Viltrox AF 16mm F1.8 review: a lens that really plays the (wide) angles

The sophisticated Viltrox AF 16mm F1.8 for Nikon Z and Sony E mount full-frame cameras couples an expansive viewing angle with a fast aperture and an inexpensive price

5 Star Rating
Viltrox AF 16mm F1.8
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

I love the wow factor of the Viltrox AF 16mm F1.8 lens’s ultra-wide viewing angle. Sure, it’s not quite as wide as a typical 14-24mm f/2.8 ‘trinity’ zoom lens but the bright f/1.8 aperture is 1.33 f/stops faster. It’s a sophisticated lens that’s brilliant for everything from architectural interiors, though sweeping landscape vistas, to cityscapes and heavenly night skies. It’s particularly well suited to astrophotography and is a steal at the price.


  • +

    Superb all-round performance

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    Excellent build quality

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    Color LCD info screen

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    Bargain price


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    Limited range of mount options

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    No aperture ring lock switch

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The Viltrox AF 16mm F1.8 joins a growing range of Viltrox lenses that I’ve been hugely impressed with. I own quite a few, ranging from the low-budget but high-performance 13mm, 23mm, 33mm and 56mm f/1.4 primes to the more exotic but still very reasonably priced Viltrox AF 27mm F1.2 Pro. All of these lenses are for crop-sensor cameras, but I’ve also been impressed by the very compact, lightweight and unfeasibly inexpensive Viltrox AF 20mm F2.8 and Viltrox AF 40mm F2.5 for full-frame Nikon and Sony mirrorless cameras. The 16mm f/1.8 is a more up-market full-frame compatible lens but still great value at the price, considering just how much Viltrox has packed into the design. As such, it aims to be one of the best lenses for Nikon Z cameras, best wide-angle lenses for Sony cameras and even one of the best lenses for astrophotography.

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Mount optionsNikon Z (FX), Sony E (FE)
Lens construction15 elements in 12 groups
Angle of view105.6 degrees
Diaphragm blades9
Minimum aperturef/22
Minimum focus distance0.27m
Maximum magnification0.1x
Filter size77mm
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FeaturesThere’s an aperture ring, function buttons and even a color LCD screen.★★★★★
DesignIt has a strong metal barrel, extensive weather-seals and great handling.★★★★★
PerformanceFrom fast, accurate autofocus to excellent image quality, performance is excellent.★★★★★
ValueIt’s pricier than most Viltrox lenses but still an absolute bargain.★★★★★
Nikon Z 20mm F1.8 S

The Nikon Z 20mm F1.8 S is reasonably priced for an own-brand lens, although it’s still twice the price of the Viltrox. The viewing angle isn’t as generous, at 94 degrees compared with 105.6 degrees but the Nikon has the same 77mm filter attachment thread.

Sony FE 14mm F1.8 G Master

The much pricier Sony FE 14mm F1.8 G Master matches the Viltrox for aperture rating but goes even wider, with a viewing angle of 114 degrees. It’s a little more lightweight than the Viltrox but has an integral hood so there’s no filter attachment thread, just a slot in the mounting plate for gel filters.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.