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Fujifilm X-T50 initial review: mid-range X-T goes steady

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Fujifilm X-T50 initial review: mid-range X-T goes steady


Product images by Richard Butler

The Fujifilm X-T50 is a classically-styled mid-level APS-C mirrorless camera. It’s built around the 40MP X-Trans sensor used by the X-T5 and X-H2, and gains image stabilization.

It also gains the majority of the X-T5’s features in a smaller, less expensive body.

Key specifications

  • 40MP X-Trans BSI CMOS sensor
  • X-Processor 5 with majority of capabilities from X-T5
  • Image stabilization rated at up to 7.0EV
  • 20 Film Simulation modes, including Reala ACE
  • Continuous shooting at up to 8fps (20 with E-shutter and crop)
  • Subject recognition AF
  • Tap to track AF in video mode
  • Video capture up to 6.2K/30 in 10-bit up to 4:2:2
  • Raw video out over HDMI
  • 2.36M dot viewfinder with 0.62x magnification
  • Tilting rear touchscreen with 3.0″ 1.62M dot LCD
  • Battery life rated up to 390 shots per charge (eco mode)
  • UHS-II card slot

The X-T50 will be available soon at a list price of $1399, representing a $500 increase over the X-T30 II and a $100 increase, relative to the 26MP, stabilized X-S20. It’s also available with the retractable 15-45mm power zoom for $1499 or with the new 16-50mm F2.8-4.8 for $1799.

Fujifilm highlights how many of the X-T5’s features it includes, for $300 less. The X-T50 will be available in Silver, Black or a darker silver color scheme called Charcoal.


What’s new:

Image stabilization

The X-T50 is still appreciably smaller than the X-T5 but finds room to add an image stabilization mechanism. This has the same rating (up to 7.0 stops of correction) as its more expensive big brother.

The X-T50 gains image stabilization: a first for this line of cameras. Until now you’ve had to choose between the X-Sx0 cameras, which had stabilization and DSLR-style command dials or the unstabilized X-Tx0 models with a shutter speed dial, whereas now you can simply base your decision on which control system you prefer.

The system is rated as delivering up to 7.0EV of correction, using a combination of gyro data and live-view image analysis to assess and correct movement.

40MP Sensor and X-Processor 5

The X-T50 gains the 40MP X-Trans sensor and latest X-Processor from the X-T5. This combination brings not just the same image quality as the X-T5 but the bulk of that camera’s features, too. This includes the latest AF algorithms, as included in the X-T5’s f/w 2.0, along with all the subject recognition modes that camera offers.

The X-T50 also includes the Camera-to-Cloud function that lets it upload directly to the Frame.io sharing platform over a Wi-Fi network, along with features such as tap-to-track autofocus in video, recently added to the X-T5.

Film Simulation dial

To make the camera’s Film Simulation color modes as accessible as possible (and to remind you to experiment with them), there’s now a dedicated dial. You can choose which modes are accessed with the FS1, 2 and 3 positions.

After the addition of image stabilization, the most significant update might be the addition of a Film Simulation dial on the camera’s left shoulder. This replaces the drive mode control that’s been present on previous X-Tx0 models.

It might seem like a small detail, given all Fujifilm models have a selection of Film Simulation color modes, but the addition of a direct control is a smart move for a camera such as this.

There’s a world of difference between knowing an option exists in a menu and having a constant reminder of its presence, every time you pick up the camera. A direct control point also significantly lowers the barrier to that feature’s use.

The X-T50 fits dedicated shutter speed and exposure comp dials onto its top plate, and even finds room for a customizable button.

Every camera on the market has a series of color modes, some more attractive than others, but Fujifilm’s selection of generally subtle, attractive and memorable (thanks to their invocation of film stock names) help deliver some of the best JPEGs out there. The front-of-mind prominence and simplicity of selecting them will undoubtedly prompt more X-T50 photographers to make use of them.

