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by PowerReviews
NikonAF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens
 
4.8

(based on 275 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (233)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (38)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (220)
  • Strong construction (199)
  • Consistent output (157)
  • Durable (156)
  • Rugged (116)

Cons

  • Heavy (33)
  • Slow focus (16)
  • Tough to attach (5)
  • Blurry focus (4)
  • Poor in low light (3)

Best Uses

  • Low light (103)
  • Night photography (102)
  • Portraits (101)
  • Weddings (97)
  • Sports/action (63)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Semi-pro photographer (60), Photo enthusiast (49), Enthusiast (48), Pro photographer (33), Semi-professional (32)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (108), Yes (6)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D

For some time now I've been looking to get into portraiture, and have needed a telephoto lens that is fast but still lets me get in fairly close. I have the 135/2 DC...Read complete review

For some time now I've been looking to get into portraiture, and have needed a telephoto lens that is fast but still lets me get in fairly close. I have the 135/2 DC lens, but with the D90 I use, this can get a little too cramped unless I move a good distance back.So, on to the lens itself. This is by far the SHARPEST lens I have. I have not had a chance to test it out on film, but on my D90, I have been seeing a level of detail and clarity wide open that I don't see even at f/8 on my 80-200/2.8 zoom. You simply have to see it for yourself to fully appreciate the performance. However, you will need to be sure your focusing is accurate when you shoot, especially at f/5.6 and wider, as the depth-of-field this lens creates will soften everything not in focus in a matter of inches. If this is a problem for you for whatever reason, stopping down to f2-f/2.8 will give added depth-of-field without losing too much of that background blur this lens is known for.Get your focus right though, and you will be rewarded with a subject that seems to lift off the image at you, with a background that blurs into a smooth wash of color around it. At apertures wider than about f/5.6, this lens truly delivers the bokeh it has come to be renowned for. Edges are smooth, well-rounded, particularly the wider the aperture setting, and don't have the hot edges sometimes seen on other lenses. Open this lens all the way and the already perfect bokeh melt together to form a smooth and very pleasing background free of distractions.There's a few things to watch out for with this lens however. First, and not surprisingly, chromatic aberrations are fairly strong wider than about f/2, but certainly not enough to ruin an image. A quick color range adjustment in post has fixed any issues for me, though if you shoot black and white, this may give a dreamy sort of look that could be appealing. CAs are pretty much gone by f/2.8 unless you shoot against a bright background, in which case you will see some around the edges until about f/5.6 to f/8. The corners do get a little bit softer with this lens, though stopping down takes care of most of it by f/4 or so. Most of these issues really shouldn't BE issues unless you are shooting architecture or astronomical objects wide open though. Finally, this lens is fairly susceptible to flare if you don't use the lens hood or shoot into a strong light source. I have not tested this extensively as of yet, but I've seen that bright headlights produce green blobs in the image, but not to the point of being un-fixable in post, depending of course on what you are shooting. I have not noted a problem with hazing either, even when shooting in bright sunlight at f/2.Not that it is really an issue in portraiture, but there is little to no distortion that I have noticed in this lens. Color rendition with this lens appears to be more or less what you see with your eyes, depending of course on your picture control settings and white balance. Colors tend to be pleasantly rich in the photos I've taken, with nice smooth transitions in between, both with hues and tones. Shadows and highlights blend and contrast with each other in a pleasing way as well.Finally, the build quality of this lens is excellent. The barrel is primarily metal, which makes this lens a bit heavier than modern AF lenses and their plastic bodies but not so much so that it gets hard to carry all day. Compared to my 80-200/2.8 zoom, this thing is a feather. In terms of handling, I would prefer this lens to be just a little longer to fit my larger hands, something closer to the 135/2 DC being about the ideal size for me. Filter threads and mounting flange are metal, as is the lens hood. The focusing ring is nicely sized with the knurled rubber grip ring common to all Nikkor lenses. The only plastic on this lens is the aperture ring, the M/A selector ring, and the AF distance scale window. Focusing is nice and smooth, though a bit dry compared to the manual focus Nikkors. But it is certainly better than newer AF lenses designed almost exclusively for autofocusing. I find myself somewhat disappointed that this lens has a ring instead of a switch for M/A focusing selection, and no manual override, but it's quick enough to switch in almost all cases I've encountered. The ring does feel a little cheap considering the lens. Changing aperture manually is refreshingly smooth, and seems to be more firm when turning than other AF-D lenses I've used. Lastly, do be careful to keep a UV or clear filter on this lens whenever you can, as the front element is curved such that cleaning can be difficult. The rear of the lens has a clear element to keep dust and whatnot outside of the lens there, but several hours into use I already saw dust inside the lens, so don't assume you are safe from this problem.Autofocus is pretty quick on this lens when used with my D90. About 1/3 turn is needed to go from 0.85m to infinity, which by far beats out my 85/2 AI lens. Takes about one second to go from near to infinity and back again when it hunts, which happens fairly often with this lens if you aren't careful with your focus points - I use a single point myself, so when things move it has to find them again. AF is generally pretty accurate, though I've noticed a slight tendency to be a little off when focusing at closer distances. Once I figured out which direction to adjust for though, this was easy to compensate for - and it doesn't happen all the time. This may also be a lack of skill with this lens on my part combined with the narrow depth-of-field too, so that's something to keep in mind. Focusing is no louder with this lens than my other AF lenses, but this will vary by camera body as the lens is screw-driven. Don't try using it on newer entry-level SLRs as it will not autofocus at all.Having never used the 85/1.8, I cannot compare this lens to that model, but compared to the 85/2 AI manual focus lens, this lens is a hands-down winner. While the AI model is smaller, lighter, and allows for more accurate focusing, this lens excels in low-light, color and bokeh rendition. Unless you need quiet focusing and manual override, stick with this lens and pay about 2/3 the price of the 85mm 1.4G. Also note that while this lens is usable on manual focus SLRs, the new G lens is not.So if you want a fast 85 and don't feel like spending extra on a few small features and a handicap, then go for this AF-D model. Otherwise, the AF-S is a winner if you need f/1.4, or f/1.8 if you are on a budget. Or if you are willing to be more patient and learn a bit more about your camera gear, AI lenses are still excellent in comparison. Hopefully this helps you make that decision.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great Lens

