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  1. #11
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    I've got the 85mm Nikkor - H, f1.8, that I bought in Japan when I was in the Navy in the early 1970's.

    Has worked flawlessly.
    Bill Clark

  2. #12
    Leighgion's Avatar
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    I can't talk about "best," since I haven't used all the Nikkor 85's, but even my rather battered 85mm f2 AIS has never given me cause to complain about its optical performance.

  3. #13

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    Thanks...

    I just discovered Ken Rockell's review and tests of the Nikkor 85s. I find it interesting that most here prefer the earlier versions (the 1.8), yet Rockwell prefers the 85/2 AIS. He refers to the reputation of the earlier 1.8s as "folklore" rather than truth.

    Also, in terms of price, the true bargain is the 85/2 AIS. At KEH, it goes for $149 less than the 1.8 AId version (I use KEH prices as my standard)--$364 (EX) vs. $215 (EX). I have not seen the deep discounts (which have been cited here thus far) for non-AI, AI H, and AId 85s. In fact, the opposite is true...the earlier lenses cost significantly more than the newer ones.
    Last edited by FilmOnly; 04-30-2010 at 04:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #14

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    Well, I won't go into KR mental fantasyland but I own all of the MF Nikkor 85's including two of the F2's and I can assure you from testing many times both film and dig that while the F2 is a fine lens the 1.8 is better. Better wide open, better 1 stop down, less vignetting, sharper wide open and better sharpness over the whole field sooner, better bokeh, less veiling flare wide open, higher build quality, better coatings (the F2 seems to have less on the exterior, the same on interior compared to the H.C or K series). Yep, its lighter, and smaller, maybe that's all that KR judges on.
    That said the 85mm f2 does go in the bag as often as the 1.8, which for both is more than the 1.4 Ais, but I think that's purely for weight reasons. Sometimes I need to shave weight to add a few other lenses to the bag, and since I'm confident of my testing methods I can work around the F2's weaker points to fill the 85mm need. If the need for speed is top of the list than the 1.4 goes, if its a good chance I'll need more speed but might need more weight savings than its the 1.8.
    Funny how the marketplace has spoken, and the 1.8 has more value relative to the f2. Still, you can find deals on the 1.8 whereas the f2 seems to have a constant value.

  5. #15
    John_Nikon_F's Avatar
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    Ah, yes, the KR guy who doesn't actually test gear, just writes a review from a press release... Personally, I would take KR's recommendations with a grain of salt. Unless you need an 85mm MF lens that will matrix meter with an FA or an F4, the 1.8 is a better deal.

    -J
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  6. #16

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    This question comes up on other websites too. I have an 85/2 AI and I like it. By the time of the 85/2 I think more people could afford such a lens. There just aren't that many 85/1.8s around. The ones I see are very expensive. The difference between 85 and 100 or 85 and 105 is not that great and I prefer shooting portraits with a 100 or 105. I also don't like shooting portraits with a lens as fast as f/2 or f/1.8 wide open. For these reasons I will reach for the 85/2 mostly when I need the extra speed and when I'm not shooting in the close range. I think both versions of the 105/2.5 are excellent for portraits. For Canon I have an 85/1.8 New FD as well as an 85/1.8 FL. I especially like the FL lens. For Konica I prefer the 85/1.8 Hexanon to the 100/2.8 Hexanon. My favorite 100s include the 100/2.8 Canon FD SSC, 100/2.8 Canon New FD, Minolta 100/2.5 MC Rokkor and 100/2.8 Zuiko.

  7. #17
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    If you've got $1K to spend, the 105 2.0 DC AF-D is amazing outdoors. I use it for panoramas with digital, and it excels for that. It's also of course very good for short DOF activities (like portraits) like it's DC control ring is intended for. It focuses manually rather smoothly too; as I sometimes set it to manual focus for panoramas and IR digital.

  8. #18

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    Ah Dynachrome, we have a few things in common. I've never forgotten how sharp negs were from the Zuiko 100 2.8, makes me wish I'd kept some of my extensive Oly collection around. As well the 85 FL is a real gem.

  9. #19

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    This additional commentary has been very helpful. I have never been one to focus on (pun intended) one person's commentary, KR's or otherwise. It is reassuring, though, when one provides a detailed explation of one's findings, as RidingWaves has done.

    I have owned the Canon lenses mentioned above...and I still own the Zuiko 100/2.8. All are very nice. If it were not for the problems I had with keeping the F-1N from malfunctioning in winter (this happened with more than one body), I would have kept my Canon gear. The Zuiko 100/2.8 seems to me to be the best of the bunch, though my first batch of results with the 105/2.5 AI has been quite impressive--dead-sharp real. I am not that impressed with my OM2n body, though. There is nothing terribly wrong with it, but I do not like the shallow (and thus impossible to use) tripod socket on the Winder 2, and the rather weak connection between the body and the Winder 2. My Nikons feel much more solid. Likwise, the Canons I had were very solid.
    Last edited by FilmOnly; 05-02-2010 at 08:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #20

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    Yeah its kinda hard to get some sort of accurate comparison when you just shoot a few frames at the camera store. Much different than owning multiple samples (and having access to a few more) and doing a few rounds of controlled testing to really show what the lenses are all about. FWIW, from 5.6 on you could have any Nikkor 85 and they'll look nice and sharp, its what happens near wide open (and what you need the lens to do) that shows the difference. Compared the ends of the extremes, the 1.4 at F2 is already a sharper and 'cleaner' look than the F2 at F2, and even both at 2.8 the 1.4 still really shines in direct comparison, but both shot on different days and conditions the difference would be challenging to pinpoint. Its truly a testament to the F2 actually, once you get into the middle stops you'd certainly think that it was pretty darn good (and it is). Just on build quality alone I'd choose a 1.8 over the F2, some of the F2's Ai series have the potential to fall out of adjustment and the excessively fiddly internal construction means it can take a bit to repair it right. Also, the really long focus throw of the Ai 85 f2 makes it slower to focus, the Ais has a much shorter throw which I like.

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