Lens review

Viltrox AF 50 mm f/1.8 FE / Z

30 March 2022
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of the tested lens and other standard f/1.8 instruments designed for full frame mirrorless cameras. It's clear the Nikkor is the biggest, the heaviest, and also optically the most complex device in this group but the new Viltrox can be placed close behind. For its significant dimensions the tested lens features a very sensible filter thread diameter but its minimum focusing distance lags a bit behind the rest.

In the photo below the tested Viltrox is positioned between the Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D and the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM. It's very obvious that older double gauss standards designed for reflex cameras are a lot smaller.

Viltrox AF 50 mm f/1.8 FE / Z - Build quality

The Viltrox 50 mm f/1.8 Z starts with a metal mount with embedded contacts which goes round a rear element, 28 mm in diameter. The element doesn't move, is situated about 2 cm deep inside a properly matted and ribbed tube. From this side everything looks very well.

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Viltrox AF 50 mm f/1.8 FE / Z - Build quality

The proper barrel of the lens starts with a black, metal ring that doesn't move; on that ring you can find the serial number of the lens and a red dot, making an alignment with a camera easier.

Then you see an aperture ring as wide as 7 mm, covered by ribs. It includes markings every 1/3 EV step and an A position for automatic aperture control. The ring moves smoothly; it also doesn't feature any mode switch.

Viltrox AF 50 mm f/1.8 FE / Z - Build quality

Further on you see another immobile ring made of metal on which you get basic parameters of the lens, the logo of the producer, and a red mark of the series.

Viltrox AF 50 mm f/1.8 FE / Z - Build quality

A manual focus ring is the biggest part of the lens – it is 35 mm wide, completely covered by fine ribbing. It's a focus-by-wire, clickless mechanism that doesn't feature any DOF or distance scale.

Its working range depends on the speed of your turning. If you move the ring quickly the focus throw amounts to about 120 degrees; if you move it slowly it can exceed a value of 180 degrees. In both cases it is more than enough to get very precise settings.

The lens ends with a metal mount for a hood inside which you can find a non-rotating filter thread, 55 mm in diameter. The front element doesn't move, is 29 mm in diameter, and is surrounded by a part of the barrel with another inscription stating the name and basic parameters of the lens.

Viltrox AF 50 mm f/1.8 FE / Z - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with 11 elements positioned in 10 groups.The producers weren't skimpy with special elements: you get one low dispersion ED element, two aspherical elements, and 2 HR (High Refractive Index) ones. The diaphragm inside features as many as 9 rounded blades.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: both caps, a hood, and a soft pouch. In my opinion that pouch is too flimsy to provide any kind of protection.

Viltrox AF 50 mm f/1.8 FE / Z - Build quality