If you are a user of Nikon Z Mount APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras like the Nikon Z50 or Nikon Zfc, you have very few options in terms of native or third-party AF lenses specifically made for this sensor.
The native options are slower, walk-about lenses – “vacation lenses” as I call them – and they’re very nice. However, what if you want a shallow depth of field or need a fast aperture for low light?
Viltrox has you covered with their series of f/1.4 prime lenses, including this Viltrox Mirrorless Z-mount 33mm f/1.4 Auto Focus APS-C lens (50mm equivalent focal length).
Can this third-party manufacturer deliver a quality lens with the attributes we’d expect from Nikon glass?
I think you’re going to be surprised. Let’s dig in.
- Related: What are the best Nikon lenses?
Viltrox Mirrorless Z-mount 33mm f/1.4 Auto Focus APS-C Lens Specs
- Small size and weight
- Good build quality
- Smooth bokeh with 9 aperture blades
- Autofocuses like a native lens including eye AF
- Includes lens hood
- Can be used and is recognized by full-frame bodies
- USB-C port for firmware updates
- Great price
- No weather sealing
- Slight color fringing at wide open aperture
- Moderate amount of lens vignetting at f/1.4
- Focal Length: 33mm
- Minimum Aperture: f/1.4
- Maximum Aperture: f/16
- Lens Mount: Z-mount
- Format Compatibility: APS-C
- Angle of View: 46.8°
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.4m
- Maximum Magnification Ratio: 0.1x
- Lens Construction: 10 elements in 9 groups
- Diaphragm Blades: 9
- Autofocus: Yes
- Image Stabilization: No
- Filter Thread: 52mm
- Dimensions: 2.7 x 2.9″ / 68 x 73.2 mm
- Weight: 10.6 oz / 300 g
Build & Ergonomics
While this lens is light in weight, I feel the build quality is solid. It has an all-metal construction with a built-in USB-C port for firmware updates.
This Viltrox lens also includes a lens hood (sometimes left out for cost) and a lens pouch.
The lens balances nicely on the Nikon Zfc camera body. It also comes in a silver version to match that camera’s retro aesthetics.
It works perfectly fine on a full-frame camera (Nikon cameras automatically go into APS-C crop mode when mounted) like the Nikon Z9, although it looks odd mounted on such a large camera.
This Viltrox lens focuses fast, and its speed was quite a surprise to me. I didn’t think a third-party lens manufacturer would be able to compete with a native lens such as the Nikon 28mm f/2.8 and this one certainly did.
It gives a 50mm field of view on APS-C camera bodies so I took it out on this winter portrait session.
I attempted to slow down the autofocus system of the lens and body by shooting through a copper pipe for the blurry tunnel effect you see above. I shot in single point and also in eye AF with no issues.
If you’re at all concerned about this third-party AF lens not communicating with the Z camera bodies, have no fear. The fact that the lens behaved natively even when using eye AF tells me there are no issues.
Plus, Viltrox appears committed to issuing firmware updates via the built-in USB-C port should any problems arise.
With this Viltrox lens, you do get some color fringing when shooting wide open, but it’s nothing to be worried about.
I find the sharpness acceptable and for portraits, you may find the subtle softness (as compared to S-line lenses from Nikon) preferable.
I think this lens would give some nice character to street photos as well. It doesn’t have that modern, ultra-sharp look to it.
Seeing as this lens has the “normal” field of view of 50mm on APS-C bodies there really is no distortion to note.
Viltrox Mirrorless 33mm f/1.4 Sample Images
Here are some sample images taken with the Viltrox 33mm f/1.4 Auto Focus APS-C Lens, using a Nikon Zfc.
Alternatives to Viltrox 33mm f/1.4
The lens that’s closest to this focal length and also reasonably fast is the Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Z lens for full-frame bodies.
It will give you a 42mm equivalent focal length on an APS-C camera body, but you will lose light and bokeh with the slower aperture.
There are manual focus offerings like the Voigtlander D 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Z lens for APS-C sized sensor cameras, but nothing else currently that autofocuses.
The Viltrox AF 33mm f/1.4 is really the only standard 50mm equivalent prime lens with autofocus at the time of writing this review.
Value for Money
There is no question this lens is amazing value at a price of around US$280. It performs as a first-party lens would, offers very good image quality and is built solidly.
This makes it a no-brainer for Nikon Z mount mirrorless cameras such as the Z50 or Zfc.
Viltrox has been making these autofocus lenses for the Z mount for several years now with no interference from Nikon, so I think it’s a safe bet to purchase this lens with no worries of compatibility issues.
This is pure speculation, but this lens works so seamlessly (features such as eye AF and aperture ring communication) on Nikon cameras that I even wonder if Nikon has an agreement with them to manufacture these lenses.
Will the Viltrox 33mm f/1.4 lens work on Nikon APS-C cameras?
Yes, they are specifically made for crop sensor camera bodies.
Can I mount and use the Viltrox 33mm f/1.4 on a full-frame Nikon camera?
Yes, full-frame Nikon cameras recognize the lens and automatically set the camera to DX as the image area.
Does the eye AF of Nikon mirrorless cameras work with the Viltrox 33mm f/1.4 ?
Yes, eye AF works flawlessly with the Viltrox 33mm f/1.4.
Does the Viltrox 33mm’s aperture ring work on Nikon mirrorless camera bodies?
Yes, it works with no issues.
I’m a fan of fast prime lenses and I will definitely be picking up the Viltrox Mirrorless Z-mount 33mm f/1.4 for my Nikon Zfc camera and possibly some of their other offerings as well.
I was pleasantly surprised by the build and image quality of this lens.
This fast prime lens would be great for street photography, portrait photography as well as low-light events.
I find this lens to be a hidden gem that will give you pleasing results without breaking the bank.