It’s not perfect, in that it’s a twelve-position dial for a camera that has fourteen film simulations, on which one position passes control off to the camera’s command dials. But it’s easy enough to customize the three custom positions on the dial, with the option to specify a simulated color filter for the mono modes, once you remember this option is in the main IQ menu, not the setup section.

6.2K video

The X-T50 can shoot full-width (but sub-sampled) 4K, 6.2K video from a 1.23x cropped region, or ‘HQ’ 4K footage derived from this.

The X-T50 offers essentially all the capabilities of the X-T5 on the video side of things, with the ability to shoot 6.2K video at up to 30p (or ‘HQ’ 4K video derived from it), from a 1.23x cropped region of the sensor. Alternatively it can capture sub-sampled 4K from the full width of its sensor at up to 30p, or up to 60p with a 1.14x crop. As with the X-T5, there’s a direct choice to be made between how much detail you wish to capture and how well controlled the rolling shutter is.

Tap-to-track autofocus in video (only added to the X-T5 in late April), F-Log2, a self-timer options, red frame outline when you’re recording and control of front and rear tally lamps are also present. The X-T50 can output a data stream over HDMI that can be encoded by Atomos or Blackmagic external recorders as ProRes RAW or Blackmagic Raw, respectively.

Just about the only X-T5 video feature not offered is the ability to attach an accessory fan unit to extend the camera’s recording duration.


How it compares

The X-T50 faces some impressive competition as a result of its price increase. Its price puts it directly in line with Sony’s very capable a6700 and much nearer to the cost of Canon’s image-stabilized EOS R7 than the less expensive R10 model. Nikon doesn’t really have a high-end APS-C camera in its lineup, so we’ve picked the Z fc, which doesn’t offer stabilization but comes closest to Fujifilm in terms of throw-back look and feel.

Fujifilm X-T50 Canon EOS R7 Sony a6700 Nikon Z fc
MSRP $1399 $1499 $1399 $959
Pixel count 40MP 33MP 26MP 20MP
Viewfinder
(Res/Mag/Eye Point)
2.36M dot
0.68x
17.5mm
2.36M dot
0.72x
22mm
2.36M dots
0.70x
22mm
2.36M dots 0.68x
19.5mm
Rear Screen 3.0″ 1.62M dot Tilting 3.0″ 1.62M dot fully-articulated 3.0″ 1.04M dots fully articulated 3.0″ 1.04M fully articulated
Image stabilization Up to 7.0EV Up to 7.0EV Up to 5.0EV Lens only
Cont. shooting rate 8fps mech
20fps elec (crop)
15fps mech
30fps elec
11fps mech
11fps elec
11fps mech
Video resolution 6.2K/30
4K/60p from 1.18x crop
4K/30p subsampled full-width or with 1.18x crop
4K/30p full-width oversampled,
4K/60p subsampled full-width or with 1.81x crop
4K/60p full-width oversampled
4K/120p with 1.58x crop
4K/30p full-width
Video bit-depth 10-bit with HLG and F-Log 10-bit HDR and Log only 10-bit with HLG and Log 8-bit
Mic/Headphone sockets Yes / Via USB adapter Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/No
Card slots 1x UHS-II 2x UHS-II 1x UHS-II 1x UHS-I
Built-in flash? Yes No No No
Battery life (CIPA) LCD / EVF 305 / Not given 660 / 380 570 / 550 400 / 360
Weight 438g (15.5oz) 612g (21.6oz) 493g (17.4 oz) 445g (15.7oz)
Dimensions 124 x 84 x 49mm 132 x 90 x 92 mm 122 x 69 x 64mm 135 x 94 x 44mm

On paper the Sony is the camera to beat in this company. With its excellent autofocus, its strong video capabilities and impressive battery life making it an easy choice. But there’s a lot to be said for the well-honed usability of the Canon, especially now Sigma and Tamron have been allowed to flesh-out the selection of lenses available. This makes life tougher for the Fujifilm, especially in light of its significant price hike. The main area that the Fujifilm stands out is resolution, both for stills and video, and its selection of interesting and attractive ‘Film Simulation’ color modes.

