The Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 for Sony E Mount can become an f/1.6 lens with just a simple firmware update

Aug 7, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

The Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 for Sony E Mount can become an f/1.6 lens with just a simple firmware update

Aug 7, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 lens has started to become quite a popular lens choice for Sony E mount shooters due to its decent level of performance vs its fairly low $399 price tag (compared to the $600 Sony). It’s also available in Fuji X flavour, too. But can this lens go even faster than f/1.8? Yeah, apparently.

The video above by Stefan Malloch was actually posted back in April, but only just now seems to have gained any real traction, but it turns out you can update the Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 lens to f/1.6, giving you an extra third of a stop, rounder bokeh and a slightly (barely noticeable, really) shallower depth of field, with just a simple firmware update.

Stefan also posted a second video in addition to the above review showing exactly how to update the firmware in the Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 to turn the maximum aperture into f/1.6.

YouTube video

As PetaPixel notes, it’s unclear exactly where this firmware came from. The video claims that it was distributed by Viltrox to “a lot of its fans over in China” where the company is based, but Viltrox denies ever having released this firmware. So, exactly where it’s come from is anybody’s guess.

Looking at the images shot at the claimed f/1.6 vs f/1.8 in the videos above, it certainly seems to be opening those aperture blades a little wider, and it’s not uncommon for aperture blades to open up a bit wider than the claimed maximum aperture with some lenses. So, it certainly seems to be possible.

It’s unclear whether this firmware will work on the newer Mark II versions of this lens (although I doubt it, so I probably wouldn’t try it), but if you want to try updating your Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 lens, then the firmware and instructions are available for you to do so at your own risk, here.

[via PetaPixel]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “The Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 for Sony E Mount can become an f/1.6 lens with just a simple firmware update”

  1. David Anderson Avatar
    David Anderson

    This does not work on the new version II lens. The lens “reboots” when you copy the file to the folder, but it won’t install it.

    Here is the DeviceInformation.Txt file:
    DeviceInformation = VT8518FEM2
    HardwareVersion = v2.0
    BootloaderVersion = v2.8
    SoftwareVersion = v1.1.7
    SoftwareReleaseDate = 20200701113654