85mm comparison. Apples to apples...

Started Apr 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Peter Mueller
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85mm comparison. Apples to apples...
Apr 8, 2012

Hi folks,

I decided to buy an 85mm prime lens and now I am wondering which one. I am considering the two new G lenses.

When I got a 50mm prime I bought the 50mm f/1.8G instead of the f/1.4G because in tests it seemed sharper and it has less distortion. The additional 2/3 of a stop I sacrificed for those two advantages.

With the 85mm lenses the problem is similar: the f/1.8G seems slightly sharper in tests and also shows less distortion than the bigger brother. In addition, the focus shift when stopping down appears to be much smaller for the f/1.8G than the f/1.4G. On the other hand the f/1.4G shows slightly better bokeh and less vignetting and flare.

I am basing my conclusions on the Photozone reviews, which I have found to be fairly neutral and objective in the past:
http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/717-nikkorafs8518ff
http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/606-nikkorafs8514ff

There are not many photographers who have both lenses, so there is not much direct comparison between the 1.8G and 1.4G in real-life field shooting, but for only one-third of the money the 85mm f/1.8G seems to perform better in many respects and only slightly worse in some.

For me personally, luckily, the price difference is not hugely relevant, but I think the focus shift when stopping down might be an issue and I prefer sharper pictures over less sharp ones. The bokeh I see from the f/1.8G is still plenty nice in my eyes and I am as good as decided to go with the cheaper lens, but not because of the different price but because I think it may actually be the better lens, just as I think the 50mm f/1.8G is a better lens than the 50mm f/1.4G (in spite of the aspherical element the 50mm f.1.4G sports).

It would, of course, be interesting to hear what my fellow photographers have to say about my thoughts...

 Peter Mueller's gear list:Peter Mueller's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +26 more
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