That said, we’ve not included the X-T5, one of our favorite APS-C cameras, in this table. Other than battery life, greater feeling of solidity and much nicer viewfinder, the X-T50 matches its specs in many regards. An extra axis of LCD tilt, compatibility with an external fan unit and the inclusion of a second card slot also set the more expensive camera apart though.


Body and handling

Part of the reason for the X-T50’s small viewfinder is that Fujifilm has left room for a small built-in flash.

Although it maintains the same family appearance and the X-T30 II, the X-T50 is a completely new body. Rather than being essentially a rectangle with rounded corners, when viewed straight down in the plan view, the new cameras has completely curved ends and a forward-jutting extension at the top of the front grip.

It’s a wider camera than its predecessor but less deep, despite the addition of in-body stabilization. The revised grip not only helps the camera more closely resemble the X-T5, but also makes it easier to get a firm grip on.

The X-T50 has a mic socket but requires a USB-to-headphone adapter if you want to monitor audio.

The camera’s AEL button has been moved around a little, with it now sitting at the top of three buttons running up the back of the camera, rather than sitting next to the rear command dial. The Q Menu button still sits out on the end of the rear thumb grip.

The X-T50 includes the same AF joystick as the X-T5, but placed a little further down the back of the body, which makes it a little more awkward to control. Its role is make a little less significant by the camera’s inclusion of subject recognition AF, though, as it means you don’t need to place the AF precisely over your chosen subject, if you want the camera to focus on it, if you’re trying to capture one of the subjects the camera can recognize.

As with Fujifilm’s other cameras, the Face Detection and Subject Recognition modes are completely separate. This is positive in the sense that you can set a button to toggle Eye AF on and off, but means you’ll need to configure two buttons if you find yourself wanting to switch from subject mode to face detection and back (engaging one and then disengaging it puts you back in standard AF mode, not with whichever detection mode was previously active).

The viewfinder hump still features a pop-up flash but, as before, this limits the size of the viewinder panel and optics, meaning the X-T50 continues to offer one of the smallest finders in its class.

The X-T50 still uses a 2.36M dot [px] OLED viewfinder panel, which is competitive but not outstanding compared to its peers, but its 0.62x magnification marks it out as being unusually small.

The rear screen is also unchanged, with a tilt up/down read LCD that shares its 3.0″, 1.62M-dot [px] panel with the X-T30 II.

Battery

The X-T50 uses the same NP-W126S battery as previous X-Tx0 models. This is Fujifilm’s smaller, 8.7Wh battery, which delivers up to 305 shots per charge.

These numbers tend to significantly under-represent how many photos you’ll actually be able to take (it’s not at all unusual to get twice the rated number of images or more) but they’re broadly comparable between cameras. A rating of 305 shots per charge (presumably using the rear screen: Fujifilm doesn’t specify), is low for this class, though.


Initial impressions

By Richard Butler

For a camera aimed at less seasoned photographers than the X-T5, the provision of quick and easy access to the camera’s Film Simulation modes strikes me as a smart move.

From a hardware point of view, the X-T50 looks very promising. Just as the X-T30 included most of the X-T3’s capabilities in a smaller, less-expensive body, so too does the X-T50 with the bulk of the X-T5’s. If anything, the X-T50 includes more of its big brother’s feature set, with essentially all of its stills and video modes and features included.

There are still major differences: heavier-duty build, twin card slots, a larger, higher-resolution viewfinder, larger battery, compatibility with the accessory fan unit and greater monitor flexibility. But on the flip-side, the X-T50 is more compact camera that comes in at a lower price and includes a built-in flash and fun touches like a dedicated Film Simulation mode that gives easy access to one of the features that helps the camera stand apart from the competition.

