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  1. #1
    Matt5791's Avatar
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    Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF D

    Is there anyone who is familiar with both this lens and the F1.4 - is it worth all that extra money for the extra speed?

    I own a F1.8 and it seems to perform well, but I would really like some opinions on the optical performance compared with the 1.4, from anyone in the know.

    Matt

  2. #2
    Blighty's Avatar
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    I have the 1.8 AF-D and I'm entirely happy with it, so from my point of view, the 1.4 is going to have to produce something a bit bloody special for all the extra money you'd pay. Still wouldn't mind having one though! It looks the biz, don't you think? Wide open it performs pretty good and bokeh is not at all unpleasant. I've posted an image taken with the 85mm 1.8. See what you think. Regards, Blights
    Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.

  3. #3

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    As a photo-journalist I own and use the 85 f/1.4 as well as their 28 f/1.4.

    They are great lenses, but they are big. If I didn't have to use the speed of this lens, I'd go for the f/1.8 to reduce the load.

    Unless you need the f/1.4 to make a living, don't bother.

  4. #4

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    The 85 f1.4 is essentially a stop faster than the f1.8 as you need to stop down the f1.8 to at least f2.0 or so to approach the other in quality. One stop in that range is not inexpensive.

    The 85 f1.4 is arguably the finest Nikkor lens. Its reputation for sharpness, contrast, bokeh, et al are widely known. There's more at work here than the difference between f1.4 and f1.8.

    Amateurs, not just professionals, also like to shoot existing light. That stop difference is always expensive. Compare the cost of the 50 f1.8 and 50 f1.4.

  5. #5

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    Christmas can be such a good excuse for purchases that are otherwise "too expensive"! And I took full advantage of it this holiday to pop for the 85 1.4. So far, -wow. In all honesty I can't compare to the 1.8 as I have never used one, but I really am happy with the results I have gotten so far with the 1.4. Focusing certainly becomes a big issue with the vanishing depth of field when wide open.

    As is often the case, you have to go with what makes you happy. Good results can be gotten with just about any camera, but if ya ain't happy doin' it, then you will be less than thrilled with the results.

    Ask around & see if someone local has one. Maybe for a beer they would be willing to go out on a shoot with you to compare with your 1.8. I did this with a 300mm 2.8 lens. One soccer game convinced me that I was pretty darn happy with my f4 version of this lens. I went with the 1.4 version of the 85mm primarily for shooting in the dark. Portraits in natural indoor light and for shooting live musicians in bars (hmmm... shouldn't there be something here about a piano player?).

    Heck - buy the big one. Someone besides me has to keep this economy going.
    Those who don't think Photographers have the skills of REAL artists such as painters obviously have not had to spot my prints.

  6. #6
    jbj
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    If you're worried about the price of the 85 f1.4 vs. f1.8 then do what I did and purchase the bargain rated 85 f1.4 from KEH. The cost of the bargain rated f1.4 at KEH varies, but the sample I bought was cheaper than the f1.8 new! And the lens was absolutely flawless with respect to glass, aperture blades etc, although there were a few light scuffs on the barrel that don't affect picture quality at all. The lens is NICE, go for it.

  7. #7
    Matt5791's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies - I think that ultimately I will acquire the 1.4 because I shoot weddings, and the 1.8 is such a useful, and flattering, lens, however that extra stop would be awfully useful, not withstanding the optical qualities (although, as I said, the 1.8 is a great performer)

    Whilst churches are usually dark, you get come really wonderful light inside them sometimes, just not much of it, and the effects can be really great.

    I will have a look at KEH - great exchange rate at present!

  8. #8
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    The 1.4 is a magnificent lens, but the 1.8, although inferior, is still incredibly good. I have the 1.8 non-D (which is identical optically) and I find it to be exceptionally good. I see no reason to upgrade.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  9. #9
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    The differences between 1.4d and 1.8d are
    a. 1.4d is much better mechanically and materials it is made is "better" (if you consider Aluminum better than plastic....)

    b. 1.4d handle "out of focus" edges in different way (some call it bokeh, I call it blur). Blur that 1.4d produces is a quality that make me to say 1.4d is among the best (if not the best) lens Nikon ever made. It better than Zeiss, it is on a parr with Leica.

    c. 1.4d have nice "in focus" edge rendering at F1.4-F2.8 that is uncomparable in portrait photography of people. No other lens is that much useful at F1.4 as nikkor 1.4d (nor Leica). It just eliminate unvanted small details, jet pic looks extremely sharp and with high resolution. It is a part of only the best lenses in photography.

    d. beside all at F4-F11 it is just incredible high edge accutance (some call it sharpness) so can be used even for achitecture photography with Pan-F film.

    e. filter size on 85d F1.4 is 77mm, and heliopan filter pol-cir cost around $300-$400 in BH (NYC)...

    If you wish high technical quality photographs this lens should a choice. Also it will help you to see how top techical quality looks like, but you have to at first to know how to use this lens and will take time.

    www.Leica-R.com

  10. #10
    Matt5791's Avatar
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    Thanks for that - the blur and wide aperture performance is very important to me.

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