Budget lens manufacturer Viltrox has just announced details of a new 35mm f/1.8 autofocus lens for Nikon Z mount cameras. Despite being a relative newcomer to lens manufacturing, Viltrox makes decent glass that won’t break the bank.
For anyone with a full frame Nikon Z camera, such as the Nikon Z7 II, the Viltrox 35mm f/1.8 is by far the cheapest prime of that focal range available. And for APS-C bodies like the Nikon Z fc, it becomes an equivalent 52.5mm lens. Made up of ten elements in eight groups including two extra-low dispersion elements, two aspherical elements, and two high refraction index elements it offers crisp images with little aberrations.
• Read more: Best Nikon Z lenses
It features nine aperture blades, has a constant aperture of f/1.8 through to f/16 and a minimum focusing distance of 0.4m. Compared to the Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S, which has a minimum focusing distance of 0.25m, you have to be further away from your subject but so far that's the only downside – at least, until we get one to test the image quality.
For a budget lens it has some pretty clever features, including contacts to transfer EXIF data, an AF stepping motor, and it even boasts support for Nikon’s Eye Autofocus. You can also update the lens’ firmware via a built-in USB-C port on the rear mount, so there’s no need to worry about downloading files to an SD card and updating it via the camera.
For filmmakers and those who enjoy manually changing the aperture on the lens itself, you’ll be pleased to know that it comes with an aperture ring as well as a focus ring for ultimate fingertip control. It weighs 370g, which is the same as the Nikon equivalent but it has a slightly smaller diameter (70mm) and a longer barrel (90mm).
The Viltrox 35mm f/1.8 is available to buy directly from the Viltrox store for $399 (approximately £293 / AU$ 550). It comes as standard with a lens hood, front and back caps and a carry case for protection.