I love this lens, can't use it for everything, but it really can't be beat for portraits and is fun to shoot candids with! The focus ring is slightly loose on the one...Read complete review

I love this lens, can't use it for everything, but it really can't be beat for portraits and is fun to shoot candids with! The focus ring is slightly loose on the one I got though...

Reviewed by 275 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great lens

By MarkG

from Riverside, CA

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Lightweight
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Night Photography
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

    Great lens, beautiful bokey.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No
     
    4.0

    Fantastic Lens

    By Vimal

    from Portland

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Easily Interchangeable
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Lightweight
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • No VR

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Sports/Action
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

    I thoroughly enjoy the F1.4, I previously had a 50mm-F1.8, but the bokeh you get with this lens is just perfect!

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    My favorite lens, ever.

    By JB

    from NYC

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Night Photography

      Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

      First off, this lens is a beautifully made, and you'll love the heavy, sturdy metal construction. The D series lenses are a little louder than the G series, but it's still less loud than the typical shutter, so I wouldn't let the absence of a "silent wave" motor throw you.

      One of my favorite times using this lens was when I was in the ultra-dark basement of Webster Hall in NYC snapping a performance. This lens, coupled with a D700, found focus in situations where my own eyes were failing me. I purposely under-exposed to avoid motion blur, and when I slid the shadows slider over in Lightroom, amazing low-noise images were revealed.

      I've since purchased a Df, and the retro stylings of it are a natural fit with the D series lens.

      This lens is now a couple hundred $ less than when I purchased it. I encourage anyone with a full-frame camera who intends to do headshots to get one. It's a little zoomed-in for an everyday walk-around lens, but I often put it on for that very purpose as an exercise in composition.

      In the end, pics I take with this lens get a lot of clicks.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (18 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      What's the difference: G lens & D lens?

