Viltrox AF 23mm f/1.4 XF (Fujifilm) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Fujifilm X

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2020

Introduction

A little while ago, we reviewed the Viltrox AF 85mm f/1.8 and we were impressed by the maturity of the product - despite being a newcomer in this market. But obviously they didn't want to stop there and their roadmap shows several lenses for release in 2020. One of them is the Viltrox AF 23mm f/1.4 XF which is now available in Fujifilm X and Sony E mount. It's a native APS-C format lens equivalent to "35mm" in full-format terms or in other words - a moderate wide-angle lens. Now you may argue that the Fujifilm system doesn't really require another 23mm lens - after all there's the XF 23mm f/1.4 and XF 23mm f/2 WR. However, there's a "bit" of a difference between the Viltrox and the Fujifilm lenses - the pricing. The Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R costs no less than $899 and the f/2 WR still goes for $449 whereas the Viltrox AF 23mm f/1.4 XF is sold for merely $329 ...

You may think that the very affordable pricing has an impact on the build quality but this is not the case. It doesn't feature weather-sealing but the build quality is actually very good indeed. Most of the lens is made of metal including the large focus ring. It also features a dedicated, step-less aperture ring (plastic here). This may not be ideal for photography purposes at least but it's not really an issue in our book. You can, of course, also control the aperture via the camera when setting the aperture ring to A-mode. The length of the lens remains constants throughout the focus range. A petal-shaped lens hood - made of metal - is provided.

Note: A word of caution for owners of Fujifilm X-Pro 3 cameras - the lens is currently not compatible with this camera because the lens release button on this camera interferes with the diameter of the lens.

The Viltrox lens uses a stepping motor for auto-focusing. It works fast and noiselessly. Manual focusing works, as usual, by wire and is about as good as on modern Fujifilm lenses. EXIF data is provided. On the downside, there is no built-in correction profile thus you have to rely on the raw optical capabilities of the lens in JPEG mode. That being said, Viltrox provides correction profiles for Photoshop and Lightroom on their website - these are still a bit coarse around the edges though. Updates to the lens' firmware are also possible using a USB port on the lens mount.

Viltrox also released the AF 33mm f/1.4 alongside the AF 23mm f/1.4 - the similarity between these two lenses in terms of shape is quite striking as you can see below.

Specifications
Equivalent focal length (full-format)"35mm"
Equivalent aperture (depth-of-field, full-format)"f/2.1"
Optical construction11 elements in 10 groups inc. 2xED and 2xHRI elements
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.3m (max. magnification 1:10)
Dimensions65×72mm
Weight260g
Filter size52mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresMicro-USB connector for firmware updates
MountsFujifilm X, Sony E
Store