If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions
amagbanua
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If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
Mar 29, 2013

I use my 85mm 1.4D mostly for portraits and my son's baseball games.  My exifs show I'm mostly in the F2 on up aperture range.  The 1.8G looks to be sharper than the 1.4D.  Seeing that the 85mm 1.4D still commands a decent price, would I be giving up much other than aperture for trading in for the 1.8G?  Thanks in advance!

BTW, the lens is being used on a D700/800E

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Rich Rosen
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Mar 29, 2013

amagbanua wrote:

I use my 85mm 1.4D mostly for portraits and my son's baseball games.  My exifs show I'm mostly in the F2 on up aperture range.  The 1.8G looks to be sharper than the 1.4D.  Seeing that the 85mm 1.4D still commands a decent price, would I be giving up much other than aperture for trading in for the 1.8G?  Thanks in advance!

BTW, the lens is being used on a D700/800E

Good question! I have the 1.4 d and had given the move to the 1.8g some consideration. But now that the Nikon Lens rebate is over (almost), I am going to hold off.

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Enthusiast Photographer
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Mar 30, 2013

Other than the less-than-a-stop difference, I think the only other thing you might lose is a little AF speed.  I don't think I'd say the 1.8G is sluggish (certainly seems decently fast to me), but have heard it isn't as snappy as the 1.4D on a pro body.

I think the sharpness is a big plus.  I love mine.    I can't remember if the rebates are done, but I'd grab one now if you can.

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Kerry Pierce
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' ----- No
In reply to amagbanua, Mar 30, 2013

I love the way the 1.4d draws a photo and of course, the bokeh.  There's no way I'd go for the 1.8g. I've read that the Sigma 85 f/1.4 is as good as, maybe better than, the Nikon 1.4d for bokeh. That is probably the only lens that I'd consider, if something happened to my 1.4d.

But, in the end, it's your photos we're talking about here.  If you'd be happy with the 1.8g, that's all that matters.

Kerry

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Pat1954
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Mar 30, 2013

No.

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Cytokine
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Mar 30, 2013

A big no! The glass used in the 1.4D and G is as good as if not better than anything out there! And I think the Jury is still out on whether the D has better bokeh than the G even after 2 years.

In terms of build and optical quality the D will still be going when the AFS lens motors  have packed up.

You could buy a used 85 1.8 D and keep the 1.4D for portraits. I believe it has an 8 blade aperture V 7 round in the G.

John

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Emil Varadi
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In reply to amagbanua, Mar 30, 2013

Because the 1.4D still has an edge in IQ over the 1.8G.

There are two types of people. Maximizers and optimizers. Optimizers would go for the best bank for a buck and buy 1.8G. aximizers, like myself will go all the way to the top even if that adds only a little and costs considerably more. (law of diminishing returns.) Only you know where you belong.

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Shotcents
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Re: No.
In reply to Emil Varadi, Mar 31, 2013

Emil Varadi wrote:

Because the 1.4D still has an edge in IQ over the 1.8G.

There are two types of people. Maximizers and optimizers. Optimizers would go for the best bank for a buck and buy 1.8G. aximizers, like myself will go all the way to the top even if that adds only a little and costs considerably more. (law of diminishing returns.) Only you know where you belong.

Just a little counterpoint here after owning 85 1.4D, 1.8D, 1.8G and spending some time to evaluate the 1.4G.

On my D800...

The 1.4D is STILL among the best lenses for portraits when you're looking for that flattering dreaming type of look. It's a unique type of rendering not shared by the newest G lenses, both of which are harder and more analytical.

The 1.4G is terrific and produces the best bokeh, easily on par with the older version. It's also sharper with superior micro contrast. The downside is it's unrelenting resolution is less flattering and there's something cold about it compared to the 1.4D.

The 1.8G is amazing. On my D800 it focuses a hair faster than the 1.4G, which means I can nail focus more often when shooting at wider apertures. It is every so slightly sharper than the 1.4G, though as you stop them down they are equal. The 1.4G's slightly better contrast can make some people think it is sharper, but if you carefully stuffy the details it is the 1.8G that exacts a slight resolution advantage. The issue for some on the 1.8G is the rendering is even colder than the 1.4G, some call it sterile. But this is really a matter of taste and I think the 1.8G is the better lenses regardless of the cost. What some call "sterile" I call "real" and "Honest." It's a lens that gets out of the way like few others can.

