Photography marketing

New equipment: Viltrox 13mm f / 1.4 AF for X mount

If you’re a fan of top-notch lenses, the Fujifilm X-mount offers a plethora of choices with no less than 21 first-party options available, and dozens more from third-party manufacturers. If you like bright, wide shots, your options are a bit more limited.

Until now, no manufacturer has offered an X-mount prime AF that is wider than 16mm with an aperture faster than f / 2. This changes with the introduction of the new 13mm f / 1.4 premium autofocus for Viltrox X-mount, the glass brand of Jueying Technology based in Shenzhen, China.

Who is it for ?

Viltrox says its new lens is aimed at photographers of portraits, landscapes, architecture and food, as well as astrophotographers. Thanks to a design suitable for both still images and videos, it also markets the lens for use by vloggers.

Optical design

When mounted on a Fujifilm body, the Viltrox offers a field of view equivalent to 20mm. Viltrox

The design is based on an optical formula comprising 14 elements in 11 groups. If there are any aspherical or specially formulated elements in the mixture, which seems likely, Viltrox does not mention them in its marketing materials. After taking into account the cropping factor of the APS-C sensor in Fujifilm cameras, the lens has an effective focal length of 20mm.

To compare, Fujifilm’s XF 16mm f / 1.4 R WR ($ 1000) has the same number of item groups and one less item in total. Two of its elements are aspherical and two are very low dispersion elements.

The only other AF-compatible lens less than 16mm for X-mount is the Rokinon 12mm f / 2.0 AF lens ($ 500). This consists of 12 elements divided into 10 groups, including three very low dispersion elements, one aspherical and one aspherical hybrid.

Opening

Like the 16mm Fujifilm, the Viltrox AF 13mm f / 1.4 has a nine-blade aperture which should help ensure well-rounded bokeh even when moderately stopped. The Rokinon lens, meanwhile, opts for a simpler and less round seven-blade aperture. The aperture of the Viltrox can range from f / 1.4 to f / 16.

Autofocus

Like the Rokinon, but unlike the motor doctor-based on Fujifilm — the Viltrox is based on a step-by-step engine (STM). These motors tend to offer fast and quiet autofocus.

The lens has an internal focus design and offers a focus range of 8.7 inches (22cm) to infinity. The maximum magnification is 0.1x (1:10) at the closest focusing distance. And there is good news for videographers, as Viltrox states that the lens was designed to show only minimal focus breathing.

Build quality

The new Viltrox 13mm f / 1.4 AF lens for Fujifilm X-mount.
The lens has a plastic outer casing and a metal mount. Viltrox

The Viltrox AF 13mm f / 1.4 lens measures just 3.5 inches (90mm) in length, 2.9 inches (74mm) in diameter, and weighs 14.8 ounces (420g). It’s almost the same diameter as Fujifilm and Rokinon lenses, but a bit longer and much heavier. The Rokinon lens is the shortest (2.3 inch / 59mm) and lightest (7.5 ounces / 213g). The Fujifilm divides the difference with a length of 2.9 inches (73mm) and a weight of 13.2 ounces (375g).

The construction materials are not indicated, but by a first video by British photographer and YouTuber Damian Brown, the outer barrel makes generous use of plastic, which can help keep weight to a minimum. The lens mount, however, is made of metal for added durability.

Two control rings encircle the lens barrel, which is otherwise free from physical controls. Up front is a generously sized focus ring, while closer to the lens base is an aperture ring. The latter has a very strong click trigger and includes an A position that relinquishes control of the aperture to the camera body instead.

The front of the lens barrel also sports a set of 67mm threads for filters and accessories. A bayonet style sun visor is included in the product set, as well as a fabric bag for storage.

The new Viltrox 13mm f / 1.4 AF lens for Fujifilm X-mount.
A bayonet style sun visor and fabric bag come with the new Viltrox. Viltrox

Pricing and availability

Priced at $ 469, the Viltrox AF 13mm f / 1.4 Lens for Fujifilm X-mount can be preordered immediately. Delivery is expected to start from February 2022.