      By OC Mike

      from Orange County, CA

      Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

      Hey there, It just occurred to me that most people reading this will want to know the answer to one very simple question: G versus D? I own both. I love both. I bought both from B&H, and I highly recommend them.
      As you know, the D was called the King of Bokeh. Hail the King! So, there's a hint that it's a darned good lens. Let's go! Focus speed: D can hunt but I never lost a shot, the G is faster. Center focus: very, very shallow DOF w/both.Ever slightly sharper in G. Off-center bokeh: G is great, but D has that classic look and I feel it is better for portraits of women. Travel lens: Have traveled with both as a single lens. G is superb for landscapes, but D has a gentle way of creating beauty in a subject. Costs: D is the bargain lens of the decade because instead of buying a crummy kit zoom, a mid-zoom that you'll never use and a long tele...you get one of the top 15 lens ever made in history. Sure, the Nikon 200mm f2 brings tears and Zeiss 135mm brings men to their knees. But this lens is unsurpassed...it truly is the best lens regardless of value for the buck [with a value that no other lens can beat...none!] For 80% of you, this lens far exceeds your ability...but if you're rich, then get the G. When your subject looks down the huge barrel, and you focus on the closest eye at wide open fstop...prepare for The Best Image you've ever created! Have fun.[Photo discipline req'd, the lens won't automatically make you great. Always put >15feet separation w/background, use lowest ISO, use stable hold position, and most importantly add accents in parallel plane to closest eye!][Shoot in shade...w/reflectors or off camera flash. Buy at B&H]

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Incredibly sharp

      By J-Bo

      from Knoxville, TN

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Nice Bokeh

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Weddings/Events

        Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

        I used this lens for a portrait session and it was even sharper than I expected. You won't go wrong with this lens.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        crazy amazing portrait lens!!!

        By bajang

        from dekalb il

        Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

        I own a nikkor 50 1.4g but it's nothing compared to this master lens in terms of build quality, sharpness, contrast and clarity! Since I started using this lens every picture in the album I post socially gets tons of likes! The only time im going to prefer my 50mm I guess is when I know my subject will be constantly moving or if I don't have enough room to work with.

        (1 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Nikon prices and choices challenging

        By larryd

        from brooklyn

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight

        Cons

        • Cheapo Construction
        • Focus Issues

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Night Photography
        • Portraits

        Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

        depending on the body used this lens works OK but did not like Not being able to manually focus when in auto mode,, and was not that impressed with sharpness overall...for [$]. it is $500 less than the 1.4G, supposedly the best of the group, and 500 more than the slightly slower 1.8G.,which I ended up getting after returning this one..,.,reviews and tech reports are totally wishy washy and to really figure it all out you should have to use the three and come up with your own conclusion. Nikon has really become a strange company with their insane pricing and low quality but affordable consumer lenses.,.,and confusing choices . At this point in time, if budget restrictions prevail quality suffers,, recommend this for friends who still do film,.,.,

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Awesome lens

        By tjc

        from Austin Texas

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Nice Bokeh
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Night Photography
          • Studio Portraits
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

          I have wanted this lens for a long time. I am a weekend warrior shooting weddings, events and studio portraits. I own the 85mm 1.8D lens and it is extremely sharp, but too soft at 1.8. The 1.4D is sharp in the center all the way through, but incredibly sharp from 2.0 on. I previously purchased the 1.4G lens, but I returned it. I actually liked the sharpness and color a little bit better, but did not like the build quality and size. It dwarfed my D7000 camera. I like the old school flare of the 1.4D better. I leave the hood on all the time and the AF noise does not bother me. Weather sealing is not an issue since I normally don't shoot in the rain.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No
           
          4.0

          Love this lens!

          By Zoe Rain

          from Seattle

          Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

          This is my go to lens for headshots and portraiture. Easy to use, lightweight, and a beautiful focal length. Definitely recommend

          (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Love it!

          By Pretty Pix

          from Northern Virginia

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easily Interchangeable
          • Nice Bokeh

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Weddings/Events

            Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

            I've wanted this Lense for a long time, it did not dissapoint :)

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No
             
            5.0

            AFNikkor 85mm f/1.4D lens

            By dmz

            from SanJose,CA

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Consistent Output

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Weddings/Events

              Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

              I am using this lens for portraits, tabletop, and product photography,as well as a short-telephoto walk around lens.

              It is fast focusing on my D700. I really like the creamy Bokeh, and shallow depth of field. Stopped down a bit images are tact sharp!

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Great lens

              By scbeer

              from California

              Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

              Smooth bokeh! Fast focus and sharp pictures on my D800.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Lens

              By Adrien

              from Boston,MA

              About Me Pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Nice Bokeh
              • Rugged
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Portraits

                Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                An f1.4 lens can be a challenge. I am not that interested in the amount of light that it lets in, but rather the ability to get a very shallow DOF and beautiful bokeh. That being said, shooting wide open with this lens takes some practice, requires a well tuned AF system and the willingness to lose some shots due to near misses. The AF is fast, the bokeh is amazing, and images at 2.8 and 3.5 are spectacular, IMO.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                2 Awesome Choices

                By Bear

                from Baton Rouge, LA

                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Durable
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Rugged
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                • NONE

                Best Uses

                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Weddings/Events
                • Wildlife Photos

                Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                My recent purchase of an outstanding Nikon Camera lense turn out to be such an awesome purchase.

