85 mm prime lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by marco_landini, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Hi guys.
    I need a 85mm prime lens. The Nikon af 85 1.4 is out of my budget, so my choice will be only among Nikon af 85 1.8 ; Samyang 85 1.4 ; Rokinon 85 1.4. I need the f1.4 aperture only very few times, just for some portraits in which I would achieve e very very short deph of field. I think the f1.8 aperture will be ok enough, so my question is about the image quality from 1.8 onward.
    Which one of these 3 primes do you suggest me ? Thank you, Marco.
  2. While I don't mind manual focus, my choice would be easily the AF-S 85mm f/1.8G. It's (in my view anyway) at least as good optically, and given the choice to have both AF and MF, or only MF, I rather have AF as well. All in all, the Nikon is a nicer allround choice and priced completely right.
    By the way, the Rokinon and Samyang are the exact same thing, only the brand label is different.
  3. agree...the 85 1.8g is a great lens...
  4. +1 Wouter. I have a 85mm 1.4D I'm going to be trading in soon for a 85mm 1.8G, I don't need the extra fraction of light and I'd like it to AF on my D5100.
    Marco, which body will you be using it on? Some users think 85mm is a bit too long on DX for portraiture and use a 50mm instead (FOV of 75mm).
  5. If you like manual focus that Samyang (Rokinon) lens sure is a good value, but as the others said the 1.8G is a heck of a lens and it's AF. Sharp across the frame, good contrast, nice bokeh. Manually focusing an 85mm at f/1.4 in real world use isn't very practical anyway. My pick would be the 1.8G.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The 85mm/f1.8 AF-S is an excellent lens and a bargain: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/lenses/85mm-f1.8-g-af-s/review/
    In fact, most of us have difficulty telling images captured with the 1.4 and 1.8 versions apart: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/lenses/85mm-f1.8-g-af-s/review/
    I know that I do.
  7. And don't forget Sigma's very well regarded 85/1.4 HSM - their fast primes are serious contenders for the price (and will AF on AF-S only bodies). Three hundred more than Nikon's 85/1.8 G, and twice that much less than Nikon's 85/1.4 G.
  8. As I don't care about the possibility to set aperture by camera ring ( actually I'm old school and I prefere to operate by aperture ring on the lens) , do you suggest me af 85 1.8 (d) , or the g version (no aperture ring) ? I'm only concerned in image quality here.
  9. Marco, are you using film, FX or DX? If DX, does it AF with non-AF-S lenses?
    IQ wise, I'm pretty sure the 1.8G is sharper than the older 1.8D version...at like for like settings. Better lens coatings do no harm working against the light too.
  10. I bought the Samyang. At the time, the options were:

    > Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4G: Sharp, strong LoCA, horrendously expensive.
    Sigma 85mm f/1.4: Not as sharp as the AF-S, moderately expensive.
    Nikon AF-D 85mm f/1.4: Very soft wide open, especially in the corners; good bokeh, moderately expensive.
    Nikon AF-D 85mm f/1.8: Very sharp, very ugly bokeh, vaguely affordable. Only f/1.8.
    Samyang 85mm f/1.4: Comparable (maybe better) with the Sigma for sharpness, good bokeh, managable LoCA, cheap. Manual focus.

    I decided I could live with manual focus (though I'm not going to deny that it's inconvenient), and I wanted something that was good at losing the background, so it was the best price/performance option. The f/1.8 AF-D was out for me because ugly bokeh isn't something I want in a fast lens, and the f/1.4 AF-D was out because it mushed the corners at the faster apertures. (Some people like the soft effect for putting focus on the subject; I don't - and if I did, I'd add it in post.) The Sigma and especially the AF-S just weren't worth the money to me for their optical performance.

    Since I got it, the f/1.8G AF-S came out. That lens retains the extreme sharpness, but now has decent bokeh. Just for the convenience, I'd go with that these days over the Samyang if I were buying a new short portrait lens. I've not felt the need to replace my Samyang, though. I'd only go with the f/1.8 AF-D if I didn't care about bokeh (e.g. you want the aperture for night shooting instead of subject separation) or if I wanted a mechanical aperture for compatibility or time lapse shooting. I'd go for the Samyang if I wanted a small amount of aperture and didn't mind a small drop in sharpness (the Samyang is very good, but the f/1.8 AF-S is close to the record for sharpness at its aperture), and was really sure I didn't need autofocus - it's possibly a better astronomy lens, for example.

