The 85mm F1.4 Question

Joined
Mar 18, 2011
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New York City
Looking for one for my D7000. It may or may not sometimes be used on a D5000 but only as a backup.

I'm looking at around the $1000 price range so my candidates are:

Sigma 85mm F1.4 HSM
Nikon 85mm F1.4 D
Zeiss 85mm F1.4

Wild Card: Nikon 105mm F2.8 VR

I'm primarily looking for excellent bokeh and a contrasty lens at F1.4.

I was looking at the Nikon 85mm F1.8 but from what I understand the Bokeh on this lens is not nearly as good as the ones listed here.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
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Chicago "burbs"
Well you've got the entire range here in terms of focus capability;

Zeiss (no af), Nikkor 85 D (slow af), Sigma 85 (faster af).
I've seen images from all three that look very nice. I bought my nikon 85 d before the Sigma was available, yet I have no urge to think about moving from the "cream machine" to the Sigma. First off, focus speed isn't important to me at this fl. Second, the 85 d's bokeh looks so nice @ f/2 and below so it ain't broke and I'm not gonna fix it.

I guess it's up to you what your requirements are in terms of focus speed.

But since the dof is so thin @f/1.4 (close range) you're gonna want to brush up on your mf skills if you go the Zeiss route. Moving subjects @f/1.4 may be somewhat tricky with that lens. In the end it is a beautiful piece of glass.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
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5,444
Location
Winnipeg, Canada
Looking for one for my D7000. It may or may not sometimes be used on a D5000 but only as a backup.

I'm looking at around the $1000 price range so my candidates are:

Sigma 85mm F1.4 HSM
Nikon 85mm F1.4 D
Zeiss 85mm F1.4

Wild Card: Nikon 105mm F2.8 VR

I'm primarily looking for excellent bokeh and a contrasty lens at F1.4.

I was looking at the Nikon 85mm F1.8 but from what I understand the Bokeh on this lens is not nearly as good as the ones listed here.
What's your question?

Larry
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
86
Location
New York City
Discounting focus ability, which would you choose for best bokeh and strong contrast?

Sharpness I'm not too concerned about as I think they're all sharper than I really need.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
1,011
Location
San Jose, CA
Discounting focus ability, which would you choose for best bokeh and strong contrast?
I don't think you should discount focusing ability. In general, it's difficult to get a high yield of keepers from a manual focus lens on the dx platform. That would rule out the Zeiss, which is probably the best of the 85mm trio in terms of contrast and bokeh. The 85/1.4d is a portrait lens. and not as contrasty as a general purpose 85mm lens, like the 85/1.8. I have no experience with the Sigma, but I'm a Nikon fanboy, and will always opt for the Nikkor when available.

Your Wild Card, the Nikon 105mm F2.8VR, is very contrasty and has reasonably nice bokeh, though not in the same league as the Zeiss or Nikkor 85s. But it's a moderately long telephoto on FX. I'd find it a bit too long for normal portrait setups.

Given your interest in contrast, the 85/1.8 might be your best choice.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
86
Location
New York City
How about if you factor in resistance to LoCA and general CA?

Back when I shot Canon, I had to return the 85mm F1.8 because the CA was just horrible, unfixable in post in RAW without serious degradation.

I'm fairly comfortable with manual focus on the D7000, I've been shooting the 58mm Voigtlander SLII F1.4 and my keeper rate at least for achieving focus is 90%.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
86
Location
New York City
I don't think so? It has no electronic contacts at all.

edit: Oh nevermind it does, from Rockwell:

There is a focus motor in the D7000, so it works with every AF lens made since 1986.

Even better, there's an aperture-ring feeler, so it meters with all AI and newer (1977-on) manual-focus lenses. The D7000 also gives full-color Matrix metering and EXIF data with manual-focus lenses if you share the lens' data in a menu. More at Nikon Lens Compatibility.

Manual focus lenses work extraordinarily well, with extraordinarily precise and accurate manual focus, especially for ultra-fast lenses like the 58mm f/1.2 Noct-NIKKOR which tax other camera's more simple focusing systems.
 

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