Viltrox 50mm f/1.8 Prime Lens Review for Sony E Mount

Viltrox 50mm f/1.8 Prime Lens for Sony E Mount

Welcome to the website, folks; my name is Shane. In today’s review, we are checking out the Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime lens for the Sony E mount. This article will be a video-centric review, so if you are wondering how this lens performs for video work, this video is for you.  

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Box
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Box

 

To frame this review, I also own the Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 prime lens, which I am a big fan. However, I now prefer the Viltrox 50mm lens for several reasons, which I’ll now cover.  

The Viltrox is less expensive, built just as nicely, and features an aperture ring for quick adjustments without using camera the dials. Best of all, it’s got the 3D pop you want with a 50mm prime that some lenses lack. The autofocus is excellent, the focus breathing is extremely low, and the result is something special. For one-third less money, this makes a lot of sense. 

Just to let you know ahead of time, this is the most fun I’ve had shooting with my Sony FX3 and a 50mm lens in a long time. A huge thanks to Viltrox for sending this out for review; I really appreciate it. If you want to check it out, I’ll link it in this post below. This article will be a pros and cons review, and I’ll cover what you need to know if you’re considering buying this Viltrox 50mm f1.8 lens. 

Camera Setup

All the sample footage in my review was shot using the Viltrox 50mm F1.8 prime on my Sony FX3. Most of the sample clips were shot using a Zyhun Weebill 3 Gimbal, which was an excellent pairing for this camera and lens combination. 

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime lens for Gimbal
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime lens for Gimbal

 

My Viltrox 50mm F1.8 E Mount Lens Review Video

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The “Look” of this lens

This lens has a premium look to it. The “look” is a difficult term to quantify, but the image quality of the Viltrox 50mm f1.8 is something special. I filmed some of the nicest-looking footage straight out of the camera I have ever shot. Paired with the Sony S-Cinetone picture profile, the image is beautiful. 

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Cinematic
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Cinematic Quality

 

Build Quality

Let’s cover the build quality. The Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime lens is built exceptionally well. It might not have quite the premium feel of the Sony Zeiss, but it’s close. The Viltrox comes in at only 340 grams which is 60 grams heavier than the Zeiss. The lens hood and lens cap are both plastic but feel sturdy and secure,  and the overall build quality is excellent. 

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Build Quality

The most significant benefit to the Viltrox is the inclusion of the Aperture Ring. The Aperture allows you to adjust the aperture without using the dials on the camera. For me, this is a massive upgrade over the Zeiss. 

The Focus ring feels nice in hand, and I could easily pull focus manually for the times when I required it. The strength of the Viltrox 50mm f1.8 is how the autofocus is nearly infallible. Autofocus works with this lens at a distance or up close, which is why I trust this more than the Zeiss.  

The Zeiss Autofocus is reasonably solid if your subject takes up most of the frame, but it’s been known to lose you if you are backlit or at a distance. The Viltrox autofocus performance, in my experience, is more reliable and accurate. 

Autofocus Results

Let’s cover autofocus reliability and speed. I was unable to get this lens to fail during my autofocus tests. It locked onto Rhyannon’s eye in every test shot and kept her focus repeatedly. I did find that adjusting the speed settings to 5 in the camera’s AF settings gave me the best and most responsive results for faster-moving subjects. 

Whether I was shooting for a distance or up close, the autofocus worked reliably and flawlessly in my testing. The same solid autofocus results can be seen for the low-light sample footage I shot with this Viltrox lens.  

Gimbal Shooters

My favorite thing about this lens is the results paired with a gimbal. The shots are very cinematic (at least to my standard) without needing to color grade or adjust anything in post-production. What you are looking at now is a combination of the Sony FX3 with the S-Cinetone Profile shooting in mixed lighting conditions, and it looks fantastic.

