Disappointed with low light focus

Started Jan 13, 2014 | User reviews thread
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Michael Jardine
Michael Jardine Senior Member • Posts: 1,927
Disappointed with low light focus

Sharp? Yes!  Beautiful bokeh? Absolutely, as expected. What I didn't expect was how slow this lens would focus in low-light (not not extremely low light!) conditions.  I don't know if it was the lens or my D800, or - gasp - user error - but recently I was shooting a yoga class indoors at ISO 3200 and it just would not focus.  It kept 'hunting' for the right focus. Of course that could have been the angle, back-lighting, etc. but I am generally aware of how to work around such things.

Instead, I had to switch to my backup, the Olympus OMD E-M1 with 12-40 f/2.8.  That camera/lens combination had NO PROBLEM focusing at all.  In the end, I sent 15 photos to the editor, 5 of which were from the D800. She chose two from the EM-1.  (I have to say, the photos that I managed to get in focus on the 85 f/1.8 were absolutely beautiful. There were just far fewer of them.)

Back home in a slightly more controlled environment, I got out the D800 with the 85 f/1.8, and compared it - totally subjectively - to the 70-200 f/2.8 VRII which I use primarily for night sports.  The latter focused much more quickly and with no 'hunting'.   I'm not going to pixel peep with those two lenses because the issue here is not quality of photo, it's GETTING the photo in the first place.

I'll keep working with this lens because I really want it to work for me, and reserve my right to upgrade the review...

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 Michael Jardine's gear list:Michael Jardine's gear list
Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Nikon D800 Olympus E-M1 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sony a9 +9 more
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.8G
Telephoto prime lens • Nikon F (FX) • 2201
Announced: Jan 6, 2012
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Nikon 85mm F1.8G Nikon D800
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