There's something about the Cream Machine...

Started Aug 9, 2013 | Discussions
Uncle Frank
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There's something about the Cream Machine...
Aug 9, 2013

The G model is fine tuned for digital, but the 85/1.4D paints with a vintage brush that delights my Old School sensibilities.

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Warm regards, Frank
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RBFresno
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 9, 2013

Uncle Frank wrote:

The G model is fine tuned for digital, but the 85/1.4D paints with a vintage brush that delights my Old School sensibilities.

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Warm regards, Frank
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HI Frank!

Nice portrait (and I get what you are saying)!

At some point how sharp a lens is, begins to take a back seat to some of its other characteristics.

I have the 85 1.4 AF-D , and while I don't use it as much as I used to, and have toyed with selling it and "upgrading" to the AF-S, I haven't, partly for the reasons you allude to.

(My other lens that renders closest to the 85 1.4 AF-D is another AF-D lens, the 28 1.4.)

I note that you've ventured into the micro 4/3 world...almost a complete unknown to me!

Best Regards,

RB

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Ray Ritchie
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 9, 2013

Nice portrait, but at this size, I don't think I'd be able to distinguish that lens from any other 85. What am I supposed to see?

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Cytokine
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 9, 2013

Uncle Frank wrote:

The G model is fine tuned for digital, but the 85/1.4D paints with a vintage brush that delights my Old School sensibilities.

A lovely natural portrait Frank!

I love this lens very much, as you say its as if it paints bokeh, I especially like the creamy white that appears wider than f1.8 as the following hand held example shows:

Rose at f2:

Rose at f1.6

Rose at f1.4:

John

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raymondg
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 9, 2013

The 85 1.4D is still my 'go to' portrait and head shot lens. I doubt if I will part with it.

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pavi1
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Ray Ritchie, Aug 10, 2013

Ray Ritchie wrote:

Nice portrait, but at this size, I don't think I'd be able to distinguish that lens from any other 85. What am I supposed to see?

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You are supposed to click on "original" If you don't see it, then save your money for something you can see.

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Uncle Frank
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Ray Ritchie, Aug 10, 2013

Ray Ritchie wrote:

What am I supposed to see?

Not a thing, Ray.  Consider yourself lucky if you don't see the difference between the 85/1.4 and any other 85mm lens.  You'll have saved a lot of money.

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Ray Ritchie
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 10, 2013

Uncle Frank wrote:

Ray Ritchie wrote:

What am I supposed to see?

Not a thing, Ray. Consider yourself lucky if you don't see the difference between the 85/1.4 and any other 85mm lens. You'll have saved a lot of money.

Well, actually, no - I have the 85 f/1.4g. I looked at the 85 f/1.4D in the shop, and didn't like it as well as the G. I did click on "original," BTW - just can't tell at that size whether I'm looking at the 85 f/1.8g, the 1.4D, the 1.4G, or even a Sigma - especially with the backdrop, which makes it hard to see the bokeh characteristics..

Ray
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anotherMike
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I'm with Ray on this one
In reply to Ray Ritchie, Aug 10, 2013

I'm with Ray.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-m

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Uncle Frank
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Re: I'm with Ray on this one
In reply to anotherMike, Aug 10, 2013

Ray and Mike, my apologies if you interpreted my post as a put down of the 85/1.4G.  The G is a faster/surer focusing lens that's sharper and eliminates purple fringing of the D without sacrificing the lovely bokeh of its predecessor.  I've been tempted to upgrade to it on many occasions.  I made my post after editing a set of images I've taken of personal trainers at a YMCA branch, and celebrating the results.  The images are indeed a poor test of the lens, as I used a newly acquired collapsible backdrop... a very useful tool if one can figure out how to collapse it and put it back in its bag.  The thing about the 85D I enjoyed for this series is that it was adequately sharp, while at the same time, gentle on the skin.

