First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF

Started Apr 28, 2019 | Discussions
unclebrudy
unclebrudy Contributing Member • Posts: 575
First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF
4

I've been following Mattias's amazing coverage of this lens, and have been intrigued. It popped up on my Amazon feed today and was available for Same Day delivery (greater LA area), and as I don't have a Fuji prime longer than 35mm I figured it would be a fun lens to play with. Please note, this is not a technical review, nor even a comprehensive review.

Some observations:

  • The AF is near silent, and is fast and accurate in good light, comparable to my 50-140. There is no Fuji LM "knock" when unpowered, which is nice.
  • The aperture's clicks are somewhat loud. Louder than the AF motor.
  • The hood sucks. Mattias was right.
  • The lens mount is tight, but clean and smooth mounting/unmounting. If anything it feels secure, and I assume will break in a bit over time.
  • It's big, but not overwhelmingly so. It feels high quality but isn't as "dense" as my other XF lenses, if that makes sense. This is not meant to be a negative, as I have zero complaints about build quality.
  • The hood really sucks. Mattias was right.
  • For those like me who use filters, the threads are very smooth. Across many brands and types I had no issues.
  • The focus ring is very smooth, a little smoother than my 50-140 and much smoother than my 16-55. It's just a hair light for me but I still enjoy it.
  • My copy is tack sharp wide open, which is impressive. It seems to reach peak sharpness at f/7.1 or maybe f/5.6.
  • Seriously the hood is atrocious. It is cheap, it fits cheap, and is the only really niggle I have with this lens. It arrives reversed on the lens, and there were already bits breaking/shaving off the plastic. Mine doesn't even rotate all the way "on" for use, which I'm sure is a failure of the cheap hood and not the lens.
  • Bokeh is smooth and inoffensive to me, and bokeh balls aren't the best but not bad.
  • EXIF is transferred accurately. I don't know if my lens is on the latest firmware but changing aperture works on my X-T2 and X-T3. It even works on my X-M1.

It's only been a couple hours so this isn't really a recommendation, but so far I'm very impressed. Take the hood out of the equation and I'd say this lens is worth it and amazing, not even "just for the price".

Some test shots. All SOOC, JPG with Eric Brushett's Provia recipe. It looks like it renders a little cooler than my 50-140, which I compared it to. Thanks all.

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BlueJakester
BlueJakester Veteran Member • Posts: 3,415
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF
3

Thanks for the first impressions. I think a lot of Fujifilm owners may be interested in this lens.

With autofocus and at less than $400 it might sell well.

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BlueJakester
BlueJakester Veteran Member • Posts: 3,415
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF

Did you check and/or update the lens firmware? v1.01 was released March 22, 2019.

http://www.viltrox.com/en/index.php?m=index&a=content&cid=119

The following was in the Update Information.txt file:

Update Information£∫
ASEF101XM v1.01 March 22, 2019

1. Fixed PRE-AF heterophony problem on X-E1;
2. Fixed video focusing problem on X-E1;
4. Fixed the problem that the aperture dial does not work;
5. Fixed the problem of incorrect minimum aperture;
6. Achieved higher focusing speed.

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CommaThief Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF
2

All of this pretty much matches my first few days with it...especially the hood. I've already given up on that and shooting naked. Trying to decide if I want to put a clear filter on it or just run without given the price. Kind of sad that with the nice build quality they provided such a cheap piece of ill fitting plastic. Ah well.

Updated firmware--which I didn't need to but I wanted to see how the process worked. Ran easy, no problems. Must be done with usb cable and not how you update other Lenses.

Getting used to using the front dial for aperture vs on lens, but it's not that big a deal.

Testing it more aggressively this week, but it is likely a keeper and a real bargain.

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BlueJakester
BlueJakester Veteran Member • Posts: 3,415
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF

RickWheelock wrote:

All of this pretty much matches my first few days with it...especially the hood. I've already given up on that and shooting naked. Trying to decide if I want to put a clear filter on it or just run without given the price. Kind of sad that with the nice build quality they provided such a cheap piece of ill fitting plastic. Ah well.

Updated firmware--which I didn't need to but I wanted to see how the process worked. Ran easy, no problems. Must be done with usb cable and not how you update other Lenses.

Getting used to using the front dial for aperture vs on lens, but it's not that big a deal.

Testing it more aggressively this week, but it is likely a keeper and a real bargain.

Thanks for the info Rick. Are you using it on your X-H1? That's my primary body now and I'm interested in this lens, particularly at the low price.

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unclebrudy
OP unclebrudy Contributing Member • Posts: 575
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF

RickWheelock wrote:

All of this pretty much matches my first few days with it...especially the hood. I've already given up on that and shooting naked. Trying to decide if I want to put a clear filter on it or just run without given the price. Kind of sad that with the nice build quality they provided such a cheap piece of ill fitting plastic. Ah well.

Updated firmware--which I didn't need to but I wanted to see how the process worked. Ran easy, no problems. Must be done with usb cable and not how you update other Lenses.

Getting used to using the front dial for aperture vs on lens, but it's not that big a deal.

