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!

NIKON 85mm AF f/1.8 D

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by veteran35th, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. I really want another prime with a longer focal length to go with the 35mm f/1.8. Primary subjects are 7 and 3.5 years old as well as other usually older family members. The Nikon 85mm f/1.4 is out of my budget, the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 isn't but I really need to justify (for my type and level of shooting) the difference in price between it and the Nikon at f/1.8.

    Is the AF going to be fast enough to capture those pesky kids when seated on my D90? I like using f/1.8, is the Nikon 85mm that soft wide open?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. stefan_elf


    Jul 18, 2007
    Hello Matt, your question is a good one. In my experience, the Nikon 85mm f/1.8D is very fast in its AF, but then I've only tried it on my D200 and D700. Since it hasn't got a lot of glass to move around it's light work for the camera's built-in AF motor. Also, the finder is really light, making the AF to easily snap. I'm usually able to track children pretty well. In fact, it's my fastest lens in terms of AF.

    I would ideally want creamier bokeh, but it really does come at a premium price. And the AF speed is not going to be the deal-breaker either, since it's so fast. Sharpness wide open is adequate, but I usually step it down to f/2 or f/2.2 which isn't much in real-world use but gives it that little extra 'bite'. Using that aperture you'll still get quite nice bokeh.

    At the end of the day, I reckon this workhorse lens gives you the most "bang for the buck". Besides, many pros use it over its more expensive cousin since it's so light and unobtrusive. I usually pop it into my coat pocket when going landscape shooting, just in case I need it...

    All the best with your decision-making!
  3. gwh1bass


    Sep 14, 2008
    Lansing MI
    The 85/1.8 works well on the D7000. It manages to track kids playing bball well and I shoot it wide open alot for bball as shown here
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  4. Maybe the 1.4 is not out of your budget. You can find a nice used one for a lot less than the sigma. I just bought a mint copy for $700 and I see one for sale on the board for $750!!
  5. Sorry daveja, what do you mean by 'on the board'? Ebay?
  6. No I meant the For Sale area here :)  Didn't see that you did not have enough posts(300) to to able to see it yet.. I got mine from Craigslist
  7. Ah, OK. 2nd hand market isn't as well developed in France as in the US. I have (so far) not found a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 (D or G) for a decent price. gwh1bass' shots of indoor sports is pretty convincing though.

  8. madecov


    Nov 25, 2010
    Houston Texas
    The 85 is a great lens. It is very sharp and has nice contrast and color. For the price the 1.8 is a nice bargain. It is one of my favorites. On DX it gives me just enough stand off without having to movefar back. It makes a nice small telephoto.
  9. When Steve McCurry decided to buy another lens for his portraits he went with the Nikkor 85mm f1.8 lens. His favorite portrait lens in the past was the 105mm f2.5 AIS.
    Enough said!

    William Rodriguez
    Miami, Florida.
  10. SRFast


    Feb 17, 2008
    New York City
    Here's one using a D3/85mm f/1.8D combo. I considered "upgrading" to the new Sigma 85mm f/1.4, but decided the 1.8 meets all my needs.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

  11. Very convincing JL. Only problem is, I don't have a D3 behind the lens. And then of course there's me behind the D90. ;-)

    I'll order it.

  12. SRFast


    Feb 17, 2008
    New York City
    The 85/1.8D will produce excellent results on any Nikon DSLR as long as the "artist" does his/her part. Like its little sibling (50/1.8D), it is a great value.

    Enjoy your new lens....JL
  13. The 1.8 is great on my D300s. That said, aside from the fast focus (I assume with the D90's motor there'll be a perceptible difference), that extra two thirds of a stop of shutter speed might make quite a difference when kids are running around in bad light.

    I'd trade my 1.8 for the Sigma if given the chance.
  14. Personally, I find 85 on crop a bit too long for use indoors. However, for indoor sports, it is magnificent. Pretty useful if you're outdoors at a picnic for example.

    Focusing speed you probably don't need to worry about. It'll be plenty fast. Just start out with the 1.8, and if you find you absolutely need something more, then head for the 1.4 flavors.
  15. No wonder my wife says that I can't make decisions.

    I just ordered the Sigma 85mm f/1.4. Should arrive on Tuesday.
  16. sprdv1


    Oct 22, 2010
    Definitely an option! Might have to keep in mind myself.
  17. I should have never sold mine.

    With a Nikon D200 at f/1.8

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    With a Nikon D70s at f/1.8

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    It was a little slow to focus on the D70s, faster on the D90, much faster on the D200. Never shot it on my D300, but I assume it would have been faster still.

    Bokeh isn't the best ever with a busy background, but I would put it in the same league as the 50 1.8 and 35 1.8. In fact, the 35, 50, 85 1.8 combo is a great prime line-up for DX. Only thing missing would be a 20 2.8 (though I would surely love it if they made a 20 2).

    It is sharper at 2.8 than 1.8, but I never felt like I needed to stop down to f/2 or f/2.8 to get really sharp images. Certainly useable at 1.8.
  18. sprdv1


    Oct 22, 2010
    Great shots, gonna have to start getting on here more often to read up.
  19. Ronald M

    Ronald M

    Nov 10, 2008
    I did some basketball with mine last weekend. All at 1.8. They seem ok. No they are not Leica APO Summicron quality. No nikons meet that standard.

    It is no different than the 1.4 used at 1.8.
  20. pbyd


    Apr 2, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I have owned the 85mm f1.8 in the past and sold them (not enough use) well, tomorrow I will be buying a LNIB 85mm f1.8AF from a guy in Houston, and yes I am excited about getting one more 85. It is one great lens, and this time I will use it!
  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.