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

Started May 22, 2013 | Discussions
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.

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nathantw
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to MisterHairy, May 22, 2013

MisterHairy wrote:

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.

Okay, don't buy it then. Did you really need to go on a rant about how your 1.8 is superior? A lot of words have already been written basically saying the same thing. I know it's fun to be enlightened, but maybe if you looked at the hundreds of other posts saying the same thing perhaps you might have refrained.

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Grevture
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Here we go again ... :-)
In reply to MisterHairy, May 22, 2013

MisterHairy wrote:

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.

Some four or five years ago people were repeatedly comparing the two AF versions (1.4 vs 1.8) and was beating that dead horse over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again until most people were sick of even hearing of that comparison.

Now we have the AF-S G versions (1.4 vs 1.8) and appearently, here we go again

Look, nice of you to offer an opinion. But voicing strong opinions like that, without any images whatsoever backing them up ... Just don't carry much weight.

You like a cheaper lens better then a more expensive one. Good for you

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ken6217
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to MisterHairy, May 22, 2013

Don't beat him up. I just received my 1.4g today. This is my first prime in like 25 years. I was about to post and ask why I cannot get a clear image at 1.4 on my camera and then I saw this thread.

I am not a pro, but I cant understand why I can't get a clear image at 1.4 on my D800E? At 1/2000 it certainly isn't camera shake. I'm just taking a picture of my son.

I am hugely disappointed. It could be operator error but I don't see how it could be. I take the same picture at 2.8 on my 24-70 and it is crystal clear.

Ken

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nathantw
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to ken6217, May 22, 2013

ken6217 wrote:

Don't beat him up. I just received my 1.4g today. This is my first prime in like 25 years. I was about to post and ask why I cannot get a clear image at 1.4 on my camera and then I saw this thread.

I am not a pro, but I cant understand why I can't get a clear image at 1.4 on my D800E? At 1/2000 it certainly isn't camera shake. I'm just taking a picture of my son.

I am hugely disappointed. It could be operator error but I don't see how it could be. I take the same picture at 2.8 on my 24-70 and it is crystal clear.

Ken

When I received my 1.4G I too was a bit disappointed because I pointed my camera/lens at my coworker making sure I focused on his eyes and his nose was in focus. After a lot of trial and error I got the fine tuning right (+15). Now the pictures are really sharp. However, I still wasn't too thrilled with the lens until the past weekend when I finally got some really good shots of my wife. The pictures wide open are really nice.

I compared the lens with my 1.8AF and looked at the out of focus areas wide open and the difference was so minute that I recommended the 1.8G to my friend instead of the 1.4G.

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RBFresno
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Yep. It's Déjà vu, all over again!
In reply to Grevture, May 22, 2013

Grevture wrote:.

Some four or five years ago people were repeatedly comparing the two AF versions (1.4 vs 1.8) and was beating that dead horse over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again until most people were sick of even hearing of that comparison.

Now we have the AF-S G versions (1.4 vs 1.8) and appearently, here we go again

Look, nice of you to offer an opinion. But voicing strong opinions like that, without any images whatsoever backing them up ... Just don't carry much weight.

You like a cheaper lens better then a more expensive one. Good for you

For those who feel left out, here's one of the better comparisons from the AF-D era.....

85 1.4 vs 85 1.8 AF-D Comparision

RB

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How to be a Tastemaker
In reply to MisterHairy, May 22, 2013

MisterHairy wrote:

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

It's interesting: as nathantw and Grevture point out, this opinion appears on the forum once a week or so; and when people post comparative photographs showing the "obvious" better-ness of an 1.8 (D or G) variant at various apertures, I seem always to prefer the frames from the 1.4!

Maybe I just have bad taste.  

