REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
NikonAF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens
 
4.9

(based on 298 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (271)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (20)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

98%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (144)
  • Reliable (124)
  • Durable (115)
  • Lightweight (75)
  • Nice bokeh (29)

Cons

  • Heavy / bulky (19)
  • Pricey / poor value (9)
  • Price (8)
  • Cost (3)

Best Uses

  • Portraits (207)
  • Studio (109)
  • Everyday (63)
  • Travel (61)
  • Home (39)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Enthusiast (77), Semi-professional (67), Professional (59), Tech savvy (10), Semi-pro photographer (9)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (256), Yes (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

... even better than I anticipated

1. Focus speed

I expected the new lens to focus faster, and it is in fact .. quiet. It just IS in focus .. all of a sudden. It...Read complete review

1. Focus speed

I expected the new lens to focus faster, and it is in fact .. quiet. It just IS in focus .. all of a sudden. It really is much much faster. This alone would've made it an automatic upgrade for me.

If you're used to the f1.4D buzzing sound as it focuses .. especially when it hunts a bit, then this lens will be a real treat for you.

2. Focus accuracy

Better yet, I frequently enough got mis-focused shots with the f1.4D ... but with the f1.4G it appears to nail focus at f1.4 more often than the f1.4D
Focusing on a model's eyes during various simple portraits of her, the f1.4G nailed it more often. Pretty much every time. It is difficult making a qualitative assessment here, working hand-held with an f1.4 optic. If either you or your subject breathes, the plane of focus shifts. Despite that, the f1.4G definitely appeared more confident. The focus was accurate and just *there*.

So this is a big improvement.

3. Sharpness at f1.4
I honestly couldn't tell a difference with the central area. For properly focused shots, you could count eye-lashes on photos taken with either lens. Towards the edges though, the G lens is significantly sharper.

4. Contrast and control of flare ...
Here is where the other great news is ... the G lens controls flare much better than the D series lens if you shoot in back-lit situations.

5. Bokeh

I can't see a difference in the bokeh in various test shots with a model. I photographed railings and grid-like iron-work .. things which very quickly show up a lens when it has harsh bokeh. But to my eye, these two lenses had the same great bokeh.

Final initial assessment ... focus speed is greatly improved. Focus accuracy is improved. Edge to edge sharpness is significantly better. And the new lens handles flare like a champ.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Good, but not much better than the 85mm f1.8G

My copy did not focus consistently at f1.4. The IQ and bokeh was also not much better than the 85mm f1.8G to justify the premium price paid. However, the f1.4G DOES focus significantly...Read complete review

My copy did not focus consistently at f1.4. The IQ and bokeh was also not much better than the 85mm f1.8G to justify the premium price paid. However, the f1.4G DOES focus significantly faster than the f1.8G. So, I chose to return the 85mm f1.4G and keep the 85mm f1.8G. If you don't need the professional build and the f1.4 bokeh, the 85mm f1.8G is a far better value at 1/3 the price. Time will tell how well the f1.8G (made in China) lens holds up relative to the f1.4G (made in Japan) lens.

Reviewed by 298 customers

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5.0

Yes, I would buy this product again.

By Marty the photographer

from Los Angeles, CA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

The color and clarity of my pictures are breathtaking. I Could not be any happier with my purchase. Thanks also for your expertise that helped me purchase the lens.
My wife and I are going on vacation by the ocean; am looking forward to taking pictures with the filters that
came with the lens.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Portrait Lens

By WAYNE

from Undisclosed

Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

The 85 mm is considered the classic portrait lens. I like the fast 1.4 aperture and though I normally shoot in manual mode, I have experimented with aperture priority
settings 1.4-2.0-2.8 with great results. I have a 70-200 mm which allows me to use a focal length of
85 mm with zoom capability but the
fixed 85 seems to give me a sharper
image (due to a faster lens @ 1.4 vs
2.8 on the 70-200). With the 85 in my bag I now have more latitude.

As always BandH sent me my purchase quickly and well packaged
from New York to a California guy.

Wayne in California

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Feel like I already got my money's worth...

By Matt

from Houston, TX

Verified Buyer

Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

I bought this with the hope of upping my portraits. I love the results I've gotten already from a wedding and handful of portrait sessions I've done since: lighter than my 70-200 and capable of that nice creamy bokeh. I'm not shooting entirely on primes, but I can see why people do.

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(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Very Close to the 85/1.8G - A Tough Decision

By JoEl

from Montana

Verified Reviewer

Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

I have owned a 85/1.8G for at least two years. I also own several lenses from the 1.4G series. Knowing how well the 1.4G series performs I decided to purchase the 85/1.4G to see how it works in real-life shooting situations compared to my 85/1.8G. (My comparison is limited to apertures from f1.4 to f2.8.)

