85 f/1.8G--lens not perfect...lens or user error?

Started May 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,840
Re: 85 f/1.8G--lens not perfect...lens or user error?
In reply to SamNC, May 11, 2012

Briefly, some bullet points...

a) The Nikon D7000 is quite likely more the contributor to you having focus problems. Sorry to say, I just am not impressed with that body in terms of AF, particularly with anything except relatively static subjects in bright light. Before all the D7000 fanboys rush to flame me, please keep in mind I have extensive experience with Nikon DSLRS, having owned and used the D100, D70, D2X, D80, D300, D90, D700 (my primary body), D3100 and D7000. Once my D800 gets here - you know, in the year 4018 when the wait list finally gets to my freaking name, the D7000 will be instantly sold. Nice, nice sensor, but operationally one of the worst Nikon bodies I've had the displeasure of using in 30+ years with Nikon. I'll never sell my D700, which is the best (so far) body I've used from any manufacturer across those same 30+ years.

b) The 85/1.8G bokeh is actually pretty good with "simple" backgrounds. It's when you get a lot of busy-ness "back there" with tree branches and the such that the 85/1.4G will pull away in the bokeh department.

c) An 85/1.4G will have a bit more CA at F/1.4 and F/2 than the 85/1.8G does though.

d) A 200/2 is ENTIRELY in a different league in terms of AF speed (blazingly fast and accurate), bokeh, and wide open sharpness. It is fully corrected and if your focus is spot on (which means the body has to be doing it's job), it has zero CA wide open and is very, very sharp there. This is what you get when you pay 4-5 large.

e) On a D7000 I'd start at F/2.5 or so - between the lens and the pixel density and the propensity of the D7000 AF to be weak at a lot of things, 1.8 isn't a good combination at all for movement.

f) The 105/2 won't be any better at CA - in fact, on a D7000, it's miserable in terms of focus accuracy and CA, and also sharpness, wide open.

g) As you correctly pointed out, the 85/1.8G is a 500$ lens. For that price, you get way-better than typical (for this class of lens) sharpness and decent contrast. You get decent (but not world class) bokeh, and acceptable (but not world class) focus speed. Sure - you can buy the Sigma and get faster focus speed and better bokeh, but take a hit on sharpness, CA, and contrast, and of course, you get to play roulette hoping you get a good one, given how bloody horrendous Sigmas are in terms of sample variation. No lens at 500 bucks is going to do it all, ya gotta pick your priorities.

h) A 70-200/2.8G VR-II, while not having amazing bokeh, is the fastest focusing lens outside of a 200/2, and pretty crazy accurate as well.


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