I think anothermike actually has the most useful opinion I've read on this.   He can speak to it better than I can, but I'll paraphrase and he can correct me if I misspeak: he likes to point out that lens performance is so deeply linked to photographic subject--to focal distance, to lighting conditions, to the peculiarities of the body on which you use it--that proclaiming a "best" lens can be a deeply misleading business.   There might well be a number of circumstances in which the 85 f/1.8G does outperform the f/1.4G, but probably not all.  (If I had to guess, I'd imagine the f/1.8G is a little sharper at stopped-down apertures (say, f/5.6 and higher), at distances, and in situations that don't involve backlight, bright specular highlights, or other direct reflection.)   Does that make it a "better" lens?   No, not if you're shooting outdoor portraits in interesting light.

Honestly, I kind of hate these "The Cheaper Lens is Better!" celebratory posts for that reason: they pick one circumstance in which the inexpensive lens performs extraordinarily well and then assume it speaks for every use, for every taste, for everyone.

In so many situations, the level of performance we're getting from these optics really does delve straight into taste--because they're all sharp, they're all reasonably well corrected, they all resist flare pretty well.  That's something to celebrate--that there's a real art to these designs that takes some discipline and experience to appreciate.  Just jumping on sharp photographs as an opportunity to proclaim one's taste "superior" and determinative of "best" ruins the better opportunity for everyone else to talk about what's really going on.

M.

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ken6217
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to ken6217, May 22, 2013

I am not doing a comparison to the 1.8g though as I have no experience with that lens.

Ken

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Cytokine
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

Firstly at 4 feet and f1.4 the depth of field (FX) is 5/8ths of an inch 15mm in metric. NOt for the inexperienced. Which is why pros love this lens and amateurs are moved to tears.

It is an order of magnitude easier to make a 1.8 lens than a f1.4 lens. the 1.8G lens is a very good lens, that cost circa a 100 dollars to make, The 1.4 G lens cost 5 times more to make, it has better colour clarity better bokeh, and it is 1.4.

Every lens has something it does well the 1.4D is sharper centre and and in the corners at f11 and f22 than the other two and then circa 5.6 it changes into a remarkable portrait lens. The 1.4 is relatively sharp at all stops, the 1.8G is probably sharper at f8, but cant do f1.4. its bokeh is good but not class leading. You pays your money and takes your choice.

John

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nathantw
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Re: How to be a Tastemaker
In reply to MarkJH, May 23, 2013

MarkJH wrote:

MisterHairy wrote:

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

It's interesting: as nathantw and Grevture point out, this opinion appears on the forum once a week or so; and when people post comparative photographs showing the "obvious" better-ness of an 1.8 (D or G) variant at various apertures, I seem always to prefer the frames from the 1.4!

Maybe I just have bad taste.  

I think anothermike actually has the most useful opinion I've read on this.   He can speak to it better than I can, but I'll paraphrase and he can correct me if I misspeak: he likes to point out that lens performance is so deeply linked to photographic subject--to focal distance, to lighting conditions, to the peculiarities of the body on which you use it--that proclaiming a "best" lens can be a deeply misleading business.   There might well be a number of circumstances in which the 85 f/1.8G does outperform the f/1.4G, but probably not all.  (If I had to guess, I'd imagine the f/1.8G is a little sharper at stopped-down apertures (say, f/5.6 and higher), at distances, and in situations that don't involve backlight, bright specular highlights, or other direct reflection.)   Does that make it a "better" lens?   No, not if you're shooting outdoor portraits in interesting light.

Honestly, I kind of hate these "The Cheaper Lens is Better!" celebratory posts for that reason: they pick one circumstance in which the inexpensive lens performs extraordinarily well and then assume it speaks for every use, for every taste, for everyone.

In so many situations, the level of performance we're getting from these optics really does delve straight into taste--because they're all sharp, they're all reasonably well corrected, they all resist flare pretty well.  That's something to celebrate--that there's a real art to these designs that takes some discipline and experience to appreciate.  Just jumping on sharp photographs as an opportunity to proclaim one's taste "superior" and determinative of "best" ruins the better opportunity for everyone else to talk about what's really going on.