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime lens review
Gimbal Shooters will love the Viltrox 50mm f1.8

 

Sun Stars and Flaring

Up next, I’ll cover Sun Stars and Flaring. Much like the Viltrox 35mm f1.8 from the same series I reviewed a while back (link in the cards), the 50mm 1.8 has character. Lens character can sometimes be brushed off as imperfections, but I love this look for shooting sun stars. I am sure some lenses can handle sun stars better than this, but stopping down gave me some pleasant results. 

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime Sunstars
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime Sunstars

 

In regards to lens flare, this lens does suffer from flaring in certain lighting conditions, but again, its character appeals to my eye. I did lose a bit of contrast in some shooting situations from the lens flare, but overall, I am still very impressed by the quality.

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Flaring
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Flaring

 

Background Blur, Low Light, and Bokeh

The Viltrox 50mm f1.8 is fast enough to give you plenty of background blur. 50mm on a full-frame camera is the sweet spot for epic background blur. The overall look is beautiful, like an f1.2, for example, without being too over-the-top blurry. Most shooters will love the background separation and 3D pop of this Viltrox lens. 

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime Minimum Focus Distance
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime Minimum Focus Distance

 

Additionally, the f1.8 aperture makes this Viltrox a solid-performing low-light lens. You’ll get excellent low-light results paired with any full-frame Sony bodies. Even shooting in low light, the autofocus worked a treat!

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Bokeh
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Bokeh

 

Furthermore, the Viltrox 50mm is loaded with character regarding the Bokeh ball effect. Much like my previous review of the 35mm f1.8, the bokeh balls almost have a slightly-retro look, but they appear slightly cleaner overall. I’ll overlay some samples of the bokeh balls on screen so you can make a creative choice about whether it’s suited for your style of shooting. 

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Sharpness

Lastly, when it comes to sharpness, the Viltrox 50mm is a great performer for shooting video. All of the samples showcased in this video were entirely unaltered to showcase what you can get without adjusting anything in post-production. I have zero complaints about the sharpness, and the results, in my experience, speak for themselves. 

Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Low Light
Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Low Light & Sharpness Test

 

Pros & Cons Focus Breathing 

Let’s wrap this video up by covering the pros and cons of the Viltrox 50mm f1.8 prime lens for Sony E mount. The pros far outweigh the cons, no matter how you slice it. 

I’ll start with the two things that might be deal-breakers. Firstly, the minimum focus distance is only 0.5m (or 50cm). This means, that it’s not a great lens for product b-roll or close-up shots where you need to get up close and personal with a subject.  

I thought this might be a disadvantage over the Sony Zeiss, but it too has the same minimum focus distance limitations. 

Secondly, Bokeh balls might not be round enough for some people. This is completely subjective and it’s up to you what sort of look you are going for. 

Regarding the positives, the Viltrox 50mm f1.8 is one of the best lenses I’ve used and reviewed so far. This lens offers excellent cinematic video quality paired with great autofocus and low focus-breathing. In addition, the VIltrox lens performed great in low light and the aperture ring, build quality, and the price is all highly appealing to video shooters.

For my money, I don’t know if there’s any real advantage to getting the Sony 55mm f1.8 over the Viltrox 50mm. But, again, the results paired with the FX3 looked better to my eye test than anything I’ve shot with the 55mm. 

Thanks to Viltrox for sending this out for this review. If you want to check it out, I’ll link it in the post below. Thanks for reading and watching, and please share this post if it is helpful. 

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Viltrox 50mm f1.8 Specifications

Focal Length

50mm

Maximum Aperture

f/1.8

Minimum Aperture

f/16

Lens Mount

Sony E

Format Compatibility

Full-Frame

Angle of View

47.6°

Minimum Focus Distance

21.7″ / 55 cm

Maximum Magnification

0.1x

Optical Design

11 Elements in 10 Groups

Focus Type

Autofocus

Image Stabilization

No

Filter Size

55 mm (Front)

Weight

12 oz / 340 g