Nikon 85mm 1.8

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by evan_browning, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. As times are tough and money is a bit tight, I am very ready to purchase this lens.
    I'd still like to know about 3rd party alternatives which may be comparable quality. Any shared experence with 85mm primes would be appreciated
    thx
     
  2. Absolultely the worst lens I've ever owned when it comes to flare. For me, that made it unusable. I don't do portraits though.
    Kent in SD
     
  3. I really like mine. AFd 85 f/1.8. I always use the proper lens hood and have not had a problem with flare at all. It is a little soft (for a Nikkor) at f/1.8 but very sharp from 2.8 on down. I think you would be hard pressed to find a 3 party lens that comes even close.
     
  4. Never had a problem with that lens, other than the build quality.
    I sold it when I got my D700, b/c I was using my 70-200 much more. I missed it recently, so I bought an 85 f/1.4.
     
  5. I generally like mine, and I never have flare of CA problems. But I do have a friend that has one that has a lot of purple fringing for some reason. I wonder if it might be alignment or something. The thing I'm not thrilled with is that it is a rather "cold" lens. The results don't have a warmth to them. For that reason, I use it only for fashion and modeling work, and my 105mm f/2.5 for just about everything else. It is very very sharp though, and is really quite nice with B&W, but I use other systems for B&W usually.
     
  6. I'm purchasing one for portraits. For a while I was considering buying a 70-200, but realized i dont need a lens that long. Assuming that there is no comparison, I'll give it a shot.
     
  7. My AI version is fantastic, even wide open.
     
  8. It's a terrific lens. My copy of it is, at least. I've taken many, many good shots with it. I have the 85/1.8 AF, not the D version, and it's great all the same.
    Is this sharp enough for you?
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Josh, I do not like the Bokeh in this image. Are you sure it is at 1.8?
     
  10. I really like mine (AF-D version), very nice to handle (on D300) and sharp (though not at f/1.8, but from f/2.5 on it's plenty sharp, and around f/4 terribly sharp). Mine does show quite a fair amount of CA on backlight situations, but it's quite easily corrected.
    I see no issues with flare or the build quality, but I haven't treated the lens rough yet.
    The only affordable alternative for a 85 I know is the Samyang 85 f/1.4, manual focus lens. For FX, the 105 f/2.5 is also a great alternative, for DX is a bit too long on many occassions, though. But it can be found cheap and is a stellar lens.
     
  11. Zeiss has an 85mm f1.4 listed. I don't have any experience with it, but it does seem to get excellent reviews.
    Kent in SD
     
  12. Since you are governed by price, the 85mm 1.8 is the only fast prime with autofocus in it's price/focal length range. I would suggest the third party macros, but lens and focus speed may be more important to you than close up ability. The 85mm 1.8 isn't a fast auto focuser but is quicker than the macros(90 Tamron, 100 Tokina, and 105 Sigma). The non VR 105 micro could suffice but does cost more. I will mention that I do prefer the Tamron 90's bokeh better than the 85mm 1.8.
    I've owned a couple of F1.8s and I like the lens. Flare can be an issue, but the hood is good and practice will minimize problems. CA is apparent wide open but also minimized a third or two thirds of a stop down.
    Its a good lens and I would choose it over the macros but I've never been a close up shooter. I wish I was better with manual focus lenses as that would increase options.
    Good luck!
     
  13. Josh, I do not like the Bokeh in this image. Are you sure it is at 1.8?

    There is no such thing as 'bokeh'. The background has a lot of bright areas, which appear as images of the entrance pupil of the lens. This is obviously not at f1.8, nor does Josh claim it is. I have never had a buyer look at one of my prints and refuse to buy it because of the 'bokeh'.
     
  14. There is no such thing as 'bokeh'. The background has a lot of bright areas, which appear as images of the entrance pupil of the lens. This is obviously not at f1.8, nor does Josh claim it is. I have never had a buyer look at one of my prints and refuse to buy it because of the 'bokeh'.​
    As compared to the outstanding Sigma 50/1.4, the bokeh of many of my Nikon lenses, the 85/1.8 included, is a bit busy by comparison. I don't have the 85/1.4, which I heard has outstanding bokeh. The "quality" of the bokeh can be improved by stopping down a little bit because that will smooth out the "images of the entrance pupil," and the highlights will have a softer outline. Josh's picture is very characteristic of the 85/1.8, I believe, as one can still see the outline of the iris. Shooting it wide wide open will only make it worse, not better.
     
  15. There is no such thing as 'bokeh'.​

    I suppose there's some long, convoluted explanation to this opinion? You might as well say, "There's no such thing as depth of field," or, "There's no such thing as motion blur."
     