M.

Well said. I was a bit disappointed with the f/1.4G when I got it. I wondered why I paid so much. I went out and took night pictures and saw the purple fringes. I took daylight pictures and saw the green and magenta fringes. The lens didn't focus properly until I fine tuned it, something I never did before. It was frankly, a horrible experience.

However, I found that ViewNX2 fixed the color fringes in my night pictures. The daylight pictures were also correctable to an extent. The focusing problem was resolved and I finally went out and started using the lens. I went outside and shot things at different distances, different apertures, different lighting and they all turned out to be a fantastic.

In some ways it was like my 85mm f/1.8 AF that I had a love/hate relationship with. I hated that I couldn't use the lens wide open, I hated the internal reflections when shooting at night, but I LOVED the lens when stopped down. Once you learn the characteristics of a lens, you then can use its strengths to create the photographs you want.

I didn't know the 85mm f/1.4G lens. Everything about it was wrong. Everything I tried initially made me want to return it. However, after deciding to find out the strengths and weaknesses I found that the lens was really good, wide open (the reason I purchased the lens) to stopped down. So, If I had made an initial determination of the lens on a short demo, I would have dumped it, especially if I had a lens I knew like the back of my hand and compared the two.

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ken6217
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to Cytokine, May 23, 2013

Cytokine wrote:

Firstly at 4 feet and f1.4 the depth of field (FX) is 5/8ths of an inch 15mm in metric. NOt for the inexperienced. Which is why pros love this lens and amateurs are moved to tears.

John

I understand that. I actually went to a DOF calculator after I took the images and saw how SHALLOW the DOF is at about the distance you are saying. With that said though, That shouldn't account for me focusing on the eye and the is is not sharp. At 4.5 it is very sharp though.

Maybe I got a bad copy.

Ken

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Lance B
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Re: How to be a Tastemaker
In reply to MarkJH, May 23, 2013

MarkJH wrote:

MisterHairy wrote:

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

It's interesting: as nathantw and Grevture point out, this opinion appears on the forum once a week or so; and when people post comparative photographs showing the "obvious" better-ness of an 1.8 (D or G) variant at various apertures, I seem always to prefer the frames from the 1.4!

A worthless thread without "proof" from the OP to back up his statement.

The OP must be the only one who makes the claim that the 85 f1.8G "simply slays" the 85 f1.4G which flies in the face of all the tests that I have seen and anecdotal evidence, Photozone and DXO, DXO giving the 85 f1.4G the sharpest lens that I have seen them test on the D800 as is nearly the case with Photozone, the only sharper lens that I have discovered is the 200 f2 4076 compared to 4016 from the 85/1.4.

However, it is close to the 85 f1.8 to be splitting hairs, literally.

Maybe I just have bad taste.  

I think anothermike actually has the most useful opinion I've read on this.

Mike is about the best.

He can speak to it better than I can, but I'll paraphrase and he can correct me if I misspeak: he likes to point out that lens performance is so deeply linked to photographic subject--to focal distance, to lighting conditions, to the peculiarities of the body on which you use it--that proclaiming a "best" lens can be a deeply misleading business.

Not to mention the aperture used at those various camera to subject distances can have a major effect on the result compared to other apertures from the same distance etc. So many variables!

There might well be a number of circumstances in which the 85 f/1.8G does outperform the f/1.4G, but probably not all.  (If I had to guess, I'd imagine the f/1.8G is a little sharper at stopped-down apertures (say, f/5.6 and higher), at distances, and in situations that don't involve backlight, bright specular highlights, or other direct reflection.)   Does that make it a "better" lens?   No, not if you're shooting outdoor portraits in interesting light.

Honestly, I kind of hate these "The Cheaper Lens is Better!" celebratory posts for that reason: they pick one circumstance in which the inexpensive lens performs extraordinarily well and then assume it speaks for every use, for every taste, for everyone.

