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Dang Nikkor lenses

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by PhilY, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. Or maybe it's just my danged luck. I have lusted in my heart (nothing on any dresses, though) after the 85/1.4 for months and months. Finally figured out a way to justify the purchase to myself -- we won't discuss SWMBO -- and made the leap. Had it over nighted on top of everything. When I decide I want something, I want it NOW.

    I was puzzled at first when it didn't "wow" me. I was expecting some of that 70-200VR "whoo-hoo" stuff. Didn't happen. The distance shots stopped down were *nice* but there was something missing on the close stuff shooting open. Didn't take but just a couple of controlled shots to find the front focus. It's going back for replacement.


  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Bummer. Let us know how the replacement turns out. I have lust for that lens also :shock:
  3. Will do, John. It's funny how readily I accepted the fact I have to send it back and didn't get very upset. It has become the norm for me. My first trip around with Nikon many years ago was a very plesant experience and all that gear still *works* and does it quite well. This time around has been a totally different story, sad to say.

  4. OK, John -- new 85/1.4 in hand with several test shots under my belt and I must say the difference from this one to the first one is night and day. The other lens *must* have had issues other than just the front focus or the FF was causing other problems -- probably the latter. The focus on this one is dead on. One thing I have noticed with screw drive lenses on the D70 is they don't change their mind with a 2nd press even if it might be a tad off. That only seems to happen in very low light/contrast situations. An AFS lens might "adjust" a bit but screw drives just go and stay. I think that's more to do with the focus motor rather than the lens, but I digress. :) 

    The sharpness and contrast is CERTAINLY there if a bit "different" than my benchmark -- the 70-200VR. At this point I can't really explain what I'm seeing. All the sharpness and micro-contrast you could ever want is there but it almost seems -- well, kinda film like smoothness -- if that makes any sense. Some comparison test shots are on the agenda and will give a better insight. The color reproduction is very accurate with almost a subdued quality that fits in with that film like quality very well. From that aspect, it's easy to understand why this lens is touted as a great portriat lens. Used as a short tele "at distance" stopped down to mid-aps, the 85/1.4 is a killer. That one concern of mine is totally gone.

    I'll give more thoughts as I get more snaps under my belt. I *do* find it interesting the 85/1.4 pipeline seems to be grying up right now. Most everybody shows it "backordered". Could it be that all just ran out at the same time or is a new version about to be released?

    At this point with all things considered, I am tickled pink. :D 

  5. faenix


    Jun 21, 2005
    Bayside, NY
    Congratulations on your purchase! The 85mm f/1.4 is a lens I can only dream of for now, because it wouldnt' be practical for me to shell out that much money for a lens I wouldn't use as much as lets say the beast or a 70-200. I'm mightily jealous--will tell you that much.

    Post up some pictures as soon as you can with that beauty!
  6. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Good to hear you are happy with the new one. Your report does nothing to diminish my lust for it . . . :shock: :D 
  7. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA

    When I shot a 85 1.4 on my former D70's and D2H bodies, it absolutely had way better defoccused characteristics than the 70-200......my guess is that this is what you're picking up on.

    This lens isn't a show stopper at distance although Ron states in his lens review and I've seen through some use for landscapes that is is usable for such things.

    The one thing you want to watch for is that there are some issues when shooting very bright hight contrast scenes, but other than that...this lens is about as sweet as it gets. I sold mine to try other things, but I guarantee that it will be replaced before years end :) 

    I actually found myself using it as my normal lens for a fair bit of the time and simply keeping at 28mm with me to pop on if I needed to go wider.
  8. I think either of those is more usable from a practical standpoint but that 85 jumped all over me today. In the two days prior to today, everything was a "test" shot so I have been more analytical than artistic looking at the images but today I shot an "event" -- a 1st birthday party. I carried my 17-55 and the new 85 leaving my 70-200 at home. All I can say is I think I fell in love with that 85 today. :) 

    I arrived at the location early to look around and do a few test shots. Just goofing around I tried a few natural light / low light shots of the b'day girl befor the festivities fired up. Here's one at F1.8 at 1/50th. It was hand-held so there is a little cam shake blur but is pretty much straight from the cam other than the resize. I put a little USM on it but took it off because I think it looks better unsharpened. The lens just seems to have an affinity for "people". I'm thinking me and this ol' boy are going to get along nicely.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  9. After today, John, I have become more than happy. I did some actual shooting today rather than just test shots and the 85 performed beyond my expectations. I fully understand that lust thing. My list is rather heavy. :shock:

  10. Re: Phil

    heh -- Let's just say "butter" doesn't begin to be a good enough adjective.

