Nikon 85mm f/1.4

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Buy_Sell, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Buy_Sell

    Buy_Sell Guest

    I'm contemplating the purchase of the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 I'd like to
    hear from anyone who has this lens and how do they like it? I already
    have the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8, Any thoughts?...
    Buy_Sell, Jan 20, 2008
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  2. What do you plan on using it for?
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jan 20, 2008
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  3. Buy_Sell

    Buy_Sell Guest

    Taking pictures... ;-)

    Buy_Sell, Jan 20, 2008
  4. Buy_Sell

    Frank Arthur Guest

    In that case it is a poor choice of lenses:-

    Frank Arthur, Jan 20, 2008
  5. If you don't know more about it than than, don't bother.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jan 20, 2008
  6. Buy_Sell

    Jim Nason Guest

    I don';t have it, but it has been on my wish list for years...
    Jim Nason, Jan 20, 2008
  7. Buy_Sell

    Paul Furman Guest

    It's not as useful as I thought. On a cropped frame it's awfully long
    and the DOF so shallow that it's very hard to use wide open. For a full
    body portrait, this will let you blur out the background but any closer
    & the razor thin DOF is a problem. Maybe I shouldn't insist on using it
    wide open. I thought it would be good for low light/night work but the
    focal length means you need too long a shutter speed to hand hold.
    Another option you might consider is a 135mm f/2 which is a seriously
    interesting long FL, enough to get 'compressed perspective' and a more
    useful range of background OOF usability. The old 135 is a big heavy
    klunky piece of metal, not very sharp wide open, especially close up but
    for the soft portrait look it's really interesting and is cheap. The new
    AF version is a DC (Defocus Control) lens with adjustment for the
    foreground versus background OOF softness and it does better in tests
    for the same price:

    Paul Furman, Jan 20, 2008
  8. [...]

    I think you are basing this on a "beater" sample...
    My AIS (non-AF version) 135mm is exceptionally sharp center to corner
    at f2 at distances beyond maybe 12', below which it gradually softens
    more as the closest focus distances are approached at the widest stops.
    If it is tested at f2 at 5', it will look terrible; if it is tested at 50',
    it will look
    very good even at f2; if it is tested at infinity, it will look wonderful at
    Lenses, particularly specialized ones, often have compromises in their
    designs, but can give excellent results if these are understood and
    --David Ruether
    David Ruether, Jan 20, 2008
  9. Buy_Sell

    Paul Furman Guest

    That may be, or just my unreasonable expectations since I'm not really
    happy with a new 85/1.4 either :)

    Anyways the 135 DC looks to be really excellent: sharper than the 85,
    less CA, relatively close focusing, special attention to the out of
    focus areas (useful even stopped down some) and a more interesting focal
    length although it is expensive.
    Paul Furman, Jan 20, 2008
  10. Buy_Sell

    Buy_Sell Guest

    Thanks for the information, Paul. This is very useful. I've wanted
    the 85 f/1.4 for several years but don't really know why? I could
    very easily just go out and purchase it but I would like to know more
    about the lens before spending any more money. My 80-200 f/2.8 is
    doing a fine job but somehow the 85 f/1.4 is still on my mind.
    Buy_Sell, Jan 21, 2008
  11. If your 80-200mm f/2.8 is an AF ED, with the tripod
    collar and separate zoom and focus rings, it is a
    *fantastic* lense. It can be used wide open and at the
    ends of the zoom range. Which of course means it is a
    great 85mm f/2.8 lense, sharp and with pleasant bokeh.

    What the 85mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.4 lenses give you are
    progressively even tighter Depth of Field, and perhaps
    increasingly better bokeh (going from great to simply

    If you shoot a lot of posed portraits, where you take
    the time to compose virtually every detail, and may well
    want to have effects such as the nearest eye being sharp
    while the more distant one is noticably out of focus on
    a 3/4 side view, then the 85mm f/1.4 can do that for

    The 85mm f/1.8 is not far behind in DOF or in the
    quality of the bokeh, but costs significantly less.

    But if most of your portraits are spontanious, not
    posed, then the 85mm lenses do not offer much.

    Frankly, if you just want to "take pictures", don't
    spend money on 85mm fixed focal length lenses. Assuming
    you have a DX format camera, the most useful adjunct for
    the 80-200mm is the Nikkor DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jan 21, 2008
  12. Buy_Sell

    Buy_Sell Guest

    Thanks for the advice Floyd, the 80-200 f/2.8 is a nice lens. I'm
    using the 35-70 f/2.8 for closer work. I've had my eye on the 17-35
    for the scenic shots.
    Buy_Sell, Jan 21, 2008
  13. Buy_Sell

    Randy Howard Guest

    The 17-35 is a drop dead wonderful wide angle for 35mm like an F5.
    It's lukewarm on a digital without a full-frame sensor. Sigh.

    It's not going to be nearly as wide as you think. Look at the other
    wide angle specifically for the digital bodies now, the 12-24.
    Randy Howard, Jan 21, 2008
  14. Buy_Sell

    Tony Polson Guest

    It is a remarkably good lens in the right hands. It can be difficult
    to use - there is very little depth of field wide open. It is a big
    lens, with a large front element which can be intimidating.

    But it is optically superb, with excellent sharpness and, unusually
    for a Nikon lens, beautifully smooth bokeh. It is actually a better
    lens than the Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, albeit by a small margin.
    Tony Polson, Jan 21, 2008
  15. Buy_Sell

    Roy Smith Guest

    How does a lens get good (or bad) bokeh? Is it just the number of blades
    in the aperture? No, it's got to be more than that, because if it was that
    simple, it would not be a challenge to design. Is it magic bokeh dust?
    Roy Smith, Jan 21, 2008
  16. Buy_Sell

    Tony Polson Guest

    It is all do with giving the lens a certain degree of spherical
    aberration. Not enough to significantly affect sharpness, but enough
    to give a natural-looking and pleasing rendition of out of focus
    elements of the shot, especially highlights.
    Tony Polson, Jan 21, 2008
  17. Buy_Sell

    Buy_Sell Guest

    Buy_Sell, Jan 21, 2008
  18. Buy_Sell

    Tony Polson Guest

    That is no test for the bokeh of the lens. The lawn has no highlights
    and is completely defocused. So you simply cannot tell whether the
    bokeh is smooth or harsh.

    Nice defocusing, and a nice shot. But it is no indication of bokeh.

    In fact the 80-200mm f/2.8 Nikkor has reasonably good bokeh for a zoom
    lens, and especially for a Nikkor. But you could never tell that from
    this image.
    Tony Polson, Jan 21, 2008
  19. Just get it! You won't be sorry.

    Rita Berkowitz, Jan 21, 2008
  20. The 85/1.4 Nikkor is a must have lens whether you are a Nikon or Canon
    shooter. The lens is beyond amazing, it's that good. I use it a lot on my
    D3 and it never ceases to amaze me at how well it works. Here's a shot with
    it on my old 1D Mk III.

    Rita Berkowitz, Jan 21, 2008
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