Trade your Sigma 85 1.4 for a 70-200 VRI?

Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Virginia
I have a very sharp copy and no AF issue 85 1.4 purchased about 5 months ago. I love the bokeh of 1.4 but I find the fixed focal length limiting.


I'm thinking of selling my copy for $800 and add a few more ponies to get a used Nikon 70-200 VR I.


I shoot portraits 97% of the time as you can see on my blog. Lately, It seems like I'm not using the 85 @ 1.4 anymore ( most of my shots are within the f2.8-f5.6 range)


For portrait addicts,would you keep the 85 or upgrade to a much more versatile zoom? How's the sharpness of the first 70-200 version compared to prime lenses @ f2.8-f5.6?

My other lens at the moment

50.14
24-70
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
1,814
Location
City of Angels
i LOOOOVE my 85/1.4, BUUUUUT, i would sell it first before my 70-200vr. the performance/flexibility/value of the 70-200vr is irreplaceable in my kit. it just performs, consistently, all the time, no questions asked. it wasnt until i got the 70-200 that i realized what a "workhorse" lens meant.

with that said, the 85 does indeed render scenes differently, and seems purposely built for people and portraits. these two lenses are such different tools, i couldnt see being without either of them. one cant necessarily replace the other, BUUUT if i had to...i'd opt to keep the 70-200...
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
3,040
Location
Wilmington, NC
I have a very sharp copy and no AF issue 85 1.4 purchased about 5 months ago. I love the bokeh of 1.4 but I find the fixed focal length limiting.


I'm thinking of selling my copy for $800 and add a few more ponies to get a used Nikon 70-200 VR I.


I shoot portraits 97% of the time as you can see on my blog. Lately, It seems like I'm not using the 85 @ 1.4 anymore ( most of my shots are within the f2.8-f5.6 range)


For portrait addicts,would you keep the 85 or upgrade to a much more versatile zoom? How's the sharpness of the first 70-200 version compared to prime lenses @ f2.8-f5.6?

My other lens at the moment

50.14
24-70

I have both and use the sigma more for portraits but the 70-200 is very capable in that regard. It depends on the copy but mine is super sharp wide open at 2.8 so I think it can do the job if you don't mind the extra weight.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Virginia
i LOOOOVE my 85/1.4, BUUUUUT, i would sell it first before my 70-200vr. the performance/flexibility/value of the 70-200vr is irreplaceable in my kit. it just performs, consistently, all the time, no questions asked. it wasnt until i got the 70-200 that i realized what a "workhorse" lens meant.

with that said, the 85 does indeed render scenes differently, and seems purposely built for people and portraits. these two lenses are such different tools, i couldnt see being without either of them. one cant necessarily replace the other, BUUUT if i had to...i'd opt to keep the 70-200...

Thanks. I totally understand your "workhorse" statement. I love primes but recently I find myself using zooms more, but then there those times where a 1.4 is so necessary to bring a dramatic effect on your shots.

I have both and use the sigma more for portraits but the 70-200 is very capable in that regard. It depends on the copy but mine is super sharp wide open at 2.8 so I think it can do the job if you don't mind the extra weight.

Thank you, have you noticed any difference between the 85 and 70-200 at say f2.8 and above?
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
3,040
Location
Wilmington, NC
Thanks. I totally understand your "workhorse" statement. I love primes but recently I find myself using zooms more, but then there those times where a 1.4 is so necessary to bring a dramatic effect on your shots.



Thank you, have you noticed any difference between the 85 and 70-200 at say f2.8 and above?

I have not tested too much side by side as I just recently moved from the Nikon 85 1.4D to the Sigma but the Sigma does render differently from the 70-200 but I would bet they are very similar at 85mm 2.8 and up and the 70-200 can also give you 105mm and 135mm etc... so more choices and the bokeh gets even better as you get closer to 200mm
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
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6,374
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Alabama
I would sell for a VRI, regardless if you shoot FX or DX despite the "problems" of the VRI on FX. The 70-200 VRI at 200mm,2.8 can melt backgrounds effectively.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Virginia
I would sell for a VRI, regardless if you shoot FX or DX despite the "problems" of the VRI on FX. The 70-200 VRI at 200mm,2.8 can melt backgrounds effectively.

Hi John, thanks for your input. Are you talking about the softness in fx formats using this lens?
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Virginia
I have not tested too much side by side as I just recently moved from the Nikon 85 1.4D to the Sigma but the Sigma does render differently from the 70-200 but I would bet they are very similar at 85mm 2.8 and up and the 70-200 can also give you 105mm and 135mm etc... so more choices and the bokeh gets even better as you get closer to 200mm

Very true. another reason why the bokeh factor of 1.4 is slowly wearing off on me.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
1,814
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City of Angels
BTW, i shoot FX with the 70-200vr1. IF you are shooting people, its an absolutely awesome lens. i dont shoot wildlife (ie: use TC's) nor do i shoot landscapes (ie: need sharp corners) with this lens. if these shooting parameters apply to you, pocket the savings and get a vr1 instead of a vr2.

heres a recent shot from easter, 200mm wide open, no adjustment to vignetting:
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
918
Location
nj/nyc
I have a very sharp copy and no AF issue 85 1.4 purchased about 5 months ago. I love the bokeh of 1.4 but I find the fixed focal length limiting.


