Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G

Started Mar 28, 2013 | Discussions
p m h
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Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
Mar 28, 2013

I've been using a Nikon 85mm 1.4D for the past 3 years.  It produces great results, especially with D700.  However, it has 2 problems:

i) focus is slow.

ii) focus is not accurate enough with D800e which i currently use. AF-C does not work accurately even after fine tuning.

Now that we have only couple of days left for the nikon rebate program, I wonder whether i should pick up the newer 1.4G since I just have a new baby and it should increase my use of the 85mm.
From googling, it seems that newer 1.4G

i) has better sharpness which might be useful for D800e.

ii) autofocus is slower than 1.4D but accuracy is better.

However, at $1400, it is much more expensive than the old one and i am not sure whether it is worth the price gap.

Any comment from people who upgraded from the 1.4D to 1.4G would be useful.  Thanks!

ps: I am not planning to go for the 1.8G.  Sigma is another option which have fast AF, but I don't want to compromise with bokeh.

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Windancer
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 28, 2013

Do you need the 1.4 as oppossed to the 1.8? The difference is only 2/3 of a stop. Do you shoot wide open a lot? Just curious that's all. The 1.8 is far faster focussing.

The only difference AFAIK is a "D" has an aperature ring and transmits distance for the flash.

Terry

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p m h
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to Windancer, Mar 28, 2013

Thanks for the input. From what i heard, I am confident that 1.8G is a great lens.

However, I really want to stick to f/1.4 version as bokeh is the only reason i want a 85mm lens. Otherwise i already have 70-200mm f/2.8 vrii, zeiss 100 f2 to cover similar focal lengths. Also, i find myself shooting at f/1.4 and f/1.6 a lot for the 1.4D version of the lens. yes, the dof is super shallow at that point, but 85mm requires distance from the subject for full body portraits thereby making up for the shallow dof.

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primeshooter
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 28, 2013

p m h wrote:

I've been using a Nikon 85mm 1.4D for the past 3 years.  It produces great results, especially with D700.  However, it has 2 problems:

i) focus is slow.

ii) focus is not accurate enough with D800e which i currently use. AF-C does not work accurately even after fine tuning.

Now that we have only couple of days left for the nikon rebate program, I wonder whether i should pick up the newer 1.4G since I just have a new baby and it should increase my use of the 85mm.
From googling, it seems that newer 1.4G

i) has better sharpness which might be useful for D800e.

ii) autofocus is slower than 1.4D but accuracy is better.

However, at $1400, it is much more expensive than the old one and i am not sure whether it is worth the price gap.

Any comment from people who upgraded from the 1.4D to 1.4G would be useful.  Thanks!

ps: I am not planning to go for the 1.8G.  Sigma is another option which have fast AF, but I don't want to compromise with bokeh.

The problem you speak of will not get better with the G. It's an old Nikon lie (especially with the D800). It's inconsistency is NOTHING to do with a lens being D or G, believe me...

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primeshooter
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 28, 2013

p m h wrote:

I've been using a Nikon 85mm 1.4D for the past 3 years.  It produces great results, especially with D700.  However, it has 2 problems:

i) focus is slow.

ii) focus is not accurate enough with D800e which i currently use. AF-C does not work accurately even after fine tuning.

Now that we have only couple of days left for the nikon rebate program, I wonder whether i should pick up the newer 1.4G since I just have a new baby and it should increase my use of the 85mm.
From googling, it seems that newer 1.4G

i) has better sharpness which might be useful for D800e.

ii) autofocus is slower than 1.4D but accuracy is better.

However, at $1400, it is much more expensive than the old one and i am not sure whether it is worth the price gap.

Any comment from people who upgraded from the 1.4D to 1.4G would be useful.  Thanks!

ps: I am not planning to go for the 1.8G.  Sigma is another option which have fast AF, but I don't want to compromise with bokeh.

The problem you speak of will not get better with the G. It's an old Nikon lie (especially with the D800). It's inconsistency is NOTHING to do with a lens being D or G, believe me...

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tiko
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 28, 2013

p m h wrote:

From googling, it seems that newer 1.4G

i) has better sharpness which might be useful for D800e.

ii) autofocus is slower than 1.4D but accuracy is better.

