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Can anyone give me some idea of the difference in the performance between these two lenses? I am very interested in the bokeh of these two lenses.
Also, what is the difference in construction?
Thanks for you help.
for a nice comparison. I do know that the f1.4 lens has a nice rounded 9 blade aperture which probably contributes to the better bokeh of this lens. But, apparently, there's not much in it optically, and there's a big difference in price. You may also wish to check out the subjective evaluations by Bjorn Rorslett and David Ruether, among others (which you can find at
This is a very, very good lens. It is made with the same sturdy mechanics as the 28mm f/1.4D AF and 20-35mm f/2.8D AF.
It has nine elements in eight groups.
Close focus is three feet or 0.85m.
It has a 77mm filter thread, is 3.1" (79mm) diameter by 2.9" (74mm) long and weighs 20 oz. (560 g).
It has a nice, curved nine-bladed diaphragm that gives a circular, not polygonal, opening from f/1.4 through about f/5.6. It stops down to f/16.
A nice metal screw-in metal HN-31 hood is included.
There is an AF/MF selection ring on the lens barrel, just like the other AF Nikkor lenses of similar vintage and quality. This lens was introduced in the mid 1990s.
It has no distortion.
AF speed is very fast on my F100. It's about the same or a hair slower than the extremely fast 85mm f/1.8D AF.
Autofocus accuracy seemed pretty good, making use at f/1.4 reasonable for sharp results.
Bokeh seems good, too, for backgrounds.
This is a tough call because the 85mm f/1.8D AF is also so good, so why spend three times as much for 2/3 stop?
It has better bokeh than the f/1.8 version, is built much more like a tank, takes today's standard 77mm filters and seems to have better AF accuracy than the f/1.8 model allowing you to make good use of the maximum aperture.
On the other hand, I don't have an 85mm f/1.8D AF because it's not much faster than my 80-200 f/2.8 and I'm out of room in my bag. In this case, f/1.4 certainly is a lot faster than f/2.8, so that makes it more of a temptation.
Personally, I don't do much available light hand held shooting with an 85mm. Remember that you loose a stop or two of low-light ability compared to a 50mm or 28mm f/1.4 because of the longer focal length. You can shoot successful at slower speeds with a wide angle lens.
So, if you want a fast 85mm it's a winner. It's on my list of lenses that I want, but since I personally have no legitimate need for it it's unlikely I'll get one.
I have a 105mm 1.8 AIS (all my cameras are manual) but wasn't very happy with its angle, too narrow for the kind of images I like so I was looking for an 85mm. By the end of the year an opportunity on an used AF 85/1.4 D made me happier than ever. Now I'm selling the 105/1.8.
This lens (85/1.4D) deserves the reputation it has. Its bokeh is perfect, much better than the 85/1.8 for highlights don't show the number of diaphragm blades, they're round instead because this lens has more blades and they're rounded.
What's focused is so sharp and what's out of focus is so defocused that there seems to be different layers for each other.
As I said all my cameras are manual. This lens' grip is very nice due to its size (filter is 77mm), it's lighter than the 105/1.8, and manual focus ring is of very good size. MF feel is not the same of AI lenses (no AF lens ever will) but very decent. It has internal focusing so focus is fast, going from infinity to closest in about 1/3 turn. Finish and construction are excellent, with a real pro rugged feel.
Instead of more words what about some images done with it? Check at
) you'll find an interesting discussion on these two lenses. A guy placed three images done with a 85/1.8. Check on his first (vases) what I mentioned about the blades and highlights.
I believe this IS the lens to be had if you:
- want sharpness (REALLY) wide open
- shoot under available light
- do portraits - this lens has a very good contrast BUT skin tones passages are so perfect, smooth, while other colors are contrasty that you won't pick another lens for portrait/people
- its angle fits the images you like to do
- love defocused background and/or use a lot of selective focus
- will make a living on it
- find a nice deal
If you just want an 85mm for its angle and for fun buy the 1.8.