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

Started May 22, 2013 | Discussions
MiraShootsNikon
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Re: You have a great copy.
In reply to ken6217, May 23, 2013

ken6217 wrote:

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

It's definitely a "bad copy," Ken.  Send that sucker back and try another one.  Best of three maybe?

mira

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wasserball
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For me, I'm with stupid
In reply to MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

I have the 85mm f1.8G.  I'm glad someone found that the lens is better.  Saved me a lot of aggravations to decide whether the f1.4G is worth the money.  

Bokeh is over rated. Has anyone ever compare, "my bokeh is better than yours?  Sounds like playground bullying the weaks.

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Cytokine
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Re: For me, I'm with stupid
In reply to wasserball, May 23, 2013

wasserball wrote:

I have the 85mm f1.8G.  I'm glad someone found that the lens is better.  Saved me a lot of aggravations to decide whether the f1.4G is worth the money.  

Bokeh is over rated. Has anyone ever compare, "my bokeh is better than yours?  Sounds like playground bullying the weaks.

Firstly the 85mm 1.8G is an amazing lens, it is made possible only because Nikon owns their own optical glass company, and are masters at precision moulding, a lens of this quality could not have been made 5-10 years ago at this price. "It is an optical production work of art".

Some people prefer sharpness some people prefer bokeh (which is subjective anyway) they offer us choice we decide what we want and can afford.

Some optical glass costs 30 times more than other optical glasses, The 85mm 1.4 lenses tend to be the flagship lenses and Nikon throw all their technology at them; these large diameter lenses are much harder to mould and tend to be individually finished and assembled.  However the differences are becoming less and less.

John

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Shotcents
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1.8 won for me at any cost
In reply to Cytokine, May 23, 2013

The difference between the old D lenses was far more pronounced than with these new G models.

I had a clear preference for my 1.4D over the 1.8 version. But now, after working with both, I was shocked to come away preferring the 1.8G. It's slightly sharper and has a very accurate rendering that is better for the candids I shoot. I think it's the better street lens and perhaps the 1.4G is the superior studio lens.

Ignoring cost I like the 85mm 1.8G better on the D800, just as I preferred the 50mm 1.8G over the 1.4G version. On the other hand I kept the Sigma 50mm 1.4 as it's better than the Nikons.

You really can't go wrong with ANY of these lenses. Lens snobs want to dream that buying the more expensive lens will always assure better results. Keep dreaming.

Robert

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sfnikon
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Mostly agree
In reply to MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

But it's not that the 1.4G is bad rather the 1.8G is so good.   The 1.4G is probably better when shooting into the sun with the nanocoating.

My most used primes on the D800e:

24/1.4G, Sigma 35/1.4, 85/1.8G, 200/2

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Jake

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

It's funny to see comments like mine bring out the anxiety attacks in the easily undermined. The insecure owners of the more expensive kit who need to reassure themselves that they have spent their money wisely.

Maybe I should add a little background. Maybe not. I have eight years of use of the 85/1.4D, and we have sold a great many images made with it. Film and digital. It is a lovely lens, but I always hated the clumsy AF/MF switching when I wanted to tweak the focus. Obviously, that's not a shotcoming specific to the 85D, but the shallow DOF means that tweaking can be more common than for other lenses (which was my original reason for swapping out the 1.4D for the 1.8G). I have also used the Canon 85/1.2 with our 5Ds and 5DIIs  (less so nowadays, as I work nearly 100% with the Nikons) and have to be honest; that's a fantastic lens. The best 35mm format 85mm on the market in my opinion. (and it's only an opinion!)

I am no stranger to the "joys" of shallow DOF photography. I also have a bit of a gear fetish, like many of the contributors here. I love fine kit which is a joy to use and do often spend over and above what's absolutely necessary so that I can work with nice gear. I also appreciate the law of diminishing returns. I know for a fact that even our most demanding clients will not be able to discriminate between either of the 85G lenses. Part of that is because they are not photographers, and part of it is because as the togs, we are normally able to control the environment to bring out the best in both our clients and the equipment. Both of these points will go an awfully long way to mitigate any differences, clear or subtle, between lens choices. In years of studio sessions, when I have offered clients a choice of images, shallow DOF and more "normal" DOF, very VERY few have preferred the shallow DOF option. The commercial fact (as they appear in this neck of the woods, in our specific niches) is that portraiture below f/2.8 or f/4 is nice for the home collection and internet bragging rights, but simply does not put much food on the table. There is always a cry of "this is why the pros love the 1.4 lenses" in these discussions, but I can't help but suspect that it is not the pros who make these outlandish and really rather patronising comments. The aspiring photographer is easily wooed by the shallow DOF shots with just the iris in focus. The guys (and girls!) who need to feed their families have a more pragmatic understanding of what works and makes successful images.