Testing it more aggressively this week, but it is likely a keeper and a real bargain.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

And yes, I can’t stress enough how bad the hood is. Mine is oval when I mount it. Unacceptable, but if that’s the worst thing about it at this price (which it is by far the worst) then I’m going to grin and accept it.

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CommaThief Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF

Thanks for the info Rick. Are you using it on your X-H1? That's my primary body now and I'm interested in this lens, particularly at the low price.

Yes, the X-H1. It balances well. I have the 100-400 and wanted something in this range that was easier to carry around. While the 90 is great, this isn't a length I shoot at a ton, usually the 23 1.4 is nailed on my camera, so the Viltrox works well in the budget

I wish it focused half a foot closer, but so be it.

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Cossio
Cossio Regular Member • Posts: 138
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF
2

Love it! I’m waiting for my copy, hopefully I get a goodie and not one of those From the bad batch. Looking forward to it and glad your lens is tack sharp ! Price point is amazing

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Rmcp20 Senior Member • Posts: 1,518
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF
1

Thanks for the quick review. Its definitly a lens that will be on the Fuji owners radar. It's on mine for sure.

Looking at your images, it looks a bit soft wide open, but they were shoot against harsh sunlight, so chromatic aberations also showed up.

Be sure to post some more images, and also test that AF-C (if its as good as the 55-200, its good enough for me). Thanks once again.

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unclebrudy
OP unclebrudy Contributing Member • Posts: 575
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF
1

Rmcp20 wrote:

Thanks for the quick review. Its definitly a lens that will be on the Fuji owners radar. It's on mine for sure.

Looking at your images, it looks a bit soft wide open, but they were shoot against harsh sunlight, so chromatic aberations also showed up.

Be sure to post some more images, and also test that AF-C (if its as good as the 55-200, its good enough for me). Thanks once again.

It's weird because they look tack sharp on my monitor (Dell U3415W) but you're absolutely right - they aren't in the samples I posted. I just realized that I may have been looking at the RAFs I edited, while posting the Wifi-transferred jpegs. It's still too early to tell but I certainly am satisfied with it's wide open performance.

Here's one I took wide open of my son yesterday, again a SOOC jpeg. I'll be sure to share more once I get it on a serious photo assignment.

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unclebrudy
OP unclebrudy Contributing Member • Posts: 575
Re: First day musings - Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF

Rmcp20 wrote:

Be sure to post some more images, and also test that AF-C (if its as good as the 55-200, its good enough for me). Thanks once again.

Sorry, missed that last part - I don't have the 55-200 and I've never used it, but AF-C versus my 50-140: so far I'm noticing it's not as fast but it's more than acceptable when trying to catch my running 2 year old in good light outdoors. It hunts a bit inside my home so I've been sticking to AF-S.

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rokphish
rokphish Contributing Member • Posts: 501
Me vs Hood, I won!
1

In regard to the hood.

After reading posts about it, I’m skeptical about the hood.

Just got mine and sure enough, it behaves just as mentioned: small parts falling off, it won’t clicked on to the appropriate place (with markers).

However, I didn’t give up. Fight! me vs hood, I won!

Problem is that the production line is too tight on their product, so there’s excess thickness.

Here’s how I solved the hood problem:

1. Make sure lenscap is on to protect from falling debris.

2. I put on the lenshood and forced it until it clicked and lock on the supposed place. It needed some force and I was afraid I would break it because of the slimness of the rails on the lenshood, but since I was ready to throw off the hood anyway, what do I have to lose? With some force it finally clicked on (locked on). Then I open the hood. Locked it with some force, then open it again. So basically, twist on twist off, repeat repeat repeat. Make sure to go along the whole way on the rail, not just the locking on and locking off spot, but the the whole length like taking off the lenshood and putting it back in. The excess debris are falling off. After a few minutes, I took the hood off. Wipe the rail edges on the lens and also on the lens hood to clear the debris. Pull out sticking out plastic debris not falling out on the lens hood. Then, repeat the whole process again. After some minutes, the lenshood can be put on with ease, clicking on the spot marker only need slight light force. Easy locking on, easy taking off. But, wait! It’s not done yet.

3. Put the lenshood on the lens in reverse (putting away position). Then repeat the process all over again. Twist on, twist off. Need some force to lock it to place (but certainly less than initial problem). Clean. Repeat repeat repeat. Until it becomes loose and could be put on and off with barely any resistance at all. Make sure go along the whole length of the rails.

4. Believe it not, after I thought I was done. I put the lenshood back on again properly like shooting position, yes, I can put it on with ease now, but doing some more twist on twist off, some debris managed to fall out AGAIN. Same thing when I put it in reverse position. Evidently what I did on step 2-3 were not enough. So I just kept on doing it. Twist on, twist off, normal position, reverse position, twist on twist off. Clean. Repeat repeat repeat.

5. After all said and done, no more problem with the hood! I can put it on and take it off with ease. Locking mechanism works nice. Very slight force to lock and unlock, I don’t think it willl come of accidently though, still need a wee bit force to unlock. So, after all, I’m satisfied with the lenshood and will be using it with confident.

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