Which would you choose? 85mm 1.4g or 135mm f2 DC?

Started May 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Keith Aitken Veteran Member • Posts: 6,575
Re: Which would you choose? 85mm 1.4g or 135mm f2 DC?

The 135DC f/2 and 85mm f/1.4G are both great - I use them mostly in completely different situations. On FF, 135mm is a more appealing and useable length outside, where I find 85mm too short, but if you are using the crop mode on the D800, you may have the best of both world.

If you do much low light work, the f/1.4 minimum aperture makes a huge difference, compared to f/2, whether for a concert, church interior when travelling, or social shooting inside. Also, some users find that the 135DC f/2 is not as sharp as they would like at f/2, but good at f/2.8 and amazing at f/4.

Both lenses are heavy and chunky, so perhaps not always ideal for lightweight travelling, depending upon your style. The 85mm f/1.8G is also bigger than one expects, with fantastic performance - a fine lens which many have chosen as a better value alternative to the f/1.4G.

If weight or cost is a major consideration, have you looked at the 85mm f/1.8D ? It is an older underrated lens offering wonderful bokeh and great IQ. Its f/1.8G successor and the f/1.4G are better lenses overall, but for great value and high performance, the f/1.8D is appealing, plus it is very small and lightweight, making it less obtrusive for street shooting, where the 85G and 135DC are bigger and more noticeable.

Another thought : Nikon's longtime 85mm f/1.4D is a great lens for half the price of the 85G. The 85 f/1.4G is generally a better lens but at that performance level, the differences become harder to identify. The f/1.4D was designed to offer centre sharpness and less sharp edges/corners - the 85mm f/1.4G has more impressive overall sharpness across the frame, but often we are just looking mainly for subject sharpness.

Though I love the 135mm length on FF, another excellent lens to consider for outside work on FF is Nikon's 180mm f/2.8 AF. Relatively lightweight for its 180mm range, way less expensive than both the 85G and 135DC and offering incredible IQ, plus appealing bokeh. When I am travelling, either the 135DC or the 180 f/2.8 find their way into my bag

Lining up lenses is a constant balancing act betw cost, value and actual use. The 135mm and 85mm lengths are sufficiently different that their uses do not overlap. Getting back to your question : Only you can decide about a length best for you, and whether that amount of cash is worth it to you. There are completely acceptable, and less costly alternatives

Good luck,


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