Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f/1.8 ASPH (Sony FE) - Test Report / Review - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Sample Images

Due to the bushfire situation near Sydney, the outdoor conditions were less than ideal during the time of the field session. If you are wondering about the color rendition of the outdoor images, this isn't because of the lens but due to the smokey haze at the time.

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed640
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/40s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed400
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/125s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed200
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/400s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed200
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/500s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed200
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/50s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed200
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/800s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed400
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/125s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed400
Focal Length
Aperture:f/
Exposure1/20s

Competition

The 20mm segment is fairly crowded although interestingly, Sony doesn't seem to take interest (as of the time of this review). There are 3ish other lenses that are competing with the Viltrox 20mm f/1.8 (shown to the left below). The one with the most comparable specs is the Tokina 20mm f/2 which is available both with AF and without (shown below in the center). The Tokina has a slight edge in performance but then it's substantially more expensive. The Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM ART (to the right) is faster still and of comparable quality. However, it's a monstrosity of a lens on Sony cameras also thanks to its DSLR heritage. Generally, we don't recommend these merely adapted Sigma lenses due to their size - as you may notice below. Another contender is the new Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD (not shown). It is actually a little more affordable than the Viltrox but obviously substantially slower. If you don't need the speed, it may be the better choice though (we have yet to test this one).

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f/1.8 ASPH enters a rather crowded space but it has a couple of differentiators that set it apart from the rest of the gang. There is, of course, the fast maximum aperture of f/1.8. The image quality is perfectly fine in the image center whereas the borders are quite soft. This may or may not be important depending on the target application. If you are into shallow depth-of-field photography, this isn't really an issue for instance whereas for astro photography this isn't ideal. If you stop down, the quality improves quite a bit and it's really good at medium aperture settings. Lateral CAs are low and you don't have to worry about image distortions either. The vignetting is on the high side though. The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is pretty good for a lens in this class.
The build quality is excellent thanks to a tightly assembled, all-metal-construction. The price you have to pay for the solid body is the high weight and it isn't a small lens either. Weather-sealing is not provided but that's no surprise at this price point. If you are into videos, you will love the dampened control rings and yes, it has a step-less aperture ring - but no stepped mode. On the downside, it's a fully manual lens with no coupling so if you can't live without AF, a camera-controlled aperture and EXIF data, this lens is not for you. The Viltrox lens comes with two different lens hoods - one that is optimized for the job and a 2nd one that accepts conventional, albeit large filters (82mm). It's a smart approach to have the choice without having to rely on aftermarket solutions. The quality of the lens cap could be better though.
Another differentiator is, of course, the price. At just under 400USD/EUR, it is not only very affordable, but it is also almost a steal considering the large aperture.

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

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