Fujifilm X-T50

New Fujifilm X-T50 camera body and Two Key Lenses: Fujifilm 18-55mm and Sigma Lens 24-70mm

May 19, 2024 ·

Dan Wells

On May 16, 2024, the photography world saw the release of replacements for two legendary lenses: the Fujifilm 18-55mm f2.8-4 and the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art. These lenses have been pivotal in their respective categories, and their successors promise to bring exciting advancements. Additionally, Fujifilm introduced a new body, the Fujifilm X-T50, which aims to redefine the “double-digit X-T” line. This article delves into the technical specifics and improvements of these new offerings.

Fujifilm 16-50mm f2.8-4.8

The Fujifilm 18-55mm f2.8-4 has been widely regarded as one of the best kit lenses ever made, possibly the best. Its excellent image quality, bright aperture, and convenient size made it a favorite among photographers. It has served well through multiple sensor generations, from the initial 16 MP to the 26 MP sensors, before becoming less effective on the new 40 MP sensors.

The new Fujinon 16-50mm f2.8-4.8 R LM OIS steps into the shoes of this legend with some notable changes. While it sacrifices 2/3 stop of light at the long end, modern sensors are much less noisy, making this less of an issue. The new lens provides an additional wide-angle capability, equivalent to a full-frame 24-70mm lens. However, it loses some flexibility in the portrait range, which was well-covered by the old lens’s 85mm equivalent long end.

One of the significant upgrades in the new lens is weather sealing, a major improvement over its predecessor. This makes it a fantastic option for outdoor and hiking photographers, addressing the primary flaw of the old lens. However, the new lens no longer includes image stabilization, a drawback for older, unstabilized Fujifilm bodies. Most higher-end Fujifilm bodies now feature in-body image stabilization, which compensates for this loss.

The new Fujinon 16-50mm f2.8-4.8 is also claimed to be sharper, with a simpler design of eleven elements in nine groups and additional ED elements. Six of the eleven elements are exotic, including three ED and three aspheric elements. The lens is said to focus faster, thanks to improvements in AF motor technology over the past twelve years. Additionally, the new lens features internal zoom, enhancing weather resistance and overall build quality.

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art II

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art has been a go-to higher-end standard zoom for Sony full-frame bodies since its release in 2019. It offered G-Master performance at half the price, making it a landmark release for Sony shooters. During its prime, the Sigma lens competed favorably against Sony’s 24-70mm f2.8 G-Master, which was the only decent option at the time.

However, the photography landscape has evolved. Sony improved its lens lineup with the second-generation G-Master, the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM II, which outperformed both its predecessor and the 2019 Sigma Art lens. Sony also introduced better mid-priced lenses, such as the 20-70mm f4 G, which surpassed previous Sony f4 standard zooms.

Sigma faced internal competition from its 28-70mm f2.8 Contemporary lens, which, while not quite matching the Art lens in image quality or build, was close enough in performance to attract photographers with its lower price and compactness.

The new Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art II aims to be as good as the newest G-Master II at a fraction of the price. Sigma is known for setting ambitious goals and often succeeding. The new lens will be available in Sony E-mount and L-mount, creating an interesting situation where the Leica 24-70mm f2.8 Vario-Elmarit, a rebadged version of the older Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art, is now surpassed by its successor. Despite the sturdier housing of the Leica version, the new Sigma lens offers a more advanced optical design and performance.

The new Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art II features twelve exotic elements, including six FLD, two SLD, and five aspheric elements. One element is both SLD and aspheric, setting a record for exotic elements in a single lens. This ambitious design aims to deliver top-tier performance at a competitive price.

Fujifilm X-T50

The Fujifilm X-T50 represents a significant shift for the “double-digit X-T” line, moving it upmarket with several major features added to the X-T30II. Priced at $1399, it includes in-body image stabilization and the new 40 MP sensor/X-Processor 5 imaging pipeline, previously seen in the X-H2, X-T5, and X100VI. These advancements justify the $400 price increase compared to the X-T30II at its release.

The X-S20, the least expensive of the three new models at $1299, features the older 26 MP sensor paired with the new X-Processor 5. It has a DSLR-style interface with three unmarked control dials and a mode dial, replacing the marked shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO dials on the “classic” Fujifilm bodies. The X-S20 is video-oriented, as the 26 MP sensor performs better for video than the 40 MP sensor, offering less rolling shutter in 4K modes. However, it lacks weather sealing and dual card slots but includes the desirable NP-W235 battery.

The X-T50, priced at $1399, differs from the X-S20 by featuring the newer 40 MP sensor and the classic Fujifilm dial layout. It introduces a film simulation dial instead of an ISO dial, a choice likely aimed at beginner photographers who favor JPEGs straight out of the camera. The X-T50 is more focused on still photography, but it uses the older NP-W126S battery, which has half the power of the newer NP-W235, potentially affecting battery life with in-body stabilization.

The Fujifilm X-T5, at $1699, offers dual card slots, weather sealing, a superior viewfinder, and the NP-W235 battery. It’s a more professional camera, oriented towards still photography with the 40 MP sensor and the classic Fujifilm interface. It is slightly larger and heavier than the X-T50, with half the weight difference attributed to the battery.

For video-first and hybrid shooters, the X-S20 is the better choice. Photographers may prefer the X-T5 for its professional features and robust build. The X-T50’s unique design decisions, including the film simulation dial, cater to a specific market segment but have trade-offs, especially regarding battery life.

Conclusion

The release of the Fujifilm 16-50mm f2.8-4.8, Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art II, and Fujifilm X-T50 marks significant advancements in the photography world. Fujifilm’s new lens offers weather sealing and faster focus, while Sigma aims to deliver top-tier performance at a competitive price. The Fujifilm X-T50 introduces key features from higher-end models, appealing to a range of photographers. These new products reflect ongoing innovation and a commitment to meeting diverse photographer needs.

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Dan Wells, "Shuttterbug" on the trail, is a landscape photographer, long-distance hiker and student in the Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School. He lives in Cambridge, MA when not in wild places photographing and contemplating our connection to the natural world. Dan's images try to capture the spirit he finds in places where, in the worlds of the Wilderness Act of 1964, "Man himself is but a visitor". He has hiked 230 miles of Vermont's Long Trail and 450 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with his cameras, as well as photographing in numerous National Parks, Seashores and Forests over the years - often in the offseason when few people think to be there. In the summer of 2020, Dan plans to hike a stretch of hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, focusing on his own and others' spiritual connection to these special places, and making images that document these connections. Over years of personal work and teaching photography, Dan has used a variety of equipment (presently Nikon Z7 and Fujifilm APS-C). He is looking for the perfect combination of light weight, ruggedness and superb image quality.

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