1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

85/1.4 or 17-55/2.8

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by nykonian, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    I understand that they are completely two different animals. However, I need to sell one of these to finance other interests. 17-55/2.8 is more versatile but 85/1.4 is so special that I can't seem to live without. Any suggestions/advices:QuestionM
  2. I agonized a 1000 times a day over this and similar issues. The quality and bokeh of the 85 versus the build and versatility of the zoom. I read and reread every thread I could find on the web about these and related lenses.

    Today, I ordered my very own 17-55 from Adorama. A couple of things helped influence my decision (though I am sure ego was one of them!). I found out by going back and looking at my pictures from the last 3-4 years that my "go-to" lens has been my 24-85 2.8-4.0. I tend to use the 30-55 range a lot, and often find myself reaching for my 12-24 when going wide or for effect. My 19 year old daughter is "inheriting" my 24-85 (along with my D100). So replacing one workhorse with another seemed obvious.
    The down side of this is it is an early birthday gift to myself, and I (we) have yet to deliver our gift to my wife--a house paint job!!!!----any of you coming to north Idaho in the next few???
  3. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    Nick, happy (early) birthday! This is a good story. When I looked at my pictures database, most of good shots are from either 50mm or 85mm. I don't really use zoom unless shooting weddings or birthday parties, but I am sure I can do it with 85mm+wide prime. I'm open for suggestions. :) 
  4. CAJames


    Sep 6, 2006
    Lompoc, CA
    To me it is simple: The 85mm is unique so keep it. The 17-55 is very nice but there are a lot of cheaper alternatives: The Nikon 18-70 or 24-85, the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Sigmas ... the list goes on.
  5. I don't/ can't disagree with either of you--but with a 12-24 and a 17-55 I I have a 2 lens flexibility that appeals to me. If I was into portraits I am sure the 85 1.4 would have risen to the top. Actually, I was considering the 85 pc, since landscapes and nature are where I play the most.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhrggggggg: so many lenses, so little money!!!!:mad: 
  6. Preston


    May 2, 2005
    Reno, NV
    Sell the 17-55. There is nothing else like the 85 1.4 But there are ALOT of excellent and cheap alternatives in the 17 or 18-50 range.
  7. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    bro, the 85 1.4 has a signature unlike anything in the nikon line-up...i've always said if i was reduced to just one lens it would be my 35-70 2.8d ...that's just not so anymore ..lol

    nuff said
  8. md0234

    md0234 Guest

    As much as they are both excellent lenses, I think if I had to give one of those two up it would be the 17-55mm. The 85mm f/1.4 is so special, and I've always said it is the very last lens I would ever sell and I don't like selling lenses anyway. It sounds like you like to use the fl too, and as others have said, there are good alternatives to the 17-55mm that are cheaper, although it is one of my most used lenses. Just make sure you are certain you have to/want to sell it, as there is nothing worse having to spend even more money buying it again
  9. 1FASTZ


    Jan 25, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    What are you typically shooting? Just reading your initial post, it sounds like you are way more in love with the 85 than the 17-55, so I think you need to keep the 85 based on the vibe that I got.
  10. mood


    Jun 27, 2007
    So Fla
    I just got mine.
    you jumping ship on me already ??
  11. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    Frank, I still have both lenses on in front of me at this moment. I might change my mind and keep both when I wake up tomorrow morning. :) 
  12. Yea I think it all depends on what type of shooting you do mostly. I also have both and could not part with either!!

    Well if someone was twisting my arm then I'd keep the 85mm. I just think its sharper than the 17-55
  13. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    I would not sell the 17-55. I am a zoom guy for sure. The convenience of the zoom to me is invaluable. I love the flexibility. The 85 is awesome for sure... I have it as well... but only goes on the camera for a specialized purpose.

    If you can... keep both. :biggrin:
  14. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    Don, I agree. 17-55 is very versatile and flexible. My problem is always "weight". I love super result in a small package. :)  That's another reason I sold the "Beast". 85/1.4 is magical, yet small enough to be carried for the whole day without feeling the pain on the shoulder. Yes, I am keeping both for now. :smile:

    How about showing us more pics from your backyard? :smile:
  15. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    OK... how are these... :wink::wink:



  16. Jonathan P.

    Jonathan P.

    Jul 10, 2007
    This is a tough one.

    I used to own the 85mm f/1.4, and like a fool I went and sold it. Of all the lenses I've ever sold (I've sold a few), I miss that one the most. I've wanted to purchase another one ever since, but finances just haven't allowed for it. All that said, the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AF-D is in a class all by itself.

    Even still, it'd be hard for me to justify giving up my 17-55mm f/2.8 to get the 85mm f/1.4 that I'm pining after. The 17-55 is both more versatile and more technologically advanced. Things like AF-S and modern lens coatings really do matter, and when you consider that the 85mm f/1.4 is missing these and other newer technologies, I feel that the lens is slightly overpriced. What's more, my 17-55 is almos always useful. An 85mm would be useful only occasionally.

    Furthermore, I now have a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR, and it's now even harder to justify purchasing the 85mm f/1.4. Sure, the 85mm is more convenient from a size perspective, and perhaps less intimidating to your subject. And it also does f/1.4 (though in my experience this was a double-edged sword—I got as many as "misses" as "keepers" below f/2.0 with this lens). But from the standpoint of image quality, I now have even less reason to own another 85mm f/1.4, because the 70-200 is just so darn good. Contrast is stunning (maybe better than my 85mm f/1.4 was), sharpness is fantastic, and the bokeh...well, along with the 200mm f/2, the 70-200 is the only lens with bokeh comparable to the 85mm f/1.4. Honestly, when I compare shots taken with the 70-200mm f/2.8 and the 85mm f/1.4, I can't really tell a difference in bokeh. They're both gorgeous.

    Bottom line, though: the 70-200 is so much more modern and versatile—for about $600 more than the 85mm—that I don't think I'll be able to convince myself to pull the trigger on another 85mm anytime soon. I love and respect the 85mm for what it is, but the 70-200 is just better for most of what I do. And no way I'd ever give up my 17-55mm for the 85mm. Despite the fact that it's a DX lens, I feel that the 17-55 will go down in history as another Nikon legend. The sharpness wide open is truly amazing, and the versatility can't be overstated.
  17. Brian,

    I agree with the others if you must sell one, KEEP THE 85 f/1.4, and sell the 17-55 f/2.8. The 85 f/1.4 is magic.


  18. Snipps


    Oct 7, 2006
    I have both, and if i could only keep one it would without a doubt be the 17-55. It just gets so much more use because it is in the "normal" range whereas the 85 is getting into the tele range. My 17-55 has helped me do some really good stuff, but so has the 85. I am bringing this combo to Israel soon when I go, should be the perfect setup.
  19. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    Just to conclude this thread, I sold 17-55 in favor of 85/1.4. :) 
  20. The 85mm 1.4 is amazing, this is wide open.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.