Buy These Fuji X-Mount Lenses First!

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If you’re new to the world of Fuji and want to know what lenses you should pick up first, I have some suggestions!

I didn’t exactly follow this, and in hindsight I wish I would have, so I’m here to give you the advice I can’t give to past me.

First up, the Sigma 18-50 F2.8 would be my very first suggestion.

It’s a great all around lens that has a very usable range of focal lengths. It’s compact and light weight, and balances very well on a mid sized mirrorless camera like the X-T4 or the X-S20.

It’s kind of a jack of all trades lens that’s not the absolute best at anything but is competent at damn near everything. It’s not the fastest lens I own at F2.8, but it’s generally fast enough. It’s not the widest lens I own, but at 18mm (27mm Full Frame Equivalent) it’s wide enough for shooting indoors or for talking heads. It’s not the longest lens I own, but at 50mm (75mm FF equiv) but it’s got enough range for most situations. It takes sharp photos with nice colors, it’s small and lightweight, and it has fast and silent autofocus for video.

One thing I like to point out about this lens is that it’s pretttttty close to what you get in an iPhone in terms of focal lengths. The main iPhone camera is 24mm equivalent, this lens at its widest is 27mm equivalent. The “3x zoom” on the iPhone Pros are 77mm equivalent, this lens zoomed all the way out is 75mm equivalent. Apple was presumably trying to pick a range of focal lengths that work the best for the most people, and they landed on pretty much exactly the range of the Sigma 18-50. That should give you a pretty good idea as how usable this lens is.

I suggest this lens as your very first purchase for two reasons. First off, zooms are just inherently more versatile than primes. Second, since you will likely want to buy a prime at some, a zoom that covers a lot of the range of primes you might be interested in lets you try out a bunch of different focal lengths and see if you like it before committing to a prime in that focal length. Think you want a 50mm equivalent? Set the zoom to 35mm and go try it out.

This lens does not have OIS, but I carry a Fujifilm X-S20 which has IBIS, so I’ve found that to be a non-issue even down to 1/10 of a second or so in low light.

The only downside I can see with the Sigma 18-50 is that is does not have an aperture ring. This isn’t really a dealbreaker to me, since my camera has the PASM mode dial, and I generally shoot in aperture priority with the aperture control on the front dial even when I’m using a lens that does have an aperture ring. I think this is going to be one of those things that you either have a very strong opinion on this, and the lack of aperture ring is a total deal-breaker, or you don’t know or care what I’m talking about and you won’t even notice it, so it’s kind of a self solving problem.

My second pick is the Viltrox 23mm F1.4.

This lens is a prime, meaning it has a fixed focal length of 23mm. This comes out to 35mm full frame equivalent. 35mm is a classic focal length, and there’s a very good reason for that. For me, it’s the right balance of subject separation and context. It’s narrow enough that you can put the emphasis on whatever you want to be the subject of your photo, but still wide enough to get the context of the surroundings. It’s the focal length I think of first when I want to tell a story with a photo, and to be completely honest, it’s the lens that is on my camera more than any other lens.

The Viltrox is damn fast at F1.4, meaning I can catch sharp pictures of my very wiggly child even inside at night. It’s sharpest if you stop down a little bit, so unless it’s very dark I tend to shoot around f2.0 indoors and around f5.6 outdoors.

If you shoot it wide open, this lens has very shallow depth of field due to its large aperture. You can get some very pleasing bokeh going on.

Honestly ANY fast prime would be a good second lens, that’s why I suggested the zoom first, so you can decide which focal length you like. Viltrox makes an f1.4 13mm, a 23mm, a 33mm, a 56mm, as well as a 75mm f1.2. Sigma makes a trio of f1.4 primes as well in 16mm, 30mm, and 56mm. All of these are good choices depending on what focal length you’re looking for and what you’re trying to accomplish. Of course, Fuji also makes first-party prime lenses that are very good, but I’m not a professional photographer, so I would rather have a third-party lens that’s 90% as good for 30% of the money, but of course feel free to spend your money however you please.

This is not only my suggestion for the first two lenses you should buy, this is also my suggestion for a minimalist travel setup. Sometimes if I’m going somewhere specifically to take pictures, I’ll bring my whole photo case and all my lenses and everything, but if I’m just traveling to spend time with family or for work or whatever and I might take some pictures, but that’s not the sole purpose of my trip, I put one of these lenses on my camera and the other in a little JJC Lens Pouch and toss that in my backpack. That’s my travel setup. I’ll rock the Sigma zoom during the day and swap to the Viltrox 23mm at night when I’m more likely to be indoors and in low light. I’ve found combination of lenses on the Fuji X-S20 to be a pretty amazing minimalist travel setup. There’s not much it can’t do.