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.
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.