Yep.

In so many situations, the level of performance we're getting from these optics really does delve straight into taste--because they're all sharp, they're all reasonably well corrected, they all resist flare pretty well.  That's something to celebrate--that there's a real art to these designs that takes some discipline and experience to appreciate.  Just jumping on sharp photographs as an opportunity to proclaim one's taste "superior" and determinative of "best" ruins the better opportunity for everyone else to talk about what's really going on.

Both are superb lenses and both deliver the goods. If you can't afford, or don't need the 85 f1.4G, the 85 f1.8G is a logical pick and a fantastic lens. However, please do not insult our intelligence by wild claims of the 85 f1.8G "slaying" the 85 f1.4G, it is just garbage and ignorant.

M.

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MiraShootsNikon
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You have a great copy.
In reply to ken6217, May 23, 2013

ken6217 wrote:

Cytokine wrote:

Firstly at 4 feet and f1.4 the depth of field (FX) is 5/8ths of an inch 15mm in metric. NOt for the inexperienced. Which is why pros love this lens and amateurs are moved to tears.

John

I understand that. I actually went to a DOF calculator after I took the images and saw how SHALLOW the DOF is at about the distance you are saying. With that said though, That shouldn't account for me focusing on the eye and the is is not sharp. At 4.5 it is very sharp though.

Maybe I got a bad copy.

Ken

(1) Maybe you need to use Autofocus Fine Tuning.

(2) Maybe you need to try the contrast-detect system in Live View to nail such shallow DoF attempts.

(3) Maybe you need to stop focus-recomposing.

(4) Maybe you're using AF-S and pausing for a split second, breathing, or doing anything else to move the camera in the split second between focus lock and shutter hit.  Maybe your subject is moving slightly, accidentally, too.  It's not difficult to accidentally move out of a 5/8 inch depth-of-field in the delay between AF-S focus lock and firing the shutter.  (Using AF-C with no lock delay / focus priority firing can solve this problem.)

The list of possible reasons why you didn't get a "bad copy" go on and on and on and on . . . .

mira

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SuperAchromat
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

Your observation about sharpness is no surprise.  Almost to a tee, slower lenses beat faster ones at all f-stops.  A lowly $140 50mm f/1.8 will beat a $400+ f/1.4.  The issue with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 to me isn't sharpness, it's bokeh.  I found Samyang's/Opteka lenses at $300 a pop to be better in the defocused areas.  The 85mm f/1.8 Nikon is a great lens with terrific value.

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ken6217
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Re: You have a great copy.
In reply to MiraShootsNikon, May 23, 2013

MiraShootsNikon wrote:

ken6217 wrote:

Cytokine wrote:

Firstly at 4 feet and f1.4 the depth of field (FX) is 5/8ths of an inch 15mm in metric. NOt for the inexperienced. Which is why pros love this lens and amateurs are moved to tears.

John

I understand that. I actually went to a DOF calculator after I took the images and saw how SHALLOW the DOF is at about the distance you are saying. With that said though, That shouldn't account for me focusing on the eye and the is is not sharp. At 4.5 it is very sharp though.

Maybe I got a bad copy.

Ken

(1) Maybe you need to use Autofocus Fine Tuning.

(2) Maybe you need to try the contrast-detect system in Live View to nail such shallow DoF attempts.

(3) Maybe you need to stop focus-recomposing.

(4) Maybe you're using AF-S and pausing for a split second, breathing, or doing anything else to move the camera in the split second between focus lock and shutter hit.  Maybe your subject is moving slightly, accidentally, too.  It's not difficult to accidentally move out of a 5/8 inch depth-of-field in the delay between AF-S focus lock and firing the shutter.  (Using AF-C with no lock delay / focus priority firing can solve this problem.)

The list of possible reasons why you didn't get a "bad copy" go on and on and on and on . . . .

mira

You could be right, or maybe I got a bad copy.