So....in the end the 1.8G is my current pick for best overall 85mm lens. 2nd place still goes to the 85mm 1.4D because it does a very different type of rendering that is more portrait-friendly for some tastes.

I absolutely love ALL of the 85mm lenses and all are 100% pro caliber optics. The differences are really a matter of taste rather than any difference in quality. I like the 1.8G and others like the old versions or the new 1.4G or even the Sigma. And that's with no consideration for price.

Robert

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SharpGlass
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Apr 2, 2013

amagbanua wrote:

I use my 85mm 1.4D mostly for portraits and my son's baseball games.  My exifs show I'm mostly in the F2 on up aperture range.  The 1.8G looks to be sharper than the 1.4D.  Seeing that the 85mm 1.4D still commands a decent price, would I be giving up much other than aperture for trading in for the 1.8G?  Thanks in advance!

BTW, the lens is being used on a D700/800E

Nope, I value the bokeh more than sharpness on 85mm f1.4D shot wide open for subject isolation over the  85mm f1.8G. Besides a losing afantastic bokeh rendered on 9 blade aperature vs. 7 on the f1.8G, you also lose pro build quality and dust & weather proofing.

I'm going in the other direction and upgrading to the nikkor 85mm f1.4G. 

Increasing vision is increasingly expensive. – R. A. Janek (actually Michael Crichton)

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Rich Rosen
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Apr 2, 2013

After reading some the answers in this  thread, I think I will continue to use the 85 1.4D until it gives up the ghost. It was bought used many years ago, so its exact age is unknown. It is a beautiful lens. I'm not sure that I will get any advantage out of the 1.8G other than  it is lighter.

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joejack951
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to SharpGlass, Apr 2, 2013

SharpGlass wrote:

Besides a losing afantastic bokeh rendered on 9 blade aperature vs. 7 on the f1.8G, you also lose pro build quality and dust & weather proofing.

While I love the 85/1.4D having used it as a loaner from a friend for a few months, as far as I know it has no dust or weather proofing. For sure, it has no dust seal at the lens mount like most of the "G" lenses do. The build quality is quite nice if you are the type to appreciate an all-metal body and lens hood. It really stands out from any of the newer lenses and looks more appropriate next to the AF-S D zooms like the 17-35/2.8, 28-70/2.8, and 80-200/2.8 AF-S all of which share the same exterior finish and look.

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slimandy
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Apr 2, 2013

A friend of mine did just that and he's happy on his D800e. His main reason was to save weight and bulk. My preference is for the Sigma 85mm and it worked like a dream on his D800e. It was bigger than he wanted though. If your main aim is to free up some cash rather than save weight I would get the Sigma. You'll still have f1.4 and the bokeh is a tad nicer. The Nikon 85mm f1.8G is much less bulky though.

Sorry, only just realised you were talking about the 85mm f1.4D lens (he had the D then the G). The Sigma is a much better choice IMO, as is the Nikon 85mm f1.8G. My friend and I both owned the Nikon 85mm f1.4D and both much prefer our current choices. I didn't like the metal hood and felt it lacked AFS. Too much CA wide open, though that is gone by f2. The Sigma is nicer to use and gives great results.

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Emil Varadi
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Re: No.
In reply to Shotcents, Apr 2, 2013

Shotcents wrote:

The 1.4D is STILL among the best lenses for portraits when you're looking for that flattering dreaming type of look. It's a unique type of rendering not shared by the newest G lenses, both of which are harder and more analytical.

The 1.4G is terrific and produces the best bokeh, easily on par with the older version. It's also sharper with superior micro contrast. The downside is it's unrelenting resolution is less flattering and there's something cold about it compared to the 1.4D.

Makes me want to buy my old 85/1.4 D back.

Oh well, you cannot go to two different directions at the same time...

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GS2000
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Apr 3, 2013

he he... No way I would trade my 85/1.4D... not for the 85/1.8G nor any glass !