                My experience with B & H Photo was just as good because they offered:
                Vast inventory of quality products
                Knowledgeable Service
                Quick Responses
                Quick Delivery

                Can't ask for more.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • Yes

                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                It goes without saying...

                By Luis Rivera

                from The outskirts of Tampa Florida

                Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                The product speaks for itself; the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D along with the other line of 85's is an absolutely extraordinary lens for portraits.
                And yes, for reliability-I buy all my equipment through B&H.

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great Portrait Lens

                By Photomonk

                from New York, NY

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Durable
                • Extremely Good Bokeh
                • Lightweight
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Night Photography
                  • Sports/Action
                  • Video
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                  The images getting out of this lens at f5.6 and up are extremely crisp with awesome Bokeh (even without the Nikon DC technology in 105mm and 135mm D lenses)! The advantage of this lens comparing to the either the 105mm or 135mm is the weight, which is much lighter. Although it is not a weather sealed, it is built mostly with metal and the built quality is close to perfect. Because it utilizes a screw-on metal lens hood, it might take a little more effort to change screw-on filters. But again this is just a very minor issue. It is made for someone who is serious about taking portraits, landscape and anything in between.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Excellent portrait lens

                  By Steve Stanley

                  from Atlanta, GA

                  About Me Pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                  • Poor in Low Light
                  • Slow Focus

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Night Photography
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                  So far I have shot over 1000 pictures with this lens on many different photo shoots in the studio and on location. The lens is sharp, crisp and the color reproduction is fantastic. The depth of field, bokeh is exactly what I'm looking for in a portrait lens. I shoot with the Nikon D800E and this camera demands a high quality lens. So far I am very impressed with this lens. At low light levels with the lens set at f1.4 the image quality and DOF is very impressive however the lens did some searching to find its focus. The focus is a bit slow and noisy.
                  Over all, this is a great lens!!

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Solid Performer

                  By Amudgarden

                  from Phoeniix, MD

                  About Me Pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Rugged
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Weddings/Events

                    Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                    I've used this lens on a couple of outdoor portrait shoots so far, and it hasn't disappointed in the slightest. Easy to work with, auto focus is plenty quick enough and accurate, and it feels solid and balanced mounted on the D800E. Basically, it takes the shot how you wanted it to be taken.

                    It's not the most contrasty lens (sort of the opposite of the Zeiss 85mm, which delivers overwhelming contrast), but that's OK since it will only be used primarily for portraits...I usually like a certain softness to the image. At f/5.6 and f/8 (only apertures I've shot at so far), I see no degradation of the image or distortion to the corners. The image is crisp and sharp.

                    Overall, I'm pleased with the performance of this lens...for portraiture, it's a winner.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Love this lens!

                    By Scout

                    from CA

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Consistent Output
                    • Durable
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                    • Nice Bokeh
                    • Rugged
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                    • Heavy

                    Best Uses

                    • Weddings/Events

                    Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                    This is a great lens! It's great for portraits. Really sharp and really fast and really fun to use!

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    (6 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Love, Love, Love this lens...

                    By Nkon Fanatic

                    from New Haven, CT

                    About Me Pro Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easily Interchangeable
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                    • Lightweight
                    • Nice Bokeh
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Babies
                      • Children
                      • Indoors/Low Light
                      • Macro Photography
                      • Portraits

                      Comments about Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens:

                      I specialize in expressive portraiture and love capturing fairly close up views of big smiles and gorgeous eyes. This prime lens is superb. So far, it's been used in two sessions and produced sensational portraits. Of course it helped that the baby is very cute and happy and the little girl is a beauty queen.

                      After spending about a month researching, the super helpful salesperson, James at B&H expertly guided my final decision.

                      Can literally shoot hand held at a slow shutter speed and still get sharp focus using continuous lights and strobes.

                      Really like how the prime lens makes one work within the space to get the best framing.

                      I firmly believe in using the right tools for the job so there are no negatives to report. Hope this helps.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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