85mm f1.8 AF-S Vs 85mm f1.8D

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by elliot|1, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. I just received my 85mm f1.8 AF-S lens today and did some quick comparison shots between it and my older 85mm f1.8D.
    Some quick observations:
    The AF-S version is noticeably larger (overall diameter) than the D and is also a bit lighter in weight. Length wise (with sun shade) they are about the same.
    AF speed is good but not lighting fast. It is typical of consumer AF-S lenses.
    IQ is a bit better overall. It is perhaps a bit sharper and has a bit less CA than the D version but it is still not perfect.
    The AF-S version gives a slightly narrower FOV.
    Background blur is very much improved.
    Below are some crops from a test shot I did.
  2. Crop from AF-S lens:
  3. Side-by-side comparison:
  4. The improved background blur is similar to the difference I saw between the 50/1.8 D and G versions. Try them in bright light and see if the new one does better at flare control as well - that's something I never realized was a problem with the D lens until I compared it to the G and saw the "glow" and a bit of veiling.
  5. jeepers...not that much difference in terms of bokeh. was hoping for something better. possibly you would get better results shooting as one might normally, i.e. with a more prominent foreground object and greater separation between that and background. on the plus side, there is slightly less CA.
  6. Thanks for posting that. I can see significant improvements in the comparison.
  7. Good man Elliot, this is the first comparison I have seen. Are you pleased you got it? What camera are you using for this?
  8. not that much difference in terms of bokeh​
    you are kidding, right? I was afraid of seeing results like the ones shown above - enough difference to make me want to trade up from my D-lens.
    What camera are you using for this?​
    EXIF says: D3
  9. yeah, concentrate on your subject instead of what's OOF, it might actually helps. That said, the G does look better:)
  10. New lens also appears to have better contrast and color saturation. That's expected as newer lens coatings can have major impact on that sort of thing.
    Kent in SD
  11. Thanks for the comparison. I have currently looking at buying an 85mm and I am glad to share this with us.
    The bokeh of the new lens is greatly improved.
    Are both lenses using the same number of diaphragm blades? It would be interested to show shots with the lenses stopped down a couple of spots to compare how the bokeh would be. Would the new lens have rounder highlight circles or would it display octagonal shapes?
  12. you are kidding, right? I was afraid of seeing results like the ones shown above - enough difference to make me want to trade up from my D-lens.​
    eh. if you're going to trade up for bokeh, trade up to an 85/1.4.
  13. Compared to the 1.4AFD, at half the price, this version is very attractive. It`s two thirds of a stop slower, but $500+ cheaper. At a first sight, performance looks to be similar.
    How does it feel, construction wise? Similar to the 50AFS lenses, maybe?
  14. eh. if you're going to trade up for bokeh, trade up to an 85/1.4.​
    Willing to lay out $200 for some bokeh improvement - but not an additional $1500; a man's got to know his limitations.
    Are both lenses using the same number of diaphragm blades?​
    Nope, 9 for the D and 7 for the G - according to the specs on Nikon USA website.
  15. I agree with Dieter. I love a good lens and the small upgrade cost is worth it for improved IQ and AF-S focusing but had the lens been priced higher, I probably would not have bought it.
    Yes, I did shoot with the D3, sorry for not listing that. I did use a tripod and kept the same position, only changing the lens. I was going to shoot with the D7000 but wanted to test corner sharpness at this point.
    Build quality appears very good. Jose, you are correct, it is very similar in design as the 50mm AF-S but is a lot heavier and bigger. I don't think anyone will be disappointed. I like the large sun shade - it will offer extra protection to the lens and keep unwanted light out.
    Below is a comparison (for size) of the 50mm G, 85mm D and 85mm AF-S. The lens is about 1/2" longer (without the sun shade) than the D version.
  16. I found the harshest background I could late yesterday and took this quick snap. For the money, the new lens does a really nice job!
  17. Elliot that photo works better because you have more distance between subject and background. just saying.
    Willing to lay out $200 for some bokeh improvement - but not an additional $1500; a man's got to know his limitations.​
    @Dieter: me too. that's why i got the sigma 85/1.4. wouldnt trade that and $500 for the 85/1.8 AF-S.
  18. Eric, I was just testing to see if some of the background harshness that many complain about with the D version was improved. It appears to be, significantly. You will have to get your hands on one and do a comparison to your Sigma!!!!
