Nikon AF-S 105mm vs AF-S 85mm - which one?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joseph_gledhill, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. It never surprises me that whenever a new lens is released nowadays it is greeted with critisism. The AF-S 35mm 1.8, AF-S 50mm 1.4 and the recently released AF-S 85mm 3.5 just to name a few. There must be a usual group of people who love to jump on the bandwagon to have a good moan simply because the lens is not a lens they want. Here is some advice - DON'T BUY IT THEN! Instead of purchasing lenses you can barely afford just to display them on your bedroom shelf to gaze at all evening go out and do something productive. Maybe even get a hobby. The three lenses I have mentioned are absolutely cracking lenses which simply cannot be faulted. I was on the verge of purchasing the AF-S 105mm 2.8 until the Af-S 85mm 3.5 was announced. Yes I prefer the more compressed image of the 105mm but the size and weight of the 85mm is a huge attraction in my book. These are the only two significant differences between the two lenses. Focal length vs weight - it's a tough one and I can't decide. I do a bit of everything - nature and portraits. I can see the image looking more asthetically pleasing from the 105mm but the weight is a real pain when you are tired and travelling (from experience). Thanks guys!
  2. Well, it is worth mentioning that the new 85/3.5 is a DX-only lens. Which is great for DX folks, and of course of no interest whatsoever to the film/FX folks.

    Most people aren't complaining about the lenses, per se, they're complaining about the realities of the market, and the demographics that companies like Nikon must pay attention to. That means that they expand their market (and their brand) by keeping relative newcomers happy with decent equipment they can afford, and then roll out pro-quality gems (like the newer 14-24, 24-70, and 70-200 or the newer PC-Es) on a schedule that makes sense to them, if not always to the rest of us.

    There are certainly people here who just won't be happy until there's an unaffordable 24/1.4, and a now-the-Canon-people-can-shut-up 70-200/4. In the meantime, we're all still taking pictures, one way or another.
  3. Some thoughts (I suspect you are a DX user):
    • A 85mm focal lenght seems to me more reasonable for DX portraiture.
    • The working distance of the 105VR could be more favorable for macro work.
    • I`d set a preference... portraits or macro. See above. Anyway, both lenses could work in both ways.
    • The 85VR is f3.5... but at closer distances could be no less than f4 or f4.x.
    • For almost the same price of the 85VR and for less than the 105VR you can buy a 50AFS and an used 105/4 micro, but it`s not the topic.
    • I`d probably buy the 85VR to taste it, but I don`t know if I`d sell it in the next week.
  4. Here is some advice - DON'T BUY IT THEN! Instead of purchasing lenses you can barely afford just to display them on your bedroom shelf to gaze at all evening go out and do something productive. Maybe even get a hobby.​
    Some of us actually spend thousands of dollars on lenses and actually go out and use them because photography is our hobby. Some people are professionals and the equipment a company makes is partially linked to how much money they will earn.
    A large percentage of the complaining is due to the perception that camera companies don't really ask us what we want. People complained about the lack of Nikon full frame cameras for years. I heard the same thing about large sensor compact cameras. If the camera companies don't make the equipment we want then we'll go to a different company.
  5. I think the strange thing is that Nikon introduces new lenses in a range and functionality which is perfectly well covered by their existing lenses as well as 3rd party offerings while they don't seem to be in any hurry to make modern wide angle primes that are asked for by many. Nikon already make two nice AF-S Micro lenses in the 60mm and 105mm - why yet another one? And by making it DX it becomes a dilemma to people if they realize in the future that they want to use an FX body. Are the advantages in size and cost sufficient to justify making it DX only? Perhaps. I commend Nikon for making modern primes and there's nothing wrong with making a series of DX primes that are compact and travel-friendly. However, the range is incomplete without wide angle primes and the matter is very curious because the old wide angle primes aren't all that great on digital whereas the 50mm and longer lenses all pretty much work just fine so Nikon's priorities are what can be legitimately questioned.
    The 50/1.4 AF-S is a great lens in my opinion, but it has gobs of vignetting, distortion, and it isn't blazing fast in focusing. But the image quality overall is fantastic and I use it a great deal for available light people photos. Similarly, the 35/1.8 DX is a great addition as a normal lens for DX. Took them a decade to make one since the introduction of the D1, but better late than never. I think the optics of this lens (while again there is a lot of distortion and surprising amount of CA stopped down) are great for available light people photography, hence I recommend this lens to many and at least one of my friends hasn't taken it off the camera since she got it, pretty much.
    To answer your question I have not used the new 85/3.5. I do have the 60mm and 105mm AF-S and I think the 60mm in particular is fabulous. Fast focusing, optically excellent, even great bokeh. Don't easily see a good reason to get a DX only lens that is only f/3.5 when the 60 is available. The 105 is optically less good IMHO but I still frequently use it. It also has nice bokeh.
  6. The working distance of the 105VR could be more favorable for macro work.​
    Looking at the tech specs doesn't show much difference: closest focus distance (for 1:1) is 1.0 ft. (0.314m) for the 105 and 0.9 ft. (0.286m) for the 85 - and the 105 is 0.6 inches longer which shrinks the difference down to 0.6 inches (15mm) in favor of the 105.
  7. Joseph,
    I am a bit puzzled by your post. Is it advice you're after? IMHO your tone is somewhat patronizing.

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