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Thread: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

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    85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Hi all,

    So I have come close to buying this lens half a dozen times and I'm tiring of the dance. I'll be in NYC at the end of the week and B&H beckons.

    I have had the 85mm f1.4D for 10+ years and used it on film and digital (pretty much only for portraits). I'm looking for a nice walkabout lens for my Df. I usually use MF primes with it, but I'd like to have at least one AF tele and I really like the 85mm perspective. I have never owned a mid-range zoom and don't want to go that way.

    I feel like the 85 1.8G will fit as a more general purpose medium tele and thus fit my needs, but I'm a little on the fence given that I have the 85 1.4D.

    So if I sound tortured and indecisive - well, yes, I am.

    Advice appreciated, but NO, I am not purchasing the 85mm 1.4G.

    Thanks, as always,

    JT

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    I'm in a similar situation - planning to replace my 85/1.4D. The 85/1.8G seems to render quite nicely.

    ...what was your question again?
    -Lars
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Same boat .... but I keep having a look at good 2nd hand 85mm f1.8G options....


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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    I shoot the 1.8 85 G since almost 10 months and it is a great lens. Sold my 1.4 85 G since it was obviously a bad ample and Nikon could never fix it. As walk around lens the 1.8 85G is really great.

    Having said that, I will most probably get the 1.4 85 G again, hoping for a good sample then and making sure if it is not replace it or send it back. I am missing the speed an bokeh of this lens.
    Last edited by ptomsu; 9th December 2015 at 06:36.

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    Senior Member Hulyss Bowman's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    I've got this lense since day one of her commercialisation and it is a very very cool lens. It is light, simple and yet very effective. The f1.8 line is very good. My last lens is the 50f1.8 and damn it is a good lens too, not a lemon. I love what did Nikon with the f1.8 line. No need of SIGMA or whatever third party lens. It work very great for a correct price.

    Do not hesitate
    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Highly recommended!! The 85mm f1.8 is an outstanding lens.... very sharp all the way out to the edges and corners, light and fast enough. And...... it doesn't break the bank!

    Victor
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Oops - I can see me getting one of these....

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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Interesting to see that the new 24mm f1.8 gets an excellent DxO rating..... looks like Nikon is doing OK with it f1.8 line up.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    I can only add that I have the 1.4G version and it is stellar -- so stellar, I happily live with the weight just because of the look it renders. Would I be happier with the 1.8G for travel? Yes, as long as (or moreover, IF) it had the same magic my 1.4 has.

    I find Photozone Reviews pretty good for real world comparisons -- at least for the lenses they have in their database. Here is their resolution chart for both lenses:

    85/1.4:


    Here is the 1.8's:
    >>>>>||

    From this, you can see firstly that both lenses are excellent. (For example, both are notably better than the oft lauded Zeiss or Sigma Art 85/1.4's, and IMHO that really says something!) However, in the mid apertures, the 1.4 owns corner-to-corner performance in a way few lenses of any make ever have...

    So I think it comes down to what your use is. Portraits at or near max aperture, either lens will be very nice. Max landscape or travel sharpness at mid apertures across frame, the 1.4 reigns. Best performance to weight quotient, the 1.8 wins. Upside is there is no wrong answer, both are great lenses. But the 1.4 is truly one of those standout stellar lenses, and is probably worth it IF one needs that level of performance and does not care about weight or cost.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    The 85mm f1.4 tempted me but it suffers from significant focus shift..... a real PITA. All that money and it has that major obstacle. The 85mm f1.8 has far less focus shift and is much more predictable when focusing wide open and ultimately stopping down.

    Victor

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Interesting. I have had zero issues with focus shift on my 85/1.4G -- but I took extra care in optimizing my AF fine-tune...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Focus shift on the 85mm 1.4 is a known issue. Certainly not the first lens to exhibit that negative characteristic but a deal breaker for me. I have numerous Leica M lenses that rear that ugly head and when I was shooting them on a 7 series Sony I wouldn't stop down any further than f4.0 for focus..... the shift was just too much when using larger apertures. I used to think that the added DOF would compensate but it didn't.

    Victor

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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    LOL, Lars.

    Jack! You are always my enabler.

    You have all summed up my tortured path well, at least I am not alone. I really do want to "modernize" my 85mm option. And I do have a weak spot for Nikon's "special" lenses, took me a long time to save for that original 85mm 1.4D.

    One approach would be to pick up the 85mm 1.8G, hold onto the 1.4D for now and see how I do with the 1.8G. If I'm not happy/satisfied I could sell both the 85 1.4D and 85 1.8G and put the proceeds towards the 1.4G. That might work.

    Of course, maybe when I'm standing at the counter at B&H I will lose my resolve/mind and spring for the 1.4G and somehow explain all this to my husband. Unlikely.

    It's interesting, usually I just sell my lenses on the horrid auction site, but the difference once I factor in fees for what B&H will give me for my 85mm 1.4D is about $50. Surprised me that it was so close.

    OK, *this* time I will finally pull that trigger. The 1.8G sounds like a great walk around with my Df.

    You guys are great.