    Here is another background crop.
  19. Looks like a vast improvement - thanks for the examples. Do I regret buying an f/1.4 Samyang now (which I did mostly because the bokeh on the AF-D f/1.8 was terrible, the sharpness on the AF-D f/1.4 wasn't very good, and the AF-S f/1.4 was too expensive)? A little. The new lens might creep onto my "to buy if I ever think I have money" list, although the impending D800 is currently rather dominating that.
  20. bms


    Thanks! Pretty nice. Almost makes me regret having laid out all that money for the AF-S 1.4.... anyone compare the two new AF-S versions?
  21. I have the D version and love it but my only problem is the "purple fringing" Can anyone who has the G version tell me if this has been improved?
  22. Regarding purple fringing, It appears to be a bit improved but it is not gone. I will be using the lens extensively this weekend and will follow at the end of the weekend.
  23. Great Elliott! Please post more reviews. I'm sure I'm not the only D version owner here that is contemplating of switching to the G version. Also, you or somebody else did mention the AF is faster and IQ is better? I shoot tons of indoor sports and if those two areas are improved then I'm switching. Thanks!
  24. It's a pretty nice size, Elliot can you take some pictures with a less busy backgrounds also, I am about to get this lens so it would be very helpful, I made the mistake of holding the 105 the other day in the camera shop, what a beautiful lens that is and I am torn between the two.
  25. Richard, AF speed is about the same at typical consumer AF-S lens. I would rate it about the same as Nikon's 50mm f1.4. IQ is perhaps improved a bit, although I found my 'D' lens quite sharp. Background blur is improved a lot. As I mentioned, I will be using the lens a lot over the weekend (indoor hockey primarily) and will add to this thread then.
    Simon, what kind of shots are you looking for?
  26. "I was just testing to see if some of the background harshness that many complain about with the D version was improved. It appears to be, significantly. "​
    i would agree its less harsh and easier to work with. just wouldn't call that a 'bokeh lens.' what you're seeing is slightly less terrible bokeh with the 85/1.8 AF-S--not excellent or above average by any means, just better thant he 50/1.8 (which is icky). the tamron 28-75@75 and the nikon 24-70 and 70-200 II at almost any length blow that away. so does the sigma 50/1.4 or any 85/1.4 (nikon, sigma, samyang).
    not trying to belabor the point since some folks are interested in this, and i do thank you for posting, Elliot, as i was a smidgen curious about this. but consumer-grade AF-S+ marginally-improved bokeh+better flare resistance wont make me regret buying the sigma. However, if i had the 85/1.8 AF-D and was on a budget, i would swap it out for the AF-S in a heartbeat.
  27. Looks like an excellent improvement over the 85/1.8D.
  28. so where are all the adverts for the 85/1.8 d ?
  29. Simon, what kind of shots are you looking for?
    Something with more of an even simple background Elliot I just want to see how it renders, no pressure though.
  30. Elliot, thanks for the review and the thread! Any comment on the way the hood connects to the lens? I haven't used the new 50/1.8 G but my old 35/1.8 DX G lens had a worthless hood due to the looseness of the connection when on the lens.
  31. I'll stay with my 85 f/1.8D. My $500 is better spent on the SB-700 or SB-910.
  32. Tony, the hood locks in nicely. The hood on my 28-300mm is so loose that I have put tape on it to keep it from falling off. Quite annoying!
    More to follow later this weekend.
  33. I bought a third party lens hood for my 16-85mm it's driving me nuts, keeps slacking off.
  34. Used the lens a bit more today (indoors, testing). I have found that the lens is front focusing severely on my D3, so much so that +20 correction does not fix the issue. Works perfect without correction on my D7000 though. Not sure what to do about this...
    In any case, below are some crops from some test shots. CA is still an issue with the new lens. All 4 shots were at f1.8 with bounce flash.
    IQ on the D3 is about the same or perhaps a little improved with the new AF-S lens. Colors and contrast are improved. Where I see the most improvement is on the D7000. Images with the D version look slightly OOF. I re-shot numerous times just to confirm I wasn't making an error. Optics are obviously improved and the D7000 is able to take advantage of the better glass. If you have a D7000, I highly recommend the AF-S lens.