  16. I like the 85/1.8. I would call the focus fast, even though it is not AF-S. The lens was specifically designed to only move a small group at the rear for fast focusing. I don't find that it has major flare problems, but it does have issues with purple fringing. This happens for me when shooting basketball if the players are in front of a window or a lighted scorer's table; the general formula seems to be purple edges on in-focus objects when the out-of-focus background is blown by at least a few stops. The solution is simple: don't do that. I know, that's not really a solution and it would be nice if the lens didn't do that but still all lenses seem to have a weakness somewhere. It's a little soft wide open but quite usable and sharpens up pretty fast as it is stopped down. I really like the size and weight. I don't think there is any direct competition from other parties unless you want to shoot another brand of camera. I'm assuming you need the speed such that f/2.8 macro lenses aren't direct competition.
     
  17. CC: Wrong. Opening up the aperture does two things. It eliminates the diaphragm blade shapes (at f1.8) and makes the OOF circles round. It also throws the bg further out of focus, so it appears softer and less detailed. Not even the Bokians claim that stopping down improves things. Certainly it will not smooth the OOF shapes.
    Hal: No convolutions necessary. 'Bokeh' is a faux term-of-art adapted from the Japanese, and Englished by Mike Johnston because no one could pronounce the original correctly. It is used primarily by advanced gearheads who wish to demonstrate putative differences between lenses. In the only comparison I have seen (I don't pursue this tripe avidly) that actually showed different lenses compared on the same subject at the same aperture and lighting conditions, cheap lenses were frequently described as having better 'bokeh' than ones costing ten times as much. I actually saw, at the site that rhymes with 'EZ Renew', an image from a lens with an obviously damaged diaphragm (blades closed in a sort of lopsided crescent) described as inferior because it had 'angular bokeh'. NO. It was friggin' broken, guys!
    Now I admit that a smooth background can contribute to an image. If you really want one, find yourself a Petzval lens from the mid-nineteenth century. Uncoated, loads of undercorrected spherical aberration, and no diaphragm. (Except for Waterhouse stops in some cases.) Shoot in a north light, to keep background contrast low, and you'll send the Bokians into ecstatic frenzy. (And if you are a talented portraitist, you may also produce sublimely beautiful images.)
    I have to confess, I did overhear a conversation at the Erewhon Gallery once... A photographer had a print of a gorgeous blonde, naked, with a whip and chains in her hands. A viewer caught sight of it, and I clearly heard him shout, "Oh my God! Look at that creamy bokeh! You must have used ZEISS GLASS! Can I get a crop of just the background?"
     
  18. I really love my AFD 85 F1.8 - used on D300 it's a perfect compagnion for portraits. From f2.8 its very sharp and fron f4 it's extremely sharp. The lens have a nice out of focus blur. When you also look at the price, I think it's no-brainer.
    00UmoD-181635584.JPG
     
  19. Les: LOL - I couldn't agree more. Maybe I also can get a crop of that background...
     
  20. I have an 85mm f/1.8 that I recently bought secondhand. With the right metal hood the flare is pretty well controlled, unless you are shooting almost directly into very bright light, in which case the flare is beautifully uncontrolled and can be quite atmospheric. However it's also a gloriously sharp lens and has become my favourite gig photography lens as a result of those characteristics.
     
  21. I had mine for over 2 years now; for the price, its an excellent lens. I seldom use the hood, and use the lens outdoors, two images show great performance and speed. The little bird picture is taken wide open at f/1.8. The flamingo pic is taken on f/4.5 in pritty sunny conditions, and I am standing out in the sun with no hood attached; this one I took very quickly and did not have the time to attach the 70-200 VR!
    00UmqS-181650084.jpg
     
  22. CC: Wrong. Opening up the aperture does two things. It eliminates the diaphragm blade shapes (at f1.8) and makes the OOF circles round.​
    Opening up the lens makes the OOF circles round, but only in the central part of the frame. Toward the edges, the circles start to get their outside edges squished, so that they're no longer round.
     
  23. I've owned two versions of the Nikkor 85/1.8, and they were all good and sharp. The 85/2, noticeably less so, though still perfectly usable. With the early and current /1.8s, wide open, a bit of CA, and flare. Much less so with the shade on. Excellent lenses.
     
  24. Would that new Nikkor AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR be a real alternative for DX chip?
     
  25. CC: Wrong. Opening up the aperture does two things. It eliminates the diaphragm blade shapes (at f1.8) and makes the OOF circles round. It also throws the bg further out of focus, so it appears softer and less detailed. Not even the Bokians claim that stopping down improves things. Certainly it will not smooth the OOF shapes.​
    Just read lens reviews from dpreview and photozone, and you will see. This is not new or something that I made up. Below is a quote from the review from dpreview on the Nikon 35/1.8 lens:
    "With its relatively fast maximum aperture, the 35mm F1.8G can produce substantially blurred backgrounds, and while these can be slightly hard-edged in character (especially at F1.8), bokeh is generally rather appealing. Stopping down progressively smooths out the harsher edges, with perhaps the best compromise in the region of F2.8. "
    Take home message: Don't shoot it wide open as that will degrade the quality of the bokeh, even though the DOF is getting shallower.
     