At f1.8, the 85/1.4G has about the same center sharpness as the 85/1.8G. The 1.4G is a tad soft at f1.4 but still great!

The major difference in terms of sharpness is that the 1.8G has quite a large area of sharpness, whereas the 1.4G has more of a spot of sharpness. This definitely is a strong point for portrait photography! IMO, the 85/1.8G is too sharp for portraiture at f1.8 already, while the 1.4G produces attractive softness around what I want to see sharp (the eyes).

Overall, the 1.4G appears sharper compared to the 1.8G, because it produces a marginal, albeit noticeable edge of contrast and color detail. In that regard the 1.4G beats the 1.8G anytime.

The 1.4G clearly wins in terms of bokeh. The background just melts away. I had some situations, with strong horizontal contrast features far behind my subject, where the 1.8G actually seemed to produce some strong artifacts in the bokeh - not pretty, but rarely happening, as it depends very much on the shooting and lighting situation.

Summing up the above, the 1.4G is clearly better for situations, were one wants the best color and contrast, and subject isolation. The 1.8G is clearly better for situation where one needs the best possible sharpness.

My greatest complaint about the 85/1.4G is about focusing reliability. Both, my 1.4G and the 1.8G calibrated at -4 on my D3s and D700. In real-life shooting however, the 85/1.4G's focusing and its focus shift are very unreliable. It's hit and miss. It also highly dependents on subject distance. With my 1.8G I get 90% of shots focused where I want them to focus. With the 1.4G I am lucky if I get my focus 2 out of 10 times where I want it. Ouchy, Ouchy, Ouchy!

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5.0

Excellent

By TheRealOmegaMan

from Davie, FL

Verified Buyer

Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

Indoor, outdoor, shade, sun. Great lens. Excellent Boca at f/1.4 in close shooting. Great Portrait lens. Great nature lens. You won't be disappointed. Great clarity and color.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

How'd do without???

By fatSkeeter

from Wellington, FL

About Me Semi-Professional

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Lightweight

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home
    • Portraits
    • Studio

    Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

    Love this lens.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Solid portrait lens

    By Kianski

    from Los Angeles, CA

    About Me Semi-Professional

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Easy To Use

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape Photography
      • Portraits

      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

      As expected, this lens produces great portrait shots but can also be used for other subjects. The build quality is fantastic and the results are worth the premium.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      In love with this lens

      By Em

      from Washington, DC

      About Me Semi-Professional

      Verified Buyer

      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

      So far this one is my favorite. Bokeh is dreamy, and the focus is tack sharp. Couldn't imagine life without it now that I have it!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Love It!

      By Lisa

      from Charlotte

      About Me Professional

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Portraits
          • Studio
          • Traveling

          Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

          Headshots & Portraits!
          Sharp and beautiful!

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          5.0

          Amazing portrait lens

          By Zax

          from Slovakia

          Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

          It's nothing short of the superlatives in other reviews. Total satisfaction.

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          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          amazing

          By adman

          from NH

          About Me Professional

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Portraits

              Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

              the best portrait lens. not as battleship built as the f1.4 35mm, but a beautiful lens. not cheap but still worth it.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Top of the line

              By clossonrr

              from Prescott, AZ

              About Me Semi-Professional

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Everyday use
                  • Home
                  • Portraits
                  • Studio
                  • Traveling

                  Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                  Beautiful Bokeh, Upgraded from the 85mm 1.8g, while the 1.8g was excellent, I am able to notice a difference in bokeh in the 1.4g version. No regrets with the upgrade even considering the price difference!

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Perfect lens for portraits!

                  By Pro Photo

                  from Sauk City Wisconsin

                  About Me Professional

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Reliable

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Portraits
                    • Studio

                    Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                    Being a professional photographer that changed camera brands (yes, I changed from Pentax/Mamiya) I wanted to get that go to portrait lens like I had with my Mamiya. This lens had mixed reviews with ones that made me nervous about making the purchase. I took the "gamble" so to speak and was I NOT LET DOWN. This lens give me the smooth blur that I wanted, the tack sharpness of a professional series lens, and aperture range I was expecting from a pro series lens. (I know this is a F/1.4 lens from the tech specs, and I was looking for a lens that was in the aperture range)

                    I read some reviews that this lens was bad or slow at focusing. I have experienced none of these problems with my D4s. It does "hunt" for focus in low light. By low light I mean candle light where I was shooting at ISO 4,000 @ f/1.4 and 1/30 sec. This is not your "normal" shooting conditions but it was one area that I noticed the lens struggle just a touch. Though I do not know of any lens that would be able to get it right the first time in these conditions so it is not all that fair for me to say that this was the lens's fault.