    JT

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    Senior Member Hulyss Bowman's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    For the Df yes, it is good combination because of the weight. The PRICE of the 85f1.8g is correct. The price of the 85f1.4G isn't, especially with such little delta between the two lenses. Same goes for the 50 line. Of course there is some "gems" around the corner, and if someone want "the" 85 he might try the Zeiss ZF2. None of the Nikon exhale the same mojo as the Zeiss, sorry.
    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com

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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hulyss Bowman View Post
    For the Df yes, it is good combination because of the weight. The PRICE of the 85f1.8g is correct. The price of the 85f1.4G isn't, especially with such little delta between the two lenses. Same goes for the 50 line. Of course there is some "gems" around the corner, and if someone want "the" 85 he might try the Zeiss ZF2. None of the Nikon exhale the same mojo as the Zeiss, sorry.
    Different beast the Zeiss (and def want AF) - I have the Zeiss 21 f2.8 ZF2 - fantastic lens.

    And yes, something to be said for the excellent "bang for the buck" with the 1.8G!

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Interesting discussion, and something I haven't been able to make a decision about yet. However, while the f/1.8 G is a bargain, Jack's tables from photozone shows an interesting feature of the f/1.4 version: it seems to be optimised from f/4 and smaller. At wide apertures, it's not much better than the 1.8, except offering a larger widest aperture, but from f/4 to f/11, it simply crushes the cheaper lens, at least for sharpness. Since most of my photography, portraits included, happens around f/4 to f/8, that's actually a good argument for he extra investment. Add to that the better (nano) coating, build quality and weather sealing, and it's tempting to go for the expensive alternative. Written down over 10 years, the cost per month isn't overwhelming anyway.

    Then, there's the Milvus which for wide open photography probably bombs the alternatives to tiny little glass fragments...

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Written down over 10 years, the cost per month isn't overwhelming anyway.
    Love the way you think Given enough time anything can be written off. GAS FTW!
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars View Post
    Love the way you think Given enough time anything can be written off. GAS FTW!
    But it's relevant. 10 years ago, I bought a used 80-200 AF-S. The shop had several, and I bought the cheapest, most beaten up copy that they had for around $900 dollars. I had very little money at the time (as always ), so even that price was a major concern. So far, it's cost me around $7.5 per month, and I've taken tens of thousands of images with it, including most of my racing photos, earning thousands of dollars. Still, I would probably be able to sell it for around half the monies I paid, reducing the cost to less than $4 per month.

    Lenses, good quality ones, can be good investments

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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    I own and shoot with both the 85 1.4G and the 85 1.8G.

    They are are both great. I would recommend the 1.8 overall but there is one important consideration to keep in mind with the 1.8: you'll get quite a bit of veiling flare if you have a bright light source (the sun or a strobe in particular) pointing towards the lens which will kill the contrast of your image. The 1.4 doesn't have this issue with its more advanced coatings. So if you plan on shooting a lot of back-lit subjects you might want to avoid the 1.8. It's one of the main reasons I kept the 1.4.
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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Jorgen, not arguing against that - either investment in terms of decent resell value or just productivity. Similarly my 80-200D (although not as good a lens) probably has 20-30K images. So for a workhorse by all means invest (on that subject pity the D4s you were eyeing went off the market).

    For me the 85/1.4D has been a fantastic lens, though perhaps not the most used one. Let's see, I probably paid about $900(?) for it new in 1997, can probably recover $700(?) so $200 over 18 years is... $11/year? Hehe not bad.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com
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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    (...) I'm a little on the fence given that I have the 85 1.4D. (...)

    Maybe stick with your Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 D ?
    It has a wonderful rendering.
    Just an idea.

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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steen View Post
    Maybe stick with your Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 D ?
    It has a wonderful rendering.
    Just an idea.
    Well, I haven't sold it yet (bad habit of holding on to things I don't use). In my hands, I have never been happy with it as more of a multi-purpose mid-tele. Portraits yes, everything else not so much.

    So I went ahead and picked up an 85 f1.8G - didn't get much shooting time with it as my NY trip was 90% business . Balances beautifully on the Df and so far happy with the rendering in my first few shots. Like the weight, too
    . And I did fondle the 85mm F1.4G, but didn't succumb..

    Time will tell, but it was fun to use an AF lens on the Df, have been 80% manual lenses since I bought it!

    JT

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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    You are kidding me ... right?

    Any 85 will be great ... do not think that there are or were many dogs at this focal length.

    My favorite is the Nikon PC-E 85 F 2.8 but the 85 F 1.8G is phenomenal.

    Here is an example...

    Nikon D810 85 1.8G






    An inexpensive very expressive lens ... sure I like my Otus 85 1.4 better but no AF and perhaps a bit too clinical


    Hard to fault the Nikon 85 F 1.8G


    JMHO


    Bob
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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    85/1.8D - quite a dog WRT bokeh. As busy as they come.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars View Post
    85/1.8D - quite a dog WRT bokeh. As busy as they come.
    ... and doesn't really resolve enough for the 36MP sensor, plus the fact that it sounds like an angle grinder.

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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm 1.8G users - advice?

    Well I got the 85mm f1.8G on sale..... and for portraits ..... it is a sweet little lens.

    Have a fun WE guys.

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