  35. These are from the D7000
  36. You can clearly see the improved color and detail with the D7000/AF-S combo but the CA is horrible. The D3 image with the AF-S lens is manually focused. Differences in sharpness are easy to see with the D7000 and are harder to see on the D3 comparison shots but you should be able to see them.
    My conclusion based on numerous sets of comparison shots I have done for myself - the AF-S version offers improved IQ over the D version.
    NOTE: The CA shown here is emphasized with these images for some reason. It is not quite as bad with the majority of shots I have taken but it is there nonetheless.
    Another Note: Even with DXO correction, I was not able to improve the sharpness of the D version up to the level of the AF-S lens (to my pleasant surprise). Again, colors are improved with the AF-S version.
    THE TWO SETS OF IMAGES ABOVE are unprocessed from the RAW shots I took, opened in CS5 without modification.
  37. the AF-S version offers improved IQ over the D version.​
    yeah, well, it's supposed to right? a lot of that improvement looks like better coatings for more flare resistance, would be curious to know how much the optical formula changed.however, it's not enough of an improvement as one would have perhaps hoped, even without the FF front focus problem Elliot describes. interestingly, my sigma 85/1.4 had perfect focus out the box on my D3s.
  38. CA sample after processing.
    The AF-S version is not free from CA, obviously. But it does clean up nicely during post. Here is a processed shot (with DXO) - this is the D7000 image.
  39. dup post delete
  40. Processed image here
    DXO did a pretty good (but not perfect) job on the CA. Again, this is the exception rather than the rule. A box is not the best subject for an 85mm lens. There are obviously certain conditions (mix of lighting/subject) that can cause extensive CA wide open. Most of the outdoor shots I have taken are free or almost free of CA, and certainly not to the extent of these examples - these are perhaps the worst of the worst.
  41. Eric, what is most interesting with the FF issue is that the lens works 100% perfect on my D7000. So the problem is obvious with my D3 and not the lens. What is even more interesting is that my 85mm D needs +15 correction but also functions perfectly on my D7000. All of my other lenses (about 10) work perfectly on my D3 without correction. This is so strange.
    I will post some outdoor sample shots later today.
  42. With regard to CA, the 85mm lens can be very tricky sometimes. Kent has posted a sample that shows dramatic CA with the D version he had. My sample above is also an extreme example. I wanted to assure you that most of my shots have no or minimal CA. And it is easy to correct anyway. And, if you stop down a bit, most of it disappears (although I prefer and choose to use this lens wide open almost 100% of the time for obvious reasons).
    Here is one more sample from the initial test shots I took showing what would by typical CA.
  43. Extreme crop (full frame above).
  44. Eric stated: "70-200 II at almost any length blow that away" I am not quite sure that is true. In any case, a fair comparison of any lens is when you compare it to a known good sample. Posting an individual shot without a point of reference really doesn't illustrate much (IMHO). So I took 3 with identical test shots. Here are some samples to compare between the 85mm D, 85mm G and 70-200mm at f2.8. Which is best? You will have to decide for yourself. I know which one I like best. I think the answer is obvious. Is this as good as Nikon's f1.4 or Sigma's f1.4 lens. Someone with those lenses will have to post similar test shots as I have neither.
  45. Same shot with the new AF-S Lens.
  46. and the 70-200mm II lens.
  47. All three images were shot with the D3 on a tripod. All were shot RAW and opened without any processing in CS5.
  48. Crop of top right corner.
  49. Crop of top right corner.
  50. 70-200mm II top right corner crop
  51. My conclusion: this lens delivers sharper, more contrasty images with better bokeh than the D version. Is it worth the probably $200 upgrade cost? I would say yes if you use the lens regularly. Is it worth the additional cost if you are considering a new D lens or the AF-S. Absolutely!
  52. I might pick up a D model sometime if I ever see a used one at an attractive price. Smaller size sounds good to me.
  53. Elliot, thanks and a good conclusion, I think.
    I'll stick to my AF-D, which does not see a load of use (since I tend to prefer the 105 f/2.5 most of the time) - but the new lens sure is quite tempting! It is really nice to see how well Nikon is executing on these f/1.8 primes. While the (new) f/1.4's all look great, they sure have a price-tag to match... at least these new primes are giving a lot of value for money for those of us with a more moderate budget.
    Now... fingers crossed for a 24mm :)
  54. Thanks for examples Elliot.
  55. Thanks for all the examples. I really like the G lenses bokeh. I wonder how it would compare to my ancient 85 f1.4 D?
