So, you got yourself the Fuji 56 1.2 and discovered the creamy Bokeh wonderland even on a crop camera? Great, its probably my personal favorite lens ever, but what about if you want more reach? You can get a zoom but since those are at least F2.8 you would give up that smooth smooth blur. You could get the Fuji XF90, but damn, this fucker is expensive and you want to get that smooth bokeh on the cheap, don’t you? Well look no further, because once again China hurries to the rescue!
After the infamous Mitakon 35mm delivered us some F0.95 goodness but lacking features like autofocus, we now have the company Viltrox claiming they cracked the code and reverse engineered Fujifilms autofocus protocols. Pretty impressive if you ask me, since so far only a select few had received the honor of being allowed to produce lenses with autofocus for the Fujifilm ecosystem.
So naturally, I was very doubtful of the claims this lens made. 85mm, F1.8, proper autofocus, great sharpness and easy firmware updates, it just seemed to good to be true when looking at the pricetag of about 300€. Fujifilms interpretation of this focal length, the XF90 is more than tripple that after all. But I wanted that sweat portrait-compression and quickly pulled the trigger, so even if it was utter crap I could atleast catch the bullet and warn some fellow Fuji shooters.
And this is where the catch comes in. It is not utter crap. First thing I did after unboxing was a firmware update, since that just got released and was suppossed to fix some minor problems with focus hunting. Viltrox found a great way to solve firmware updates by just implementing a little usb port on the lens mount. You plug it in to your pc, copy the update file and boom, you’re done. So on I went and mounted it on my trusty X-Pro 2 and while it got the balance a bit front heavy I instantly liked the feel of the lens. I’m not going to lie – this fucker is huge compared to most other Fuji lenses. Its a big chunk of glass, but hey, you gotta reach F1.8 somehow.
Some first test shots where done and so far I was getting curious. It wasn’t utter garbage like I honestly expected. It was reasonably sharp even at 1.8, it handled nicely and the focus was pretty quick. But some quick shutterclicks at your desk aren’t really a proper test so I wanted to get a shoot going. Luckily the lovely model Leo was in town and so we quickly set something up. For safety reasons I also packed my beloved 56 1.2 and so I shot with a mixture of the two lenses. The results of that shoot you can see in this article.
Checking the images from this shoot on my computer, I was pretty amazed as the Viltrox delivered quite admirable shoots. The sharpness is not as good as the 56 1.2, but that lens is barely beatable after all! I loved the bokeh, I loved the handling, only thing missing for me is an apterture ring. Will all my other lenses having one I am quite used to setting my aperture this way. This is really the only big reason why I’m still contemplating upgrading to the Fuji XF90. The aperture ring and maybe sharpness that aligns with the 56. So you gotta ask yourself. Is that really worth tripple the price of the Viltrox. I still don’t have an answer to that.