The slightly smaller, lighter and wider 16-50mm F2.8-4.8 R LM WR lens makes an impressively capable combination, but it comes at a price.

But, although it’s less expensive than the X-T5, the X-T50 arrives at a much higher price than previous models in its line. This might leave more room for an X-T300 to sit below it, but also means it has to compete with some extremely capable cameras.

We found ourselves favoring the X-T5 over Canon’s EOS R7 when we conducted our review, but with Canon allowing third-parties to bolster its APS-C lens availability and the X-T50 coming in at only $100 less, it’s going to be a challenging comparison. Likewise Sony’s a6700, which is an impressively capable camera in just about every regard.

We feel the X-T50’s chances will, to a great extent, hinge on the performance of the new 16-50mm F2.8-4.8. In this new lens Fujifilm has replaced one of the best kit zooms on the market, and a key factor in us recommending its cameras. The new lens loses a little length and around half a stop of brightness at the long end, but it now extends to 24mm equiv, rather than 28mm equiv at the opposite extreme. Between this wideangle expansion and the promises of faster focus and improved optical performance, it’ll probably represent a net benefit overall for most uses. It loses optical stabilization just as the X-T50 gains in-body correction and promises weather sealing but it also adds yet another $100 over the cost of previous kits.

The new 16-50mm F2.8-4.8 R LM WR reaches wider and fractionally less far than its predecessor, it’s also a little slower at the long end and omits optical stabilization but it moves to an internal zoom design and Fujifilm says it’ll be faster to focus and sharper.

Sigma’s 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN is a more expensive option, as there are no kit discounts to be had, but it offers over a-stop-and-half benefit at the long end and is smaller. It will soon be available for Canon and Sony, as well as Fujifilm’s mount, meaning it’s no longer just X-mount that offers an accessible premium zoom option.

Click here to see our Fujinon XF16-50mm F2.8-4.8 R LM WR sample gallery

Promises of improved AF performance over its predecessor and a much higher pixel count sensor than its peers mean it’s too early to be think about picking winners, but the price hike that’s come with the X-T50’s feature boost means it’ll have its work cut out for it.

Sample Gallery

Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter/magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review); we do so in good faith, so please don’t abuse it.



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Halide announces Kino, a “Pro Video Camera” for iOS

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Halide announces Kino, a “Pro Video Camera” for iOS


Lux, the team behind the Apple Design Award-winning photography app Halide, has announced Kino, an app that it claims will bring pro-level video tools to iPhone users.

The developers state that Kino is intended to give users complete control in both automatic and manual shooting modes based on some clever built-in logic. The app includes a feature called AutoMotion, which automatically sets a 180º shutter angle in order to create cinematic motion blur. An ‘Auto’ label turns green when the settings are just right, letting you know you’re good to go. If the camera can’t achieve a 180º shutter, such as when shooting outdoors in bright light, you may need to add an ND filter to allow the shutter to lock onto the correct angle.

Another headline feature is Instant Grade, which takes advantage of Apple Log, available on the newest iPhone 15 Pro models. Apple’s camera app records Log footage in ProRes format, which creates large files and requires editing to finalize color; Instant Grade will allow users to apply color presets directly to Apple Log footage as it’s being captured and saves the recordings in the more efficient HEVC format, allowing for cinematic video straight out of camera. The app includes color presets from pro colorists, but users can import their own LUTs into the app as well.

Kino includes color presets created by professional colorists.

The app also includes advanced features, such as the ability to save files into either Apple’s Photos app or to a specific file location, composition guides, audio levels, USB-C storage compatibility, RGB waveform, manual focus with peaking, WB/AE lock, exposure compensation and a lockable user interface.

For beginners who may not be as familiar with a video-first workflow, the app will include free lessons on the basics of shooting video.

Kino is available beginning today at a promotional price of $9.99, though the company indicated that the price will increase to $19.99 “a few days after launch.”