  26. i owned the 85/1.8 for two weeks. i did some research and thought that wide open smoothness wouldn't be worth the extra 700 bucks for the 1.4. i owned it and kept running into highlights in the background that were very polygonal as the picture above in this thread illustrates nicely. i got my 500 back for the lens and decided that i'd bite the bullet and have the 1.4 for a couple decades thus negating any real extra cost of the lens. i'd rather use the 500 in the 1.8 towards the 1.4 than eventually end up with the 1.4 later without the 500 from the 1.8 or some partial depreciated sum from selling the 1.8 second hand. i'm glad i did.
    but in the end, get the one you can afford and then don't think about it and shoot great pictures.
     
  27. Here is a discussion from the manual focus forum people with images from the Samyang 85 1.4
    http://forum.manualfocus.org/viewtopic.php?id=14608&p=1
     
  28. It's interesting to see all the opinions about flare on this lens. Are you folks talking about veiling flare or the sequence of reflections? Any examples? In my shooting I haven't noticed either to be a problem but for what it's worth I always use the hood (it just stays screwed on the lens). I did just now google for sunset pics from that lens and found one on flickr with a particularly black area opposite the sun which suggests that it does OK, in this case in a situation where the hood does no good (sun in the frame).
     
  29. I have it and it is fine. But the purple fringing wide open is pretty bad. Not just in backlighting, but any high contrast area. I don't use it at 1.8 unless I need to. But if the light is low I'd rather use the 50mm or shorter since I can use slower shutter speeds than the 85. I have a DX sensor camera.
    So my feeling is that maybe a used 80-200 would be a better option, but I've never used one. I also have to wonder when Nikon will update either the 85 1.8 or 1.4. I would think it's not so far in the future.
     
  30. do you seriously enter real world conversations with people on such a disgracefully negative note?​
    Despite the issues that we have with the 85/1.8, there is no doubt in my mind that it is a great value in a small and light package. To some degree it is not surprising that at this price point and size, something has to give.
    Since my photography interest has turned to portrait, I have become obsessed with the quality of bokeh, and I cannot help but notice the lack of good bokeh in some of the older Nikon lenses. However with the new release of the AFS 50/1.4 and 35/1.8, Nikon has improved the bokeh by focusing on the design of the aperture ring. If this trend continues, we may be surprised by the quality of the new 85/3.5 that we have just discussed not long ago.
     
  31. I'm very happy with my 85 1.8, i think it's one of the best portrait lenses and it's price is good either, no flare or CA issues.
     
  32. Since my photography interest has turned to portrait, I have become obsessed with the quality of bokeh, and I cannot help but notice the lack of good bokeh in some of the older Nikon lenses.​
    There is not necessarily any direct relationship between bokeh and portraiture. Portraiture traditionally involves careful compositions in controlled circumstances where the artist or photographer chooses the background, lighting and pose. Bokeh is irrelevant and, in fact, most formal portraits rely on stopping down for maximum depth of field.
    It appears you are using the term "portraiture" to refer to snapshots in uncontrolled situations. Because it is inconvenient or impossible to control a busy background or choose careful lighting when shooting candids then, yes, the quality of out of focus areas may be relevant. There's nothing wrong with snapshots or candid photos of people in all kinds of environments. But let's not confuse that with "portraiture".
    BTW, I agree regarding your observation about unappealing bokeh in older Nikkors. It's something I noticed back in the early 1980s as a college newspaper reporter and editor when reviewing photos submitted by student photographers. I could tell which photos were taken by which photographers without even flipping the print to check the names. A couple of our photographers used Nikon, a couple used Canon. The typical Nikkor bokeh would later be described as "nisen-bokeh", with distinct doubling or multiple images of hard lines - a rather harsh effect - while Canon FD lenses of that era usually rendered out of focus areas more softly and gradually. But at the time we didn't have a convenient term for this effect (Mike Johnston had not yet popularized it via his articles).
    And, as Les Berkley noted regarding his own clients, we didn't obsess over it the way web forum warriors do today. If a photograph has merit it will stand on its own, regardless of the quality of the out of focus areas. And many of the photos I see praised for bokeh are nothing special in any other respect.
     
