Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f/1.8 STM (Fujifilm X) - Test Report / Review - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Fujifilm X

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed200
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.8
Exposure1/220s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed320
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/4.5
Exposure1/125s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed200
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/4.5
Exposure1/170s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed500
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/125s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed800
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/4.5
Exposure1/125s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed200
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/2200s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed640
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.8
Exposure1/250s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed400
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.8
Exposure1/7000s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed400
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/350s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed400
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/750s

MakeFUJIFILM
ModelX-T30
ISO Speed400
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/640s

Competition

Fujifilm maintains a fairly closed ecosystem with just a handful of Zeiss lenses that have been officially sanctioned. As such the competition is rather limited. There is, of course, the already mentioned Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 LM R WR - which is the best lens in this class by some margin - at more than double the price of the Viltrox. A more distant competitor is the Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 LM R WR OIS macro. It is substantially slower - and more expensive still - but offers true macro capabilities as well as image stabilization. If you can live without autofocus, there's the Samyang 85mm F1.8 ED UMC CS which is a little cheaper but generally, we wouldn't recommend a fully manual fast lens beyond 50mm really.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f/1.8 STM is an attractive medium tele lens for Fujifilm cameras. It is sharp across the image field - especially at medium aperture settings - and it doesn't show any substantial weakness across the other characteristics either. Lateral CAs are low as are image distortions. There is a bit of vignetting at f/1.8 but it's nothing out of the ordinary (on an APS-C sensor at least). A very positive aspect is the quality of the bokeh. Image highlights are nicely rendered at f/1.8 and the blur in the focus transition zones is very creamy. Bokeh fringing (LoCA) is present at large-aperture settings but that's hardly surprising.
The build quality feels very "tanky" due to the all-metal design. Pro photographers may miss weather-sealing but that's a different market segment anyway. Unlike other small manufacturers, Viltrox managed to implement an autofocus motor (STM = stepping motor). The speed is very decent and we had no issues with accuracy. Such a lens is more aligned to portrait or street photography anyway and the AF is plenty fast for that.
It is quite surprising than Viltrox was capable of designing and manufacturing such a mature product as their first shot into the market. Other newcomers struggled much more during their first years (and some still do). Of course, designing a 85mm f/1.8 isn't science fiction but getting all the required acts together at a very attractive price point is an achievement. Thus if you can't or don't want to pay the premium price for a Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 LM R WR, the Viltrox lens is a worthy candidate for your shopping list.

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

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