New gear: Viltrox 13mm f/1.4 is a fast-aperture, AF-capable prime for X-mount
Half the price of Fujifilm's own fast-aperture wide-angle prime, the latest from Viltrox is sure to tempt some X-mount shooters.
If you’re a prime lens fan, the Fujifilm X-mount offers a wealth of choice with no less than 21 first-party options available, and dozens more from third-party manufacturers. If you’re a fan of shooting bright and wide, though, your options are a little more limited.
Until now, no manufacturer has offered an X-mount AF prime wider than 16mm with an aperture faster than f/2. That changes with the introduction of the new 13mm f/1.4 autofocus prime for X-mount by Viltrox, the lens brand of Shenzhen, China-based Jueying Technology.
Who’s it for?
Viltrox says its new optic is being targeted at portrait, landscape, architecture, and food photographers, as well as astrophotographers. Thanks to a design that’s both stills and video-friendly, it’s also marketing the lens for use by vloggers.
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 mix—which seems likely—Viltrox doesn’t mention them in its marketing materials. After accounting for the APS-C sensor crop factor of Fujifilm’s cameras, the lens has an effective focal length of 20mm.
By way of comparison, Fujifilm’s own XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR ($1000) has the same number of element groups, and one fewer element overall. Two of its elements are aspherical and two are extra-low dispersion elements.
The only other AF-capable, sub-16mm prime for X-mount is the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 AF lens ($500). This has 12 elements in 10 groups, including three extra-low dispersion elements, one aspheric and one hybrid aspheric.
Like the Fujifilm 16mm, the Viltrox AF 13mm f/1.4 has a nine-bladed aperture which should help ensure nicely-rounded bokeh even when moderately stopped-down. The Rokinon lens, meanwhile, opts for a simpler and less-round seven-bladed aperture. The Viltrox’s aperture can range from f/1.4 to f/16.
Like the Rokinon—but unlike the DC motor-based Fujifilm—the Viltrox is based around a stepping motor (STM). These motors tend to offer fast and quiet autofocus.
The lens has an internally-focusing design and delivers a focusing range from 8.7 inches (22cm) to infinity. Maximum magnification is 0.1x (1:10) at the closest focusing distance. And there’s good news for videographers, as Viltrox states that the lens has been designed to show only minimal focus breathing.
The Viltrox AF 13mm f/1.4 lens is just 3.5 inches (90mm) in length, 2.9 inches (74mm) in diameter, and weighs 14.8 ounces (420g). That’s almost the same diameter as the Fujifilm and Rokinon lenses, but a fair bit longer and much heavier. The Rokinon lens is the shortest (2.3 inches / 59mm) and lightest (7.5 ounces / 213g). The Fujifilm splits the difference with a length of 2.9 inches (73mm) and a weight of 13.2 ounces (375g).
Construction materials aren’t stated, but per a first look video from British photographer and YouTuber Damian Brown, the outer barrel makes generous use of plastic, likely to help keep weight to a minimum. The lens mount, however, is made from metal for durability.
Two control rings encircle the lens barrel, which is otherwise free of physical controls. Upfront is a generously-sized focus ring, while nearer the base of the lens is an aperture ring. The latter has a very strong click detent and includes an A position that cedes aperture control 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 lens hood is included in the product bundle, along with a fabric bag for storage.
Price 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.