While Fujifilm has an ever-growing range of high-quality optics for its camera systems, third-party options expand the creative choices even more.

And though it goes against the grain to say it, some of those options are excellent.

Third-party lenses offer a range of features, focal lengths, and special effects not provided by Fuji.

As more companies produce lenses with similar focal lengths and apertures, the market gets more competitive.

Market competition often results in competitive pricing that benefits the consumer.

You could pick up a Fujifilm-made 50mm lens or get a third-party one for less money.

Sure, it may not have autofocus, and the image quality might not be as good, but it’s a great option if you’re on a budget.

A fujifilm x-t3 camera mounted on a tripod against a neutral background.A fujifilm x-t3 camera mounted on a tripod against a neutral background.

Fujifilm X Mount with a Samyang lens attached

It’s essential to know that many third-party X Mount lenses don’t have autofocus.

When paired with a Fujifilm X-T5 or X-E4, you’ll sometimes have to change the camera menu to Shoot Without Lens to use the lens.

The Fujifilm processor doesn’t recognize and drive all third-party lenses.

However, some lenses, such as the Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8, are optically sharp and feature autofocus.

More lens manufacturers seem to have unlocked the ability to make the most of Fujifilm’s autofocus technology.

What Non-Fujifilm Lenses Are On Offer?

A camera lens held by a person, framing a distant scene of lush greenery and a structure.A camera lens held by a person, framing a distant scene of lush greenery and a structure.

With more and more optics companies developing third-party lenses for a range of camera systems, the need for pre-purchase research is essential.

While we’ve previously written a buyer’s guide to the best non-Fuji lenses for Fuji cameras, there are some newcomers to the market.

Obscure brands such as Meike, TTArtisan, and Viltrox exist, and there are also familiar brands, including Sigma and Tamron.

Here are a handful of lenses that I would consider working with at some stage.

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens

The Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 is a brilliant lens for everyday use in most lighting conditions.

With autofocus, you can maximize the focusing algorithm, subject tracking, and overall performance of any Fujifilm X Series camera.

It’s very lightweight at 285g (10.1oz), and being so compact, it won’t compromise the balance of your camera and lens combo.

The Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 is an excellent alternative to Fujifilm’s XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 – however, it doesn’t have Optical Image Stabilization or an aperture ring like the Fuji.

While the Sigma is a little more expensive, many photographers will love the constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the focal range.

Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens

The Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is a relatively compact and lightweight telephoto zoom designed for Fujifilm X Series cameras.

It delivers an astonishing 225-700mm full-frame equivalent focal range, ideal for bird, wildlife, and motorsport photography.

The lens measures 93×209.9mm (3.7×8.3″) and weighs 1.71kg (3.77lb) when fitted with the included tripod collar.

For comparison, the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 is almost the same size yet weighs less at 1.37kg (3lb).

Both lenses feature linear motors, autofocus, and image stabilization.

The weather-sealed Fuji has better performance wide-open but is almost double the cost of the Tamron.

Tokina atx-m 23mm f/1.4 Lens

Tokina, a Japanese lens manufacturer, created precision lenses for film projectors in the 1940s.

The Tokina atx-m 23mm f/1.4 is a compact prime APS-C lens developed for Fujifilm X Mount camera bodies.

A 23mm APS-C cropped sensor lens delivers a 35mm full-frame equivalent field of view.

At 65x72mm (2.6×2.8″), the autofocus-powered Tokina atx-m 23mm f/1.4 is super compact and lightweight.

The best comparison is the slightly smaller Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2.

Both feature a manual aperture ring and solid build, but the Tokina has a faster aperture.

What Are Lens Mount Adaptors?

Person holding a dslr camera with a zoom lens in an outdoor setting.Person holding a dslr camera with a zoom lens in an outdoor setting.

I think it’s excellent that bigger brands are now developing lenses to pair with Fujifilm X cameras. The more the merrier!

Being able to quickly, confidently, and securely attach a third-party lens to your X-T5 or X-Pro 3 makes for a fast workflow when out in the field.

However, not all brands develop X Mount lenses.

What do you do if you want to fit a Canon, Sony, Pentax, or beloved Leica lens to your Fuji? Lens mount adaptors to the rescue!

A lens mount adaptor is a ring that connects lenses from almost any brand to your camera brand.

Lens adaptors are typically machined from alloy to ensure a strong connection between the camera, adapter, and lens.

The lens mount adapter attaches to the Fuji X mount, and then you attach your non-Fujifilm lens to the adapter.

Some lens adaptors form a simple mechanical bridge between the lens and the camera.

Whereas, smart adaptors allow data transfer from the camera processor to the lens and back.

This way, the camera can drive autofocus, control aperture, and transfer lens data.

Are Vintage Lenses Better Than Fujifilm Lenses?

Like shopping for video games, choosing the best lens for you depends on your preferences.

There are many questions to consider when buying a new or old second-hand lens.

What focal length do you want? What can you afford? Is a fast aperture essential?

What genre will you be using the lens for? Is autofocus or image stabilization vital to you?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is, “What kind of look do I want to achieve with the lens?”

Camera lens on a pink background.Camera lens on a pink background.

Since the dawn of time (in photography terms), lens manufacturers have pushed engineering to achieve optical clarity, given the technology of the day.

They’ve worked hard to enhance optics by correcting edge-to-edge sharpness, flaring, aberration, and vignetting.

It’s to match the image quality capability of digital sensors and the photographer’s demand for image purity.

However, there’s much to be said for antique lenses – especially those developed well before digital technology.

Many photographers pick up vintage camera lenses and mount them to their Fujifilm camera with a lens mount adapter.

Such lenses don’t have autofocus or image stabilization, and often, they have unique quirks that dictate image quality, unlike anything a digital camera can replicate.

Vintage lenses deliver softer edges, higher grain, interesting bokeh effects, natural vignetting, and uncorrected yet appealing aberrations.

FAQs

Does Fujifilm support 3rd party lenses?

Several third-party brands produce lenses for Fujifilm’s X-mount cameras. More and more brands are developing lenses that support Fujifilm autofocus, aperture control, and data transfer from the lens to the camera.

Can I put a Nikon lens on a Fujifilm camera?

You can’t attach a Nikon lens directly to a Fujifilm camera as they have different lens mounts. However, you can attach Nikon, Canon, and even Sony lenses to a Fujifilm camera with a suitable lens mount adapter.

Are 3rd party lenses worth it?

Third-party lenses provide photographers with more options when selecting the best lens for their needs. More prominent brands such as Sigma and Tamron have developed high-quality lenses suited to many camera brands and mounts.

Final Thoughts

I’m willing to admit that I’m a brand snob.

However, I’m also happy to say I’m pleasantly surprised by the range and quality of non-native options available.

I haven’t strayed from the path, as the Fujifilm range of X Series lenses is terrific.

The optical quality of Fuji lenses is unmistakable, and the available range is impressive.

Still, it’s well worth your time and energy to research the available non-Fuji lenses. Many are comparable in terms of size, weight, and price.

You might come across an ideal lens because it offers a wider aperture or a better size than Fujifilm.

I can’t believe I just said that!

What are your thoughts on third-party lenses for your Fujifilm, Canon, or Sony camera? Have you shot with a non-Fujifilm lens or a vintage lens?

Share your thoughts, experiences, and questions in the comments below.



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