First Impressions: Nikon 85mm f1.4G by Stacy Pearsall


I've recently gotten my hands on the Nikon 85mm F/1.4G lens, and I have to say I'm not disappointed. I put the lens to the test by shooting portraits in my studio of three young ladies who are also budding photographers.

Not only did the lens live up to my expectations, it surpassed them. I used the lens with my Nikon D3s, and one Elinchrom Digital Style 600RX flash with a Rotalux Softbox 39"x39" light modifier.

What I liked most about the Nikkor 85mm lens was its fast focus. I'm really rough on gear, and have a reputation for putting my lenses through the ringer, so the fact that it has a magnesium body is a big plus for me. Though it's marginally heavier than its predecessor, it's still lighter than many of my other lenses. It has the capability to produce extremely shallow depths of field while maintaining tack sharp focus, with great color and clarity.

I was surprised how quiet the lens was, which is due to its Silent Wave Motor. I'd equate it to an idling Toyota Prius Hybrid—you don't even know it's running.

Giving this lens a go in the studio was more than a trial of the lens; it was a test for my young shooters. They did their own styling and lighting setups. They even directed each other for their portraits, and did all the hard work. All I had to do was play with my new lens and release the shutter. The images I've included are the portraits I shot, which they chose. Like any young woman would want, they are edited and toned. I used Adobe Lightroom 3, Adobe Photoshop CS5 and onOne Software's Perfect Photo Suite 6.

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