Choices 105mm f/2.8 or the 85mm f/1.8

Joined
Jun 4, 2005
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Pittsburgh Area
I have sold my 70-200 VR.. I just didn't trust it. (long story that dragged on at FM forever you can read it there...lets just say...buy good filters).

I thought I would just "get by" with my 70-210 f/4-5.6 and my 180mm f/2.8. I probably can..but like the forum says "lens lust." So I sold the 70-210 and I am now looking for a lens to fill the middle ground.

I was popping between the Nikon 85 f/1.8, Tamron 90mm, Nikon 24-120 VR and Nikon 105mm f/2.8.

As nice as VR is..I just like fast sharp glass. So it is wittled down to the 85mm and 105mm.

Any suggestions?

I had thought about just going back to a 80-200... but it is a convenience of zoom feature rather than real usage. Ever 80-200 and 70-200 I have had I always seemed to shoot at the ends of the zoom ranges. I think 135mm is used only rarely. (as i am sure we are all that way)
 
N

nfoto

Guest
These lenses are not really alternatives, since they are designed for different purposes. hte 105/2.8 is made for close-up photography, the 85 for portraits and suchlike. You can easily have both without any of them being superfluous.
 
Joined
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Pittsburgh Area
Can only really afford to buy one of them right now. I could easily use the 105 as a portrait lens as well as for macro. But the 85 is such a great focal length.
 
Joined
May 8, 2005
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Orlando, FL
Unless you really want/need the macro, I'd go for the 85 mm. The 105 is a great lens, although it is a little on the long side for portrait use and a relatively slow focuser.

I didn't read your 70-200 thread - bummer that it didn't work out for you. Mine is a killer lens.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
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Yea..well it started with some bad focusing during a sports shoot... it turned out after endless hours of shooting tests on focus charts etc. The quantaray filter that replaced the B&W filter was crap

But then everything I shot after it looked horrible. To this day I don't know if the images were really horrible or I was so disillusioned from "pixel peeping" that everything looked bad..but I lost faith in the lens. So I traded it to get a D1X, which I have wanted to get back in my bag for awhile.

The person I traded with said that he has it calibrated at Nikon and it is sharper than before... but it is gone now.

I can't really justify spending the money for another one when I can do the job with less expensive lenses.

I am shooting 12-24 on the Tokina. I have the 18-70 Nikon, 28-75 f/2.8 Tamron, 50mm f/1.4, 180mm f/2.8. I wanted something in the middle of the 75-180 range.

I do shoot mostly portraits and events.

I mean..if I think about it..I can get a good push-pull 80-200 f/2.8 if I need the zoom again. And it won't ghost or flare!!.
 
Joined
May 23, 2005
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745
Although I do not have the 85/1.8 (yet), I don;t think you can argue against it's SPEED.

Plain and simple that f/1.8 will get you a shot or two, I GUARANTEE, at some point that will not be possible with a f/2.8 lens. More than likely within the first week of ownership I bet.

This is one reason why no matter what else I have, the 50/1.8 will always have a place on my shelf or in my pocket.
 
Joined
May 20, 2005
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Youngsville (The edge of nowhere), North Carolina
The 85 1.8 was a big dissapointment for me. Not as sharp as the 60mm micro nor would it focus as close... obvious but hindering. I sold mine and don't miss it at all. Prevailing wisdom seem to favor the 1.4 anyway making the 1.8 the "poor man's version".

My money would go with the 105 without a moment's hesitation.

Woody
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
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near Montreal, Canada
The 85 1.8 was a big dissapointment for me.
Woody, your comments about the 85 / 1.8 surprise me.
I find it to be as tack-sharp as it gets, with very nice bokeh as well. Obviously the 1.4 version is a step up, but that step comes at a hefty price.
I have also consistently heard very positive comments about the 85 / 1.8 in the various forums (do a search in DPReview).
Maybe you had a bad apple??
I'd be very curious to hear of other Cafe members what their experience is with it.
 
Joined
May 28, 2005
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Toronto, Canada
My 85/1.8 is very sharp as well. That doesn't discount the fact that there are bad units out there.

I am happy with my unit. Of course, that does not prevent me from lusting over the 85/1.4
 
Frits said:
Woody, your comments about the 85 / 1.8 surprise me. I find it to be as tack-sharp as it gets, with very nice bokeh as well.
Perhaps sharp is relative... keep in mind that I'm comparing it to the 60mm micro and I'm not saying that it wasn't sharp, I'm saying it's not as sharp as the 60. However, if others have 85 1.8s that are as sharp as the 60mm then perhaps I did have a bad one. Bokeh is a non-issue for me at that focal length.

One must always consider the specific needs of the user when making these decisions. What may be perfect for me ( 35-70 2.8 ) may be totally useless to someone else and certain qualities that appeal to one may not be important to others. Most of this stuff is very subjective, IMO.

Regardless, in a choice between the 85 and the 105 it would be a simple decision for me. You can take a fine portrait with either, but you can't do macro (micro, whatever) with the 85. Money is an issue with me and I think the 105 gives you more for your money.

Now, if you'll excuse me the UPS dude just dropped off my 70-200 VR and you know what that means :wink: TOYS!!!

Woody
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
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Haverhill, MA
I Just Bought

I just purchased a MINT 105 2.5 AIS manual focus lens. (non micro).

It is built superbly and the focus action is as smooth as silk. A few quick shots taken tells me that I'll be using this lens / focal length A LOT!
 
Joined
May 4, 2005
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Thousand Oaks
That 105 is one of the best Nikon has ever made. And you can buy that quality for pennies on the dollar. Check out Bjorn Rorslett's site for more information on those great AI/AIS lenses - 28/2, 35/1.4, 55/2.8 micro (reputedly even sharper than the 60 AF), 85/1.4, 200/4 micro. Many great lenses heavily discounted because they do not have AF.
 
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
487
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Vermont, USA
Re: I Just Bought

jfenton said:
I just purchased a MINT 105 2.5 AIS manual focus lens. (non micro).

It is built superbly and the focus action is as smooth as silk. A few quick shots taken tells me that I'll be using this lens / focal length A LOT!
Hi Jim,

Congratulations on the 105/2.5! Not at all surprised that you're loving it. Looking forward to see what images you'll be coming up with using this lens.

Best wishes,

David
 
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