Any love out there for the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D ?

Started Nov 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
sd40 Senior Member • Posts: 1,545
Re: The primary distinguishing feature

Marianne Oelund wrote:

I'm very surprised that no one else has mentioned this so far. To me, the most important distinguishing feature of the 85/1.8D, is its SA veiling flare at wide apertures. This imparts an "aura" or "halo" to subjects, which can be attractive in portraiture of women and children, but can get in your way if you want contrasty, "edgy" photos. It quickly picks up contrast and sharpness as it's stopped down, becoming very similar to the newer lenses at moderate apertures.

If you're looking for that ability to impart a "dreamy" look to wide-aperture portraits, it's a great choice - in fact, perhaps the only one amongst the 85's. However, if you want high contrast and sharpness right from the widest apertures, you'll find the G version preferable.

Based on this and a couple of other posts above that insisted that the G was simply a better lens, I bought a very lightly used one.  I had recently bought the D version but had not used it yet.  I have taken a few comparison shots at f/1.8, 2.8, 4, and 5.6.  I see what you're talking about when you mention the veiling flare at 1.8, and how it disappears by about f/4.  I also took a few f/5.6 shots with the G of a tree across the yard that is one of my regular test subjects.  I have never seen another lens that rendered the bark of the trunk so sharply.

My copy of the D lens certainly seems to be acceptably sharp, and I can see how the veiling flare at f/1.8 would appeal to many.  It resembles the way portraits were done in the 1930s and '40s.  All things considered, though, I'll take sharpness and resistance to flare.

Apart from the discussion here, what persuaded me to pick up the G is the immediate manual-focus override.  If I'm trying to get a photo of, say, a family member who is protesting that he or she does not want their picture taken, I want that access to manual focus without pulling the camera away from my face.

 sd40's gear list:sd40's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D Nikon AF Nikkor 105mm f/2D DC Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G +8 more
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