Shadows created by the setting sun on my living-room wall. Viltrox 85mm f1.8 @f1.8, 51,200 ISO. The framed etching is a tracing I did many years ago. I take photos because I cannot sketch.
In This Post
- New Viltrox Prime Lenses With Auto Focus For APS-C Sensors Part 2
- Maybe More Third-party AF X Mount Lenses
- Getting What You Pay For
- A Very Rough Guide to Understanding a Lens MTF Chart
- Viltrox Lens Firmware UpdateLightroom and Photoshop Lens Correction Profiles
- Fujifilm Releases Firmware Updates for Seven Fujinon Lenses
- There is a first time for everything
- COVID 19 Update – Getting out with our cameras
New Viltrox Prime Lenses With Auto Focus For APS-C Sensors Part 2
Do you remember the blog post I did back in December 2019? To begin with, it was announcing the new Viltrox APS-C lenses with autofocus with a Fujifilm X mount, Canon EOS EF-M and Sony E mount? If you missed it here is the link.
Well, as a result of this post a new lens has arrived but not the one I originally planned to buy. In the first place, my original intention was to buy the then yet to be released 23mm f1.4 lens. In mid-May, the lens had been produced and was on sale across the world. You will recall the original release date for this product was January 2020. However, I was about to place an order for the 23mm with Onestop-digital.com when I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks.
The Reasons Why
The reason for my interest in the Viltrox range of lenses is the fast lenses with AF capability at a very reasonable price. Therefore, if I bought the 23mm without a part-exchange of an existing lens all I was doing was making life more difficult for myself. Moreover, difficult in the sense that more lenses will mean a greater number to choose from and heavier to carry of course.
A friend and client of mine accused me of being a GAS head a few years ago. GAS stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Additionally, another meaning in Bristol of a GAS head is a Bristol Rovers football team supporter. As a matter of fact, their ground was next to a gasometer in Eastville. How’s that for knowledge from a body whose only ever been to one football match in his entire life nearly 50 years ago? With this in mind, I say “bleedin’ football, again” when it comes on TV.
The last of the evening sun back-lighting two acoustic guitars. Viltrox 85mm f1.8 @f1.8 51,200 ISO, 1/30s. The exposure value has been chosen for mood and atmosphere rather than accuracy or mimicry of the scene.
A Change of Tack
To get back to the subject, at the last minute, I decided to part-exchange my Samyang 85mm f1.4 manual focus lens and replace it with the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 autofocus lens. The Viltrox 85mm f1.8 has been around for a year or two but until last autumn I was not aware Viltrox existed as a lens manufacturer. The difference in the maximum aperture was minimal consequentially I was not concerned about the depth of field. I sold the Samyang lens to MPB in excellent condition (in all honesty, it had little real use outside of my home) for £115 cash.
Maybe More Third-party AF X Mount Lenses
The new Viltrox 85mm f1.8 cost just £277 as a comparison to the Fujifilm 90mm f2.0 costing £759. Not to mention, in April 2020 Fujifilm announced on fujirumours.com Tokina as the official partner for third-party lenses. However, the Tokina lenses look very similar to the Viltrox range in terms of specifications and looks. The Viltrox and Tokina ranges are a 23mm, 33mm and 56mm, all f1.4 lenses.
Therefore, the Tokina offering could be rebadged Viltrox lenses maybe? Tokina claims to have no commercial agreement with Viltrox, but how do two near-identical lenses go in production? Maybe, the answer could be the research and development of both lenses was carried out by a third-party designer. Then the designer offers a manufacturing licence where Tokina and Viltrox have the right to rebrand the external appearance. I did wonder if the mystery designer was Zeiss as they make an 85mm f1.8 Batis full-frame lens. The answer is probably no because it sells for £1200, more than four times the cost of the Viltrox lens. There may be a small chance the specifications are slightly different!
Additionally, Sigma and Tamron have shown an interest in an agreement with Fujifilm to start production of X mount lenses. In any case, it will be a while before we see alternative lenses on website pages. At the moment, it’s difficult for me to get a sense of a comparable price for a similar lens. This is because it is not always easy to identify APS-C lenses in these product ranges.
Getting What You Pay For
I am generally a believer in the statement you get what you pay for. Therefore, I do not expect or desire technical brilliance from this budget price lens. As a result of this. for me, 99% of the pictures from this lens will be taken at f1.8, an aperture where it provides a slight softness at the edges and vignetting. However, the Viltrox website claims the Viltrox 85mm has better controlled vignetting than the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 (£539) and the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 APD (£948). See the MTF Charts for the Viltrox and Fujinon lenses below.
Below – The Viltrox range of Fujifilm X mount lenses
A Very Rough Guide to Understanding a Lens MTF Chart
MTF stands for Modulation Transfer Function (but I am not sure what that is!) and is a measure of lens resolution and contrast.
In general, higher values up to 1.0 and the flatter the lines across the chart, the better. Higher values of the 10 lines/mm indicate better contrast. Resolution is measured by the 30 lines/mm. Additionally, flatter values from left to right indicates the optical performance at the edge of the image compared to the centre.
