Fuji 16-55mm is luxurious lens, it uses a lot of metal, though the barrel is made of plastic and zoom ring is rubber. Fujifilm's lens food quality is POOR, to say the least. Sony 16-55mm is a little bit plasticky, it’s basically made of engineering plastic, it feels cheaper than Fuji 16-55mm. I think only a few people would believe the Sony’s price is as high as $1,400.
Fuji 16-55mm has an Fujinon standard aperture ring on the lens. Sony 16-55mm doesn’t have aperture ring but it has AF/MF switch and a Fn button which is very useful. Fuji 16-55mm’s zoom ring is a little too loose for me. Sony 16-55mm’s zoom ring is very nice, it’s tight but not too tight.
Fuji 16-55mm weighs 655g, the filter size is 77mm. it’s massive enough to make me hesitate carrying around everyday. Sony 16-55mm weighs 494g, the filter size of which is 67mm. For me, this is barely acceptable to carry around for everyday uses or long trips.
Regardless of focal length, Sony 16-55mm shows better sharpness than Fuji 16-55mm accross the frame. (at least 2 copies, mine and the one I borrowed from Fujifilmofficial rental service). Here you have some sample shots per focal length.
At 35mm, Sony 16-55mm keeps very sharp across the frame, it’s as good as a middle class prime lens. Fuji 16-55mm is noticeably softer, especially this copy has a weak point at left edge (right edge was a little better).
Sony 16-55mm is still sharp but not as much as prime quality. Fuji 16-55mm’s center is very good, but the other area is soft. In my opinion, Fuji 16-55mm @55mm does not meet the standard of “holy trinity” lenses.
Both lenses have bad distortion at wide end, Sony 16-55mm is much worse than Fuji. SOoC JPEGs, Lightroom, Capture One and the other major RAW image editing software automatically correct the distortion. So you might not recognize the fact that they suffer this problem.
Sony 16-55mm seems to have a little softer/creamier out focus if you carefully see it. Fuji 16-55mm’s sometimes exhibit busy bokeh in certain conditions. For me, it’s almost negligible. Bokeh fanboys would give a win to Sony. I don’t care the zoom lenses’ bokeh quality because I use primes when I really want creamy out focus.
Sony has better performance. Sony 16-55mm is almost a perfocal zoom lens the focus of which maintains even when zooming in or out. Fuji 16-55mm is obviously varifocal lens the focus of which significantly shift per zooming in out.
Sony 16-55mm outperforms Fuji 16-55mm in may aspects. It’s more compact, more lightweight, sharper, better bokeh, better contrast. Sad story, Fuji 16-55mm (at least 2 copies I used) is no match for Sony. There is a possibility I picked bad samples two times, but this time I borrowed the lens from Fujifilmofficial rental service to use it for the testing. Thinking with common sense, if I were the lens maker, I would perform "cherry picking" and rent best samples to potential buyers. The peaceful conclusion might be "Sony 16-55mm is TOO good."
The exterior of The Sigma 56mm is made of plastics, rubber and a bit of metal. There is no specific feature but ordinary rubber focus ring. The build quality is almost middle-class. The lens hood made of plastic is compact and looks nice, you can put it on permanently without any problem.
The exterior of The Fuji 56mm is basically made of metal. The lens has two rings, a focus ring and an aperture ring. The build quality is almost high-class. However, the lens hood is so plasticky and unnecessarily big, you may want to use metal lens hood originally made for XF23mmF1.4.
The Sigma 56mm's sharpness at wide open is breathtaking. Honestly, when I saw the image produced by the Sigma 56mm for the first time, I didn't believe it's really taken at wide open and triple-checked the exif data. Shooting wide-open is absolutely usable. The design is true to the name "contemporary". It's not a big problem though, the corner to corner sharpness doesn't improve much even when stopped down.
The Fuji 56mm has classical characteristics of large aperture lenses. The wide open image quality is as good as Sigma at dead center, but the other area have a little low contrast and soft image. It improves a lot when stopping down.
Roughtly, Sigma is very good at portrait and not very good at landscape. Fuji 56mm is opposite. Thinking how often you shoot deep focus photos with those 56mm lenses, I may give a victory to The Sigma 56mm in this game.
Here you have some sample shots per aperture. The reason being I emphasize “Middle Center” is this is a point human eyes tends to be placed. You can download some other shots below. Sigma 56mm shows impressive performance at wide open.
Generally, Sigma 56mm tends to produce high-contrast high-saturation images. Fuji 56mm tends to produce high-luminance image with a little warmer hue.
The Sigma 56mm has insanely high-contrast at its wide open. On the other hand, Fuji 56mm struggles from f/1.2 to 2.0. When stopped down to f/2.8 - 4.0 the Fuji 56mm finally catch up with Sigma, but I can clearly say Sigma produces better color in wide apertures.
擬色 (False Color)
レンズ固有の話というよりはイメージセンサーの影響を多分に含む話になるが、これら2つのシステムで遠景を撮った場合、Sigma(with Sony 24MP Body)では本来ないはずの色＝擬色が回避困難かつ相当目立つレベルで出てきしまうことがある。FujiシステムはRAW現像すれば擬色はほとんど目立たない。レンズが正しい光を供給していても、それを受けるセンサーと画像処理次第では、レンズの性能を活かしきれないこともある。
It’s not a Lens specific issue though, I could observe false colors many times when dealing with Sigma+Sony RAW, while Fuji system well minimizes it. The false colors result bad effect especially in landscape / cityscape photos. There would be almost no problem in portrait situations.
The closest focus distances: the Fuji 70cm, the Sigma 50 cm, respectively. The 20 cm of difference is significant. You'll have a big problem when you shoot something like table photos with the Fuji 56mm (stand up, post-cropping... it's annoying!), while you'll be fine with the Sigma 56mm. It seems the Sigma 56mm can get closer than the dataheet spec, as close as 45cm, only when using manual focusing.
Regarding bokeh qualities, while the difference between the Sigma 16mm and the Fuji 16mm was huge, I found the diference between the Sigma 56mm and the Fuji 56mm is almost negligible.
The Sigma 16mm has a little smoother bokeh than the Fuji 16mm and it tends to have rounder bokeh thanks to 9 aperture blades. The Fuji 56mm has just 7 aperture blades that results heptagon bokeh. Bokeh-fanboys would give a victory to Sigma in this game, I believemost of people would not recognize the difference.
It's very difficult to determin which lens has better performances, maybe Sigma 56mm is slightly bettter? But once you see the price tags, the winner is obvious. The Fuji is sold for 103k JPY in camera retail stores, the Sigma 56mm is 42k JPY. It's simply amazing.
The Sigma 56mm is fantastic. Compact, lightweight, great mobility, outstanding image quality at wide open and even suitable for professional use. Sigma Corporation knows APS-C users’ demands very well. I’m confident that their contemporary series will be successful in long term. Fujifilm needs to learn from them and remember the original philosophy. Do APS-C users really want f/1.0 aperture lens that weighs 900g for $1,499? The people who want that kind of products have already been using FF or medium format system. Anyway, I strongly wish Sigma would join X mount and release fantastic contemporary series for X mount too.