Disassembly – Viltrox 56mm F1.4 AF lens (Fuji X mount)

This article is a short unboxing/disassembly review of newest Viltrox 56mm F1.4 autofocus lens in Fujifilm X mount.

Viltrox 56mm F1.4 lens is the first one I intentionally purchased out of curiosity – to explore how it’s built inside. My Viltrox 85mm F1.8 mark I lens was provided by Viltrox for free for the review purpose. But their 56mm F1.4 lens sample I directly ordered from the Viltrox store (non affiliated link) to get a random production sample. Of course Viltrox offered me a nice discount coupon on this purchase when got informed that I’ll write a review article. And again, I’m going to write about my personal impressions as a hobby photographer. It’s exiting to see that Chinese manufacturers keep producing new interesting and affordable lens alternatives, and the quality of that production is growing.

Unboxing Viltrox 56mm F1.4 lens

Lens box has lots of details, and separate sticker indicating camera mount.

There are two securing stickers indicating that box is sealed on Viltrox factory.

Lens comes with a warranty card, manual, and nice protective pouch. I like to see the Quality Control micro-certificate there which means lens was tested after assembly.

Hood is attached in storage mode. It’s made of plastic connecting frame and metal body.

Viltrox front cap is very well made and easy to disassemble without any tools for cleaning. All you need is slightly pull locking pins and extract lens cap button. Lens hood is also easy to disassemble by unscrewing three bolts.

You may expect that I put lens on camera and start taking test shots. But no, I’m very curious about the aperture ring mechanics, so trying it first. As I read from other reviews, the ring is rotating without clicks, though it is big surprise for me to realize that there are actually two aperture clicks at Auto and F16 positions – that is very interesting!

So I’m going to look inside, and try it on camera later : ) BTW, it’s a good habit to check the lens contacts surface – traces on my Viltrox 56mm F1.4 lens sample indicate that lens was mounted on test camera on Viltrox factory, and properly tested. So I’m expecting to see good performance after I assemble it and try on Fujifilm X-T30.

Lens disassembly

I’ve unscrewed three black bolts and extracted inner metal ring, then unscrewed four silver bolts from the mount ring. It’s interesting to see that Viltrox engineers are using more expensive torx bolts on the mount ring.

Next step is to accurately release lens contacts, and elevate mount ring. Pay attention to the micro-USB connector and don’t stress it.

Mount ring is machined with very high precision and level of details. It’s heavy and looks like is made of brass then nickel or chrome plated.

There are no any calibrating shims or metal cylinders under mount of my lens sample, so it will be easy to assemble mount precisely back.

I’m unscrewing three black bolts holding the frame ring with “X-mount” sign. Then removing it.

What a surprise! Viltrox are using dust sealing felt strap – very nice! There is also electrical conductivity pad attached, pay attention to it while assembling lens back.

Lens electronics mainboard is blocking aperture ring, so I have to disassemble it further by unscrewing three black bolts holding the rear lens module (made of metal).

Though first have a closer look at the aperture ring stops.

Opposing to that area, aperture ring has protruding holders for a sliding plastic part with aperture contacts.

I’m removing the rear lens module.

Now I have access to the glass surface of inner moving focusing module, in case it ever needs cleaning. My lens sample is very clean there.

Then I’m unscrewing two black bolts holding the mainboard and slightly elevating it (I don’t like to disconnect ribbon cables if not really needed). Then I’m removing the aperture ring. Look – it also has felt strip.

And here is the area I’m mostly interested about. It’s very easy to mark location and add extra grooves for additional aperture clicks. I’ll probably do that mod in nearest future, because personally I like to have aperture clicks. It’s great that Viltrox lens already have few clicks and loaded ball for that, so modification will be very easy.

Here is the look at Viltrox 56mm F1.4 aperture contacts – they are moving on a two electrical lines. It’s the first time I see such implementation. Traditionally lens manufacturers (e.g. Nikon, Canon, Fuji) are using multiple-contacts board. But looks like here are only two contacts which are forming different electrical resistance, which is indicating aperture ring position – that is very smart design.

From the other side I can see mounted autofocusing drive and some flexible electrical cable near it. Pay attention to the ribbon cable area marked with red arrow when putting aperture ring back, it should be attached to the inner cylinder (looks like by adhesive tape).

And here’s the look at large metal ball of aperture click mechanics.

At this point I’m assembling everything back to try it on Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujifilm X-E2s cameras tomorrow. Hopefully the wildfire smoke goes away soon and I’ll be able to go for a photo walk with this interesting Viltrox 56mm F1.4 lens.

Mounted on Fuji X-T30 after re-assembly this lens performs great and is producing sharp and contrast shots – exactly what I saw in other review articles. I’ll share my personal experience regarding the AF speed and accuracy and also IQ in a separate article.

Disassembly conclusions

Personally I’m very impressed about engineering solutions and quite high precision and attention to details Viltrox put into this 56mm F1.4 lens. Obviously they tried to make high quality product, and invested into durable materials, like brass mount ring, and all metal outer lens shell. The inner frame is made of plastic to keep the weight lower (like it is done in high end Fujinon XF lens, e.g. Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 I also disassembled before). I like to see that aperture marks are engraved and painted. Most screws have sharp thread due to plastic frame, so it’s important to accurately screw them in and also using precision screwdrivers of high quality, because unscrewing them first time requires significant effort. I like to see extra materials for dust protection on moving parts, it seems the focus ring should be also well sealed.

It’s a mystery for me why Viltrox made aperture ring clickless, but at the same time completly implemented two very nice click-stop positions at Auto and F16. Though it’s a very good thing to have in lens, because adding extra click-stops is very easy – you just need some time and metal file to add them : )

Generally, I think it’s a very good mechanical design and lens should serve well. I like how it’s built and that it’s relatively easy to disassemble rear area for cleaning and aperture ring modification. Time will show how my expectations fit the reality : )

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