    I believe DxO did a recent comparison. (If they didn't, it was Lensrentals.)
  11. I own a Samyang 85mm f/1.4, and it's got to be the best value f/1.4 lens going. It has great IQ from f/1.4 onwards - however its closest focus ain't that close. The marked 1 metre nearest focus would be great if it wasn't an IF design that lost focal length as you focused closer. In fact the focal length appears to diminish to something like 70mm at closest focus. A head and shoulders just about fills the frame, but a tight head shot isn't possible without using a CU lens or extension tube.
    BTW, going up to a 105mm lens of more modest aperture will get you a shallow depth-of-field without the need for such a wide aperture. D-o-F is much more dependent on focal length than it is on aperture. The easily found, reasonably-priced and excellent quality Ai-S 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor gives approximately the same shallow D-o-F wide open as an f/1.8 85mm lens. The Ai-S f/1.8 105mm Nikkor is even better, and both lenses focus down to 1 metre using unit focusing (i.e. no loss of focal length).
  12. do you suggest me af 85 1.8 (d) , or the g version (no aperture ring) ? I'm only concerned in image quality here.​
    No contest, the G-version, especially at wide apertures. How ugly the bokeh of the AF-D f/1.8 lens is, is debatable (I do not find it *that* bad), but the f/1.8G is just plain better. My AF-D 85 f/1.8 is sharp from ~f/2.5 on, below that not really. The new lens looks loads better in that respect.
    On FX, I prefer the 105 f/2.5 by a lot (and won't replace my 85 f/1.8D with a better lens) - it's half the price of the 85mm lenses discussed here, and well.... better. Simply an outstanding portrait lens in my view.
  13. Take the 1.8G over the 1.8D. No contest, the G is better. Also, unless you care about shooting at f/1.4 I wouldn't go for the Sigma when the 1.8G is available for less money.
    As for these manual lenses, what kind of camera is it? If you have an FX camera, then you have the ability to use the meter with manual focus lenses without electronics, and if you like using manual focus the 105mm f/2.5 is worth a look. On the other hand, if you have a camera that doesn't have metering with manual focus lenses and you do decide to go with the Samyang, you need to make sure you're getting the newer version that has electronics because the older one won't work with your meter.
  14. I still have my original Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF rear focus that I bought about 1990 with my N90. It's now on my D7100 and
    killer sharp and has been a total workhorse. I know some poo-poo the "bokeh" but honestly in real world use I have never
    had an issue. I'm sure the G, which is based off that is at least better in the contrast and bokeh.
  15. 85/1.8g - my favourite lens on D800
  16. Get the D. Aperture ring, as good as coatings, great AF (if your body has the screwdriver motor), easily resold if need be, low cost used from the big three (Adorama, B&H, KEH), no questions asked returns policy.
    Bokeh is fine but you will find that you will be at 2.8 or more in real life us.
  17. i own the sigma 85/1.4 (sharp enough, especially at 1.6-2.8), but if i was in your shoes i'd get the nikon 85/1.8 G. for the money you can't beat it. the samyang/rokinon's are good if you can live with MF, but that's not me.
  18. Bokeh is fine but you will find that you will be at 2.8 or more in real life us.​
    Francisco, how on earth do you know that? (And, if you did want an f/2.8 lens, you may as well pay the same for the 90mm Tamron macro and get a macro lens out of it for free!)

    I tend to buy fast lenses because I want to use them at wide apertures, especially since Marco already says he wants a shallow depth of field. I assume he means that, rather than just wanting to lose the background (otherwise we could certainly talk about the merits of longer, slower lenses). I do want to lose the background, which means that distracting bokeh is not my friend - hence avoiding the AF-D f/1.8 (which is, otherwise, a fine lens by all accounts). I suggest Marco looks at the reviews on, say, Photozone, and sees whether the bokeh bothers him; if not, as you say, he could save some money. But the more I'm reminded of these results, the more I wonder if I should supplement my Samyang with an f/1.8 AF-S myself... (Must...not...spend...money....)
  19. Note that in Europe, the D costs more new than the G. I believe the OP is in Italy, and I did look up prices for Italy, the difference is around ~€50 in favour of the newer lens. European stores do not tend to take back everything just because you find out afterwards to have bought the wrong product, so one cannot blindly assume a "no questions asked return policy".
  20. Like Matt and others I want to mention the Sigma; I have never owned it but have used it. Reviews are stellar.
  21. Would you consider an 85mm f/1.4 AIS? It's manual focus but so what? I have used one for years and it is a superb lens from the word go.
    They can be had on Fleabay for about $600 depending on the condition.
  22. If you're considering manual focus, I'd strongly suggest the Samyang/Rokinon. Optical design has moved on. (But if you like the look of the Nikkor, I'm not going to tell you it's a bad choice! They were, however, sold at a premium because some people preferred them to the AF-D, so don't expect a bargain.)

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