Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.

Started May 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
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MisterHairy
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Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
May 22, 2013

Had a chance to compare an 85mm/1.4 G lens with our 1.8 G today, and had time to try a few mid-distance scenic shots as well as some studio portraits. Very interesting indeed. Interesting because the 1.8 fared better than the 1.4 in almost all circumstances.

Sharpness is a no-brainer. The cheaper lens simply slays the 1.4 all the way up to f/5.6 or 8. It's not even close for the first couple of stops. CA is also worse on the 1.4, and while the cheap lens vignettes a bit more, I personally don't mind that at all.

Much has been made of the superior blur characteristics of the 1.4 lens, but that is frankly hugely overblown. We had to really look to find anything that would lead us to favour the 1.4 over the 1.8 lems.

Frankly, we tried and tried to help the 1.4 lems to fare better than the 1.8, but the simple truth is that it just couldn't keep up. This was on a D800E, and we put a lot of effort into making sure that the 1.4 lens was focusing accurately. That raises another point; the 1.8 lens yields much more accurate and reliable AF, even wide open.

It seems that the various comparisons out there in internet land are on the money. Much to my surprise.

So there you have it. If you are looking for a sharp 85mm prime with good blur and a very pleasing drawing style, save your money and get the 1.8 G. It's actually the better lens.

 MisterHairy's gear list:MisterHairy's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon Df Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED +14 more
Nikon D800E
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