Lens review

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM

14 October 2019
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic properties of the Viltrox and other 1.8/85 lenses designed for full frame mirrorless cameras along with the Canon EF 1.8/85, designed for reflex cameras. The Viltrox is physically the heaviest and also one of the biggest lenses, with the widest filter diameter. Only the Zeiss Batis is optically more complex but that model comes with optical image stabilization.

 In the photo below the Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM is positioned between some reflex camera models, the Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G and the Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM. The difference in size is obvious.

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM - Build quality

The next photo shows two Viltrox lenses with different mounts: the Sony FE model on the left, the Fuji X model on the right. Apart from mount markings, there are no visible differences from this side.

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Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM - Build quality

The housing of the tested lens starts with a metal mount; it features a band in which you can find a Micro USB port integrated into the mount that allows you to connect the lens directly to a computer and receive firmware updates. The mount surrounds a contact plate and a rear element which visible cross section depends on the mount type. It amounts to 30 mm in the Sony FE model and just 26 mm in the Fuji X lens. In the case of the Sony mount you get also a 31×25 mm frame. The rear element doesn't move and the area nearby is well-matted and blackened.

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM - Build quality

The proper body of the lens starts with a metal ring that features a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, a serial number and the mount type. Then the diameter of the ring increases and on the already enlargened part you can see parameters of the lens, the logo of the producer and a red plate with letters 'DF/RBW'.

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM - Build quality

The next part is a manual focus ring, 39 mm wide, completely covered by fine ribbing. There isn't any distance or DOF scale provided. The ring is a focus-by-wire construction and, in the case of the Fuji X model, its focus throw depends on the speed of turning. If you turn the ring fast, the throw amounts to about 90 degrees; turning the ring slowly the value increases almost two times. In the case of the Sony FE model the ring's range is wider, reaching even 250-260 degrees.

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM - Build quality

The housing of the lens ends with a small, immobile ring made of metal on which you can find an inscription with the name and parameters of the lens, its minimum focusing distance (0.8m/2.62ft) and the filter diameter.

The front element is immobile, 65 mm in diameter, hidden inside the casing over 1 cm deep. It is surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, 72 mm in diameter, and a hood mount.

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction, you deal here with 10 elements positioned in 7 groups. One of them is made of low dispersion ED glass and four labelled as 'short wavelength and high transparent lens' which doesn't make a lot of sense and perhaps doesn't put the author's ideas across as well as it should. If I read the intentions right, the author meant elements with high transmission of short wavelength light - purple and blue. Additionally, inside the lens you can find a round aperture with nine diaphragm blades which can be closed down to a value of f/16.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: both caps, a hood and a soft case.

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85 mm f/1.8 STM - Build quality