It's just the one I love the most.....

My all-new Zigi 35/1.4 is also sweeeeeeet, but no way near my 1.4D.....

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Cytokine
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to GS2000, Apr 5, 2013

GS2000 wrote:

he he... No way I would trade my 85/1.4D... not for the 85/1.8G nor any glass !

It's just the one I love the most.....

Yes it has that effect, I love mine and I have only had it a short time.

My all-new Zigi 35/1.4 is also sweeeeeeet, but no way near my 1.4D.....

There is so much rubbish talked about this 85 1.4 D lens in comparison to the 1.8 versions, and cheap 1.4 lenses. Having read many reviews the real difference is as follows:

1) At all relevant apertures while the 1.8 will produce blurred outlines of objects, the 1.4 will blur everything in a very small distance.

2) At f1.4 the centre for portraits is perfect,  not too sharp not too blurred, just right every time, no need for processing.

3) At f5.6 it is very sharp but some how always draws the eyes to the centre of the image.

4) The colour balance is spot on as Nikon claim.

This lens is dam nearly perfect for its applications, a great legacy lens from Nikon's Mr. Oshita probably their greatest lens designer.

Its design is also an interesting play on the relationship between contrast and sharpness and how they interrelate.

The design also balances lower coma aberration and attractive bokeh.

In other words if you tried to improove this lens you would probably ruin its qualities

You can read more here:http://imaging.nikon.com/history/nikkor/41/index.htm

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Shotcents
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 5, 2013

There is so much rubbish talked about this 85 1.4 D lens in comparison to the 1.8 versions, and cheap 1.4 lenses. Having read many reviews the real difference is as follows:

1) At all relevant apertures while the 1.8 will produce blurred outlines of objects, the 1.4 will blur everything in a very small distance.

The bokeh or blurring of the 1.4 is superior. If you want the cream-machine, look no further!

2) At f1.4 the centre for portraits is perfect,  not too sharp not too blurred, just right every time, no need for processing.

I do not care for the rendering of the 1.4 wide open. It does not look "real" to me. I cannot explain it fully, but the 1.8G wide open appears to capture more detail and contrast that makes a portrait look balanced with a somewhat harder image. This is a matter of taste of course.

3) At f5.6 it is very sharp but some how always draws the eyes to the centre of the image.

I saw no real difference between the two at 5.6, except that the 1.8 was still sharper at the center.

4) The colour balance is spot on as Nikon claim.

Saw no difference on my D800.

Both are GREAT lenses. Some people own both because they render differently. I prefer the 1.8G regardless of price.

Robert

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anotherMike
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to amagbanua, Apr 5, 2013

All comes down to what, very specifically, you need YOUR (meaning, not mine, not the other guys in the forum) 85mm lens to do.

I sold my 85/1.4 AFD long ago because I needed a lens that was sharper wide open for theater/dance work (where the 1.8G is superior) and also sharper for long distance landscape work, where the AFD was also weaker than any other 85mm option, zoom or prime, I had at the time (the 85/1.8G is definitely and clearly superior at landscape distances at any aperture). So in my case, it was a no brainer. You couldn't give me an AFD for free today. I would have no use for it. BUT - on the other side of the argument - the AFD is famous for reason - in short distances for portraiture work around F/2 - F/2.8, there is little better. It's awesome in this regard, positively awesome. Note how I didn't use this lens for portrait work at these apertures and distances, so it wasn't a fit for ME, which is why my opinion may or may not line up with others on this lens. So someone who wants a classic, older school rendering portrait lens (fairly sharp center, intentionally blurred edges and excellent bokeh) with a cooler color rendering (compared to newer "G" lenses) and shoots almost always in the closer distance ranges where the 85/1.4 AFD excelled would be better off staying put - the new lens would be a step down here. Someone who places more value on sharpness at longer distances (as well as still being very sharp at shorter distances) and better F/1.8 - F/2.8 performance in terms of lack of veiling flare and better crispness/contrast who uses it for rock concerts, stage/theater/dance and does NOT value bokeh as highly or does NOT shoot wide or near wide open portraiture would be better suited to the newer 1.8G lens. In some ways you could say the older AFD was a portrait specialist lens while the 1.8G is a general purpose lens that while not the absolute best at classic, old school portraiture, is likely a better fit for a wider range of subject matter. The older AFD had a more distinctive rendering style due to it's specialty nature, while the newer 1.8G is fairly neutral in rendering - it's not going to suddenly impart some magical pixie dust upon your images as it's designed to do a lot of things very well. Different design intents. Thus, someone who really liked 85mm lenses and used that focal length a lot might very well have BOTH. Someone who REALLY liked 85mm lenses might have all 3 !!! (1.4 AFD, 1.4G AFS, and 1.8G). The only lens I'd specifically NOT recommend is the 85/1.8 AFD, which has some known issues with aperture blade reflection with digital sensors at and beyond F/11 in high key scenes.

