While I really enjoy shooting with the Fuji XF series of cameras, their older lenses like the 23mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 could really use a refresh of weather sealing and faster autofocusing motors. Also, they’re priced quite high compared to similar focus lengths for full frame systems. I would dare say they are overpriced. Even though I’ve owned the aforementioned Fuji lenses before, I have since sold them and moved on to the Viltrox lenses. While I’ve never done a side by side comparison, I can say that for the money, the Viltrox lenses are a good value – not perfect, not the sharpest, but a good value and I like using them.
When Viltrox announced their 56mm f/1.4, I immediately preordered it. I’ve owned the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 before, and while it’s a sharp lens, it’s been slow to autofocus, and I never really found the bokeh that impressive. Now, even on rebate, the Fuji lens is $849. The Viltrox on the other hand was only $329. For that $500, you could have another Viltrox lens. To me, the math is clear, if the Viltrox lens provides good results, then you’re better off with the Viltrox lens.
So how does the Viltrox perform? Well, there were a few times when I focused on tiny parts of the scene like a leaf, that it couldn’t pick it up, I had to try a few different autofocus points, manual focus, etc. However, the majority of the time, autofocus was just fine. The build of the lens and the hood are like the other Viltrox lenses I’ve tried (which is quite good), and the lens has it’s own unique character – nice bokeh, prone to flair, and a unique character.