What does the 85mm f1.8 offer apart from portraits?

Started Jun 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 17,619
Re: What does the 85mm f1.8 offer apart from portraits?


I personally view it as a 'mostly portrait' lens. I have the same opinion of my 85F1.8 AF too. Basically because it is good at portraits, but not all that great at general photography.

My argument for that opinion is that a) it doesn't focus all that close, and b) it only stops down to F16. Any prime that focuses close is more versatile than one that doesn't, and occasionally it's nice to have a small aperture to reduce shutter speed in bright light (think flowing water shots).

As for 'going well with 18-35 and 50' lenses, I'd say 'sort of'. A 50mm lens is pretty close to 85mm. It's also close to 35mm. One tends to find that you end up skipping the 50 a lot if you have 35 and 85 available.

If I feel like shooting primes, I take my 35, 85 and 105 and skip the 50. If I had a better 24mm prime (I have the 24F2.8 AF-D, which I don't care much for), I might well take a 24, 50 and 105 combo.

The 105vr I have gets my nod for 'versatile prime', usually. Or the 35mm (I have Sigma 35f1.4 and Nikon 35/f2).

Nothing wrong with the 50 (I have 50F1.8 AF and 50F1.4g) - sharp, handy lens. Just tend not to use it unless I force myself to when I have 35 and 85 choices sitting in the bag. That's on both DX and FX cameras.

-- hide signature --


Hi Craig,

I would agree that if close focus is important, the 85 loses out.

But the second point of stopping down past f16 should be highlighted. I don't know of a lens in this format that benefits from stopping down that much, maybe there are one or two. I would say that most lenses you are using start to degrade noticeably after f11 from diffraction. I've done this test with most of my lenses and there is almost never a benefit to stopping down past f11.

In fact, most lenses achieve their best image quality well before that. And that goes for the 85 1.8G. I think it really shines best at about f6.3 although acceptable results are had at f11 if shooting landscapes and you want more depth of field.

 stevo23's gear list:stevo23's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro2 Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R +3 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow