85mm AF-S vs AF-D - Samples and Conclusion

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dmitry_kiyatkin, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Early adopter that I am I just got the new AF-S 85mm and since my AF-d does nor sell on EBay until Sunday, I gave them a quick test. Both on D700s. Same place, same time. Very rough, hand held comparison, just to make sure that the AF-S does not underperform too much.
    Here are the photos:
    Conclusion: No big surprises. They are very very similar. Maybe a touch less CA on the AF-S one. I got less pics sharp with the new one, but this is likely my own error. Other than the price difference, it seems AF-S will work out OK. New hood is nice but the whole lens is larger and a bit harder to hold. Focusing is quiet and manual override is nice.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you are looking for tiny differences between two lenses that are both very good, I would at least shoot from a tripod.
  3. Don't own a tripod, Shun. Just wanted to make sure the new one wasn't a dud or if it made crappy pics look wonderful :) It's neither of those and that is fine with me.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What, you own both AF versoins of the 85mm/f1.4 AF but not a tripod? That should be considered a crime and you should be kicked out of photo.net. :)
  5. Yes, get ye to a photo shoppe and procure for ye-self a tripod!
    Thanks for the tests.
  6. Thanks! By the way, what about the AF performance, I believe the AF-S should help a lot?
    I am glad the IQ is good so I have a reason the let myself to grab a used AF-D version!
  7. the AF-D pics look very nice, can't really tell the diff between that and the AF-S.
  8. The AFS images look slightly brighter.
    That would be a good reason to upgrade -> for a brighter future :)
    Seriously - does the AFS offer any advantages over AFD in focus precision wide open or in AF speed?
    That would be the only reason I can see right now to prefer the newer lens (besides the obvious possibility for manual override AF).
  9. In my experience, the 85mm f/1.4D autofocuses very accurately on my current FX cameras, but when photographing a person who wears glasses, autofocus easily picks up the glass frames or reflections in the glass, instead of the eye, leading to front focus; easy manual fine-tune can be useful in this very common situation. Also, the sound from the focusing system can sometimes be a distraction if you let the lens search over the whole distance range. I can imagine myself upgrading in 3-4 years once the price has lowered, but a 35mm f/1.4 AF-S (which I hope will come soon) is a much higher priority for me than the 85 - the older 85/1.4D version is already excellent. The 35/2D while it is good stopped down, leaves much to be desired at f/2. Why Nikon doesn't put priority on lenses that do need updating is a mystery. I suppose the 85/1.4 is very popular and since only minor changes were made the investment must not have been too great.
  10. Why Nikon doesn't put priority on lenses that do need updating is a mystery​
    Several reasons i guess :
    - Adding HSM requires often a change in design, and if you've got a very very good lens, it will be hard to design a new one with the same or better qualities..
    - I something is veryt popular, and you (Nikon) sell a lot of it, the risk of selling less of its replacement is obvious, unless the new version is realy much better.
    - In th 85mm case I think the price for the old one is at the edge for the non-pro, the new one ( i think) its price is over the edge... ( just my feel to it..).
    - "If it ain't broken, do'nt try to fix it.."
    If a product is a low seller, because it is already a expensive "Pro" product, it is a big risk to put lots of R&D money into it for a new version. This in turn makes the new version even more expensive and hens sell even less .....
    I'd say : pick the reason you like best.. ;-)
  11. All I get from OP's post is that he is proud of owning his AF-S but there is really not much difference between the two.
    A waste of money, perhaps?
  12. All I get from OP's post is that he is proud of owning his AF-S but there is really not much difference between the two.
    A waste of money, perhaps?​
    I got this from the OP'd post: the CA appears to be less (although CA can easily be fixed in post), the hood is bayonet mount, you get instant easy manual focus override, faster AF, and it's fatter. Waste of money? For someone who shoots landscapes and architectural from a tripod, probably so. For others, maybe. Wedding shooters should really like it. Nikon is terribly proud of it, though.
    BTW, I think the dog really liked being photographed.
  13. Easy guys, just sharing some photos with anew lens. AF-D is on the way out for me. The hood, manual override is worth it for me. Wish the new lenses did not loose the aperture ring, but oh well. Best regards, D
  14. Nikon dropped the ball by not including VR in this lens. Without VR, why would one want to buy it over the AF D version, which in 6 months will sell for half the cost of the AF S version?
  15. I have always failed to see the point of including VR in a potential 85/1.4G and that remains true today.