It's pretty hard to EFF up 1/2000 of a second. And why is it clear at other aperatures?

Ken

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Cytokine
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to ken6217, May 23, 2013

ken6217 wrote:

Cytokine wrote:

Firstly at 4 feet and f1.4 the depth of field (FX) is 5/8ths of an inch 15mm in metric. NOt for the inexperienced. Which is why pros love this lens and amateurs are moved to tears.

John

I understand that. I actually went to a DOF calculator after I took the images and saw how SHALLOW the DOF is at about the distance you are saying. With that said though, That shouldn't account for me focusing on the eye and the is is not sharp. At 4.5 it is very sharp though.

Maybe I got a bad copy.

Ken

Ken I went through this learning curve a few years ago with the 50mm 1.4D, and after a lot of blurred images I realised that if the camera moved a little bit and the subject moved a little bit, The DOF was gone!

With the D 85 1.4 I found that you really have to be spot on with the focussing, if your camera and lens are not aligned then you could just be going round in circles, I use f2 or f2.8 for flowers etc. If I shoot f1.4 I will shoot 3 stops down as well (just in case!) You also have to avoid shooting at angles if you can.

You could try another copy, but try some tripod tests first.

This is a hand held snap at 1.4 if I used a tripod it would probably be allot sharper.

But allot of people love soft portraits, (especially as we get older). Its nice to have the choice.

John

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nathantw
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Re: You have a great copy.
In reply to ken6217, May 23, 2013

ken6217 wrote:

You could be right, or maybe I got a bad copy.

It's pretty hard to EFF up 1/2000 of a second. And why is it clear at other aperatures?

Ken

Ken, my 50mm f/1.4G couldn't focus at infinity a couple times when new, but using the lens resolved the issue. Never had that weird problem again.

Use your lens a little. Tweak the AF Fine Tune in your camera. Put the camera on a tripod, take a picture of a static item. See if the subject is in focus and if so if it's sharp. If it's not then maybe you do have a bad lens.

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Lance B
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Re: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 lens not so hot.
In reply to SuperAchromat, May 23, 2013

SuperAchromat wrote:

LOL. you've got to laugh at these broad brushed statements.

Your observation about sharpness is no surprise.  Almost to a tee, slower lenses beat faster ones at all f-stops.

Really? Every time, every f stop, eh? Hmmm, there goes your credibility out the window.

A lowly $140 50mm f/1.8 will beat a $400+ f/1.4.

Again, really? Every time, eh? And your proof? Doesn't seem to be the case on the test sites I've seen. Credinility flown south for the winter never to return.

The issue with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 to me isn't sharpness, it's bokeh.  I found Samyang's/Opteka lenses at $300 a pop to be better in the defocused areas.  The 85mm f/1.8 Nikon is a great lens with terrific value.

That it is, but it doesn't make it better in every respect. It seems that the OP's thoughts fly in the face of just about every review and test on these two lenses. These are just ludicrous statements from the OP:

"Sharpness is a no-brainer. The cheaper lens simply slays the 1.4 all the way up to f/5.6 or 8."

Then:

"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."

Whilst both are ture statements he accepts the vignetting of the 85 f1.8 yet dismisses the CA of the 85 f1.4, nothing wrong with that on the face of it, but they can both easily be corrected post process making them both moot points of either advantage or disadvantage. However he uses them as tools to try to prove a failing argument for one over the other.

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MiraShootsNikon
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Re: You have a great copy.
In reply to ken6217, May 23, 2013

ken6217 wrote:

MiraShootsNikon wrote:

ken6217 wrote:

Cytokine wrote:

Firstly at 4 feet and f1.4 the depth of field (FX) is 5/8ths of an inch 15mm in metric. NOt for the inexperienced. Which is why pros love this lens and amateurs are moved to tears.