So the answer comes down to what you value most and what distances you shoot.

-m

Disclaimer: Owned the 85/AFDs (both 1.8 and 1.4 versions) for 7+ years prior to selling them, currently own the 85/1.8G AFS, and have shot/evaluated the excellent 85/1.4G AFS as well.

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Cytokine
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to anotherMike, Apr 5, 2013

Mike that is a fairly good summation but the copy I have is so sharp at 5.6 I was pleasantly surprised! I saw a sample photo taken with a D3 and the 1.4d at f11 taken across water of a harbour and when enlarged I could read the parking signs on the lamp posts.

I think there may be some variations in batches I think there was three major production runs and mine came from the last.

I would not swap this for the G version for portraiture. If I won the lottery I would buy all three!!

I think Nikon has been tinkering with their glass formulas as some of the best glass from the past was not very eco-friendly. I wonder if this explains the reported colour shift on the 1.4G. also the prices of additives used in their high end crown and flint lens elements have have gone through the roof, substitutes that were used in the past had a slightly warmer effect.

John

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SharpGlass
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to joejack951, Apr 5, 2013

Yes, you are correct in that the 85 f1.4D does not have dust and weather sealing just remembered that after I posted and forgot to go back to change what i wrote. 

The 85 f1.4D is the only lens I have ever owned that came with a metal hood, unfortunately its a nuisance to carry around bc its not a reversable bayonet type hood so its only used in the studio, a real shame. I find the hood very handy for backlit portraits and shooting into the sun to reduce flare/ghosting and to improve contrast, not to mention to protect the front element from accidental damage.  I have searched for a non nikon hood but came up empty handed.

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anotherMike
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Re: If you already have the 85 1.4D would you trade 'down' for the 1.8G + cash for other lenses?
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 5, 2013

Yea, I think Nikon definitely has changed glass types to be more eco-friendly over the years. I also do think they have, for the most part, upgraded their lens designs in a positive manner as well. There certainly may be some cases where "character" is lost as some of the newer lens designs tend to be aimed a bit more towards performance since we now live in a world we never imagined 20 years ago in the day of the AFD primes - a world where something like the D800E is capable of MF to LF results, and thus the lens designs had to change. I've studied Nikon lenses over time a lot, and in general the newer stuff is warmer. Some exceptions to that (the 14-24 is quite cool for example) of course.

As for the 85/1.4D - at 5.6 it was pretty sharp, particularly up close. Honestly a D3 isn't resolviing enough to be a really good test bed for the lens at distance; you'd see the 85's deficiencies at distance on a more demanding camera but perhaps only if you compared it to something that is really truly staggeringly sharp. It's not like one is a coke bottle and the other is a scalpel. I spent a boatload of time comparing my mid to late run 85/1.4 AFD to everything I had a few years ago and that's where I ended up making the decision to move it since I wasn't using it for what it was meant to be and needed something it wasn't. I personally think the newer 85/1.4G is a better lens for the portrait speciality as well because it combines the strengths of the AFD with the longer distance performance the older lens was lacking, although the difference in color and an increase in global contrast means it has a different rendering signature that some may (or may not) miss than the older AFD.

Try an 85/1.8G on a D800E some day though if you want to see what SHARP looks like. You'll have to spend several thousand to find something sharper. IMO it's one of the few lenses that won't break the bank that will blow you away on that camera. However, sharpness isn't everything...

-m

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