  33. Incidentally I was caught outdoors still inside the city after nightfall with this lens and decided to take a couple of night shots using before going home. Basically the lens is very sharp and contrasty, but half of the time when shooting streets and buildings at nice some sort of ghost will pop up in the frame (I had a filter on and didn't bother to remove it since I wasn't doing serious photography at that point, also no hood). The 85/2.8 PC is much better for this kind of photography, but with more careful technique it's not so bad using the 85/1.8 at night, it did produce pictures that consumer zooms would just have given up on.
    In daylight the lens is sharp and contrasty. The focusing on my D300 is very fast and sufficiently accurate, no complaints there although I'm often picky about AF. The latitudinal CA is removed by SW automatically, there is longitudinal CA whose practical significance pretty much disappears when stopping down; this is very common in teles.
    So in summary this is a great lens, especially considering its price. For macro there are interesting 3rd party alternatives, but for general use there aren't. The Samyang is a somewhat interesting MF lens, the Zeiss is at the top of the game and thus costs more. The 85/1.8 is reasonably small and light, f1.4 lenses are clearly larger.
     
  34. Bought the 85 1.8 last year since reading that it was often used to shoot volleyball. Nice and light, certainly compared to hoding/using the 70-200 during a game. Seems to focus fast enough, shooting with D300 and D300S. Review that it was faster focusing than the 1.4, which is more money as well.
    I'm happy with it. Not noticed any flare, but will look more closely, Always use it with hood screwwed on. Shooting college volleyball tonight.
    Recently saw some volleyball shots using the 200 f2...WOW! How nice that is - sharp and beautiful bokeh.
    Steve(shoppix)
     
  35. Evan - what is your reason for wanting this lens? What are you intending to shoot with it?
    Steve
     
  36. There's nothing wrong with snapshots or candid photos of people in all kinds of environments. But let's not confuse that with "portraiture".​
    Well said; thanks.
     
  37. Rob Piontek, when it comes to CA, the 80-200 f/2.8 is not a better option, to be honest. I have both, and of the 2, the 80-200 (2 ring AF-D, current model) is slightly worse. In both cases only wide open a real issue, for me. My 85 f/1.8 shows blue-greenish edges, the 80-200 deep purple.
    I bought the 85 after I had the 80-200; as much as I love my 80-200, the 85 is much more candid, portable and better at f/2.8.
     
  38. I want a portrait lens. Shooting on a D90, purchased a 50mm 1.8 a few months ago but would like something a bit longer and flattering because I still see some distortion at the 50mm length
     
  39. The 85 1.8 AF (and 500 4/P MF) are my favorites among 19 AF and MF Nikkors for the D200 and D80. The 85 1.8 works well for portraits and under available light. Mine is sharp at all apertures and has demonstrated no problems -- so far -- with flare or ghosting. It costs much less and weighs much less than the 85 1.4 MF (which I sold after disappointing results) and is almost as fast.
     
  40. Good lens and good value.
    No problems with it (on a D700)
    00Up0U-182837584.jpg
     
  41. I've got the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 and it is quite fun to play around with and very good for it's price (when used in large apertures). If your money is tight, you like focusing manually, have some MF aids in your viewfinder and need good sharpness at large apertures (f/1.4-2.0), and don't mind shooting fully manually without exposure metering with your D90, Samyang might be worth considering.
    But I have a hunch that if I had D90, I would be happier with the Nikon 85 f/1.8. I used to have D80 and for that I would have chosen the Nikon AF f/1.8, tried it once with the D80 and liked it.
     
  42. I've had mine original with my N90, AF non d, it has always been excellent, I have used it for so many different things. No flare, no problems, a favorite for me. I never saw Ansel Adams or Edward Weston mention "bokeh" in any conversation written anywhere. So where did this silly word come from anyway? :)
     
  43. "Basically the lens is very sharp and contrasty, but half of the time when shooting streets and buildings at nice some sort of ghost will pop up in the frame (I had a filter on and didn't bother to remove it since I wasn't doing serious photography at that point, also no hood). "
    That's not the lens - it's user error. Take the filter off!
    "Good lens and good value.
    No problems with it (on a D700)"
    Graham! Look at all the purple fringing in your shot!!! ;)
     
  44. [​IMG]
    That's my 85/1.8 at 2.5. Extremely sharp and also no apparent CAs. The above image is a 100% crop.
     
  45. Josh and and esp. Hal: How funny. Probably nobody is going to read that old thread, and I ussually do not follow responses. But some geeks just have such a high self esteem.
    Of course, the quality of the backbound is different between lenses, call it "bokeh" or not. And the one in the image of Josh is terrible (the light fall between the subject and the background does not help either).
    Moreover, we were talking about a 85mm F1.8 lens, so it natural to talk about its IQ at F1.8, which Josh's image is obviously not. At F8, most lenses are about the same, so there is no sense in publishing that image. (besides showing the ugly background :).
     

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