To the gentleman who was kind enough to point me in the direction of the various sources of test data on the web (photozone.de et al), perhaps you might like to sharpen up on your reading skills, my friend. All of the test data out there supports my claim that at wider apertures, the 1.8 lens is sharper. Much so for the first stop or so. Above f/5.6 or so, the 1.4 lens may be marginally sharper, but I doubt that many eyes could discriminate between the two. Especially in a print (you know, those things that you sell to clients).

I must confess that I never used the 1.4D on the 800Es; only the 700s, D2X and film. I must also confess that I am making my sharpness comparisons in this case from 100% screen viewing. Shoot me now! I do appreciate that these differences would not be visible in most if not all prints that we are likely to make (11x14 is common, with 16x20 way behind) and that's kind of the point here. Aside from the warm and comfy feeling that I am using the best (OK, I can reassure my clients about this, but it actually has little commercial value), the additional £900 for the 1.4 is looking unjustifiable.

Build wise, the 1.4 lens wins, although I might actually prefer the more damped feeling of the 1.8's focus ring. The weather sealing is not that important to me, nor, I suspect, many other portrait shooters. Pleasing blur is important, but this isn't Japan, and the reality is that at typical working apertures, there is little to tell between the two lenses. The 1.4 lens is a little warmer, but that's hardly a massive hurdle to get over for the 1.8. Flare resistance might be a valid point for many, but personally, this is not a big deal.

Clearly, my opinion is based around my own usage patterns and personal bias. I appreciate that, but I think that folks who respond by calling my observations "garbage" are revealing rather more fragility and immaturity than they might like. I am sorry that you feel threatened by my actual observations based on actual use of the actual gear in question. Maybe you're using a lesser camera, which is masking the inadequacies when you sit at your screen, peeping away.

I am busy, but I will see if I can muster an hour or so to provide some side by side examples (yes, yes; on a tripod, using live view, 3s delay etc. etc.) at a coulple of focal distances and a range of apertures to back these assertions up, since I realise that words alone provide no opportunity to berate my focusing skills.

I look forward to being told that I must have swapped the exif (IF [and it's a big IF] I can work out how to upload images to this site).

Got cramp from typing now.

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MisterHairy
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Re: Mostly agree
In reply to sfnikon, May 23, 2013

Actually, you are right, in a way. The 1.8G is very very good indeed, but I do think that the 1.4 is a little disappointing; particularly given the cost.

Interestingly, your most used lens list is almost the same as mine except that I use the Nikkor 35/1.4, having bought it long before the Sigma came out. I love love LOVE the 35, but it's not the most critically sharp lens out there. Awesome look to it though.

sfnikon wrote:

But it's not that the 1.4G is bad rather the 1.8G is so good.   The 1.4G is probably better when shooting into the sun with the nanocoating.

My most used primes on the D800e:

24/1.4G, Sigma 35/1.4, 85/1.8G, 200/2

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Jake

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

MisterHairy wrote:

It's funny to see comments like mine bring out the anxiety attacks in the easily undermined. The insecure owners of the more expensive kit who need to reassure themselves that they have spent their money wisely.

Maybe I should add a little background. Maybe not. I have eight years of use of the 85/1.4D, and we have sold a great many images made with it. Film and digital. It is a lovely lens, but I always hated the clumsy AF/MF switching when I wanted to tweak the focus. Obviously, that's not a shotcoming specific to the 85D, but the shallow DOF means that tweaking can be more common than for other lenses (which was my original reason for swapping out the 1.4D for the 1.8G). I have also used the Canon 85/1.2 with our 5Ds and 5DIIs  (less so nowadays, as I work nearly 100% with the Nikons) and have to be honest; that's a fantastic lens. The best 35mm format 85mm on the market in my opinion. (and it's only an opinion!)

