Budget Friendly and Impressive: We Review the Viltrox 20mm f/2.8 E Mount Lens

Budget Friendly and Impressive: We Review the Viltrox 20mm f/2.8 E Mount Lens

If you’re all about capturing those sweeping landscapes or immersive cityscapes, the Viltrox 20mm f/2.8 lens might just be your new best friend. Available in both E and Z mounts, this surprisingly inexpensive lens quietly snuck under the radar for a lot of people last year. Perhaps because of the price point at only $158, many didn’t consider it, thinking low price, low quality.

However, this lens is surprisingly good for the price and a lens that might just be worth considering if you are looking for a wide angle prime.

Build Quality

The Viltrox AF 20mm f/2.8 feels surprisingly solid in your hands; it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy despite its lightweight design. Constructed from high-quality plastic materials, the focus ring has a nice tactile feel to it, not too loose, yet dampened enough for precise focusing. The lens hood and lens cap are made from the same high-quality plastic as the body, and the lens hood locks in place quickly, something I’m really glad that Viltrox has now sorted, as I hated fighting with the 85mm lens hood.

The lens comprises 10 elements in 8 groups, has a seven-blade diaphragm, and an internal STM autofocus which keeps the lens very compact at only 80mm, including the lens hood. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 19 cm, an aperture range of f/2.8 - f/16, and filter thread size of 52mm. The lens weighs a mere 152 g, and when attached to the Sony a7R V, keeps the whole form factor small and light.


When it comes to capturing wide angle shots, this lens didn’t disappoint. The 20mm focal length gives you that perfect balance between capturing a wide field of view and maintaining sharpness and detail. Whether I was shooting landscapes or architecture, the lens returned crisp images with vibrant colors and great contrast.

I opted for the review not to focus stack so that I could see where this inexpensive lens couldn’t deliver, and it was only towards the corners that yes, the lens did get soft. To be honest, I was expecting this at the price, but not so much as to dissuade me from using the lens. Continuing to use the lens for wider vistas with closer foreground elements, I will, of course, be focus stacking.

The autofocus was fast and accurate and very rarely missed. Most of the time, it was due to user error of being closer than the minimum distance. So far, I haven’t used it for any video, but I don’t think there will be a problem due to the silent autofocus motor. The lens doesn’t contain any image stabilization, but at this price, I wouldn’t expect it to.

Although not required for the scene, I opted to pano-stitch a couple of images just to see if the lens could complete this proficiently, and it proved to have no issues in doing this. Both of the images below are a sequence of 5 images stitched together.

As I shoot a lot of woodland photography, this seemed the best place to test out the sharpness of the lens. It could be a keeper if it could handle this without stacking and provide me with the detail I was seeking. I was aware that it wouldn't be as sharp as the top-end range of lenses but it was worth testing it out. Admittedly, again, I was surprised by what it returned in overall sharpness.


  • Its compact and lightweight design makes it perfect for travel and everyday shooting.
  • Returns sharp images
  • Although plastic, it has a solid build quality.
  • Fast and accurate autofocus performance.
  • Wide f/2.8 aperture allows for excellent low-light performance.
  • Budget-friendly price point considering other wide angle lenses on the market.


  • Corner sharpness. It’s not that bad considering the price point and improves when stopped down.
  • Lack of weather sealing may be a concern for some.


Admittedly, I’m a Viltrox fan and have used their lenses on several different bodies, and not once have I been disappointed. This lens is one of their cheapest lenses and a great option for photographers who want to expand their wide angle prime range without breaking the bank. Sure it won’t compete with the higher-end range of lenses or native lenses, but with its solid build quality, excellent performance, and budget-friendly price point, it’s a great addition to any camera bag.

Considering the price point of the lens, I don't think you would go wrong with throwing one in your camera bag. The sharpness falls off towards the corners, as you would expect, but not drastically enough to put you off. For $158, I am quite happy to stack images when needed using the lens, knowing that the returned images will be sharp edge-to-edge. I still can't get over the quality you get for the price, well done Viltrox. Available for both Sony E mount and Nikon Z mount, you can check out the lens here.

Gary McIntyre's picture

Gary McIntyre is a landscape photographer and digital artist based on the west coast of Scotland. As well as running photography workshops in the Glencoe region, providing online editing workshops, Gary also teaches photography and image editing at Ayrshire college.

Log in or register to post comments