John

I understand that. I actually went to a DOF calculator after I took the images and saw how SHALLOW the DOF is at about the distance you are saying. With that said though, That shouldn't account for me focusing on the eye and the is is not sharp. At 4.5 it is very sharp though.

Maybe I got a bad copy.

Ken

(1) Maybe you need to use Autofocus Fine Tuning.

(2) Maybe you need to try the contrast-detect system in Live View to nail such shallow DoF attempts.

(3) Maybe you need to stop focus-recomposing.

(4) Maybe you're using AF-S and pausing for a split second, breathing, or doing anything else to move the camera in the split second between focus lock and shutter hit.  Maybe your subject is moving slightly, accidentally, too.  It's not difficult to accidentally move out of a 5/8 inch depth-of-field in the delay between AF-S focus lock and firing the shutter.  (Using AF-C with no lock delay / focus priority firing can solve this problem.)

The list of possible reasons why you didn't get a "bad copy" go on and on and on and on . . . .

mira

You could be right, or maybe I got a bad copy.

It's pretty hard to EFF up 1/2000 of a second. And why is it clear at other aperatures?

Ken

Dude, are you joking?  

Look, I don't mean this in a snotty way, but if you're seriously asking why it's "clear at other apertures," then you bought a lens you aren't at all ready for.

But I'll answer: it's "clear at other apertures" because you have more depth of field and you therefore don't need to be as precise with your focusing.   If your depth of field is 5 inches, the camera can pick a focal plane anywhere within the five inches and your shot will look sharp.   If your depth of field is 5/8 inch, the camera--and your technique--has less room for error.

Beyond a certain point, it doesn't matter how fast your shutter speed is.  It matters whether your camera and lens are actually achieving an accurate focus in the first place, and whether you're using the proper technique that'll even allow an accurate focus to happen.  It's true that a very slow shutter speed might cause camera shake or subject motion to blur your photographs, but you're talking like that's the only issue that might cause what you're seeing.

There are other things you need to do to help your camera achieve precise focus.

Here's the list, again:

(1) Are you using AF Fine Tune?  You need to be.  It's not a joke.  There's almost no way you can hit an accurate focus at f/1.4 without fine tuning, for many, many reasons.

(2) Are you trying Contrast Detect (Live View)?  You may need to.  (It is, by the nature of the technology, more precise than through-the-viewfinder phase detect, in case you didn't realize it.)

(3) Are you recomposing after AF-S Focus lock?  If so, there's no way you're going to achieve an accurate focus at f/1.4.  Your recompose movement will almost always accidentally pull the camera  out of the focal plane.

(4) Have you tried AF-C with no lock delay and focus priority firing?   You may need to.  Regardless of your shutter speed, if you're using AF-S, there's going to be a delay much longer than 1/2000 of a second between the time the camera gives you a lock and you fire the shutter.  In that time, you might move.  Your subject might move.  With 5/8 inch at stake, you don't have any room for that.  Therefore, if you use an AF-C mode (again, with no lock delay and with focus priority) the camera will be able to continue evaluating focus to the very moment the shutter actually fires.

Or just send it back, get another "bad copy" and conclude the lens isn't very sharp.  Whatever floats your boat.

mira

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ken6217
Regular MemberPosts: 308
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Re: You have a great copy.
In reply to MiraShootsNikon, May 23, 2013

MiraShootsNikon wrote:

You could be right, or maybe I got a bad copy.

It's pretty hard to EFF up 1/2000 of a second. And why is it clear at other aperatures?

Ken

But I'll answer: it's "clear at other apertures" because you have more depth of field and you therefore don't need to be as precise with your focusing.   If your depth of field is 5 inches, the camera can pick a focal plane anywhere within the five inches and your shot will look sharp.   If your depth of field is 5/8 inch, the camera--and your technique--has less room for error.

mira

I appreciate the comments. As I mentioned at the beginning, I am not a pro and this is my first prime in years. This probably is where the issue could be. If the lens is not a bad copy. LOL.

Ken

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