I am no stranger to the "joys" of shallow DOF photography. I also have a bit of a gear fetish, like many of the contributors here. I love fine kit which is a joy to use and do often spend over and above what's absolutely necessary so that I can work with nice gear. I also appreciate the law of diminishing returns. I know for a fact that even our most demanding clients will not be able to discriminate between either of the 85G lenses. Part of that is because they are not photographers, and part of it is because as the togs, we are normally able to control the environment to bring out the best in both our clients and the equipment. Both of these points will go an awfully long way to mitigate any differences, clear or subtle, between lens choices. In years of studio sessions, when I have offered clients a choice of images, shallow DOF and more "normal" DOF, very VERY few have preferred the shallow DOF option. The commercial fact (as they appear in this neck of the woods, in our specific niches) is that portraiture below f/2.8 or f/4 is nice for the home collection and internet bragging rights, but simply does not put much food on the table. There is always a cry of "this is why the pros love the 1.4 lenses" in these discussions, but I can't help but suspect that it is not the pros who make these outlandish and really rather patronising comments. The aspiring photographer is easily wooed by the shallow DOF shots with just the iris in focus. The guys (and girls!) who need to feed their families have a more pragmatic understanding of what works and makes successful images.

To the gentleman who was kind enough to point me in the direction of the various sources of test data on the web (photozone.de et al), perhaps you might like to sharpen up on your reading skills, my friend. All of the test data out there supports my claim that at wider apertures, the 1.8 lens is sharper. Much so for the first stop or so. Above f/5.6 or so, the 1.4 lens may be marginally sharper, but I doubt that many eyes could discriminate between the two. Especially in a print (you know, those things that you sell to clients).

I must confess that I never used the 1.4D on the 800Es; only the 700s, D2X and film. I must also confess that I am making my sharpness comparisons in this case from 100% screen viewing. Shoot me now! I do appreciate that these differences would not be visible in most if not all prints that we are likely to make (11x14 is common, with 16x20 way behind) and that's kind of the point here. Aside from the warm and comfy feeling that I am using the best (OK, I can reassure my clients about this, but it actually has little commercial value), the additional £900 for the 1.4 is looking unjustifiable.

Build wise, the 1.4 lens wins, although I might actually prefer the more damped feeling of the 1.8's focus ring. The weather sealing is not that important to me, nor, I suspect, many other portrait shooters. Pleasing blur is important, but this isn't Japan, and the reality is that at typical working apertures, there is little to tell between the two lenses. The 1.4 lens is a little warmer, but that's hardly a massive hurdle to get over for the 1.8. Flare resistance might be a valid point for many, but personally, this is not a big deal.

Clearly, my opinion is based around my own usage patterns and personal bias. I appreciate that, but I think that folks who respond by calling my observations "garbage" are revealing rather more fragility and immaturity than they might like. I am sorry that you feel threatened by my actual observations based on actual use of the actual gear in question. Maybe you're using a lesser camera, which is masking the inadequacies when you sit at your screen, peeping away.

I am busy, but I will see if I can muster an hour or so to provide some side by side examples (yes, yes; on a tripod, using live view, 3s delay etc. etc.) at a coulple of focal distances and a range of apertures to back these assertions up, since I realise that words alone provide no opportunity to berate my focusing skills.

I look forward to being told that I must have swapped the exif (IF [and it's a big IF] I can work out how to upload images to this site).

Got cramp from typing now.

Really very well said.

But this is a gear forum and there will always be those who cling to their lenses like a security blanket. I love owning the best kit too, but I have a deadly streak of pragmatic blood running through me. I never doubted that my old 85mm 1.4D was better than the 1.8D. It was CLEARLY better.

But this is just both the case with these G lenses and now where left with very subtle differences that come down to taste rather than inarguable and easily provable performance limits. Even with the price, weight and reputation of the 1.4G working magic on my NAS soul, I could not bring myself to prefer it over the 1.8G. Nikon did a terrible thing and also a great thing!

You get what you pay for but you also should quantify what it is that your getting and if it has real value to your work. If it doesn't that you're just buying jewelry. There's nothing wrong with that and I've certainly done it over the years.

