When it comes to the world of lenses for Sony E mount cameras, the new Viltrox 16mm F1.8 autofocus lens seems to be causing a bit of a stir. This lens has set its sights on matching native options for quality of build and optics, at a much lower price. In a recent review on the Sony Alpha Blog website, Marc Alhadeff concluded that this lens has no cons. He highlighted its significantly lower price compared to the native Sony option while maintaining comparable quality and user experience. This begs the question: Are these lesser-known often-Chinese brands starting to really cause trouble for the big brands?
Crafted with an all-metal construction, this full-frame autofocus lens for Sony E mount mirrorless cameras comes with a price tag of £438 or $549. For comparison purposes, the Sony 14mm F1.8 GM lens is retailing new at £1,399.
Its wide-angle perspective extends out to a 105.6° angle of view, while the aperture of f/1.8 helps in low-light shooting and for shallow depth-of-field shots. Both wide aperture and field of view make for a very compelling option for astrophotographers too.
The lens’s optical design features an arrangement of 4 ED glass and 3 aspherical lenses in 12 groups, comprising a total of 15 elements. Additionally, a special nano-multi-layer coating reduces glare and protects the lens from moisture. With its weather-sealed construction, the Viltrox 16mm will hold up better in various weather conditions too. The lens includes a focus switch for switching between auto and manual modes, as well as a USB-C socket for firmware upgrades. What’s more, it features an integrated LCD right on the lens, allowing users to review shooting parameters quickly.
When it comes to autofocus capabilities, the Viltrox 16mm offers eye and face recognition. Thanks to the STM stepping motor, autofocus is said to not only be very quick but also quiet, ensuring photographers the ability to be discreet as well as shoot AF whilst shooting video without the lens being heard.
Additionally, the lens has a clicked aperture ring that can be turned on or off, depending on shooting preferences. Leave it on for direct aperture control, or turn it off for seamless aperture transitions while shooting videos. Two custom function buttons are also included, allowing photographers to tailor settings for their unique needs.
The Viltrox 16mm lens adopts a large 77mm filter thread and non-bulb design. With the non-bulb design, photographers won’t have to worry so much about scratching the lens during close-up shots or even during general use.
In a review by Dustin Abbott, he says, “Viltrox has been crushing it!” Abbott notes the progress Viltrox has made as a lens manufacturer, which might have native lens manufacturers interested or might I even say concerned.
“It is almost scary how quickly Viltrox has progressed as a lens maker. As noted in the intro, Viltrox is really leveling up in terms of lens design, and that shows up here in the design and features of the AF 16mm F1.8.” – Dustin Abbott
Another review, published on phillipreeve.net, states, “Points of criticism are scarce.” This article highlights the significant advancements Viltrox has made in lens manufacturing, making it highly competitive with Sony’s own lenses at an attractive price point.
“Over the past few years, Viltrox has quietly grown into a leader for third-party lenses that often punch well above their weights in terms of their price-to-quality ratios.” – Fstoppers
So, who is this optical superstar? The journey for this manufacturing company began in 2009 when Shenzhen Jueying Technology Co., Ltd. entered into the development and manufacturing of camera accessories. Since then, they have grown into a recognizable force in the camera equipment industry in China. Their main brand, Viltrox, offers a wide range of products that span from lenses to adapters and even lighting equipment.
If you’re interested in trying the lens or want to find more information about Viltrox, then head over to the lens webpage here. You can also purchase the lens via Pergear’s website here (These links are not affiliate links).
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