Buy now:




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Sigma CEO talks market trends, the challenge of innovation and the future for APS-C

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Sigma CEO talks market trends, the challenge of innovation and the future for APS-C


Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki

Photo: Richard Butler

“All camera and lens manufacturers have to be innovative,” says Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki, but “technology competition among manufacturers may not always be beneficial to customers… Easier to use interfaces, compact and lightweight bodies for enhanced portability, or some other specifications might be more important.”

In the second part of a wide-ranging interview conducted at the CP+ show in Yokohama in late February, Yamaki talked about current state of the market, the need for innovation and the challenges of delivering that innovation.

State of the market

“Last year was not so bad,” he says, when asked about the state of the market: “It looks like the trend of the shrinking market has hit the bottom.” But he suggests this may not continue: “For the time being, many photographers are now switching from DSLR to mirrorless, which will sustain the market. However, after they switch to mirrorless cameras, I worry that the market could shrink in the coming years.”

“One reason for my concern is the increasing average price of cameras and lenses. I truly appreciate the passion of the customers who are still spending so much money on cameras and lenses. However, I’m afraid that not so many customers can afford such high-priced cameras and lenses, so we’re still trying hard to keep the retail price reasonable.”

“I’m afraid that not so many customers can afford such high-priced cameras and lenses”

“Especially these days, the younger generation takes huge amounts of photos with smartphones. While we can expect some of them to switch from a smartphone to a camera, many may find the price gap too wide, and challenging to make the switch.”

Yamaki also expresses concern about some of the tech trends he’s seeing: “Investing in the development of more advanced technology is crucial. However, it’s equally important to focus on our customers.”

“We’ve seen some cameras with very technically impressive specifications, but I worry that they’re not always capabilities that many photographers really need. Moving forward, I speculate that more user-friendly specifications might mean more to customers. Easier to use interfaces, a compact and lightweight body for enhanced portability, or some other specifications might be more important.”

The challenges of innovation

Sigma has launched some ambitious and unusual lenses in recent years, including the 14mm F1.4 DG DN. Yamaki describes astrophotography, for which it’s designed, as the most challenging subject.

Image: Sigma

He uses the recently announced 500mm F5.6 as an example of customer-focused innovation. “Canon and Nikon had similar lenses for DSLRs. They achieved it by using diffractive lens elements,” he explains: “Instead of using one powerful diffractive element, we used multiple special low-dispersion [SLD] glass. We used one SLD and three FLD elements. By using multiple special lenses, we could achieve a similar effect. That’s how we can make it so compact and lightweight.”

But this approach isn’t simple, he says: “It requires lots of very high manufacturing technology and skill, but because we have a very good factory and our optical designers trust the capability of our factory, we were able to go for this design.”

“In most cases, we are the first to use new types of glass, and once they see Sigma use that lens element, they start using it.”

“This trust is really, really important,” he explains: “Lens polishing is still a unique process that has a lower yield. Normally, in something like electronics, the yield ratio is something like 99.99996 percent, or something like that. But when it comes to lenses, for example, in our case, because our yield is so high, our yield ratio from the start of the process to the end is close to 90%. So if we plan to build 1,000 units of a specific lens, we have to start polishing 1,100 pieces, and during the process, about 10% of the lens elements will fail and have to be scrapped.”

A question of trust

“That’s the reason why other companies hesitate to use new glass elements. They are uncertain about the yield ratio. In most cases, we are the first to use a new type of element, and once they see Sigma use that lens element, they start using it. I’m very happy to play such a role. Sigma is kind of the guinea pig in the lens industry: they use Sigma as an experiment, and if we prove it, they use it.”

This commitment to pushing the use of new glass types reflects Yamaki’s wider vision of the company’s role. This can be seen in the ambitious lenses it’s recently introduced aimed at astrophotography, he says.

