VILTROX AF 85MM F1.8 STM - 6 month user review

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Rmcp20 Senior Member • Posts: 1,276
VILTROX AF 85MM F1.8 STM - 6 month user review
5

I will introduce this lens by saying it’s amazing considering the price.

Even if it was more expensive, i would still say its amazing.

Built quality

Let’s start with construction quality, size and weight.

The built quality is very good, and although i like small and light lens for walk around or
holidays, being this a portrait lens, its good that its heavy, as you can feel the quality. It could be a bit smaller and still provide this feeling, but its made to be compatible with both full frame and APS-C, therefore the additional weight.

On my Fuji X-T30 i have a hand grip and have no problems (it is a bit front heavy, something to be expected).

The focus ring turns smoothly and its not ruberized, which for me means it will last longer before starting to fall apart or loose a bit of colour.

For Fuji users, please remember that unlike the upcoming 23, 33 and 56 mm f1.4 there's no aperture ring, so it has to be assigned to one of the dials. Again, not a problem for me personally.

The front element will take a 72mm diameter filter. It has na HD nano coating which will help repeling the water drops, something quite usefull in humid environments or those unexpected rain drops.

Inside the lens there’s a metal structure which will surely help if you drop your lens, not tested of course.

There’s also a micro USB port on the mount to perform firmware updates. And Viltrox has been kind enough to provide a few updates for both Sony and Fuji users. My copy is now using v1.03, which is the latest for Fujifilm version.

Finally the lens hood. A lot of people have complained about it. First of all, its there which is nice. Its a plastic lens hood and to be honest it doesn’t feel very strong, but it will help a lot in the job of protecting the large front element.

Auto focus

As a portrait lens, i never had a problem in speed or accuracy with the Viltrox 85mm.

Of course i missed a couple of shots here and there, but mostly user error and not more than i would miss with the XF50mm f2 or the XF23mm f2.

In AF-S it is fast and precise, nothing else to say here.

In AF-C it is fast, maybe not fast enough for pro sports (if you expect very high hit rate, aprox 80- 100%), but good enough to capture some pictures of my 6 year old son playing soccer or running around. Similar to my 55-200 for example.

I made sure to add a quick burst exemple in the photos below.

Remember, if you use 1.8 the depth of field becomes very narrow, so stick with f2.8 for fast action shots.

Eye-AF works very well in my X-T30, again, not different from a Fuji lens. It tracks the eye
without problems. Using the X-T20, i can only use face detection in AF-C, but it works well also.

Image quality

As with any other lens, there are things we like more and others we would like to improve.

Luckely there are not a lot of things to improve on the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 STM lens.
I love the rendering of the out of focus areas, and with na 85mm f1.8 lens, you can get a very pleasing bokeh trust me..

It is sharp from 1.8, and as usual, maximum sharpness around f4 and 5.6.

At all apertures the difference in sharpness between center and corners is minimal, but there are extensive tests on this matter already, and this is a usage review, not technical.

Personally, i use it a lot between f1.8 and f2.8 depending on how much i want the background “destroyed”(or should i say "melted")

There’s a bit of vignetting shooting at 1.8, something to be expected and that i like for portraits, but not too much.

As for distorcion, it is corrected in camera or via software, and the good news is that there’s not a lot for correction. This means you will not loose sharpness in corners.

There are some chromatic aberations wide open, usual for long telephoto primes with large apertures. By f2.2 its gone unless shooting in very extreme situations.

Having to stay at home, i have used this lens with extension tubes to do some macro
photography, and it handled the close ups very well. The focal lenght allows me to stay quite far from the subject, letting more light into the scene.

Price

The lens is currently selling for around €350 and can be found in the usual online stores like amazon, ebay, etc... as well as on Viltrox online store.

Viltrox is a Chinese manufacturer with a lot of quality and affordable photography products from lights to adapters or lens. Have a look on their website @ http://www.viltrox.com/en/. Their products are sold on Amazon and other online stores as well, all over the world, and auction websites like eBay.

All photos in this review are protected by copyright laws.

The photos below are straight out of camera, exposure not edited and i mainly shot to protect highlights.

Rating

I'm giving this lens 5 out of 5 stars as from my use i could do everything with it, from action, landscape, portraits and macro with extension tubes.

Image quality, AF and built quality are very good, so considering the price...

Hope we can get the same performance from the 23, 33 and 56mm 1.4 lens as well.

 Rmcp20's gear list:Rmcp20's gear list
Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm X-T30 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 23mm F2 R WR +2 more
Rmcp20's score
5.0
Fujifilm X-H1 Fujifilm X-Pro3 Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm X-T200 Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm X-T30 Fujifilm X-T4
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