Not sure if I find AF slower than the 1.4D, actually it's pretty fast. Sharpness wide open is great!

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Emil Varadi
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Had the 1.4D, sold it and now bought 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 28, 2013

I've been using a Nikon 85mm 1.4D for the past 3 years.  It produces great results, especially with D700.  However, it has 2 problems:

i) focus is slow.

ii) focus is not accurate enough with D800e which i currently use. AF-C does not work accurately even after fine tuning.

Now that we have only couple of days left for the nikon rebate program, I wonder whether i should pick up the newer 1.4G since I just have a new baby and it should increase my use of the 85mm.
From googling, it seems that newer 1.4G

i) has better sharpness which might be useful for D800e.

ii) autofocus is slower than 1.4D but accuracy is better.

However, at $1400, it is much more expensive than the old one and i am not sure whether it is worth the price gap.

Any comment from people who upgraded from the 1.4D to 1.4G would be useful.  Thanks!

ps: I am not planning to go for the 1.8G.  Sigma is another option which have fast AF, but I don't want to compromise with bokeh.

After years of use I sold my 1.4 D because focus was inconsistent, spoiling lot of shooting situations. Received tipson this forum, how to do it better, nothing really worked. When it did focus, results were worthy of its legendary reputation, but just too many misses...

So making use of recent rebates, I ordered the 85/1.4. Still on its way.

Over at Fred Miranda, all users praise the 1.4G, only one person sold it for its slow focus. Anyway, the G version has a more sympathetic, warmer rendering vs the blueish, cold rendering of the old D version. I haven't read anywhere before that the G was slower than  the old version, by the way.

And here, and example from the 1.4D, when it did not miss.

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Ray Soares
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pmh...
In reply to p m h, Mar 28, 2013

p m h wrote:

Thanks for the input. From what i heard, I am confident that 1.8G is a great lens.

However, I really want to stick to f/1.4 version as bokeh is the only reason i want a 85mm lens. Otherwise i already have 70-200mm f/2.8 vrii, zeiss 100 f2 to cover similar focal lengths. Also, i find myself shooting at f/1.4 and f/1.6 a lot for the 1.4D version of the lens. yes, the dof is super shallow at that point, but 85mm requires distance from the subject for full body portraits thereby making up for the shallow dof.

It's interesting that like you I've got the 70-200mm vrii and the zeiss 100mm f/2. ( and a 24mm f1.4G too)

Also I've sold my 85mm f1.4D and I've got the new G model last year 

It is worth every penny IMO: it is one of the sharpest lens of Nikon's,  improving a lot over the old model especially in corners. The bokeh is in the same league for both.

Its AF is not slower than the one in the D model IMO.

Colors are a bit better/warmer without the slight blue cast that the D model has, and the contrast and resistant to flare  are reasonably better (due to nanocoat probably).

This lens is so good that I'll probably sell the zeiss 100mm and get the new 135mm and I'll keep  the 85mm f/1.4G ( the zeiss 100mm is an incredible lens but I think the 135mm is better as tested by a bunch of top guys around, as it seems to have a much better correction of locas  that are the weakness of the 100mm IMO).

Best

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4G63
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 28, 2013

I would go for the G version. I've tried the D at a store and I thought it focuses pretty fast but I went with the G version since it was the newer technology.

Since I've had it, I've shot nothing but great photos. I really love the creamy bokeh and amazing low light capability.

This was almost pitch black. Good luck on your decision!

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p m h
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to tiko, Mar 29, 2013

Nice action shot.

In bright light, AF is reasonable. However in low light AF is slow and is less accurate IMHO.

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ArunasM
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 29, 2013

I have had the 85 1.4 AF-D for many years, and recently also purchased the 85 1.4 AF-S.

I mainly have been shooting these with my D800.  I have found that the new 85 mm lens focuses perhaps a little bit more slowly than the AF-D.  Sharpness wise, there is an edge to the new lens, center, and especially out to the edges wide open, and even to F2.8.

My experience with focus accuracy is a little different than others have mentioned, the AF-D provided accurate focus with almost no focus calibration for near to further distances, while the newer AF-S is off, about +5-6, and requires a different correction for near and far distances.  The consistency and calibration of each lens on my D7000 has been very good - which to me points to the D800 focus system.