  56. Elliot, i appreciate all the time you put into posting samples. and i like your eagle shot, which does show super-low CA. the new 85 AF-S does look like its an improvement over the AF-D. however, that comparison is only useful to someone who's considering (or owns) either lens.
    i'm going to stick by my comments about 85/1.4's, 50/1.4's and 70-200's having better bokeh across the board than both versions of the 85/1.8 (as well as both versions of the 50/1.8). we both know a crafty photographer can easily rig a test to hide deficiencies in OOF rendering, which is what we see in your comparison shot--which illustrates that by having a far enough away background, one can eliminate nervous bokeh in certain lenses but also de-emphasize bokeh in others which would be more pleasant if the backgrounds were composed differently, i.e. closer.
    What that shot does show, IMO, is how minimal the difference really is between AF-S and D versions of the 85/1.8 (it may really come down to improved flare resistance), as well as the fact it i s possible to eke mediocre/average bokeh out of the 70-200II if you try hard enough. it also shows, IMO, how much sharper the 70-200 is wide open, in the corners, than either of the 85's.
    again, thanks for posting.
  57. hey Elliot, i have a question: did you only shoot the 85/1.8 AF-S at 1.8? looking at the photozone samples, it looks like smoothest results are actually at f/4... from those shots it looks like a pretty sharp lens overall, not super jittery bokeh but not outstanding either. main thing seems to be less CA (and AF-S motor for DX users).
  58. Yes, I only shot at f1.8 for the test shots. As I virtually always shoot at f1.8 with my 85mm D lens, I was only curious to see how well the new lens performed wide open.
    For the last test shots posted, I stepped outside my front door, setup a tripod in front of the car that was closest to me and took one shot with each lens. As most of my initial shots were of backgrounds that were not too far away so I chose a distant background for the finals test shots. I was curious to see how the 70-200mm would perform as I almost exclusively use that lens for indoor sports and indoor events and have never compared it to any other lenses. I did not compare corner sharpness as that is typically a non-issue for what I shoot.
    I suspect that all reviewers of this lens will come up with the same conclusions I did.
    I am sure someone will soon compare the new lens to the Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-S/D versions and the Sigma f1.4. I look forward to seeing those.
  59. A bit late here, I wonder if you are still there, Elliot.
    I`m reading in photozone.de, about the new 85/1.8AFS:
    "The rubberized focus ring is nicely damped and operates smoothly. We're glad to report that the focus unit follows the focus ring immediately and without any delay, even when changing the focus direction."
    Does it mean that the usual focus ring bit-loose play, where there is a little "image jump" when changing the direction of the focus ring is non-existant in this new lens? Could you confirm this issue? Thanks.
  60. Hi Jose. I am not sure exactly what they mean by loose play. Neither my D lens or the AF-S has any loose play in my opinion. The AF-S version is just like any other AF-S lens. It is definitely much smoother than the D version. The focus adjusts much more slowly with the AF-S vs the D which is an improvement as it allows for more precise focus.
  61. the photozone review makes this lens seem like a total sleeper. but photozone sometimes err toward lab in their reviews, as opposed to field. hmm?
  62. Elliot, I`m sorry I`m not able to to explain it correctly in english... my excuses.
    Some AF lenses (AFS included, but specially the cheapest ones) are somewhat difficult to focus manually because the image at the screen experience a little "jump" or "pop", just when turning the focus ring left and right to achieve the finest focusing; it is due to the impreciseness or excessive play in the helicoids.
    It doesn`t happen to older MF lenses which have tighter tolerances.
    Some of my most used lenses are difficult to focus manually for this reason (24AFD, 50AFD, 24-85AFS... ) It`s pretty awkward.
    I think my holy trinity zooms doesn`t experience this malfunction. Didn´t checked it on the 24-120/4.
    I think the photozone.de paragraph above refers to this issue, but I`m not sure.
  63. Jose, now I understand. I had to manually focus most of the shots on my D3 because of the front focus issue. The gearing is perfect for this type of lens and in my opinion, does not exhibit the issue you describe.
    I thought the Photozone review was quite favorable Eric. Please don't knock this lens until you try it and directly compare it to your Sigma. I have not used Sigma's 85mm f1.4 lens and while many confirm your favorable experience, not everyone does. Some are at the total opposite end of the spectrum.