This time I didn't. And now I somehow have this 85mm lens that I paid 396.00 for with rebate that just happens to be one of the best lenses I own with only the 50mm costing less.

Robert

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John Motts
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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:

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

You can get absolutely tack sharp results at 1.4. And I mean tack sharp - every eye lash razor sharp.

I think the problem most people have is using it hand held with AF-S. This means that even the tiniest change in distance will throw it out of focus because of the miniscule depth of field.

Using AF-C is the answer. Oh, and never use focus-recompose.

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

Yes, AF-C with the shutter release decoupled from focus.

(using the AF ON button)

I always shoot all my AF lenses this way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyPv1bLkwqA

Sometimes using focus recompose if the aperture is smaller than wide open! 

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

John Motts wrote:

You can get absolutely tack sharp results at 1.4. And I mean tack sharp - every eye lash razor sharp.

I think the problem most people have is using it hand held with AF-S. This means that even the tiniest change in distance will throw it out of focus because of the miniscule depth of field.

Using AF-C is the answer. Oh, and never use focus-recompose.

That is what I found on many lenses - AF-S takes away as much as it gives, at least in my limited experience.    One reason I have gone back to using manual focus primes.

I looked at both 85mm Nikkors, and ended up buying the Zeiss 85mm F1.4   I  never looked back.  Of course, I am using it on my D700, so your mileage may and will vary, but regardless of using AF-S or AF-C, I find more often than not, I "hit the target" with manual focus lenses.  So just for sake of arguement, if both the Nikkor 85mms were in manual focus versions only, I wonder if we would be having this same discussion?

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GeneZh
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Can I ask how their focus speed & accuracy compare?
In reply to MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

I'm asking this because my 1.8G sometimes front focuses, and I wish it focused faster.

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MisterHairy
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Re: Can I ask how their focus speed & accuracy compare?
In reply to GeneZh, May 23, 2013

The 1.4 is a bit faster than the 1.8, but is much more prone to inaccurate results (in my experience) in low or artificial light when used on a D800. On a D700, the 1.4 still hits focus more quickly, but both seem to be very accurate.

GeneZh wrote:

I'm asking this because my 1.8G sometimes front focuses, and I wish it focused faster.

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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 MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

MisterHairy wrote:

It's funny to see comments like mine bring out the anxiety attacks in the easily undermined. The insecure owners of the more expensive kit who need to reassure themselves that they have spent their money wisely.

In other words, you just doidn't want to be called into question about your wild claim.

The typical response from someone who makes an outlandish claim without proof and their pontifications fly in the face of test reports. See below.

To the gentleman who was kind enough to point me in the direction of the various sources of test data on the web (photozone.de et al), perhaps you might like to sharpen up on your reading skills, my friend. All of the test data out there supports my claim that at wider apertures, the 1.8 lens is sharper. Much so for the first stop or so. Above f/5.6 or so, the 1.4 lens may be marginally sharper, but I doubt that many eyes could discriminate between the two. Especially in a print (you know, those things that you sell to clients).

Maybe you need to reacquaint yourself with what you said:

"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."

Slays the 85 f1.4 all the way up to f5.6? You must be blind or have a completely different idea of what slays means. From Photozone's results:

85mm f1.8 @ f1.8 centre = 3554

85mm f1.4 @ f2 centre = 3586

85mm f1.8 @ f2.8 centre = 3821

85mm f1.4 @ f2.8 centre = 3787

85mm f1.8 @ f4 centre = 3872

85mm f1.4 @ f4 centre = 4016

85mm f1.8 @ f5.6 centre = 3842

85mm f1.4 @ f5.6 centre = 3989

The centre resolution figures seem to indicate the 85mm f1.4 beats, the 85 f1.8 in all but one aperture. Hmm, slays the 85 f1.4? I think not.

Lets look at "Border" performance from Photozone:

85mm f1.8 @ f1.8 border = 3298

85mm f1.4 @ f2 border = 3192

85mm f1.8 @ f2.8 border = 3423

85mm f1.4 @ f2.8 border = 3445

85mm f1.8 @ f4 border = 3520

85mm f1.4 @ f4 border = 3812

85mm f1.8 @ f5.6 border = 3570

85mm f1.4 @ f5.6 border = 3839

Again, the border performance of the 85 f1.4 beats the f1.8 vesrion in each but one aperture. Slays the f1.4? Not even close.

