D800 Portrait Lens Battle!

Started Sep 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 8,861
Re: D800 Portrait Lens Battle!

When trying to decide between a macro lens and a non-macro lens, I humbly suggest you take a long look at WHAT you shoot in terms of subject distance. The 85/1.8G is biased slightly towards moderate and long focus distances, while still performing quite well at short to short/moderate focus distances. The macro lenses are all quite sharp (any brand) in the closer to moderate ranges, but they generally don't do as well at longer distances.

I definitely agree with the OP in that the Nikon 105/2.8G VR isn't that impressive - it's the first 105mm lens from Nikon where I think they "missed the mark", which is surprising given Nikon has a history of making really nice 105mm lenses. Not that one however; it's very good, but far from great.

I tend to look at the 85/1.8G to be one of the great values in terms of all purpose lenses - extremely sharp, if properly focused it does NOT have the CA problems some talk of here, and quite good at almost every task thrown at it. But by the nature of it being more of an all-purpose lens, that also means that a given lens designed more "to task" might "beat" it (but only slightly) at some things. In general for real life use, assuming proper test protocol and focusing, you won't get much sharper than an 85/1.8G across a very wide variety of focus distances without spending a lot of money. Hence, it's recommended for that all-purpose sort of thing. For a portrait specialist, I'd consider the 85/1.4G instead. I'm not sure for portraiture you would be concerned about having the sharpest lens on the block anyway to be honest.

No way I'd consider the Zeiss 85/1.4; while I like some Zeiss lenses and own their great 21/2.8, the 85/1.4 of theirs is a dog.


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