Pho­to: photorumors.com

Bud­get aut­o­fo­cus lens­es for Nikon Z are a real­i­ty. We learned about this when we con­sid­ered Vil­trox glass­es for APS‑C cam­eras. Now let’s take a look at their full-frame mod­els — Vil­trox AF 24mm, 33mm and 85mm f/1.8 Z.

Viltrox AF 24mm, 33mm and 85mm f/1.8 Z

This trio of full-frame lens­es for Nikon Z mir­ror­less cam­eras has all the elec­tron­ic con­tacts on the mount to com­mu­ni­cate with the cam­era and sup­ports aut­o­fo­cus, which we will dis­cuss sep­a­rate­ly.

Glass­es from Vil­trox are rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive: 24mm f / 1.8 — 30 thou­sand rubles, and 33mm f / 1.8 and 85mm f / 1.8 Z for 28 thou­sand rubles. The lens­es have a lot in com­mon, pri­mar­i­ly in terms of design and aut­o­fo­cus oper­a­tion, but there are also dif­fer­ences.

These mod­els are also com­pat­i­ble with Nikon’s APS‑C mir­ror­less cam­eras, as the com­pa­ny uses the same Z‑mount for both crop and full-frame cam­eras.

Design and ergonomics

All three mod­els received an all-met­al body with a met­al mount. The build qual­i­ty is noth­ing like cheap Chi­nese plas­tic lens­es, every­thing is very high qual­i­ty and strong — there are no ques­tions for Vil­trox at all.

The lens­es are not minia­ture in size, but not too bulky either. At the same time, 24mm is sig­nif­i­cant­ly small­er than the native Nikon 20mm f / 1.8. And the 35mm is sim­i­lar in size and weight to the native Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8. The largest of the three is the 85mm por­trait lens, but even that strikes a good bal­ance on full-frame Nikon mir­ror­less cam­eras, though it will like­ly feel bulky on cropped mod­els.

All three lens­es have a large focus ring on the front. The ring turns smooth­ly. It can be cus­tomized for oth­er set­tings through the cam­er­a’s menu sys­tem — as is the case with native Nikon glass­es.

At the same time, 24mm and 35mm also have an aper­ture set­ting ring, unlike both the Wiltrox 85mm and sim­i­lar native Nikon Z lens­es. The ring rotates with­out clicks, which is con­ve­nient for video­g­ra­phers and less con­ve­nient for pho­tog­ra­phers who can be helped while shoot­ing through the viewfind­er. The ring can also be set to auto mode and adjust the aper­ture using the cam­era.

On the front, the 24mm and 35mm have a 55mm fil­ter thread — this is a small size for fast full-frame lens­es. And in 85mm f/1.8 there are no sur­pris­es any more, it is com­pat­i­ble with large 72mm fil­ters.

All glass­es come with very high qual­i­ty plas­tic hoods. There is a USB port on the case for updat­ing the firmware (it should be not­ed that they are not here for show — Vil­trox is doing well with prod­uct sup­port). At the same time, a USB-mini con­nec­tor is used on 85mm, and a more mod­ern USB‑C on 24mm and 35mm.

Glass­es can not be called super-com­pact, but they look quite bal­anced on Nikon Z full-frame cam­eras. Pho­to: facebook.com/fhfototechnika

In gen­er­al, in terms of elec­tron­ics, all lens­es behave like native Nikon lens­es and trans­mit full Exif data with all cam­era set­tings.

It should be not­ed that all three mod­els do not have a sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem, and the body did not receive pro­tec­tion from bad weath­er (although it was hard­ly worth expect­ing such lux­u­ry from bud­get lens­es).


One of the main fea­tures of the line is the pres­ence of aut­o­fo­cus. All mod­els use the same aut­o­fo­cus step­per dri­ve, so we’ll talk about all of them at once.

The motor is fast and qui­et enough. Aut­o­fo­cus is sup­port­ed by the eyes, while track­ing is tena­cious and does not cause any com­plaints. In poor light­ing, the sys­tem works with­out any prob­lems.

Aut­o­fo­cus oper­a­tion is very sim­i­lar to native Nikon glass­es, which can be writ­ten down as a big plus for Vil­trox.

For video

All three mod­els in terms of video shoot­ing have approx­i­mate­ly sim­i­lar qual­i­ties.

Aut­o­fo­cus for video is very qui­et, and face track­ing is accu­rate.

Focus tran­si­tions from far to near are quite smooth, while the 24mm and 35mm ver­sions have almost no “focus breath­ing” (the effect when focus­ing from zero to infin­i­ty changes the focal length, which can be expressed by notice­able jit­ter dur­ing video shoot­ing). The 85mm f/1.8 has more focus breath­ing, so of the three lens­es, it’s prob­a­bly the worst for video.

The aper­ture ring on the 24mm and 35mm mod­els rotates smooth­ly and with­out clicks — anoth­er plus for video­g­ra­phers.

Image quality Viltrox AF 24mm f/1.8 Z

Pho­to: photorumors.com


The cen­tral sharp­ness of the Vil­trox AF 24mm f/1.8 Z wide open is good. If you cov­er up to f / 2.8, the sharp­ness increas­es quite a bit, but at f / 4 it does not change at all.

In the cor­ners of the frame at f / 1.8, the lens is quite soft, at f / 2.8 the pic­ture becomes much sharp­er, but fur­ther clos­ing down to f / 4 does not change much.

Even when shoot­ing with the super-detailed Nikon Z II, cen­tered at 200% zoom, the Vil­trox image is sharp enough for f/1.8. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong

Com­pared to the sim­i­lar but slight­ly wider Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8, it’s slight­ly sharp­er at the cen­ter wide open, but the dif­fer­ence isn’t too notice­able. But in the cor­ners at an open aper­ture, the native lens wins much in sharp­ness, although already at f / 2.8 the results are almost the same.

Com­par­i­son of cen­tral sharp­ness with native Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 (left). Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong

We can say that the Vil­trox 24mm f/1.8 is quite good in terms of sharp­ness and is not too far behind the native glass.


This is a fair­ly wide-angle lens, so you won’t be able to blur the back­ground too much. Although in close-ups at f / 1.8, quite pro­nounced results can be achieved.

The bokeh is very soft, and the bokehs (balls of light in the defo­cus zone) are round. The pic­ture comes out ten­der, “dreamy”.


On an open aper­ture, lon­gi­tu­di­nal chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tions are notice­able in the form of col­or fring­ing in out-of-focus areas. Not to say that they cat­a­stroph­i­cal­ly spoil the pic­ture, but they are. How­ev­er, they are quite dif­fi­cult to remove dur­ing post-pro­cess­ing.

Trans­verse aber­ra­tions in the form of pur­ple fring­ing at the edges of high-con­trast objects are also notice­able, but they will be much eas­i­er to deal with in pho­to edi­tors.

In gen­er­al, we can say that when shoot­ing con­trast­ing scenes, one must be pre­pared for pro­nounced aber­ra­tions.

Glare, glare and solar stars

But what can be writ­ten in a clear plus of this mod­el is excel­lent con­trol over glare and flare. This is very good for glass, which is suit­able for land­scapes. Even when shoot­ing against the sun, you get very good con­trast and min­i­mal flare.

As for the “sun stars” (a beau­ti­ful effect when beau­ti­ful sharp rays radi­ate from bright light sources), beloved by many land­scape painters, at a aper­ture closed to f / 16 they turn out to be quite sharp, but not to say that they are espe­cial­ly beau­ti­ful (although this, of course, , sub­jec­tive).

Solar stars are well defined, but their aes­thet­ics are “not for every­body”. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong

Comatic aberrations

You may want to use such a lens to shoot the night sky, and then the pres­ence of comat­ic aber­ra­tions (when light sources at the edges of the frame turn into “comets”, some­times high­light­ing blur­ry areas of the image), will be an impor­tant point.

Well, the coma is clear­ly present at the open aper­ture, but for a bud­get lens, this is not a par­tic­u­lar crime. And at f / 2.8 aber­ra­tions prac­ti­cal­ly dis­ap­pear.


As you would expect from a wide-angle lens, you can notice quite pro­nounced dis­tor­tion in the pho­tos, which is dif­fi­cult to cor­rect on your own. Vil­trox promis­es to release a pro­file for auto­mat­ic cor­rec­tion in Pho­to­shop and Light­room, but at the time of writ­ing the review, it is not on the com­pa­ny’s web­site.

For macro photography

The min­i­mum focal length of this lens is 30cm, which is not too close for a 24mm wide, and the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion is only 0.1x — it is not suit­able for macro pho­tog­ra­phy.

Image quality Viltrox AF 35mm f/1.8 Z

Pho­to: photorumors.com

Unlike the 24mm and 85mm, which pre­vi­ous­ly had coun­ter­parts for oth­er sys­tems (Sony FE), the 35mm f/1.8 is a com­plete­ly new lens designed specif­i­cal­ly for the Nikon Z.


Cen­ter sharp­ness is good even at f/1.8. But close down to f/2.8 and you get a mas­sive increase in detail and con­trast. Cov­er­ing up to f / 4 to increase sharp­ness does not make much sense.

As with the 24mm, cor­ners wide open are soft. At f/2.8 they become sharp­er, but at f/4 the sharp­ness is excel­lent.

As with all three glass­es, good cen­tral sharp­ness and soft frame edges. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong


The lens has a fair­ly “calm” smooth bokeh with­out sharp tran­si­tions. A lit­tle “cat’s eye” (when round balls take the form of lentils) at the edges of the pic­ture does not real­ly spoil the pic­ture. At the same time, even when the diaphragm is closed, the cups retain their round shape.

The 35mm has a very pleas­ant bokeh with­out unnec­es­sary arti­facts. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong


On an open aper­ture, lat­er­al chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tions are, of course, present, but they are not par­tic­u­lar­ly strong. With lon­gi­tu­di­nal aber­ra­tions, which are expressed in the form of green and pur­ple fring­ing in defo­cused areas, the sit­u­a­tion is about the same — they are there, but they do not spoil the pic­ture.

Glare, glare and solar stars

Like the wider lens in our review, flare is very well con­trolled on the 35mm f/1.8 even when shoot­ing with the sun in the frame (although the 24mm is slight­ly more effec­tive in this regard). At the same time, dur­ing night shoot­ing, when there is a bright light source at the edge of the frame, a small flare is vis­i­ble even with the lens hood installed.

As for the “sun stars”, they appear at about f/8, but even at f/16 they are not too sharp, and are unlike­ly to inter­est you.

Comatic aberrations

At an open aper­ture, coma aber­ra­tions are pro­nounced enough to get rid of the effect, it will be nec­es­sary to stop the aper­ture down to f / 4.

Distortion and vignetting

The dis­tor­tion on this glass is very weak and does not cause prob­lems. At the same time, the pro­file for auto-cor­rec­tion is already avail­able on the Vil­trox web­site.

But vignetting wide open and up to f / 5.6 is very notice­able. And this is prob­a­bly the biggest weak­ness of this mod­el.

For macro photography

The min­i­mum focus­ing dis­tance of this glass is 40 cm, and the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 0.1x is again not the best option for macro pho­tog­ra­phy. Although at the same time, when work­ing at the min­i­mum focus­ing dis­tance, it is quite sharp, so some­times small objects can also be shot on it.

Image quality Viltrox AF 85mm f/1.8 Z

Pho­to: photobyrichard.com

Sharpness and aberrations

At f/1.8, the cen­tral sharp­ness is already quite good, but the lens achieves the best results at f/4. Although chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tion in the form of pur­ple fring­ing will be quite notice­able.

At the edges of the frame, as you might expect, the pic­ture is quite soft up to f/5.6.

