The 23mm f/1.4 Contemporary lens is the latest offering in Sigma’s lineup of fast, compact, prime lenses for Fujifilm X Mount cameras. With a 35mm equivalent focal length, the 23mm is sure to be popular for street photography, portraits, landscapes, and more.
Maximum Aperture f/1.4
Minimum Aperture f/16
Lens Mount FUJIFILM X
Lens Format Coverage APS-C
Minimum Focus Distance 9.8" / 25 cm
Macro Reproduction Ratio 1:7.3
Optical Design 13 Elements in 10 Groups
Diaphragm Blades 9
Focus Type Autofocus
Image Stabilization No
Filter Size 52 mm (Front)
Dimensions (ø x L) 2.6 x 3" / 65.8 x 76.9 mm
Weight 12 oz / 340 g
Sigma recently released the 16mm f/1.4, 30mm f/1.4, and 56mm f/1.4 Contemporary lenses, and with the addition of the new 23mm f/1.4, they round out their wide- to mid-range prime lens offerings for Fujifilm X Series cameras. Having tested all three of the aforementioned lenses a few months ago, I was excited to get a copy of the new 23mm for review, since the 35mm equivalent focal length is one of the most versatile lenses available for photographers who want to travel light and shoot in a variety of situations and genres. And travel light, you will, as the 23mm weighs in at 340 grams and is fairly compact in size.
Build Quality and Handling
If you have used one of Sigma’s other Contemporary lenses for Fujifilm, you will know what to expect in the build quality and handling of the 23mm. The lens is well-made, with a large rubberized focusing ring, and a barrel that is part metal and part plastic in construction. The mount is metal and has a rubber gasket for water resistance, and the included lens hood is made of hard plastic. As with all Contemporary lenses, the 23mm has a silver “C” badge on the barrel, and the lens is made in Japan.
Handling is excellent with the 23mm. Having used the lens on the Fujifilm X-T4 and X-T5, the size and weight of the lens make for a good balance with the camera while being compact enough to not get in the way when shooting things like street photography or family events. I took the X-T5 and 23mm with me to the recent B&H Bild Expo in New York, and it was a fine choice not only for the above reasons, but also because of the fast maximum aperture. I was able to create portraits but also capture a larger scene without having to switch lenses or rely on a slower zoom lens, which would not have fared quite as well indoors without flash. In this situation, the camera and lens combination was the perfect choice to throw in my backpack and walk around New York for a day, while having room to take water, snacks, and other essentials as well.
The 23mm has a stepping motor which provides fast, accurate focus. With the X-T5, the lens had no trouble locking on to eyes and faces, as well as various scenes in different lighting situations. I used the 23mm for outdoor portraits, candids, and also at my studio under continuous lights. There was never a time where I felt like the lens was struggling to lock onto my subjects, and, as with the other Sigma Contemporary lenses, the autofocus is completely silent, which makes the lens a viable option for video Regarding video autofocus, the 23mm is capable here as well, but there is noticeable focus breathing. The lens does shine in manual focus mode, however, as the oversized focusing ring makes it an easy task. The focusing is smooth without any jumping or electronic feeling to it.
The 23mm creates dynamite images with excellent sharpness, color, and contrast. There is a pleasing and natural separation between the subject and background when shooting at wider apertures, although the bokeh balls are slightly oval-shaped, which might be an issue for some shooters (I really don't care about this myself). According to Sigma, the 23mm is designed to provide "outstanding optical performance for use on high-resolution APS-C bodies," and will render similar results to the 56mm Contemporary lens. When shooting into sunlight, there was minimal ghosting and flare. I also used the 23mm for some self-portraits at my studio, shooting in my favorite Fuji simulation mode, Acros, and then for portraits of my photographer friend Alex. Finally, I took some outdoor portraits of my kids and in Provia mode, the colors look very pleasing and natural. In the studio, on location, at events, and for family photos, the lens exceeded my expectations in terms of image quality.
The Best Contemporary Lens So Far?
Having used the Sigma 23mm f/1.4 Contemporary lens for a few weeks now, I must say that it has become my favorite of their prime lens lineup for a number of reasons, but mainly due to the 35mm focal length. A 35mm is probably the best option if you wish to travel light and only take one lens with you, since it's capable for a large swath of subjects and conditions. The Sigma 35mm also provides outstanding image quality as well as fast, quiet autofocus in a compact package, further making it a fine choice for Fujifilm shooters who want one lens to do it all. And, the image quality of this particular Sigma Contemporary lens is quite excellent, and perhaps even seems a touch better than the previous Sigma Contemporary lenses I tested, although I do not have scientific data to prove this, just my eyes!
All of the Sigma Contemporary lenses that I've tested are excellent, and should be on a Fujifilm shooter's radar. The 35mm f/1.4 continues to improve on an already robust lineup of lenses, and based on the lenses already released, I am excited to see what Sigma has up their sleeves for the future.
What I Liked
- Excellent image quality
- Fast, snappy autofocus
- Small and light
- Nice build quality
What I Didn't Like
- No image stabilization
You can order a Sigma 23mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens here.