These two MTF charts are not measuring in the same way. The Fujinon chart is based on measurement at 15 lines/mm & 45 lines/mm whereas the Viltrox one is the more normal measurement of 10 lines/mm & 30 lines/mm. However, you get the feeling the Fujinon lens at f2.0 (the bottom right chart) has a more pronounced falloff of resolution towards the edge of the lens.
For those interested in this sort of thing, no lens produced will have a perfect MTF chart. On the other hand, vignetting and edge softness will disappear by closing the aperture down to the sweet-spot of the lens, around f5.6.
As usual, I have to say I am not in any way knowledgeable about the measurement of a lens’s technical performance. As a final point, should you wish to find out more about MTF Charts without getting over technical or complex a good place to start maybe https://shuttermuse.com/how-to-read-mtf-chart/
In all honesty, the auto focus speed and accuracy are perfectly adequate for my purposes.
Viltrox Lens Firmware Update
Out of curiosity, I thought I would check the version of the firmware the lens had been shipped with. The Viltrox lenses are the USB plug-in type, in contrast, to the Fujinon’s. I downloaded the latest Firmware just-in-case I need to install it. Then I plugged the lens into the PC. In short, the lens was not recognised by Windows 10. Great, what to do now?
A free top tip
Not all USB leads are created equal. Just because the USB lead charges or transfers data with one product don’t automatically assume it will work with every other product. Spooky but true in my experience.
I tried another USB lead between the lens and the PC and hey-presto the lens was recognised. Consequently, I could see a text file saying the current firmware is version 1.3. Actually, this is the latest version according to the Viltrox website.
Lightroom and Photoshop Lens Correction Profiles
The Viltrox Downloads webpage also helpfully provides the Photoshop and Lightroom lens correction profiles for their lenses. Again, just out of curiosity, I thought I would try and load the profile for the 85mm lens. Indeed, I had no reason to doubt the lenses ability to do what it said on the tin. Just out of idle curiosity I thought to myself, how difficult can it be?
How not to add a lens correction profile in Lightroom
I downloaded and unpacked the compressed 85mm f1.8.lcp file. Why it was compressed I will never know as it was tiny even after decompression.
Question – Where is the folder with all the other lens correction profiles?
Answer on a PC – This Computer/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Lightroom Classic/Resources/Lens Profiles/1.0
I thought all I needed to do was create a new folder called Viltrox and copy the downloaded .lcp file into it and then restart Lightroom.
Did that work? In a word, no. Neither the folder nor the profile was recognised.
If all else fails, search, not Google obviously, as they have the table manners of a hungry crocodile. However, I use a more ethnically balanced search engine called SwissCows.com. Consequently, after a trip around the Adobe Support website and a few other places did I find a workable answer?
In a word, no.
Help Needed, Please
Therefore, if you have managed to successfully add a lens correction profile into Lightroom please let me know how you managed it.
Here is the Adobe list of all lenses supported by Lightroom and Camera-Raw
A wet and windy Scotland 2005
Fujifilm Releases Firmware Updates for Seven Fujinon Lenses
See the list of XF lenses with a fix of minor bugs here.
Don’t forget, make sure your computer does not have any old lens firmware updates in its Download memory. In fact, Fujifilm uses exactly the same file name for every version of a body or lens update. Therefore, for example, a firmware update for the 80mm lens, the latest version file will be downloaded and your computer will add (1) to differentiate the latest file name e.g.XF0015.DAT(1).
Additionally, your camera or lens will not recognise a firmware update file with (1) in the file name.
On a PC to find any old firmware update files, open File Explorer > click Downloads > In the Search box on the top right-hand side type in *.DAT (Star Dot DAT) This will find any file with a DAT Extension. Next, delete them.
There is a first time for everything
In my 18 years of digital photography, I have never had a problem with any memory card. I did reformat a card once before Importing the pictures but that was user error on my part, not a card issue.
Yesterday, I updated the firmware in two of my zoom lenses. The firmware update was quick and easy with no problems until I put the Lexar 32Mb card back in the X-H1. This was a different card to the one used to update the firmware. The Lexar card I have been using for a couple of years was not recognised.
The offending card was tried in a couple of other Fujifilm bodies with the same result. Actually, I then wondered if the card was visible to the PC which it was.
As I could not reformat the card in a camera because it was not recognised, therefore I reformatted it with the PC. However, after the reformatting, the card was still not visible to a camera but was to the PC.
Additionally, the downloadable Lexar Recovery Tool for Windows software would have an alternative way to reformat the card
COVID 19 Update
To enable me to start running one-day workshops again there needs to a number of things in place. Firstly, cafes and toilets need to be reopened. Government guidance says hospitality will open on 4 July at the earliest. A relaxing of the 2-metre rule to 1 metre would also be most helpful. This is also currently under review. Therefore watch this space.
Additionally, I understand the needs of my client base, as there may be some reticence to attend workshops for high-risk groups or those with underlying conditions. To this end, I am prepared to reschedule workshops later in the year to allow as many as possible to feel comfortable in this situation. If, there is a workshop you would like to attend but feel it would be better for you later in the year please contact me.
Going forward with residential workshops in Snowdonia, North Devon and Yorkshire is subject to hotels reopening their businesses.
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