Let's look at "Extreme" performance from Photozone:

85mm f1.8 @ f1.8 extreme = 3246

85mm f1.4 @ f2 extreme = 3156

85mm f1.8 @ f2.8 extreme = 3339

85mm f1.4 @ f2.8 extreme = 3388

85mm f1.8 @ f4 extreme = 3396

85mm f1.4 @ f4 extreme = 3766

85mm f1.8 @ f5.6 extreme = 3507

85mm f1.4 @ f5.6 extreme = 3797

Again, the extreme performance of the 85 f1.4 beats the f1.8 vesrion in each but one aperture. Slays the f1.4? Again, not even close.

Clearly, my opinion is based around my own usage patterns and personal bias. I appreciate that, but I think that folks who respond by calling my observations "garbage" are revealing rather more fragility and immaturity than they might like.

Our immaturity? You mean like starting an attention grabbing thread like a child yelling "look at me mom" and using wild claims of the 85 f1.8 slaying the 85 f1.4 when it is plainly not so and having no evidence to back it up. Hmmm.

I am sorry that you feel threatened by my actual observations based on actual use of the actual gear in question. Maybe you're using a lesser camera, which is masking the inadequacies when you sit at your screen, peeping away.

It would be nice to just have a little truth in what you say rather than wild outlandish claims with no basis in fact. You did state 85 f1.8 "slays the f1.4 in every aperture from wide open to f5.6" and I have shown that that is just simply not true, actually showing that the 85 f.4 beats the 85 f1.8 in just about all respects as far as resolution is concerned according to Photozone's test. I have no beef against the 85 f1.8, it is a superb lens, a real gem in fact and brilliant value for money. The fact is, if anything, anyone would have had more credence to write a a post claiming the 85 f1.4 was better than the 85 f1.8 but I see no-one making such silly claims such as "slaying the 85mm f1.8" or any such nonsense. I would actually say that they are very close as far as that is concerned without a clear winner.

I am busy, but I will see if I can muster an hour or so to provide some side by side examples (yes, yes; on a tripod, using live view, 3s delay etc. etc.) at a coulple of focal distances and a range of apertures to back these assertions up, since I realise that words alone provide no opportunity to berate my focusing skills.

I look forward to being told that I must have swapped the exif (IF [and it's a big IF] I can work out how to upload images to this site).

Oh, please.

Got cramp from typing now.

Are you sure it's from typing?

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

John Motts wrote:

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

You can get absolutely tack sharp results at 1.4. And I mean tack sharp - every eye lash razor sharp.

I think the problem most people have is using it hand held with AF-S. This means that even the tiniest change in distance will throw it out of focus because of the miniscule depth of field.

Using AF-C is the answer. Oh, and never use focus-recompose.

Actually, I usually do use AF-C with the back focus button released from the shutter release, but thought it would be better to use AF-S. I'll try it out again when I get home from work switching the mode.

Gotcha on the re-composing. That was brought up yesterday too. Makes sense after looking at a DOF calculator and the DOF was less than an inch I think.

Ken

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

Oh Lance, Lance

Calm down. You haven't shown any such thing. You have parroted some figures from a website. I am talking from actual experience in using both lenses.

If all one needs to do in order to prove a point is regurgitate some web content, how about I see your photozone reference and raise it by a couple of others:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_Nikkor_85mm_telephoto_lens_comparison/verdict.shtml

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/nikon-af-s-nikkor-85mm-f-1-8g-lens-review-18810

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/nikon-af-s-nikkor-85mm-f-1-4g-interchangeable-lens-review-14783

The ephotozine links may be of particular interest to you. They reflect my own experience. Maybe you have a reason to trust photozone more, but we normally see people decrying their results on here.

The 1.4 lens may be a little sharper in the far corners, but since I'm never going to place the subject in one of those corners, that's pretty irrelevant, I'd say. I suspect that a lot of other portrait shooters would say the same thing, don't you?