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slimandy
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 10, 2013

Nice image, but having used that lens for many years I prefer the Sigma 85mm f1.4 I use now. Better wide open, bokeh just as nice (dare I say better?), HSM, reversable hood.

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Revision
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Re: I'm NOT with Ray on this one
In reply to anotherMike, Aug 10, 2013

another Mike,

I agree with you on some and disagree with you on some of your statements and I disagree with you on the fact that difference between the two lenses cannot be detected on a black and white picture shot at f/5:

Color rendition we cannot assess on this BW shot.

Bokeh: there are no out of focus highlights.

But contrast? Contrast is defined as the separation between the darkest and brightest areas of the image.This photograph has areas of black as low as 16 16 16 (black dress) and of white as high as 240 240 240 (face). Since "the older lens packed a bit less global contrast than the new one" why wouldn't the difference be visible?  There is plenty of contrast in this photograph.

Sharpness:  Even at f/5 there is a a difference in the center versus border sharpness between the G and D f/1.4 85mm lenses  and I would not be so sure that at the background distance that would not be visibly different between the two.

Finally, how would "natural light" help see a difference? What kind of natural light are you referring to? Do you mean hard light (direct sun)? or diffuse overcast light?

I think that the real  problem is that we do not have two pictures taken under identical conditions with both lenses, but I do not believe that it is correct to say that one cannot use a  a BW picture taken under these conditions of  lighting to see differences between the renditions of the two lenses?

Your thoughts?

(Uncle Frank,  the subject's hair at the neck level seems is sharper than the eyebrows. Was the plane you focused on  behind the eyes?)

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Best Regards,
Renato
'The world is going to pieces and people like Adams and Weston are photographing rocks.' Henri Cartier Bresson, in the 1930's

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Cope
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to slimandy, Aug 10, 2013

slimandy wrote:

Nice image, but having used that lens for many years I prefer the Sigma 85mm f1.4 I use now. Better wide open, bokeh just as nice (dare I say better?), HSM, reversable hood.

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That's not surprising.  Sigma has made nice lenses for many years.

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anotherMike
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Re: I'm NOT with Ray on this one
In reply to Revision, Aug 10, 2013

Regarding contrast, I was referring to the contrast (lighting) on the face. It's not a particularly strong lighting ratio. One of the things some advocates of the older AFD lens point out is that they prefer its skin tone rendition. This is often based upon the contrast signature differences in the skin tones. As for my natural light comment, I think your typical near wide open shot outdoors with definite "bokeh in the background" would show the differences (I won't say advantages or disadvantages) more than this shot ever would. I've shot this type of shot - lots - and I could produce an identical result using any 85mm lens in this discussion or even the 70-200/2.8G VR-II zoom set to 85mm. While we won't ever truly know because, as you said, there aren't comparison shots, I fully and completely stand by my original point and my stance; this is not a shot that shows the differences (or strengths/weaknesses) of the AFD lens, no matter how much Uncle Frank may like to cling to the past. Sorry.

-m

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Uncle Frank
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Re: I'm NOT with Ray on this one
In reply to anotherMike, Aug 11, 2013

anotherMike wrote:

... no matter how much Uncle Frank may like to cling to the past. Sorry.

Thanks for reminding me how snarky this forum is, Mike.  I'll take care to avoid it and you in the future.

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Ray Ritchie
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Re: I'm with Ray on this one
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 11, 2013

I wasn't offended by the original post. I simply didn't think your sample image was large enough to show the point you were trying to make, especially since you didn't post any comparison.

Your opening quote in the OP was "The G model is fine tuned for digital, but the 85/1.4D paints with a vintage brush that delights my Old School sensibilities." I would disagree with the interpretation that the 85 f/1.4G is "fine tuned for digital" - I simply think it's an improved design. But if your point has to do with the rendition of the D being gentler on skin, then I would expect the sample to be large enough to see skin detail, which in my opinion it was not. My guess is that even my 24-85VR would give a similar-looking result at that size under the same lighting conditions - though I'd never argue the zoom is "better" for portrait shooting.