I'm thinking of selling my copy for $800 and add a few more ponies to get a used Nikon 70-200 VR I.


I shoot portraits 97% of the time as you can see on my blog. Lately, It seems like I'm not using the 85 @ 1.4 anymore ( most of my shots are within the f2.8-f5.6 range)


For portrait addicts,would you keep the 85 or upgrade to a much more versatile zoom? How's the sharpness of the first 70-200 version compared to prime lenses @ f2.8-f5.6?

My other lens at the moment

50.14
24-70


if you're not shooting at 1.4, then it's a question of 85mm vs 70-200mm...........for me the versatility of the zoom easily won out, plus you throw in super fast focus and VR..........faggetaboutit!

I found the 85 1.4D to be a "one trick pony".........but that's just me......

another thing to consider is size and weight, for some people it might be a problem.................wasn't for me, because "I am strong like thee ox!":biggrin:


CreamMachine
pros: 1.4 / bokeh

cons: range can be limiting / focus can be inconsistent at times / flare


70-200VR1
pros: versatile range / VR / fast, consistant focus

cons: doesn't go to 1.4 / size & weight
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
7,500
Location
Los Angeles, CA
I would try it out first. The 70-200 is a long and heavy lens, and make sure you're OK with lugging such a huge beast all day. Some people also get spooked by long lenses and feel intimidated to smile when you point it to them. It's definitely not as inconspicuous as an 85/1.4 lens.

As for IQ and versatility, the 70-200 is top notch. No worries there! Plus you get to use TC's so it can double as a wildlife lens if needed! It's like having two lenses in one :biggrin:
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
1,044
Location
Texas
Just to consider an alternate view:

I have owned one 85/1.4 or other for years, and would never be without one. I currently own the Sigma, and it's the best one yet. I find shooting between f/1.4 and f/2.8 indispensable, and I much prefer the size, weight, and handling. It's also better at f/2.8 than any of the zooms.

I would urge you to try before you buy.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
6,374
Location
Alabama
Hi John, thanks for your input. Are you talking about the softness in fx formats using this lens?

Heck no. The thing is sharp wide open. Some people complain about vignetting at the corners on FX. If you shoot in a way your subject is at the corners it might not be the lens to get. If you can't get people to smile, it's not the lenses fault. You already have a 50 1.4. The 70-200 will give you more options.

2.8 on FX

958226660_JW7Gh-XL.jpg
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Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
779
Location
Destin, Fl
I dont think i could rid myself of the 70-200... i did though just trade off my 85/1.4 and some cash for a 300/2.8.... so yes, i would sell the 85 and get the 70-200, hands down one of the most versatile lenses out there.

Jeff
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
74
Location
US
I own both the Nikon 85 1.4D and 70-200 VR2. If I had to get rid of one of them... it would be the 85 1.4D because 70-200 is just so versatile (especially if you plan to do any event shooting) and it's excellent for portraits

I think 85 1.4 is more for special use but does come in handy. Also, it helps to have lighter options too (ex. I can bring my 35 and 85 and be good for family sessions) BUT if you need to choose, i think 70-200 is an essential
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
178
Just to consider an alternate view:

I have owned one 85/1.4 or other for years, and would never be without one. I currently own the Sigma, and it's the best one yet. I find shooting between f/1.4 and f/2.8 indispensable, and I much prefer the size, weight, and handling. It's also better at f/2.8 than any of the zooms.

I would urge you to try before you buy.

I agree! (only I have the 85 G)
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,116
Location
Canada
I don't think I would like to be without the zoom in the telephoto range. I love the 85/1.4 so I went cheap with my zoom choice and got a push pull AFD80-200/2.8. I have to say I use my 85 and 180/2.8 just as much as my 80-200/2.8. For sports, I would side putting more money into a AFS70-200/2.8. All great choices here.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Virginia
Thanks for ALL your input. You guys are awesome. I met a random photographer while I was in DC yesterday and we cahtted a bit. He has a 70-200 VR II and I asked him If I could snap it quickly in my D700 and he happily obliged, and WOW no wonder this FL is so popular. It has a crazy fast AF, sharp wide open and gives glorious bokeh!


I understand I'm just getting a VR1 but I just realized how great a 70-200 truly is.


I bought a used one @ EBAY for $1600.00. Its glass is spotless with a few minor marks on the body (4 yrs old however) Came from what appears to be an outstanding seller.


The 85 1.4 is one of my most favorite lens and its the reason why my 24-70 has been sitting in the closet for quite a awhile now but I really think I'll enjoy the 70-200 more because of its versatility.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
27
Location
nyc
kinda in the same position have a nikon 85 1.4 and 70.200mm. have come to terms with letting the 85 go but can't seem to let the 70-200 go. I want to use the funds to finance a 200mm, but the 200mm would never ever see as much outside time and work as the 70-200mm. so its a hard one but i think you should go for the 70-200 alot more range for many situations
 

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