If you’re a Fuji user looking for an equivalent to the “nifty fifty” lenses available for Nikon and Canon DSLRs, you’ve probably considered picking up Fuji’s old XF 35mm f/1.4 or the XF 35mm f/2. But what if there was a more affordable, faster option out there? The Viltrox 33mm f/1.4 wants to be that lens.
In this video, photographer and YouTuber Andrew of Andrew & Denae reviews the soon-to-be-released Viltrox 33mm, explaining the pros and cons of this entry level lens for Fujifilm shooters. Unfortunately, it seems like there are mostly cons.
Over the course of the video, Andrew compares this $280 lens against the slightly more expensive and slower $400 XF 35mm f/2R WR, pointing out the various downsides that you’ll need to put up with in order to get that additional bokeh and extra stop of light, at a lower price point.
Here are few of those downsides, which he illustrates with chart shots and 100% crops:
- The Viltrox lens has some noticeable chromatic aberration wide-open, which doesn’t entirely go away until about f/4
- The Fuji XF 35mm f/2R WR has a much shorter minimum focus distance, allowing you to get closer to your subject
- The Viltrox is a tiny bit softer in the center and the corners until you get to about f/2.8
- In practice, you only really get about 1/2 stop more light compared to the Fuji XF 35mm f/2
- There is currently an issue with auto-exposure, which Viltrox has promised to fix with a firmware update coming soon.
And here are some sample images so you can see how much these downsides do (or don’t) have an impact in the real world:
As with most affordable third-party lenses, the moral of the story can be summed up in a single (compound) word: trade-offs. There’s a performance and build quality penalty when you go from one of Fuji’s own XF lenses down to the cheaper Viltrox.
Yes, you’ll save some money—the Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 costs $600 and the XF 35mm f/2R WR costs $400—but unless you need the faster aperture or the physical aperture ring, you can save even more money by going with the ultra affordable Fuji XC 35mm f/2. At least based on this review, it seems that the Viltrox 33mm f/1.4 is only worth it if you absolutely need that extra stop.
Check out the full review up top to hear more about this lens and dive deeper into the side-by-side comparison images. And if you want to see more Fuji lens reviews and tests like this, definitely check out Andrew & Denae’s YouTube channel.
Image credits: All photos by Andrew & Denae, and used with permission.