I'm happy that you love your 1.4 lens so much that you will leap to its defense with such vim and vigour, but you really don't need to; it's your right and choice to own whatever bits of kit you like. So long as it's the best for you, then that's all that matters. Have you ever tried the 1.8G lens though?

Lance B wrote: "I have shown that that is just simply not true, actually showing that the 85 f.4 beats the 85 f1.8 in just about all respects as far as resolution is concerned according to Photozone's test"

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Ray Ritchie
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36 posts and not a single image so far? Yawn...(nt)
In reply to MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

No text.

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MisterHairy
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Re: 36 posts and not a single image so far? Yawn...(nt)
In reply to Ray Ritchie, May 23, 2013

Not 36 posts by me, and some of us have to earn a crust, so making and prepping images for a web forum comes pretty far down the list of priorities. I have said that I will do this later on, so patience, grasshopper. If you're yawning, perhaps you should do yourself a favour and get some sleep between now and then.

Ray Ritchie wrote:

No text.

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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 MisterHairy, May 23, 2013

MisterHairy wrote:

Oh Lance, Lance

Calm down.

Calm down? I'm as calm as can be. Don't try to enflate the situation to make yourself look good.

You haven't shown any such thing. You have parroted some figures from a website.

LOL. You shouldn't get so upset when you are shown to be wrong. Maybe they made it all up as did DXO Mark. These are actual figures that are real, not some wild claim made by someone without any evidence.

I am talking from actual experience in using both lenses.

Now who needs to calm down?

Anyway, what you have stated flies in the face of all other evidence. They are both very similar, not one "slays" the other.

If all one needs to do in order to prove a point is regurgitate some web content, how about I see your photozone reference and raise it by a couple of others:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_Nikkor_85mm_telephoto_lens_comparison/verdict.shtml

Yes, Cameralabs gives both the 85 f1.8G and the 85 f1.4G a Highly Recommended monicker. Which is what I have been saying all along, not that one "slays" the other.

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/nikon-af-s-nikkor-85mm-f-1-8g-lens-review-18810

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/nikon-af-s-nikkor-85mm-f-1-4g-interchangeable-lens-review-14783

These two mirror what Photozone's results are and exactly what I have been saying.

The ephotozine links may be of particular interest to you. They reflect my own experience. Maybe you have a reason to trust photozone more, but we normally see people decrying their results on here.

Not at all. Ephotozone's results are actually similar to those of Photozone, if you care to look. If you want to be pedantic you said the CA was worse on the 85 f1.4 and yet Ephotozone shows it to be better than the 85 f1.8!

Click on the relevent resolution graphs and open them up seperately and then click on them alternately and you will see the overlay of the 85 1.4G is mostly better than that of the 85 f1.8G. However, I think they close enough to make it almost irrelevent, one does not slay the other.

The 1.4 lens may be a little sharper in the far corners, but since I'm never going to place the subject in one of those corners, that's pretty irrelevant, I'd say. I suspect that a lot of other portrait shooters would say the same thing, don't you?

Funny, so many bemoaned the previous 85 f1.4D for it's soft corners and now everyone praises the 85 f1.4G for it's excellent corners. Now you want to make justification for your beloved 85 f1.8G by saying it is irrelevent to have such good corners. Dear oh dear.

I'm happy that you love your 1.4 lens so much that you will leap to its defense with such vim and vigour, but you really don't need to; it's your right and choice to own whatever bits of kit you like. So long as it's the best for you, then that's all that matters. Have you ever tried the 1.8G lens though?

The fact of the matter is, and I will show you agin as it seems you are a little slow on the uptake, you stated: "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."

That is plainly not true.

I have not made any outlandish claims like yours above and have shown a test report that states otherwise.That is what I am saying. You are still trying to make out that the 85 1.8 slays the 85 1.4. According to your way of thinking, I would be more justifed in saying the 85 f1.4 slays the 85 f1.8.

Lance B wrote: "I have shown that that is just simply not true, actually showing that the 85 f.4 beats the 85 f1.8 in just about all respects as far as resolution is concerned according to Photozone's test"

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

From all that I have read, and I have read many reviews all over the internet, it seems to be that you are correct.  I have the 1.8 G in my wish list, and not the 1.4.  Thanks for your interesting post.

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