    Thom Hogan has continually rambled on about the lack of VR in the 24-70, which is an equally big mystery to me.
    Then again, I've never owned a lens with VR and none of the few lenses on my wish list are VR-equipped. It's more than a gimmick, but unless you're using a long lens, it just doesn't seem like something worth the time or investment (particularly from Nikon's point of view).
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Joseph Wisniewski recently gave an explanation why VR is not possible on the 85mm/f1.4: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00X3Xi
    (Whether you agree with Wisniewski's reasoning is another matter.)
    I think Thom Hogan has gone way overboard on pointing out what he thinks Nikon is doing wrong; Nikon's marketing is one of Thom's favorite punching bags, and the lack of VR on the 24-70mm/f2.8 and now 85mm/f1.4 is another.
    To me, VR on these short teles are rather unnecessary. When I shoot indoors, I rarely use anything slower than 1/30 sec due to subject movement concerns, and I can hand hold a 85mm lens at 1/30 sec typically without serious issues. If anything, subject movement @ 1/30 sec is the bigger concern. It is the longer lenses such as the 70-200mm and up that really need VR.
    VR adds more elements to the optical design and will slightly affect the quality of the optics. When you are demanding enough to get a 85mm/f1.4, you should care about that tiny bit of difference. Canon's 85mm/f1.2 and 24-70mm/f2.8 also have no image stabilization.
    As I have been saying for a few years, I am/was waiting for the AF-S version of the 85mm/f1.4 because it is much easier to override the focus manually. The new nano costing will also help.
  17. Very little wrong with the AF-D in my experience. Well-made, optically excellent, always seems to focus pretty fast and accurate to me.
    IF this new one was a fair bit better at f1.4, or if the focussing was in a different league, and it didn't do anything less well than the D version then I'd be tempted, but I get the feeling that won't be the case.
    Look forward to more tests and will try to get them side by side myself if I can.
  18. "I have always failed to see the point of including VR in a potential 85/1.4G and that remains true today."
    You must not be a portraitist who shoots in natural light using film rated ASA 25 to ASA 64.
  19. I use nothing but natural light 99% of the time and shoot as much at ISO 6,400-12,000 as I do at ISO 800 (which is probably on the low end of where I'm usually at). If there's anyone who would theoretically benefit from VR that isn't also a long lens user, it's me, yet I have absolutely no desire for it.
    I steady lenses the traditional way, which is by raising the shutter speed to a fast enough level to eliminate any unsteadiness.
    I wouldn't categorize myself as just a portrait shooter, but I would say that I use almost nothing but natural light and I photograph people almost exclusively.
    VR is for other people.
  20. Andre, for me at least, if I'm doing portraits of anything other than sitters then I'd like the shutter speed to be at least 1/125th anyway to stop subject movement, whihc would be enough to stop camera shake theoretically anyway.
    We should have a poll I think - who'd want VR on the 85 and who wouldn't!
    Josh and me are 2 votes for no so far!
  21. I would like to see an 85 with VR.
    IMHO, it's a simple cost-benefit analysis: The only significant, non-$$$ cost to me would be a slight reduction in IQ. However, most of the time, I'm shooting my 85/1.4 AFD nearly wide open. The inherently modest IQ and tiny DOF when nearly wide open would almost certainly mask any slight additional loss of IQ due to the extra VR lens elements.
    OTOH, the benefit is potentially large, ie, all shots in which the subject is moving slowly.
    Just my $0.02,
    Tom M
  22. Here is a hands on review, if anyone is interested -- http://cliffmautner.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/08/the-new-nikkor-85mm-14g-wnano-crystal-coat-first-weddings-shot-with-this-lens.html

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