Review – Viltrox 85mm f1.8 STM for Fujifilm – Compared to the 90mm f2!

Viltrox 85mm Auto Focus Fuji

This is a third party prime lens for Fuji (also available for Sony) that I think is a budget friendly alternative to the 56mm f1.2 and the 90mm f2. Because nice as they are, they are very pricy.

I always recommend buying gear used. But if you where plaining on splashing some money on B&H anyway you can support the channel buy using the links bellow.
Viltrox 85mm f1.8 for Fuji
Viltrox 85mm f1.8 for Sony

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 Video Review

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 vs Fujifilm 90mm f2 WR

I got so curious that I decided to purchase a used 90mm in order to compare the two. I have also uploaded a couple of raw samples that you can download and play around with (30 day limit): Samples

When Viltrox asked if I wanted to test the lens I said yes. Not only because it sounds like a fun lens, but also because Im currently reviewing the old Fuji X-Pro1. Which was decided by my viewers via a poll on my YouTube community tab.

The Fuji Pro-1 is a very cheap camera these days ($2-250). And I doubt that people buying it as their main camera today are looking forward to putting on a $1000 lens like the 56mm f1.2. The Viltrox is said to be priced at $240 (according to rumor).

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 – Build Quality

Viltrox 85mm Auto Focus Fuji
Excellent build.

The lens is very well crafted. Its all metal and feels like a solid chunk of glass. It feels better in the hand than the native Fuji primes. It actually feels better built than most lenses.

The sun hood on the other hand is not very good. At least my copy is very difficult to put on and remove. Its to snug of a fit.

Other than that I have no complaints. It comes very well packaged and includes a little cloth case which I enjoy since I use those for everything. Total case hoarder.

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 Auto Focus and Performance

It managed to lock focus in this quite dark situation with reasonable delay. The exposure comes from a Godox Flash + Mag Sphere. After the Firmware update its much faster.

So far I have only had a X-Pro1 and X-E3 at hand to test the lens on. The auto focus is fast with the latest firmware, on par with many native lenses. On the X-Pro1 it can hunt a bit but given that its a seven year old camera its forgivable. Its much snappier on the X-E3. I guess similar performance is expected from newer cameras like for example the X-T2 or X-Pro2.

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 auto focus speed.

I will test it on the X-T3 in the upcoming week and hopefully on the X-T30 as soon as that gets released. That way we will see the performance on the newest sensor as well.

Viltrox 85mm Auto Focus Firmware
The lens is equipped with a USB port for firmware. Updating was an easy drag-n-drop.

When I first received the lens I experienced some issues controlling the aperture as well as the focus beep being a bit premature. But after contacting Viltrox they issued a new firmware after roughly 48 hours that fixed everything.

And increased the focus speed.

If you want to see the performance prior to the new firmware you ca watch the old review at the bottom of the page.

Other third party auto focus options

This isn’t the first third party accessories that Ive tried for Fuji. Its not even the first AF accessory from Viltrox. And given those experiences I am not expecting 100% performance out of the box. Just like the adapters firmwares may fix any issues with the lens ahead.

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 Samples

This is roughly the closest focus distance. Fuji X-Pro1 ISO800, 1/250, f1.8. Note that this was underexposed and lifted quite a bit in post.
Boring test shot. Pro-1 + 85mm. ISO320, 1/250, f1.8.
Viltrox 85mm Auto Focus Sample
Its not a small lens by any means but on the X-Pro its not to bad.
The bokeh is very creamy, the business in this image is actually stuff in front of me behind the window.

Viltrox + X-E3 Sample

Focus is faster and the image is of course more pushable on the newer camera.

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 vs Fujifilm 56mm f1.2

Bellow is a quick comparison between the two lenses just for fun. Its been over a year between them so not very scientific. But still interesting to see the cheap lens on the old camera hold its own against its younger sibling equipped with a top tier lens.

X-Pro1 + Viltrox 85mm. ISO3200, 1/125, f1.8
X-Pro2 + XF 56mm f1.2. ISO200, 1/170, 1.4

Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 Review

If you want to see more of the 56mm I have a video comparing it to the 50mm f2 WR.

The Dark Ages

This is the first review that I made before the Firmware update fixed all the aperture and focus issues I experienced. Im keeping this video online as reference for the time being.

  • luis santana

    This needs to start with hello my friends

    • Mattias Burling

      Why? 🙂

      • John

        He thinks you are The Hybrid Shooter from youtube

    • John

      D’oh! you’re thinking of a different reviewer completely

      • luis santana

        No that’s the funny part

        • John

          Not really, if nobody knows what you’re on about, I just happened to

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  • Mac Sinclair

    Very interesting, I just received my 56mm in the post on Friday and it’s great, but this is doubly interesting. Firstly because it’s a new AF 3rd party lens for Fuji, hopefully a sign of things to come, and secondly because of its very competitive price.

    I still very much enjoy my Xpro1 so I think at the price it’s an overlooked bargain, so a very relevant pairing with the 85mm.

    Look forward to seeing the review develop and keep up the great videos.

    Another lens to compare the 85mm with could be the XF 60mm, ok needs not quite the bokeh but it flares nicely, see my dog a few shots back on my instagram themacsinclair

    • Mattias Burling

      I love the 56mm to death, but on a budget camera like the X-Pro1, X-E2, etc this will give it a serious run for its money.
      Totally agree on 3 party finally releasing more AF stuff for Fuji. I just hope they would make APS-C only lenses as well. This is for Full Frame Sony and I gather in the future we will see Canon R and Nikon Z versions. And I totally get why they would do that from an economic standpoint. However, how sweet wouldn’t it be to get them in a smaller size optimized for smaller sensors 🙂

      • Mac Sinclair

        Buying the 56mm was out of character for me, but I’ve been longing for it for years. In part because of you great channel I’ve had huge fun buying and shooting with old lenses, seeing if I could get the XF56 look on the cheap, some of the shots on my insta were taken with a Minolta MC 58mm f1.4, so much fun. The one of my wife in a red jacket the tunnel of trees shows just how amazing the affects can be with these old lenses. At one point in my journey I even managed to buy a “new” boxed copy of my first ever camera lens, the Minolta MD 50mm f1.7… it’s still great!

        Like many I love your upbeat positive and fascinating reviews, it’s what photography should be about. My wife thinks Gunpowder is adorable, I have to cover Enzo’s ears (our little pooch)

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  • Juan Fresnel

    I always read your blog with you voice. This is my first time I commented though. You made me buy the X-E3 and I thank you for that. I fell in love with the concept of street shooting thanks to you.

    • Mattias Burling

      I shot with the X-E3 yesterday and will again today. Its a great camera for sure. Glad hear you enjoy it 🙂

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  • Interesting! Budget friendly autofocusing tele lenses are not only rare on this system. Other than from this manufacturer, I don’t think they even exist. 🙂 Thanks for the bunch of samples and AF speed/accuracy opinion. The first serious contender to both the XF 56 f/1.2 and lenses like 90 f/2 and 80 f/2.8.

    • Mattias Burling

      I will make one more video this weekend and share raw samples 🙂

  • Alan Millar

    Mattias, is that $240 price still looking correct? That’s a steal.

    • Mattias Burling

      No sorry, it landed on $359. I will update.

  • matck

    Hello mattias, test well detailed, do you think that for the price it is better to take the viltrox 85mm f1.8 + xf 23mm f2 or only xf 90 or xf56, because it seems to be a serious competitor against the lens portrait fujifilm.

    there is no bug with this lens?

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