“First of all, I believe it’s one of Sigma’s missions to create niche products. If we only concentrate on standard products and release lower-priced versions, it’s not good: we would not be able to contribute to the development of the photography culture. As a lens manufacturer it’s our mission to develop such niche lenses that satisfy a specific target group.”

“Secondly, most lenses are so good, maybe much better than people’s expectations. But only astrophotographers are never satisfied: they’re so keen for quality! They’re looking at the shape of stars in the corners. Star images are the toughest, most challenging subject, or let’s say, the most nasty lens chart. You can see all kinds of aberrations in star images. That’s why we want to show what we can do with our capability. So lenses for astrophotography is my personal strong passion to show the capability of Sigma’s technology.”

The future of APS-C

Yamaki says the audience for its I-series of full-frame lenses, such as the 17mm F4 DG DN pictured, is similar to that for the DC DN range of APS-C primes. However, it doesn’t sound like there are plans for I-series-style versions of the DC lenses.

Image: Sigma

With all this talk of niches, we steered the conversation towards the DC DN primes. We wanted to know whether he sees the users of these lenses as distinct from those of the mid-priced i-Series full-frame primes, which feature metal bodies and aperture rings.

“I see they are very similar customers: those who value compactness and image quality. These customers often live in big cities and use public transportation a lot. So they cannot carry around big, heavy equipment in the car. They have to carry it around in their bags.”

Despite this, it doesn’t sound like there are any plans to refresh the DC DNs with more i-Series-like designs: “Those who want full-frame can use the I series lenses, while those who are happy with APS-C cameras can use the many lightweight DC DN lenses,” he says.

But, while we won’t expect APS-C primes with aperture rings for X-mount or the Nikon Z fc any time soon, Yamaki’s comments about his commitment to APS-C bode well, given the announcement that it’ll make lenses for both Nikon’s Z mount and Canon’s RF system:

“Our plan is to have a relatively complete range of lenses for APS-C sized sensors.”


This article was based on an interview conducted by Dale Baskin and Richard Butler at the CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan.



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Sigma CEO talks market trends, the challenge of innovation and the future for APS-C

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Sigma CEO talks market trends, the challenge of innovation and the future for APS-C


Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki

Photo: Richard Butler

“All camera and lens manufacturers have to be innovative,” says Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki, but “technology competition among manufacturers may not always be beneficial to customers… Easier to use interfaces, compact and lightweight bodies for enhanced portability, or some other specifications might be more important.”

In the second part of a wide-ranging interview conducted at the CP+ show in Yokohama in late February, Yamaki talked about current state of the market, the need for innovation and the challenges of delivering that innovation.

State of the market

“Last year was not so bad,” he says, when asked about the state of the market: “It looks like the trend of the shrinking market has hit the bottom.” But he suggests this may not continue: “For the time being, many photographers are now switching from DSLR to mirrorless, which will sustain the market. However, after they switch to mirrorless cameras, I worry that the market could shrink in the coming years.”

“One reason for my concern is the increasing average price of cameras and lenses. I truly appreciate the passion of the customers who are still spending so much money on cameras and lenses. However, I’m afraid that not so many customers can afford such high-priced cameras and lenses, so we’re still trying hard to keep the retail price reasonable.”

“I’m afraid that not so many customers can afford such high-priced cameras and lenses”

“Especially these days, the younger generation takes huge amounts of photos with smartphones. While we can expect some of them to switch from a smartphone to a camera, many may find the price gap too wide, and challenging to make the switch.”

Yamaki also expresses concern about some of the tech trends he’s seeing: “Investing in the development of more advanced technology is crucial. However, it’s equally important to focus on our customers.”

“We’ve seen some cameras with very technically impressive specifications, but I worry that they’re not always capabilities that many photographers really need. Moving forward, I speculate that more user-friendly specifications might mean more to customers. Easier to use interfaces, a compact and lightweight body for enhanced portability, or some other specifications might be more important.”