                    My one and ONLY complaint about the lens is the lens hood. Mine seems to not stay on very secure compared to the 24-70mm and the 70-200. I have become accustomed to not having it on the lens (none of my medium format lenses had lens hoods so I do not find this out of the ordinary to not use one)

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    As Good As It Gets!

                    By Jingle Writer

                    from Los Angeles, CA

                    About Me Semi-Professional

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                    • Dreamy Bokeh
                    • Gorgeous Rendering
                    • Ideal Portrait Lens

                    Cons

                    • Big And Heavy

                    Best Uses

                    • Portraits
                    • Studio

                    Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                    It's a wonder I don't take this lens out more than I do. It isn't small or travel-light so sometimes it sits for months on end. But when it's time for the medium long FOV for portraiture, subject separation and bokeh, there is no equal. I've used this lens primarily on paid gigs where the whole kit comes along anyway: weddings, events and portraits. In those uses, it is the gold standard. It has a way of rendering that is both super sharp when and where it's needed and also dreamy and luscious when you want to get in close-up and personal. You can't take a bad shot with the lens.

                    I pair mine up to the Nikon D750. I can recommend it any higher. If you're agonizing about this, pull the trigger!

                    Peace!

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Bokeh bokeh bokeh

                    By Nikon Fan

                    from Bay Area, CA

                    About Me Casual user

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Durable
                    • Lightweight
                    • Reliable

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape Photography
                      • Portraits

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                      This lens is beautifully made. It's known for its portrait capability with unmatched bokeh. I have also used it for scenery shots as a mid range zoom and quite capable at that. It stays on my Df the entire month since acquiring it, as I try to shoot with only one lens instead of having the entire arsenal at my disposal.

                      The f1.4 is quite capable in low light, auto focus is accurate and fast, worth every penny. Weight and size are non-issue for me.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      5.0

                      Perfect lens for Portrait Photograph

                      By Ed

                      from Seattle, WA

                      About Me Semi-Professional

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Durable
                      • Easy To Use
                      • Lightweight
                      • Reliable

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Portraits
                        • Studio
                        • Traveling

                        Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                        Like it very much.
                        It's my first choice for portrait photograph.

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                        5.0

                        Love.

                        By Taryn

                        from Columbus georgia

                        Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                        Great lens.. Great site to order from! I have bought multiple lenses they arrive fast and are always perfect!

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                        (12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        3.0

                        Good, but not much better than the 85mm f1.8G

                        By RJ

                        from Maryland

                        About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Everyday use
                            • Home
                            • Portraits
                            • Traveling

                            Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                            My copy did not focus consistently at f1.4. The IQ and bokeh was also not much better than the 85mm f1.8G to justify the premium price paid. However, the f1.4G DOES focus significantly faster than the f1.8G. So, I chose to return the 85mm f1.4G and keep the 85mm f1.8G. If you don't need the professional build and the f1.4 bokeh, the 85mm f1.8G is a far better value at 1/3 the price. Time will tell how well the f1.8G (made in China) lens holds up relative to the f1.4G (made in Japan) lens.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            (17 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Bad reviews mostly based on inexperienced buyers

                            By SBS

                            from Ypsilanti, Michigan

                            About Me Professional

                            Pros

                            • Easy To Use
                            • Reliable

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Portraits
                              • Studio

                              Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                              I have been reading about this lens not being sharp and not working in auto-focus. One user identifying herself as a professional photographer was irate that it had not come precalibrated as it would cost $ to have it done.. What??? No lens can be precalibrated as each should be matched to a specific camera body. It cost nothing.. as in zero dollars to do this. I have calibrated each and every lens to each of my bodies. I am using Nikon D810s and after calibration the body remembers the setting and applies it whenever the lens is mounted. It takes a ruler and a sharp eye and that's it. Learn your settings people! Calibration is a few minute project. This lens is tack sharp and at wide open aperture has beautiful out of focus background. It has been my go to for portraits and low light projects and yes, I am a professional photographer shooting since the mid 1960s.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              5.0

                              Ultimate Highend Photographic Objective

                              By Glenn M.

                              from Lake Stevens WA

                              Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens:

                              Very rich in results after capturing subjects where background consistency is well defined in the whole beauty of the picture brought in by this Nikkor lens. In plain language, picture perfect!

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