Wide-aperture 85mm lenses are popular amongst portrait photographers for their ability to create flattering perspectives and attractive background blur, but normally come with a high price tag. This new Viltrox lens is different.
The new Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f/1.8 STM is designed for Sony’s full frame mirrorless FE mount cameras like the Sony A7 III and undercuts the price of Sony’s own 85mm f/1.8 portrait lens by around 40%. It can also be used on Sony’s APS-C mirrorless cameras like the A6400, where it has an effective focal length of around 128mm.
Viltrox makes a wide range of photographic accessories including LED panels, extension tubes, lens adaptors and more, but it only branched out into lens manufacture in October 2018, with the launch of three new lenses: an 85mm f/1.8 MF lens for Sony cameras, an AF version for Fujifilm X- mount and a manual focus 20mm f/1.8 prime for the Sony mount.
The new 85mm lens offers STM (stepping motor) autofocus capability, whereas the previous Sony-fit Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 lens was manual focus only. Other specs include an aperture range of f/1.8-f/16, an optical construction of 10 elements in 7 groups and one extra-low dispersion lens element. Viltrox’s own HD Nano mult-layer lens coatings are used to combat flare.
Viltrox says the 85mm f/1.8 STM has a minimum focus distance of 0.8m, a 72mm filter thread and a weight of 636g.
It’s due to go on sale from 6 May 2019 and is already available for pre-order from US retailer B&H at $379. Distribution and prices in other territories have yet to be confirmed.