Because of this inconsistency, I have chosen to hang on to both the 85s for now.

I would recommend that you try out the new AF-S before you commit to selling your AF-D - you may gain something and possibly lose something (as I have found).

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John Motts
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to ArunasM, Mar 29, 2013

I had a D for a couple of years and have had the G now for nearly a year. The G is better all round.

I sold my D because I it wasn't very good in low light, the focussing hunting around noisily where the G just gets on and focusses. Bang on, every time.

The D was pin sharp in the middle - I've got razor sharp images wide open from it, but never particularly good at the edges, even stopped right down. The G is just as good in the middle but is way, way better around the edges.

The focussing is very slightly slower on the G although not by much, but much more reliable and accurate.

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SergioSpain
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 29, 2013

p m h wrote:

I am not planning to go for the 1.8G.  Sigma is another option which have fast AF, but I don't wan

to compromise with bokeh.

When you say you don't want to compromise with the bokeh, are you talking about the Sigma 85 1.4? Cause if you are, I sincerely doubt you'd be able to tell the difference between the bokeh on the Nikon and Sigma versions of this lens, although if you decide to spend $500 more on the Nikon, I guess you would end up convincing yourself that the bokeh is worth the extra money. Either that or have some serious buyer's remorse.

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Shotcents
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to SergioSpain, Mar 30, 2013

I've had them all, except the Sigma.

The 1.4D and 1.4G are very good wide open, but I actually prefer the 1.8G to ANY of the 85mm choices.

The rendering of the 1.8G is uniquely real, unflinchingly sharp and unmatched in it's honest view. There is something ever-so-slightly dreamy in the rendition of the 1.4G that does not work for me, though I admit in most test shots I did I would be hard pressed to see ANY difference. Occasionally stumble upon a "winner" always to find it was the 1.8G that had been used. Some have said that the 1.8G is more sterile, but I think that is exactly what I see: An image that is less molested by the optics and a more pure transmission of color and detail.

The 1.4G is the bokeh king, but don't forget that the 1.8G also has great bokeh.

Forgetting the cost I prefer the 1.8G over the 1.4G. It also focuses a bit faster, which translates to a greater hit % when wide open.

Just another opinion!

Robert

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p m h
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to SergioSpain, Mar 30, 2013

I actually dont know how sigma's bokeh compares with Nikon 1.4D's bokeh. I know bokeh is very subjective, but if Sigma's bokeh is as good as the Nikon counterpart then Sigma would be the lens to get.

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Big Daddie
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 30, 2013

I loved the 85/1.4D but like the 85/1.4G even more.  Now paired with a D800E.

The D does have the colder but "classic" rendering, but the G has a good, colorful, sometimes warm look.  The G handles backlight better and is less susceptible to purple fringing.  And the G is amazingly sharp through to the corners, making it more versatile.  Bokeh is highly subjective but the G is "as good" but in a somewhat different way.

I've found the focusing of the G to be pretty accurate, more so than the D which produced less keepers.  Don't know if it was some slop in the screw drive or what.

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mitsosmitsou
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 30, 2013

I have the G, I had the D.

Optically the G and D have about equal resolution in the center (maybe the D is a bit

sharper-I have noticed that it produced more moire on distant house roofs)) but the

edges and corners are clearly superior on the G. G has almost equal

sharpness across the frame , even at 1.4, which is impressive. Event at infinity at 1.4

the sharpness of the G is acceptable and even. The D never had very sharp corners.

The G is a lot more contrasty overall with more saturated and warm colors. The pictures

they take are very different regarding these 2 factors. So, the G is excellent for

landscapes.

Autofocus is very accurate on G only if you use AF-C, which is the best method for

fast lenses. Just keep the AF pressed for 1 second to let the camera stabilize focus

(just wait until the lens stops micro-hunt back-forth) and then take the picture. If you use

AF-S the focus accuracy between G & D are same.

Bokeh character is the same. But because the G is more contrasty and has flat edges

the bokeh of the G seems more harsh than the D overall. This is partly true and a

matter of taste.

Personally I like both, but I need to say that the D could take some more creamy

portraits because the oof corners of the image looked more messed than the G which lead

the eye towards the face more on D than the G. I also have the suspicion that the

transition from in-focus to oof (from eye to the ear zone) in the D is nicer and catches

the attention of the looker while on the G seems more clinical.

