There's something about the Cream Machine...

Started Aug 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
anotherMike
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,145
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I'm with Ray on this one
In reply to Ray Ritchie, Aug 10, 2013

I'm with Ray.

First off, the shot does have very nice tonal transitions in the hair. But to be fairly blunt, I"m not sure if I wanted to that I could produce an image that showed the differences between the 85 options LESS than this one.

Let's take a look at the primary differences between the Nikon 85's and then think about this shot:

1) Bokeh: Obviously subjective, but one honestly thinks the Nikon designers of the 85/1.4G didn't incorporate bokeh quality into the optical design, they would be clueless. The newer lens has excellent bokeh. The old 85/1.4 AFD has excellent bokeh. They are DIFFERENT, but both excellent in the bokeh class. The 85/1.8G has "okay" bokeh. However, Franks shot was at F/5 against your run of the mill studio backdrop. There is essentially no bokeh in the scene, so this shot fails at being something that would illustrate the difference between the various 85's at all.

2) Color: The older AFD had a slightly cool color cast (like a lot of older Nikon glass), the 85/1.8G runs fairly neutral, and the 85/1.4G leans a touch warm. Franks shot is B&W, so obviously this characteristic isn't on display here.

3) Sharpness/contrast wide open: The older AFD was optimized for reasonable sharpness and nice bokeh around F/2.2 and was okay there, and sharpened up as you got further down, certainly by the F/5 Frank shot. But at this size, you won't be able to tell any sharpness/resolution differences. At F/5 the veiling flare of the old lens is (thankfully) gone too.

4) Now, in terms of contrast, the older lens packed a bit less global contrast than the new one, but this lighting is fairly flat, so any differences there aren't really shown.

Sorry guys, this is about as useless an image as I could imagine to illustrate why someone might prefer the older 85.  So while this shot would have been nice as a "look what I've been shooting these days" type of shot, in terms of being a "defend the AFD" type of shot, it's nearly worthless. It could have been taken with any of the Nikon 85's and you'd never know.

A wide open (or F/2) shot with real bokeh in natural light of the subject taken with that lens and the others would have illustrated the differences far more visibly.

-m

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