In this mega-article, let’s go over the most useful lens options for the Fujifilm X-T3, specifically for video and cinematography.
There are two kinds of lenses you can use:
- Native lenses.
- Third-party lenses using lens adapters.
What is a “native” lens?
A “native” lens is one specifically designed for the FUJIFILM X system, and which allow the following:
- Full control of autofocus, image stabilization, iris, zoom and focus control.
- Electronic metadata like iris, focal length, distortion, fall-off, focus, etc.
- Continuous auto focus for video.
The lenses are labelled XF. For a full list of current X-mount lenses, click here.
Important: The one big negative of XF lenses are that most of them are ‘focus by wire’. This means, depending on the speed of the turn, the focus shifts. Therefore, you cannot pull focus consistently, which makes XF lenses a bad choice for manual follow focus or cinema work.
However, for low budget quick-focus work, this is not a deal-breaker.
For simplicity-sake, I’m going to divide this article into the following groups, so you can find what you want quickly.
- The best budget lenses for the Fujifilm X-T3 (with AF)
- The best third-party lenses for the Fujifilm X-T3, price no problem.
- The best Cine lenses for video.
I’m going to recommend one must-have lens, which should probably be your first purchase. Then I’ll recommend three others that will complement your kit and help you achieve more.
What are the best low budget lenses for the Fujifilm X-T3?
If all you can afford is one and only one lens for video…
Three amazing lenses to add to your kit:
- Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS (Amazon, B&H) – a must have for wide angle work.
- Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R (Amazon, B&H) – for general purpose low light work.
- Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR (Amazon, B&H) – for telephoto work.
Most of the lenses I’ve picked here have image stabilization (OIS). To a beginner on a low budget this is important – especially for video where your shutter speeds tend to hover around 1/50s.
What are the best third-party lenses for the Fujifilm X-T3?
There are two directions this can go. You can buy native lenses made by other companies, or lenses designed for other camera systems you can use with a lens adapter.
There are some good lenses made by third-parties for the X-mount. The most notable is the Zeiss Touit line (Amazon, B&H). However, I don’t recommend investing in them because they are not fleshed out, and there might no future in these lenses.
If you really want to step out of the XF system, then your best bet long term is to get third-party lenses with or without lens adapters.
Best native third-party lenses for the Fujifilm X-T3 (Manual focus)
Don’t look further than Samyang (or Rokinon). This is what I would pick to start:
- Super wide angle: Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS (Amazon, B&H)
- Wide angle: Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS (Amazon, B&H)
- Great mid-range option: Rokinon 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS (Amazon, B&H)
- Telephoto: Rokinon 50mm f/1.2 (Amazon, B&H)
- Super-telephoto: Samyang 135mm f/2.0 ED UMC (Amazon, B&H)
Adapters and third-party lenses
How do you know if a lens can be used or not? First, you need to know what the flange focal distance is.
Here’s information on each mount, in increasing order of the focal flange distance:
|Mount||Focal Flange Distance in mm|
|Z Nikon Z-mount||16|
|XF Fujifilm X-mount||17.7|
|EF-M Canon EF-M mount||18|
|E Sony E-mount||18|
|MFT Micro Four Thirds mount||19.25|
|RF Canon RF-mount||20|
|L Leica L-mount||20|
|M Leica M mount||27.8|
|FT Four Thirds mount||38.67|
|FD Canon Manual FD mount||42|
|EF Canon EOS EF mount||44|
|EF-S Canon EOS EF-S mount||44|
|LPL Arri LPL-mount||44|
|A Minolta/Sony A-mount||44.5|
|K Pentax K-mount||45.46|
|F Nikon F-mount||46.5|
|R Leica R-mount||47|
|PL Arri PL mount||52|
Third-party lenses come in their own lens mounts. So you need some sort of adapter that comes between the lens and the camera. This adapter does three things:
- It connects two mounts that naturally don’t fit together, and
- It makes up for the flange focal distance.
- Optional: Provides contacts that allow you to control aperture, zoom, focus, etc., from the camera itself.
There’s no glass in the adapter, no lens or optics. It’s just hollow inside.
The coolest thing about the Fujifilm X-mount is, it is very high on this list. So you can pretty much adapt any lens designed for full frame or APS-C to the Fujifilm X-mount.
Which makes it really hard to give a recommendation because people pick lenses for a multitude of reasons. Personal taste and aesthetics factor big time in any decision.
However, it is hard to argue against this next list in terms of performance and value for money. The package is unbeatable in my opinion.
Which lens adapter is best?
I prefer Metabones for most work. Click this image for a curated list of lens adapters I’ve created on B&H:
For a good budget option without sacrificing quality, I highly recommend lenses made for the Nikon F mount.
What are the best budget third-party prime lenses with a lens adapter?
What are the advantages of the Nikon D series? Here are several:
- Manual aperture control.
- Smooth focus ring that can be used for follow focus.
- Great image quality for video work.
- Built like tanks and not plastic.
- You can control aperture via the camera if you stop down to the smallest aperture.
- Available worldwide, and it’s easy to find replacements if you lose one.
What are the best cine lenses for the Fujifilm X-T3?
Cine lenses are not cheap. They are for working professionals who earn money from their cameras, and who need the extra features a cine lens brings.
What do you get with cine lenses?
Generally speaking, you get the following benefits with cine lenses (though not all might be true):
- Less focus breathing.
- Some zoom lenses are parfocal.
- The construction is solid and designed for heavy use under many scenarios. Being heavy, they also don’t shake much on touch.
- Manual focus rings are precise so a focus puller can use tape to nail focus. You can also use wireless follow focus systems standardized for this.
- The aperture ring is de-clicked so you can smoothly ride the aperture during a shot.
- The size, shape and weights are very similar so you can swap lenses without readjusting balance on gimbals, steadicams, cranes, etc.
- True cine lenses should be color matched, so they cut well together.
To know more about how a cine lens is different from a photo lens, read this article.
Just like photo lenses, you can get Fujifilm-branded cine lenses and third-party cine lenses.
Fujifilm cine lenses
On a budget, I don’t think anything can beat Fujifilm’s own line of two cine zooms:
Third-party cine lenses for the Fujifilm X-T3
This is where things get interesting!
Pick these two and call it a day:
You could shoot entire projects with just these lenses, and I don’t think there are any other bang-for-your-buck cine lenses for the EF mount in this class and price range.
Of course, you can also use a PL to X adapter like this one from Wooden Camera and adapt PL cine glass. Then the sky’s the limit.