Nothing much more intended on my part - certainly nothing snarky. If you honestly prefer the older lens, that's fine by me.

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Cytokine
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Re: I'm with Ray on this one
In reply to Ray Ritchie, Aug 11, 2013

Ray Ritchie wrote:

I wasn't offended by the original post. I simply didn't think your sample image was large enough to show the point you were trying to make, especially since you didn't post any comparison.

I don't think Frank was posting a major review of the lens!

Your opening quote in the OP was "The G model is fine tuned for digital, but the 85/1.4D paints with a vintage brush that delights my Old School sensibilities."

I would disagree with the interpretation that the 85 f/1.4G is "fine tuned for digital" - I simply think it's an improved design.

I think Frank was simply expressing how he likes this older lens and enjoys using it, of course the newer G lens is optimised for today's cameras which are largely digital. Why would anyone buy it if it wasn't updated.

The forum has few enough regular posters, and even fewer that post any photos.

John

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Uncle Frank
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Re: fine tuned
In reply to Ray Ritchie, Aug 11, 2013

Ray Ritchie wrote:

Your opening quote in the OP was "The G model is fine tuned for digital, but the 85/1.4D paints with a vintage brush that delights my Old School sensibilities." I would disagree with the interpretation that the 85 f/1.4G is "fine tuned for digital" - I simply think it's an improved design

It's not my interpretation, Ray. Quoting from the description of the 85/1.4G on the Nikon USA site...

"The AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G is an advanced lens, optimized for today’s D-SLR and HD-SLR cameras."

I'm pretty sure that "fine tuned" and "optimized" mean the same thing.

Final word from me. All I said is that I like the vintage renderings of the 85/1.4D, not that it was better than your optimized 85/1.4G. There was no need to be defensive.

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RBFresno
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Re 85 1.4 AF-D.....(pics)
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 11, 2013

Uncle Frank wrote:

The G model is fine tuned for digital, but the 85/1.4D paints with a vintage brush that delights my Old School sensibilities.

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Warm regards, Frank
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HI!

Well......

Interesting opinions on this one!

I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say I've gotten pictures with the 85 1.4 that I couldn't with other lenses, but at the risk of making myself a target, here are a few 85 1.4 Pic's that I've taken that (to me ) show a little of its character...

At a friend's child's performance:

Nikon D3 ,Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF AF
1/125s f/1.4 at 85.0mm iso3200

Messing around near Minimum focusing distance (MFD) at f/1.4:

Nikon D50 ,Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF AF
1/80s f/1.4 at 85.0mm

Messing around at Minimum focusing distance (MFD)

Nikon D70 ,Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF AF
1/60s f/4.5 at 85.0mm

Messing around with Extension tubes:

Nikon D200 ,Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF AF
1/4000s f/1.6 at 85.0mm iso100 Kenko ext. tubes

Nikon D50 ,Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF AF ,Kenko extension tubes
1/30s f/1.4 at 85.0mm

The Local Playhouse (Fiddler on the Roof)

Nikon D4 ,Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF AF
1/2000s f/2.2 at 85.0mm iso1600

Back Yard Dogs "Playing"

Nikon D4 ,Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF AF
1/8000s f/1.6 at 85.0mm iso3200

Times Square, 2006 (D70!):

Nikon D70
1/320s f/1.6 at 85.0mm

Not sure, but if I didn't know, I think I might be able to distinguish these from pictures taken with some of my other lenses (maybe....)

Just sharing, and not trying to convince anyone of anythin!

RB

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ultimitsu
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Re: There's something about the Cream Machine...
In reply to Uncle Frank, Aug 14, 2013

Uncle Frank wrote:

There's something about the Cream Machine...

That something used to be that it is cheap. Good for those who want experience F1.4 but does not want to spend big money on it.

But now that Sigma F1.4 exists, one has to be really tight to go with the AFD.

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