Review Nikon 85mm F1.8 AF-S G - My first impressions (updated with flare shot)

Joined
Feb 2, 2005
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Andreas Berglund
Just got the lens went out and took a few shots:

  • Nicely sharp at F1.8, even great at F2.8, holds up well to F11, Excellent detail at distance landscapes at F8,
  • Good corner sharpness even at F1.8.
  • A little vignetting at wide apertures, easily dealt with in CS5
  • AF is reasonably fast, much better then the old 85's, has the same soft landing AF as the 105mm VR and the 70-200 VR II
  • Seems to have very low distortion (see church, need to test this some more) UPDATE: I did take some shots at a test target last night and the lens is very close to perfectly rectilinear, maybe a little pincushion, close enough for me
  • Bokeh is pretty good, probably not as good as the 85mm F1.4 (9 blades) I bet.
  • Lens feels a little bigger then I thought, no petalflower type hood looks and feels like a big brother to the new 50mm F1.8 G, reasonably light
  • I have posted a few images for reference, full size, post processed and sharpened in my usual fashion http://www.pbase.com/andreasb/nikon_85mm_f18

I reserve the right to change my mind after testing it some more but it seems very clear to me already that this lens for me is a clear winner!

Check out the detail in these two shots, first shot is uncropped second 100%
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Bokeh at F1.8
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Corner sharpness at F1.8
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Updated for flare shot
I havent had any sun today but I shot against a point light tonight and here is the result. If you angle it way from the light it has a flare, if you shoot straight against it doesn't. Hope that make sense?

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Joined
Jun 15, 2011
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Kennewick, WA
I looked at a couple reviews of this lens on Youtube recently. One from Jared Polin (froknowsphoto) and another from Matt Granger (thatnikonguy). From what I've seen the lens looks to be a real winner for Nikon, especially at this price point! I may have to pick one up.
 
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Hi Andréas,

thanks a lot for posting these pictures! It really looks like a fine lens. How is it if you are shooting against bright light (flare)?

Best,
 
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Andreas Berglund
I should have thought of that yeserday when we had some sun, we are bnow back to our ususal grey weather, I'll try it at first possible opportunity
Hi Andréas,

thanks a lot for posting these pictures! It really looks like a fine lens. How is it if you are shooting against bright light (flare)?

Best,
I have only tried a 85 F1.8 in store but I used to have a 85 F1.4 D, so a better way to say it is faster then the 85 F1.4D, because I can't quite remember the old 1.8. That said the new 85 F1.8 G is not superfast, not like my 300 F2.8 VR II or 400 AF-S II, more like the new 50mm F1.8 G

Does "much better" refer to focus speed of say the 85 AF-D f1.8?
 
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Los Angeles, CA
I have only tried a 85 F1.8 in store but I used to have a 85 F1.4 D, so a better way to say it is faster then the 85 F1.4D, because I can't quite remember the old 1.8. That said the new 85 F1.8 G is not superfast, not like my 300 F2.8 VR II or 400 AF-S II, more like the new 50mm F1.8 G
If that's the case then it's a reasonably fast focuser. My 50 1.8G is pretty quick.

thanks for the review!
 
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Vermont
While I like the idea of the fast prime lenses for certain situations, I don't like the price. Nikon can sell the 35mm, and 50mm 1.8G lenses in the $200 range, but to go up to 85mm requires a price increase more than double that. I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong. I have the 50mm 1.8G, and I love this lens. From what I've seen so far of the 85mm 1.8G it looks to be one heck of a lens, and one that I would love to have. However I'm not made of money, and shelling out almost two weeks of my pay is simply not feasible. I can't wrap my head around how Nikon thinks it can keep getting away with it's prices.
 
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Gary, I do not work for Nikon (or Canon) and I am not a photographer in need of a short tele for portraits but I would like to give you my opinion.
A professional photographer will look at the price of the 85mm f1.8 G and will say something like "how could they make it so cheap?" They will make the money they paid for the lens in their first portrait session. We amateur photographers are different, we photograph for pleasure but look at how many amateur photographers buy expensive optics like the 70-200 VR and 24-70 f2.8, just to mention two of them, for the mere pleasure of their hobby. There are more amateur photographers than professionals and I am sure amateurs buy more professional lenses than professionals even when they know they will not make a penny with those lenses but they want to have the best. We simply get what we pay for.
Now, Mr. Steve McCurry uses an "old" 85mm f1.8 lens and he seems to be very happy with it. I would be too if I was a professional in need of a portrait lens but I am no professional and I use an old 105mm f2.8 AI converted or my 70-300 VR usually at around f8 to cover my needs.
Nikon gets away with their prices. Photographers demand quality and they pay to get it.
I believe that the 85mm f1.8 is a very reasonably priced lens, judging from what I have seen and heard.
Just my opinion.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.
 
Joined
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Andreas Berglund
This is the best I could do today = no sun :)

I havent had any sun today but I shot against a point light tonight and here is the result. If you angle it way from the light it has a flare, if you shoot straight against it doesn't. Hope that make sense?

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Hi Andréas,

thanks a lot for posting these pictures! It really looks like a fine lens. How is it if you are shooting against bright light (flare)?

Best,
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2010
Messages
852
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cincinnati
While I like the idea of the fast prime lenses for certain situations, I don't like the price. Nikon can sell the 35mm, and 50mm 1.8G lenses in the $200 range, but to go up to 85mm requires a price increase more than double that. I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong. I have the 50mm 1.8G, and I love this lens. From what I've seen so far of the 85mm 1.8G it looks to be one heck of a lens, and one that I would love to have. However I'm not made of money, and shelling out almost two weeks of my pay is simply not feasible. I can't wrap my head around how Nikon thinks it can keep getting away with it's prices.
Interesting. I thought this was a fantastic price for this lens!
 
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Interesting. I thought this was a fantastic price for this lens!
I was in a bit of a "funk" when I posted yesterday on the pricing. Thinking a bit more about it, It certainly could be worse, but I still don't quite understand how a jump of only 15mm from the 50 1.8G commands a price more than double that of the AF-S 50 1.8G
 
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Thanks for sharing! I'm basically torn between the 85 1.8G and the 1.4G versions. I'm coming from Canon where I've had 85L II and could shoot at f/1.2 pretty much all the time. But your corner sharpness examples are great! Very impressive with the 1.8 wide open.
 
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I was in a bit of a "funk" when I posted yesterday on the pricing. Thinking a bit more about it, It certainly could be worse, but I still don't quite understand how a jump of only 15mm from the 50 1.8G commands a price more than double that of the AF-S 50 1.8G
If you dont want to spend $500 you can always get the previous version for about $300 or less in the used market. I am sure plenty of em in great condition will be showing up in the market now. That is a great lens in its own right.
 
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I was in a bit of a "funk" when I posted yesterday on the pricing. Thinking a bit more about it, It certainly could be worse, but I still don't quite understand how a jump of only 15mm from the 50 1.8G commands a price more than double that of the AF-S 50 1.8G
Because it involves parts and manufacturing. Obviously, lens is bigger, more money for parts.

The 50mm and 35mm is near the same size so there isn't much additional. There's also cost of R&D (research and development). But regardless, the prices companies put out is to cover costs and keep it at a reasonable price for consumers.
 

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