Nikkor 85mm F/1.4d vs 85mm F/1.8d

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by carol_sahlfeld, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Hello,
    I'm new to the forum and am researching lenses for my D70. There is a
    huge price difference between the Nikkor 85mm F/1.4D and the 85mm
    F/1.8D. I'm just a weekend amateur, looking for nice shots, but not
    expecting to compete with the pros. Does anyone have an explanation on
    why the price difference is so high between the two? 1.4 vs 1.8
    doesn't seem to warrant this, but admittedly I am a newbie.
    Thanks for any input.
  2. The 85mm lens is a good choice. The f1.4 lens may have better out-of-focus highlights in the background at f1.4 than the f1.8 lens produces at f1.8. (85 x 1.5 = the actual focal length on your digital body,) so you may be happy with a AF 50mm f1.8D Nikkor lens for general shooting. It is even smaller and less costly than a AF 85mm Nikkor lens. Or a AF 28-105mm f3.5D~f4.5D Nikkor zoom lens might do as well for weekend shooting.

    Your money and your choice.
  3. The 1.4 is nearly a stop faster, that means instead of a photo at 1/60 the 1.4 will take it at about 1/100 (that's a rough guess), that could be the difference between getting and not getting the shot for a pro. There may be quality differences but it's most likely the extra speed you're paying for.

    As an amateur as well I'd go for the 1.8
  4. "85 x 1.5 = the actual focal length on your digital body"

    That's patently not true. What you get is approximately the equivalent angle of view on your D70 with the 85mm lens that you would get with a 128mm lens on the standard 24 x 36mm film frame. None of the optical properties of the lens do not magically change because you mount it to a digital camera. Look at it this way. The digital sensor is smaller than the film frame, so what you're getting is an in camera crop of the lens' image circle. That's all.
  5. an 85mm lens is ideal (well, this is purely subjective) for a film SLR, but it is kind of
    annoying on a DSLR with a crop factor. I would personally recommend the 50mm lens, as
    the focal legth is more convenient for portraits.
  6. on the contrary, I find the 85mm 1.4 to be my favorite lens on DX sensors. Don't recall ever seeing a 135mm 1.4 for film, only 2.8. The speed and shallow DOF is highly useful. my usual around town kit is the 85mm as a short tele, and a 12-24 for everything else.

    now it's surely true that this is a DIFFERENT lens on DX than on film - I happen to prefer it this way. When I shoot portraits on DX, they tend to be close and tight with the 85mm or at 24mm with lots of background. your mileage and taste may vary.

    The 1.4 va 1.8 has been discussed a lot here, and very much ad nauseum on other boards like etc. Consensus is that the 1.8 is great for the money, go for it, but the 1.4 has something intangible that's hard to put a price on. I had the 85 1.8 and sold it for the 1.4 and am very glad I did.
  7. Carol asked about: "Nikkor 85mm F/1.4D and the 85mm F/1.8D"
    Why then people cannot read that, and recommend a 50 mm lens?.

    Either Nikkor 85 lens is great! Have the money get 1.4 and you will be proud of the lens. 1.8 is a lot lighter and smaller, but will serve you in most cases equally well. As a "weekend amateur" you will be happy with 1.8, but if you are rich ?...then get the 1.4.

    Some people, like myself, would be bothered by the idea that I got not the best lens, and that seems unreasonable and is against common sense. If you a such a person, then get 1.4 and you will never regret.
  8. The explanation may be:

    1. The 1.4 is expensive to make. Optical designs, glass types, mechanical construction, QC, etc.
    2. The 1.4 cannot sell in big volume.

    Why make it at all? Because it is better than the 1.8 and can enhance the Nikon brand image. Some people are willing to pay for it.

    The 1.8 is a great lens nonetheless.
  9. "Don't recall ever seeing a 135mm 1.4 for film, only 2.8."

    So what is the AF 135mm f2D DC-Nikkor lens?
  10. an 85mm lens is ideal (well, this is purely subjective) for a film SLR, but it is kind of annoying on a DSLR with a crop factor. I would personally recommend the 50mm lens, as the focal legth is more convenient for portraits. - Vishal

    Yes on the 85mm/crop factor; definte no on the 50mm recommendation for portraits -- awful bokeh.

    Carol - if you can afford the 85mm/1.4 AFD, GET IT. If you have to think twice because of cost, then the 1.8 should do nicely. Where the big difference would be is out of focus areas on some sunny outdoor subjects.
  11. Hmmpphh... I must be obsolete. I like my 85/2 AI-S on my D2H because the angle of view is similar to that of a 135mm lens on a 35mm camera, which is what I became accustomed to using many years ago.

    Also, the 85mm lens will give you the option of shallower DOF than a 50mm lens on the D70. I'm a lifelong fan of the "normal" lens but if you're looking for a moderate telephoto that really is a telephoto, you'll probably prefer something in the 70mm-85mm range.

    Faster lenses have their pros and cons. Sure, they're great for available light and they provide a brighter view through the finder. But besides being costlier, they're usually larger and heavier. The D70 isn't a big, heavy camera and if you prefer to keep the weight down you might like the 85/1.8 version better. I don't mind hanging heavy lenses off my Nikons with motor drives - they're already heavy and the lens helps balance things out. But I don't like heavy lenses on my li'l OM-1 so I don't own any for that camera.
  12. Adding one (or nearly one) stop to the speed of a lens is more than simply making the lens larger (and heavier). The optical design must accommodate greater aberations, which requires more elements, different glass formulations and possibly aspheric elements.

    In the example of the two 85mm lenses, f/1.4 and f/1.8, Nikon pulled out the stops, so to speak, with the f/1.4 lens, whereas the f/1.8 lens is more on a consumer level. The optical quality, the build quality and, incidentally, bokeh make the 85/1.4 lens one of Nikon's premiere lenses.

    On top of this, perhaps people are willing to spend more (proportionally) on a faster lens. In the 50's Nikon produced a truely lousy lens with an f/0.95 aperture - the bigger tail-fin approach to photography I guess. I don't think thats a big part of the price structure these days - more of a value-added approach.
  13. Edward,<p>It was Canon with the f/0.95 rangefinder lens for the Canon 7 camera. I don't think Nikon has ever gone faster than f/1.2 in its lenses.
  14. Well, unless you count the TV-Nikkor:
    repro/tv.html ;-)
  15. Grr, it mangled the link. Click here.
  16. I got mixed up. Nikon introduced a lousy 50/1.1 lens in 1956. I don't have a compendium for Canon, so I take it that they introduced a lousy 50/0.95 in the same time frame (odd, how 0.05 stops make a difference to a marketing guy). Linhoff had an f/2.8 for a Technika 4x5 that covered the lens board. Agfa (or someone, I bought a total of 2 rolls) introduced ASA 400 slide film - looked pretty good without magnification. Cadillacs had a rear end that looked like the approach to the Ambassador Bridge. While we were busy with important things, Russia launched the first satellite. Life was good!
  17. Don't forget the weight and size difference between these lenses. The 1.8 so much easier to travel with.
  18. I'm interested in the 85 f/1.4 also. At $1000 it's a pricey bit of kit. But it fills the niche between my 14-24 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.4, 50 f/1.4d and ancient (but optically very good, albeit slow) 70-210 f/3.5-5.6.
    This is all on my FX camera, BTW. One poster incorrectly noted there is not a 135mm f/1.4: well, he's partially right. There is the specialized Nikkor 135mm f/2 DC that I use frequently on FX. I find it a little long for most portraits however. The DC is super-bonus and really fun to use. But this focal length is almost always relegated to outdoor daylight shooting.

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