    Some interesting comments I noticed in the review:
    "F-D 85/1.8, is well known..... purple fringing .... the lab tests did not indicate such a behaviour" The image above and below this paragraph both show significant fringing. At f4 much of it is gone. But I don't think anyone buys this lens to have an 85mm f4 lens.
    "pronounced vignetting wide open" I did not notice this. Below is a sample at f1.8. I would not consider this 'pronounced'.
    "bokeh quality, which is not right up there on the benchmark level set by 85mm f/1.4 lenses, but quite close" Very, very, very interesting. Post some samples! Along with samples from the Sigma f1.4.
    "The build quality is on a high level" I agree but not everyone does.
    "the photozone review makes this lens seem like a total sleeper" Eric, this one is for you... "...95% of the performance of an AF-S 85/1.4... Certainly highly recommended! " Hmmm.. Sleeper?
    Many reviews will probably be posted online in the coming days and weeks. I can't imagine anyone saying this lens is a sleeper. It is not. It is definitely a KEEPER! I stand by my original comments/conclusion.
    I have returned my lens as the shipping box was crushed in shipment and the Nikon box was damaged. The lens was unaffected. Based on my testing, I was pleased with the lens, especially the increased sharpness over the D version and I do plan on replacing it.
  64. Vignetting sample:
  65. Great. Thanks.
    About vignetting, I`d say it is clearly noticeable, as with many current lenses. Nothing odd these days. (Personally not a problem, as I like to "artificially" increase it in PP).
  66. Just did a search for reviews on this lens. There are already many. Here are a couple of interesting ones:
    " at f1.8 it is clear that the new AFS blows the older AFD out of the water." (referring to sharpness)
    "With the lens set to its maximum aperture, there is a bit of light fall-off in the extreme corners, but it won't really affect your real-world shots."
    "Nikon employed an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, which has resulted in nice bokeh in our view"
    I expect all reviews to be about the same - there really isn't much to complain about with this lens except perhaps its AF speed, which is very, very good, just not lighting fast.
  67. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My Nikon test sample lens arrived yesterday. Jose, are you familiar with the 50mm/f1.4 AF-S? The feel of the focusing ring on the new 85mm/f1.8 AF-S provides a very similar feel as the 50mm/f1.4 AF-S. It is quite smooth but still has a reasonable drag for manual focusing, and there is no "jump" when you change directions. It is not as good as my manual-focus 35mm/f1.4 AI-S for manual focusing, but it is very good. In comparison, the f1.8 version of the 50mm AF-S has a slightly rougher focusing ring.
    The 85mm/f1.8 AF-S is considerably larger than the 50mm AF-S. (The two 50mm AF-S, f1.8 and 1.4, are very similar in size externally, but the f1.4 has a much larger front element and is noticeably heavier.) Construction of all of those lenses are similar (also similar to the construction of the 60mm/f2.8 AF-S Macro, 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Macro, and 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S). They all have a plastic outer shell and for consumer lenses, their construction is very good but not at the same level as the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR 2 or 105mm/f2.8 AF-S VR Macro.
  68. Shun, looking forward to reading your review.
  69. Elliot said: "Many reviews will probably be posted online in the coming days and weeks. I can't imagine anyone saying this lens is a sleeper. It is not. It is definitely a KEEPER! I stand by my original comments/conclusion."

    I don't see any contradiction - the term sleeper here I read to mean a very good lens indeed (a keeper) that may not get the attention/headlines of its 'big brother', the 85/1.4, especially at first, but eventually gets a real following. (Something that eventually gets success after initially attracting not much attention...)
  70. No thanks I'll keep my "D" version. Love the nine bladed lenses anyway!
  71. For anyone reading this thread in the future and also confused about the term "sleeper," it's a good thing. It doesn't mean it puts you to sleep, it's a reference to "sleeper cars" in street racing/drag racing. It's a car that seems dull or even kind of crappy at first glace, but then has a ton of hidden power and easily beats expensive and flashy cars in performance.

    I know this is an old thread, but I am considering this lens and doing some research. I have an 80-200 2.8 AF-S, but I like small, fast lenses for indoor shots. My zoom is on its way out, I think (though I hope it's the brushes and not the motor), and I'm considering options. Of course, when the CX and mtb races are back on, I'll probably want the zoom. Ugh! Such choices!

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