    I would have to say *more* than usable, Jim, as long as you can stay wider than F11. Distance shooting was the first thing I tested because everything said about the lens, other than Ron's little blurb, is about the close up / portrait ability. One of my primary purchase reasons was to add a little length to my 17-55 when I didn't want to lug the 70-200 so the "landscapeability" was a major concern of mine. Let's just say I'm no longer worried about that part. :) 

    I have already had one shot with a little CA in the defocused area so I think I know what you mean and what to look for. Before today I *might* have looked for another lens if I had owned and sold the 85. After today, I can FULLY understand why you will replace it. This little stump is growing on me quicker than any save the 70-200.

    Thanks for your comments, Jim.

  11. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Beautiful shot. Love the bokeh on that lens :shock:
  12. Thanks, John. That lens does make some s-m-o-o-t-h backgrounds. That shot is also indicitive of the razor thin DOF at that distance and F1.8. Because her head was tilted and turned a bit, the only things truly sharp in that image are her right eye/eyebrow, part of her nose, and the front of the bow. Everything else is out.

    I believe a guage of if I like this lens or not became obvious during my editing session last night and this morning. I kept going back to admire the images after they had been edited. 8)

  13. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Very impressive demonstration Phil. I don't have a need for this lens right now, but you've definitely put it on my LLD list for future acquisition. 8)
  14. Thanks, Frank. The lens is a different kind of beast and not one I would rec to a casual shooter. During my shopping exploration, I saw some average results posted on the 'net and now I understand why. The primary reason is it doesn't like bright, stopped down kind of light. It simply cries out for low light / available light shooting -- right up my alley -- and produces stunning results from that situation. The lens is certainly one you would want to have a need for, not just a "want", before dropping the big bucks.

  15. twig


    May 23, 2005
    two things
    first, please do not start calling the 85/1.4 "stump" or any such thing.
    You have already dumped the potential lens lust for the 17-55 by 69% by giving it such a terrible name: "Stumpy",

    no offense, but while the 'Beast' (Uncle Frank is the master of creating ll hysteria through proper naming btw) and 'Bigma' gain converts from their sexy or rhyming names, you have totally screwed the 17-55.

    To induce lust your nicknames must have more sex appeal, how about "ninja" or "razor"?

    Second - how killer in low light would the 85/1.4 be with VR? That is what I am waiting for (along with a $1500 price tag I bet). I want VR on everything, what's nikon's delay here? Oh wait, we still need AF-S too.
  16. Good insights, Phil. I knew you'd be the perfect guy to unravel the mysteries of this sweet glass.
  18. Well, I'm proud to know I have at least accomplished *something*. ROFL

    That WOULD be a killer. I have to be *very* careful with the 85 due to my less than steady hands. It's a good thing that big hole lets me get the speed up. Now, if there is anything that will prompt the release of the AFS85/F1.4VR G, it will be my recent purchase. I think people are hired to follow me around to see what I buy. "OK -- he's spent all his money -- turn the new model loose". :shock:

  19. Talking to yourself, huh. I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. :lol:

    This weekend put me over the top on the "keeper" status, Frank. It is everything everybody says it is but, me being me, I had to prove it to myself. It doesn't like to do test shots -- it wants to make images, and very nice ones at that. For the "general purpose" part of my wants, I would like for it to perform better at F11 than it does but I can *easily* trade that for what it does on the other end. This is one case where ISO100 would be nice to have. All things considered, it is going to fit very nicely with my 17-55 for that bit of extra length on top of being a stunning portrait and low light capable lens. I have also learned the 105 would be just a little too long for the purpose. I'm a happy camper. :D 

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