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Viltrox AF 85mm 1.8 II FE | Review

Viltrox 85mm WP

 

   The Hotel Del Coronado is a historical hotel out here in San Diego California.  My father worked there when I was a kid as a security guard but I have never had the chance to stay there yet.  My pops told me of a time he once saw a ghost there while on patrol and I have always wanted to go and see if I can take a picture of one.  Looking at my Viltrox 85mm  G2, a lens i had bought back in late november of 2023 but never had the chance to take out due to other lens reviews I decided to take a step back from the vintage lenses and went all in on shooting this one for a couple of weeks.   What better way to test this lens than to take it out to a historical site.

   The Viltrox AF 85mm 1.8 II FE Lens is the second release of this lens.  The lens was released in Q1 of 2021.  I was looking for a budget option for a good portrait lens and I lucked out getting it for a cool $330.  As you know, this is one of the most expensive primes and not many companies make affordable 85’s so I took a chance and decided to get it.  This lens is available for Sony E, Nikon Z and Fujifilm X.  Viltrox had an update you can get from their website where you can update the lens from f/1.8 to f/1.6 (Download Center) with the instructions i have linked (look for the lens after reading the instructions here). The instructions are pretty simple so i wont cover them here.

 

   The lens includes one extra low dispersion element and one aspherical element to reduce chromatic aberrations and includes four elements made from transparent glass.  The lens features an HD Nano multi layer coating to suppress flare and ghosting for improved contrast in good lighting conditions.  This lens is equipped with an STM motor for a quick and quiet auto focus. 

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 85mm
  • Aperture: F/1.8-16 (Down to F/1.6 with instructions above)
  • Lens Construction: Metal
  • Weight: 548g
  • Filter Thread Size: 72mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance.: 80cm
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.13x.
  • Dimensions: 80*95mm.  Lens hood adds an additional 48mm in length.
 
 

Build Quality:

  • This is a metal build lens.  You can feel the nice weight to it.  My only issue is the lens hood.  The plastic just feels cheap and doesn’t feel like it belongs on a lens like this.  It takes a bit to get the hood to “click” and secure to the lens.

 

Price for the Money:

  • For the $330 I paid I got a very good performing 85mm.  I loved the shots I got both in my backyard and out of town shooting the Hotel Del Coronado.  There are some minor issues I will mention below but at the price I paid, this lens is a good purchase and a good performer.   As of the time of writing this blog post, Viltrox has it for $399 on their website.

 

User Experience:

  • I shot this lens with my Sony A7C II.  This is a very good lens but there are a couple of issues.  The lens does show a bit of what is called longitudinal chromatic aberration from F/1.8 to F/2.8, appearing in a magenta color in the foreground and a bit of a greenish hue in the background.  The aberrations do go away after F/5.6.  Also, this lens is best for portraits versus landscapes due to the field curvature.  Despite this, the lens renders very sharp details specially in the center of the frame.  Regardless, I still loved the shots I got at the Hotel Del Coronado and at home.
 
Shots: 
 

Short I Created On My Quick Trip To Coronado:

Botanical Close Ups:

The Lens Hooche Verdict

While there are some issues with chromatic aberration, specially at wider apertures and the poor construction on the lens hood, this lens still produces awesome sharp images with good bokeh.  At the price I paid, There are no other 85mm that can compete (to be determined).  Yongnuo does make a budget option 85mm at this price range so I will eventually take a look at that lens to compare it but Viltrox can take my money for what I got these last couple of weeks with this lens.

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