Nikon 85mm f1.4 IF vs. New 24-70 AFS G

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by vivid light photography, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. I've been using my trusty 80-200mm AFD lens to take portraits for several years
    now but find that when inside I don't always have room and at f2.8 it's a
    little soft. I was considering getting the covited Nikon 85mm f1.4 AFD IF since
    I've heard such good things about it. I have a 24-85mm f2.8-4 AFD that actually
    is sharper than a 28-70mm f2.8 AFS lens I tried. I was also considering waiting
    for the new 24-70 f2.8 AFS G lens that's soon to come out. Also I should
    mention that I do have a 50mm f1.4 AFD that I can use inside when conditions
    get tight or outside for group shots even though I tend to use the 80-200 and
    24-85 more often.

    Who has used the Nikon 85mm f1.4 AFD and what is your opinion. I like the 24-70
    range for use in getting candids of kids and adults as well as a wedding lens
    but I don't need to spend $1600 on another lens that's not going to give me
    much more than my current 24-85. However, the 85 f1.4 in theory should allow me
    to shoot faster with available light and use less fill flash; right?

    Another question. Would I expect the depth of field at 2.8 to be the same on
    the 85mm f1.4 as I would on my 80-200 f2.8 at 80mm? I would expect the 85mm at
    2.8 to be sharper then the 80-200. Whats your experience and opinion.

  2. I've used the 85mm f/1.4 and A/B tested it withte 85mm f/1.8. Except for those situations where I was gonna need f/1.4 to f/2.8 I didn't see enough difference t owarrant the price difference for my portrait needs.

    So my advice is: 24-70mm f/2.8 (I've shot with one and was extremely impressed) and the 85mm f/1.8D

    at 85mm the depth of filed should be the same at each f-stop regardles of the lens. And I;de definitely expect either 85mm to have better esolution at f/2.8 than the 80-200mm @f/2.8
  3. m-k


    The 85/1.4 will be considerably better at f/2.8 than the zoom at the same stop. Mine is already exceptional at f/2, and is better at f/1.4 than most zooms at f/2.8.

    The other thing that stands out about it, to me, is its color/tonal quality. Some very sharp lenses seem a bit blocky or harsh in their rendering of subtle tonal gradations, while the 85/1.4 seems to me to be especially graceful.
  4. Quite a few points to address here. The 85/1.4 vs. 24-70/2.8 is most definitely apples /oranges. Lenses serve very different purposes altogether. Choice depends on what is driving your decision.

    <I have a 24-85mm f2.8-4 AFD that actually is sharper than a 28-70mm f2.8 AFS lens I tried.> Proper testing is a complex task w/ many variables which must be controlled. Not to say your procedure was faulty. Sample variation? I've shot both (own and thoroughly enjoy regular use of 28-70)...night and day difference distinctly favoring 'the brick'.

    For reference sake, use / own: 85/1.4 MF (two), 85/1.4 AF, 105/2DC, 80-200/2.8 AFS.

    <...85 f1.4 in theory should allow me to shoot faster with available light...> No theory here. Fact. Exception involves ability to handhold relative to shutter spd / focal length (e.g. 1/30th at 24mm vs 1/30th at 85mm...again apples / oranges but worth mentioning since you will need faster spd w/85.

    Provided f-stop and focal length are same, DOF is same regardless of prime vs. zoom.

    <...expect the 85mm at 2.8 to be sharper then the 80-200.> Most definitely.

    Your line of questioning leads me to think you need to sort priorities...or simplify decision-making by purchasing two lenses.
  5. If you are happy with the 24-85, keep using it. the vast majority of shots that I take with that type of lens (28-70 f/2.8 in my case) are f/5.6 or smaller anyway, so the lens quality matters a little less.

    The 85 is great for shooting wide open, and I use that at f/1.4 or f/2 all the time. I feel like by the time I get to 2.8 I am almost wasting its qualities, but the results there are terrific too. The 70-200 takes over from there, though, because even at 2.8, but really after f/4, that lens is gorgeous too, and I like the zoom flexibility the way I shoot.

    The 85, though, is probably our most used lens other than the 28-70 and it makes people say wow! when they see the pictures more than anything else.
  6. If you don't always have room with the 80-200mm then why would you think you would have enough room with the 85mm?
  7. funny enough i was sort of debating the same thing as you, but in reality they are completely two different lenses where each excel at different things - it's not fair to compare the two, you rather need to prioritize your needs. me too.
  8. I looked at your portfolio, but most of your shots are full body or half body shots, which I think 50mm 1.4 which you already own is a better option for you (it's a very sharp lens too). And you look like you always use around f/2.8 upwards, so are you sure you need to get the 85mm 1.4?

    I seriously think that your 50mm 1.4 is good enough already for what you're doing.
  9. 85mm gives very sharp images and is my main portrait lens dedicated to it's own body. This
    is my 'money' lens and it produces terrific results! Beautiful out of focus backgrounds at f4-
    f1.4 my client stands out and makes each picture a 'portrait'.
  10. You had good idea, starting your title with Nikon 85/1.4...

    Listen to Mike Foster. Do not let others spoil your good idea.
  11. Thanks everyone for your responses. I know, I was asking several questions at once. The thing is I've been doing a lot of outdoor family shoots the last several years and find that I get my best results with my 80-200 f2.8 AFD. However, I usually end up using some amount of flash to get good subject/background exposure balance and also end up having to slow my shutter speed down to the point that the 200mm focal length is harder to control with camera shack even when using a tripod. I'm finding I'm loosing a lot of great expressions and shots fiddling with the tripod. I shoot with an SB800 with and without a small soft box and find myself having to us 1/1 full power more often than not to get my aperture up to 4.5-5.6 so this lens is at it's sharpest. If I shoot wide open then they go a little soft. So I was thinking maybe the 85mm f1.4 AFD to allow me to soften the background a little more and allow me to open up my aperture a little more and reduce the amount of flash power I need; as well as speed up my shutter speed. If I need to get close I'll just have to physically move in. When I shoot headshots or 3/4 shoots inside I can get away with my 80-200 because I use Profoto 600 compacts and get more light than I need and end up shooting between f5.6 and f9 with terrific result. But I'm considering the 85mm as an outdoor portrait lens to use instead of my 80-200.

    Now the other issue I included in my first question was I had tried a 28-70mm f2.8 AFS overnight and did an apples to applies test on tripod of the two and found the my 24-85 better except wide open at f2.8 and I think the 28-70 sample I had was backfocsing slightly so I returned it. I purchased it because I really like the zoom capability of my 80-200 and thought if I had the same with the 28-70 it would give me some flexiblity when shooting it tighter conditions of I wanted to keep closer camera to subject distance.

    Since I have a 50mm f1.4 I thought maybe if I purchased the 85mm f1.4 this would give me more options to shoot either with no flash or less flash and possibly hand held if needed and still have two useful focal lengths for either group shots, close up portrait, and in between.

    I really would like both if I could get a good sample of the 28-70 but can't afford both right now. Also theirs the fact that the 24-70 AFS is comming out really soon but B&H is pricing at $1699.

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