LoCA is the same for both. But because the G has more saturation, the LoCA color

is deep magenda which some times looks a lot. However, if you manage to

focus correctly the LoCA is never a problem even at harsh edges.

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p m h
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to mitsosmitsou, Mar 30, 2013

Thanks for the super informative reply - really appreciate that. Especially the following part of your comment matched with my observation of pics (available on internet) taken with 1.4G.

" but I need to say that the D could take some more creamy

portraits because the oof corners of the image looked more messed than the G which lead

the eye towards the face more on D than the G. I also have the suspicion that the

transition from in-focus to oof (from eye to the ear zone) in the D is nicer and catches

the attention of the looker while on the G seems more clinical."

So based on your and others input i am deducing the following:

* one will be able to achieve better focus accuracy and reliability (thereby more keepers) than 1.4D as long as AF-C (and parhaps AF-On) is used. Focus speed is either equal or slightly slower than D.

* Sharpeness is better but can come with a cost (for the purpose of portraits). However, some of it can be mitigated using postprocessing (e.g., blurring the corners), while some of it cannot (transition from focus to out-of-focus)

* G is warmer, has more contrast. However it is possible to go back to D look (if needed) using postprocessing.

* The G handles backlight better which is great improvement over D.

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mitsosmitsou
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to p m h, Mar 30, 2013

p m h wrote:

Thanks for the super informative reply - really appreciate that. Especially the following part of your comment matched with my observation of pics (available on internet) taken with 1.4G.

" but I need to say that the D could take some more creamy

portraits because the oof corners of the image looked more messed than the G which lead

the eye towards the face more on D than the G. I also have the suspicion that the

transition from in-focus to oof (from eye to the ear zone) in the D is nicer and catches

the attention of the looker while on the G seems more clinical."

So based on your and others input i am deducing the following:

* one will be able to achieve better focus accuracy and reliability (thereby more keepers) than 1.4D as long as AF-C (and parhaps AF-On) is used. Focus speed is either equal or slightly slower than D.

Exactly. D cannot do microadjustments in AF-C because the focusing method doesn't

allow that. D is more speedy but that is useless generally. In small distance cahnges

the speed is the same. And although slower, the G can do better sports because

the D focusing is inaccurate anyway. The D speed is faster if someone focuses from

MFD to infinity which is not a use case.

* Sharpeness is better but can come with a cost (for the purpose of portraits). However, some of it can be mitigated using postprocessing (e.g., blurring the corners), while some of it cannot (transition from focus to out-of-focus)

In general it is far better to get a "natural" blur from the lens than in post.

* G is warmer, has more contrast. However it is possible to go back to D look (if needed) using postprocessing.

* The G handles backlight better which is great improvement over D.

The G is incredibly resistant to flare. I never have saw a gost or haze, ever in sun inside

frame.

In general the G is an incredible lens and I'd say it is cheap for what it can achieve.

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Cytokine
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Re: Nikon 85mm 1.4D vs 1.4G
In reply to Big Daddie, Mar 30, 2013

I have recently bought the Nikon 1.4D version used but in mint condition, and so far I have to say it is in another league compared to other Nikon lenses I have tried, the bokeh is sublime! Reading the Nikon 1001 nights:

"Mr. Oshita did not simply set out to design a large-aperture lens—he devoted himself wholeheartedly to developing a large-aperture medium telephoto lens with the ideal rendering characteristics for portrait photography-----Investigating the bokeh (blur quality) and rendering characteristics of successive generations of great lenses, discovering the optimal aberration balance,

"Since this lens used a large amount of expensive glass, it cost more to make than had been envisaged".

One of the keys here is the glass used for the D lens and probably for the G as well, there are over a 100 types of high grade optical glass, while ED glass is good for aberration purpose's it is not very transmissive. but achieving the same effect with high transmissive glass is expensive.

The thing I have noticed about this lens is the way colour in the background leaps out of the bokeh.

In short, two very good lenses that are slightly different, If I could afford it I would buy both!

PS this type of glass can cost over $1500 per kilo so, as it says in the article this lens was very well priced!

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