The challenges of innovation

Sigma has launched some ambitious and unusual lenses in recent years, including the 14mm F1.4 DG DN. Yamaki describes astrophotography, for which it’s designed, as the most challenging subject.

Image: Sigma

He uses the recently announced 500mm F5.6 as an example of customer-focused innovation. “Canon and Nikon had similar lenses for DSLRs. They achieved it by using diffractive lens elements,” he explains: “Instead of using one powerful diffractive element, we used multiple special low-dispersion [SLD] glass. We used one SLD and three FLD elements. By using multiple special lenses, we could achieve a similar effect. That’s how we can make it so compact and lightweight.”

But this approach isn’t simple, he says: “It requires lots of very high manufacturing technology and skill, but because we have a very good factory and our optical designers trust the capability of our factory, we were able to go for this design.”

“In most cases, we are the first to use new types of glass, and once they see Sigma use that lens element, they start using it.”

“This trust is really, really important,” he explains: “Lens polishing is still a unique process that has a lower yield. Normally, in something like electronics, the yield ratio is something like 99.99996 percent, or something like that. But when it comes to lenses, for example, in our case, because our yield is so high, our yield ratio from the start of the process to the end is close to 90%. So if we plan to build 1,000 units of a specific lens, we have to start polishing 1,100 pieces, and during the process, about 10% of the lens elements will fail and have to be scrapped.”

A question of trust

“That’s the reason why other companies hesitate to use new glass elements. They are uncertain about the yield ratio. In most cases, we are the first to use a new type of element, and once they see Sigma use that lens element, they start using it. I’m very happy to play such a role. Sigma is kind of the guinea pig in the lens industry: they use Sigma as an experiment, and if we prove it, they use it.”

This commitment to pushing the use of new glass types reflects Yamaki’s wider vision of the company’s role. This can be seen in the ambitious lenses it’s recently introduced aimed at astrophotography, he says.

“First of all, I believe it’s one of Sigma’s missions to create niche products. If we only concentrate on standard products and release lower-priced versions, it’s not good: we would not be able to contribute to the development of the photography culture. As a lens manufacturer it’s our mission to develop such niche lenses that satisfy a specific target group.”

“Secondly, most lenses are so good, maybe much better than people’s expectations. But only astrophotographers are never satisfied: they’re so keen for quality! They’re looking at the shape of stars in the corners. Star images are the toughest, most challenging subject, or let’s say, the most nasty lens chart. You can see all kinds of aberrations in star images. That’s why we want to show what we can do with our capability. So lenses for astrophotography is my personal strong passion to show the capability of Sigma’s technology.”

The future of APS-C

Yamaki says the audience for its I-series of full-frame lenses, such as the 17mm F4 DG DN pictured, is similar to that for the DC DN range of APS-C primes. However, it doesn’t sound like there are plans for I-series-style versions of the DC lenses.

Image: Sigma

With all this talk of niches, we steered the conversation towards the DC DN primes. We wanted to know whether he sees the users of these lenses as distinct from those of the mid-priced i-Series full-frame primes, which feature metal bodies and aperture rings.

“I see they are very similar customers: those who value compactness and image quality. These customers often live in big cities and use public transportation a lot. So they cannot carry around big, heavy equipment in the car. They have to carry it around in their bags.”

Despite this, it doesn’t sound like there are any plans to refresh the DC DNs with more i-Series-like designs: “Those who want full-frame can use the I series lenses, while those who are happy with APS-C cameras can use the many lightweight DC DN lenses,” he says.

But, while we won’t expect APS-C primes with aperture rings for X-mount or the Nikon Z fc any time soon, Yamaki’s comments about his commitment to APS-C bode well, given the announcement that it’ll make lenses for both Nikon’s Z mount and Canon’s RF system:

“Our plan is to have a relatively complete range of lenses for APS-C sized sensors.”


This article was based on an interview conducted by Dale Baskin and Richard Butler at the CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan.



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