Prime focal length 85`s

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ronald_moravec|1, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. I have supplemented a 50 4.1 manual focus with a like new 50mm 1.8 auto focus
    for $50 today.

    Now I`m in the market for a 85 prime. In keeping with low cost, I seem to
    have found a 1.8 with perfect glass and mechanics, but cosmetically one of the
    worst lenses I have ever seen for $150. It looks like it did world war 11
    three times.

    Auto focus 85 2.0, a 1/3 stop slower, lenses go for $250. I read a online
    report the 2.0 does not make anywhere as nice an image as the 1.8. Reviewer
    claims to have looked at 3 samples to draw this conclusion.

    85 1.8 in reasonable condition seem to be double the money as the 2.0. Is it
    the 1/3 stop or is the 2.0 infact NOT such a hot lens.

    Anyone here have an opinion?
  2. Ronald,
    I don't think Nikon ever made an auto-focus 85 f2.0 only a manual AIS.
    That would be one reason for the price difference.

    No-one seems to get excited about the 85 f2.0, including me. Mine is OK, quite small, about the size of the 50 1.8.

    I have the manual f2.0 and the AF 1.4 there is no comparison between them. I cannot comment on the AF 1.8.

  3. By no comparison do you mean the 1.4 is beeter at 2.0 than the 2.0 full open?
  4. The 1.4 is better in all regards than the f2. The f2 is the worst of the Nikon 85's and the 1.4 is the best (particularly the AF-D version, which outperforms the AI-S f1.4). While the f2 will put in a competent performance, it's seriously overshadowed by its predecessor, the 85mm f1.8 pre-AI, as well as the 85 f1.4's and even the 85 f1.8 AF/AF-D

    The 85 f1.8 pre-AI is a gem of a lens. I own a late model with a factory AI conversion which has severe wear (the mount itself is worn down to the point where it won't hold a rear cap and the barrel is beat up) and it is an absolute gem of a lens. I payed $150 for it last year. This lens often sells in good condition for prices similar to the AF-D f1.8's new prices. It also justifies the cost (being better wide-open than the AF/AF-D f1.8's).
  5. "The 1.4 is better in all regards than the f2. The f2 is the worst of the Nikon 85's and the 1.4
    is the best (particularly the AF-D version, which outperforms the AI-S f1.4)"

    I've done a side-by-side comparison of the two AF lenses and found the 1.8 to perform as
    well or better than the 1.4 despite lot of press to the contrary.

    My suggestion is try 'em both or just the 1.8 for half the $$, you won't be disappointed.
  6. I have and use the 85mm 1.8 and have found it to be a great lens, even wide open.
  7. Opinions seem to differ wildly about the 85/2 AI-S Nikkor. Mine is very good, comparable to my 105/2.5 AI Nikkor. I compared it on film and on my D2H against the 105/2.5. Not a nickel's worth of difference from f/2.8 on. The 105/2.5 is a bit sharper wide open than the 85/2 at f/2, but not enough to be a deal breaker.

    But it shouldn't cost $250. Before the market for most non-autofocus Nikkors bottomed out I paid something like $125-$150 for my 85/2, which was (and is) in excellent condition.

    I actually prefer the 85/2 over the 105/2.5 because it's smaller, a bit lighter and just a touch faster. It's always in the same bag as my FM2N.
  8. If you want high quality, but low cost, go for the 85/1.8 MF or AF. The 85/2 has never enjoyed a reputation that good. I've used the 85/1.8 AF extensively, it will easily outresolve a 6 mpix sensor even at fairly large apertures and according to photozone, it will easily outresolve a D200 as well.
  9. "The 85/2 has never enjoyed a reputation that good."

    Sez u.

    It'd be somewhat more accurate to say that it has sometimes enjoyed a good reputation. Or, if you prefer your glass half empty, it hasn't always enjoyed a good reputation.

    Sounds like some girls I knew in high school.
  10. "Opinions seem to differ wildly about the 85/2 AI-S Nikkor."

    This should ring a hole arsenal of bells. What if there is sample variation, especially if you test 30+ year old used lenses against new lenses? What if someone tries to test these lenses on say a D70 with a next to blind manual focusing capability? Should you read and decide according to general reputation?

    If such discrepancies exist you got to try yourself or stay on the safe side and get something with uniformly "excellent" reputation :)
  11. Sounds like some girls I knew in high school.
    Oooohh. There are quite many people who can't test lenses but come with all kinds of performance arguments. Sure you can go and debunk the rumour section, but then go on a provide some valid evidence for that. I'm not claiming that the 85/2 would be a crap lens, but I'm claiming that the 85/1.8 is less risky alternative and the price difference is not worth loosing sleep over. In the end, everyone chooses what they do with their money.
  12. "There are quite many people who can't test lenses but come with all kinds of performance arguments."

    And for every one of those guys there are a dozen who've never even tried a lens but have expert opinions on 'em.

    Not that we're talking about you or me. It's those other guys we need to keep an eye on.
  13. In manual focus there are three 85 mm: f/ 1,8 (both F and AI version), f/ 2 (AI and AIS version) ad f/ 1,4 (AIS). In manual focus there are two 85 mm: f/ 1,8 and f/ 1,4. I own the Nikkor 85 mm f/ 1,4 AIS and Nikkor AF 85 mm f/ 1,8. The first i use on F3, FM3A and F2AS. The second i use on the F100. Both are very excellent performers.
  14. BTW, last night I retested my 85/2 AI-S against my 105/2.5 AI and, just for giggles, the 35-70/2.8D AF and 18-70 DX.

    The 105/2.5 AI nudges out the 85/2 AI-S with both wide open, especially at the edges and corners. Stopped down there's not enough difference to fuss over.

    Surprisingly, the 85/2 beat the socks off the 35-70/2.8D AF, which is a damned good lens in its own right. So if I consider the 35-70 an 8.5 or so on a scale of 10, the 85/2 must be pushing 9, maybe even 9.25. The 105/2.5 is about as good as a lens gets, so I'd call it a 9.75. Gotta leave room for improvement, otherwise what's a Leica for? ;>
  15. I own all of the Nikkor 85 lenses. My sample of the 85/2 is an AI in very good conditon. It is OK but not great and has the same rather low contrast and greyish cast to its captures that the other 85/2 I've tested previously, but the latter was AIS. Suffices to say I'm not very impressed with the 85/2. On the other hand, the non-AI 85/1.8 was excellent, with a nice rounded definition to the image. Both 85/1.4 AI/AIS and AFD are excellent, but not identical in behavior. The MF lens is slightly softer wide open, has the less smooth bokeh of the two at wide apertures, and behaves markedly better for landscapes and suchlike where you stop the lens down beyond f/5.6. The AFD excels in portrait work and low-light situations, has a buttery-smooth bokeh, but also shows CA issues and doesn't like being stopped much down for landscapes. Hence I kept both. Plus the 85 PC of course, which in terms of sheer sharpness is possibly the best of the bunch, but is designed for entirely different purposes.
  16. I should probably do a more thorough test of the 85/2 AI-S on my D2H. I use it mostly with my film Nikons and am always delighted with the contrast and color saturation.

    Maybe I just got lucky with this particular 85/2. But I probably got lucky with my 105/2.5 AI as well. I've never seen another lens that didn't get better when stopped down a full stop from maximum aperture. It's equally good at f/2.5 and f/2.8 and, if anything, worsens very slightly at f/4 before improving again from f/5.6-f/11.

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