Battle of the 135mm Portrait lenses for X-mount | The Fujinon 90mm vs Viltrox 85mm

Hi, back from my Part I detailed review of the released in March 2019 Viltrox 85mm f1.8 here to continue with a promised Part II where we compare the Fujinon XF90mm f2 and the Vitrox 85mm f1.8 lenses. 

Viltrox 85mm f1.8 

As expected, with the Viltrox coming in at lesser than half of the price of the Fujinon lens and with auto-focus capabilities, the former comes in as a competent contender worth considering. 

Instead of only pasting the spec list anyone can find into a table and calling it a day (the lazy way I’ve seen some reviewers go) I am going to be more practical and show the images from 2 lenses for you, the user to decide which is more appropriate for you.

Here is a quick recap will of a few specifications between the 2 lenses you might find useful to know. Please note that obviously, the full specification list is way longer than the one below.

Fujinon 90mm f2 Viltrox 85mm f1.8
105mm (L), 62mm filter size 92mm (L), 72mm filter size
540 grams (1.19 lbs) 629 grams (1.39 lbs)
Weather-resistant Not weather resistant
11 elements in 8 groups, 3 ED glass 10 elements in 7 groups, 1 ED glass
MFD of 0.6m MFD of 0.8m
Physical Aperture ring No Aperture Ring
Linear motor for focusing STM Focus motor
Aperture values from f2 to f16 Aperture values from f1.8 to f16
USD999 (Amazon US) USD399 (Amazon US)

All right, let us get to the test. 

1. All images shared were shot on the X-T3 and processed in LR with minimal edits. 
2. To ensure fairness, I was not paid for this review. All the lenses and camera used for the review belong to me.
3. As far as possible, I tried to go for the same settings. (I mean, it will be silly to compare two lenses one at f16 and one at f2) 

The top image will always be the sample from the XF90mm and bottom image the sample from the Viltrox 85mm and I will prefer to not make any conclusions (as I may be biased to my needs) and simply share some observations where appropriate. 

Fujinon XF90mm 

Viltrox 85mm

Both images when shot wide open for each lens produced pleasing out of focused areas, with the XF90mm rendering a warmer look over then Viltrox 85mm. For the average user, frankly, the Viltrox renders very well.

Now let us go closer to let us say, an uncommon 200% enlargement.

Here at the detailed level we can see the imaging quality of the XF90mm surpassing the Viltrox 85mm significantly, with the edges of the Liplay thumb drive coming in with quite a fair amount of chromatic aberration in the Viltrox 85mm.

In all fairness, it is not common that we edit our images at 200% level unless you are really doing paid work or very particular about image quality.

Fujinon XF90mm

Viltrox 85mm

Portrait side is something I guess most of us will do more often with this duo and both lenses perform very well, with interestingly the XF90 showing more details and tones (a more realistic rendition) than the Viltrox 85mm – which in this case can be a matter of personal preference since the 85mm has the tendency to produce ‘smoother’ skin as a result of its softer character. 

Fujinon XF90mm

Viltrox 85mm

After viewing a bunch of sample comparisons, a personal view is the XF90mm does indeed render a better out of focus quality over the Viltrox 85mm. 

Fujinon XF90mm

Viltrox 85mm 

Bokeh, so many of us yearn for it but yet it is deeply personal and subjective in its interpretation so I will just leave this here. One thing to note is the rendering of thumb drive is softer from the Viltrox 85mm vs the Fujinon 90mm. 

More samples. 

Fujinon XF90mm

Viltrox 85mm

Fujinon XF90mm

Here one can see the difference in the rendering of the details in the skin, with the XF90mm providing a more realistic true to life rendering while the 85mm makes for a more smoother rendering for the skin. 

Viltrox 85mm

Fujinon XF90mm

here in these 2 samples, it is quite evident that the XF90mm has a tendency to render warmer than the Viltrox 85mm. Plus the details in the eyes are markedly more clearly reproduced in the XF90mm over the Viltrox 85mm. 

Viltrox 85mm


It is indeed very much a what one gets is what one pays for comparing the Fujinon 90mm f2 and Viltrox 85mm f1.8, but an important point that I always urge my friends to consider is actually not the better or worse of things, rather, consider base on which is more appropriate for the level of one’s usage and budget. 

And in this sense even though the XF90 surpasses the Viltrox 85mm in image quality once we start picking at the minute details, it does not infer that the Viltrox 85mm is a lousy lens and to me personally, the Viltrox 85mm performs very well too, and what I surmise is now that we have options of a USD999 and USD399, both extremely competent lenses for the X-mount user to choose from at their distinct price points, whether you are the one who expects the best in imaging quality or you are the enthusiast user. 

So, which one will you get?


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