Vio­let fring­ing in the cen­ter of the frame at f / 1.8 is vis­i­ble even from afar. The prob­lem is fixed if you close the aper­ture a lit­tle. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong


And this is a par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant point for por­trai­ture, more impor­tant than for the pre­vi­ous two glass­es.

Wide open, 85mm f/1.8 pro­duces very soft creamy bokeh. The bowls them­selves are with­out a hint of “onion rings” (con­cen­tric cir­cles inside the balls), along the edges there is a small, but not crim­i­nal, “cat’s eye” effect. The only thing that can alert is a slight trim­ming of the bokeh shape.

If you stop down to f/2.8, there are few­er cropped bokehs, but they lose their round shape, becom­ing a bit polyg­o­nal. But, in gen­er­al, this option will come down for most sit­u­a­tions.

Some of the box­es look like they’ve been cropped, but oth­er­wise the pic­ture is very good. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong


A slight vignetting can be seen wide open, which almost dis­ap­pears at f/2.8. So the mod­el is very good in this regard.


But in terms of dis­tor­tion, things are worse. The lens has pin­cush­ion dis­tor­tion (when the pic­ture seems to “swell” a lit­tle in the cen­ter). Of course, it is small, but for an 85mm por­trait lens, one would expect less pro­nounced dis­tor­tion. For­tu­nate­ly, an auto-cor­rec­tion pro­file for pho­to edi­tors is avail­able on the com­pa­ny’s web­site.

Glare and highlights

As in pre­vi­ous mod­els, Vil­trox AF 35 / 1.8 Z has no prob­lems with glare and flare. Of course, if you shoot with the sun in the frame at an open aper­ture, small glare appears. But they almost com­plete­ly dis­ap­pear at f / 2.8, and con­trast improves at a cov­ered aper­ture.

For macro photography

Anoth­er lens you prob­a­bly don’t want to use for macro pho­tog­ra­phy is that it has a min­i­mum focus­ing dis­tance of 80cm and a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 0.1x. Accu­rate detail­ing of small objects will be quite dif­fi­cult to obtain.


As in the case of APS‑C lens­es for Nikon mir­ror­less cam­eras, Vil­trox turned out to be good qual­i­ty lens­es.

All three mod­els have an excel­lent met­al body, full elec­tron­ic sup­port for Nikon cam­eras, but, most impor­tant­ly, reli­able and fast aut­o­fo­cus at the lev­el of native glass­es. The 85mm does­n’t have an aper­ture ring, which may not be very con­ve­nient, although sim­i­lar native lens­es don’t have one either.

As for the pic­ture, despite slight vari­a­tions, all three mod­els are still very good.

The Vil­trox AF 24mm f/1.8 deliv­ers high image qual­i­ty. There are obvi­ous prob­lems with dis­tor­tion and vignetting, but we hope that the com­pa­ny will soon release a pro­file for auto­mat­ic cor­rec­tion. Com­pared to the native 20mm f/1.8, the Vil­trox holds up quite well.

Vil­trox AF 35mm f/1.8 is much cheap­er than its native coun­ter­part, and, of course, falls short in terms of optics. At the same time, the mod­el copes well with glare, but vignetting is very notice­able. For bud­get glass, which also sup­ports aut­o­fo­cus at the lev­el of Nikon glass­es, every­thing is quite good.

The Vil­trox AF 85mm f/1.8 also falls short of the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 in terms of optics, but this lens is gen­er­al­ly hard to com­pete with. And here again we must not for­get about the huge dif­fer­ence in price. The only pro­nounced prob­lem with Vil­trox is, per­haps, dis­tor­tion. Well, for video shoot­ing, “focus breath­ing” can inter­fere a lit­tle. Oth­er­wise, this is a very wor­thy por­trai­ture.

The whole trio is an excel­lent bud­get option for aut­o­fo­cus lens­es for Nikon Z mir­ror­less users.

* in prepar­ing the arti­cle, mate­ri­als from the Youtube chan­nel Richard Wong were used.