Quick take: Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 STM for FUJIFILM X

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This lens is a bit of an odd choice. It did not fit my Fujifilm use case of small and light. Had at first picked up a second hand Fujifilm WR 50mm f/2. A fine lens, but I failed to connect with it as I had done with the Fujifilm WR 23mm f/2 years ago. But already possessing the great little Fujifilm 27mm f/2.8 that would have been redundant. Perhaps it was my copy, but it also did not help that the 50mm focused considerably slower than the 27mm.

Then as is often the case a few thoughts came to mind.

1.

I was interested in the Fujifilm WR 90mm f/2 they had in. Had this lens on my last Fujifilm go around.

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To lovely results.

A lovely lens, but at a lovely price as well. $700 used at a local shop was definitely fair considering the lens’ as new price. But more than I wanted to spend.

2.

The local camera shop also had a Viltrox 85mm f/1.8.

FujiFilm X-T100

I had already read great things about this lens’ optics and build when researching the Sony FE mount version. Great lens, but I went another way for Sony.

3.

Points 1 and 2 were brought together when I came across this video from Mattais Burling. He has one of my favorite Youtube channels and blogs.

An excellent watch. Oddly I had not even considered the spec similarity between these lenses before watching this video. It seems so obvious in retrospect. So I marched back to the shop and even swapped the WR 50mm for the Viltrox 85mm and I have been thrilled with the result.

What we have is an excellent affordable alternative to one of my favorite Fujifilm lenses. Having now owned both here are my thoughts.

Build

Nearly a wash tilting a bit towards the Viltrox for me. Both are very well built and while the 90mm is a bit lighter, has an aperture ring, and weather sealing the Viltrox is shorter and wider which I prefer. It also has a gaping maw of a front element that looks the business. Just an impressive looking bit of kit.

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IQ

Beyond reproach for both. While I am sure the WR 90mm may be technically superior in real-world use this is also a wash. Where the 90mm may be unimpeachably sharp the Viltrox is more than acceptably sharp. On top of that, the Viltrox has a party piece. I have a warm spot for special rendering that has a bit of a vintage pop. And this lens has that.

Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 for FUJIFILM X

Great colors.

X-T100

Great subject isolation.

Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 for FUJIFILM X

Focus speed and accuracy

While it struggles a bit in very low contrast situations and very low light with moving subjects, like most lenses, in moderate or good light with some contrast the Viltrox provides very fast, silent, and accurate focusing.

X-T100

The sample shot below was taken in a very dark auditorium.

Viltrox 85mm f/1.8

Low light

As mentioned with focusing low light can be a challenge, but when it nails focus it renders very well. Here are two night time samples.

Fuji La

Fujifilm X-T100

Result

While compromise is usually associated with cost savings so far that is not the case here. What makes this more astonishing is that Viltrox had to reverse engineer the AF integration and has provided AF improvements through firmware. A very Fuji thing to do.

Looking forward to using this lens more. Here is an ongoing album.

X-T100

Would easily recommend this lens.Well done Viltrox.

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