Hugh Brownstone's review of Sigma's 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN (vs XF 16-55 f/2.8)

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yayatosorus Senior Member • Posts: 1,898
Hugh Brownstone's review of Sigma's 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN (vs XF 16-55 f/2.8)
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Hugh Brownstone, of Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions, which I consider one of the better reviewers of photographic equipment on Youtube has recently uploaded his take on Sigma's new X-mount 18-50mm f/2.8 lens. Whilst discussing the lens he saw fit to pit it not against the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4, but his own XF 16-55 f/2.8.

The review is very interesting and I recommend it to anyone interested in either one of those lenses.

Here is a very brief (and devoid of all the nuances present in the video) summary of his findings, for those who can't take a look at the video :

  • Mr. Brownstone begins his review by claiming he finds the Sigma 18-50mm is on par or better in terms of AF and IQ with the Fuji 16-55mm.
  • He believes the 16-55mm is "no longer competitive with the most performant Full-Frame competitors, if the highest level of I.Q. is what you need or want".
  • The fact that Fuji's lens lineup needed an upgrade is demonstrated by the fact that when testing the original XF 23mm f/1.4 against the Sigma 18-50 at 23mm, the Sigma demonstrated superior I.Q.

Testing results:

  1. His testing shows both lenses to be fairly well corrected for focus breathing
  2. Both lenses displayed smooth and quiet AF in video
  3. The Fuji generally had better aberration correction across focal lengths and apertures.

  4. The Sigma edged out the Fuji for contrast in backlit testing scenarios.

  5. As far as I.Q. goes, both lenses traded places for sharpness across focal lengths and center vs edge of frame but generally one behavior was consistent:
    • Sometimes, the Sigma was notably sharper than the Fuji.

    • Other times, the Fuji was marginally sharper than the Sigma.
  6. Sigma's performance is noteworthy, as it accomplishes this in a dramatically smaller, lighter and far less expensive package, while having a level of weather sealing.
  7. The Sigma was dramatically sharper and displayed better contrast and aberration correction at 2.8 than the first generation Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 prime (Note: this lens is known for having huge sample variation).

  8. Fuji's XF 18mm f/1.4 however was, "next-generation" better than all the aforementioned lenses.

    He considers the 18mm f/1.4's performance as the minimally acceptable standard, if Fuji is to stay thoroughly competitive with FF.

Conclusion:

The Sigma is approximately as good as the 16-55 - Fuji's best holy trinity standard zoom, for just about half the price, while being substantially smaller and lighter.

If he needed a standard zoom in X-mount, he'd go with the Sigma 18-50mm, however he concedes the Sigma's aberration correction is very annoying and the lack wider 16mm focal length of the 16-55 is something he would miss.

Nevertheless, the Sigma delivers better on the premises of a smaller than Full-Frame sensor camera - a smaller and lighter camera system:

  • Fujifilm X-H2 + XF 16-55 f/2.8...............46.7 oz/ 1323 g
  • Panasonic S5 + Sigma 28-70 f/2.8.......43.2 oz/ 1224 g
  • Sony A7 IV + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 G2...42-6 oz/ 1207 g
  • Fujifilm X-H2 + Sigma 18-50 f/2.8........34.2 oz/ 969 g

Yet on balance, the Sigma delivers similar optical performance that, courtesy of the 16-55mm f/2.8 was considered "as good as it gets". The Sigma is thus an easy recommendation for the value conscious folks.

He considers a shame that Sigma doesn't yet offer an "Art" version of this lens, but he gets that the total package of an Art would probably diminish the argument that a smaller sensor means a smaller camera system.

Mr. Brownstone concludes by stating it is fair to say that Fuji needs to update the 16-55mm as soon as possible, bringing its performance, size and weight in line with the new Fuji f/1.4 primes and exceeding the performance of the Sigma 18-50mm with the aim to match current Full-Frame 24-70mm lenses from Sony and Nikon.

However, for those who don't need the absolute best I.Q., this also presents an opportunity to either get into the the X-mount or expand its current X-mount lens collection for very affordable prices.

 yayatosorus's gear list:yayatosorus's gear list
Fujifilm X-H1 Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 R WR
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