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Keywords: Nikon Nikkor Tele Prime 35mm Tested


Registered: September 2010
Posts: 6
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by pc998
Review Date: 5/27/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent sharpness and built like a tank
Cons: No macro

Elegance lens design with metal outer and inner barrel. Everything was made in Japan including the hood. Very usuable at F1.4 with excellent sharpness at F2.8 and onward. I've skipped the so called 50mm standard lens coz I think 85mm is a better focal length for use with FX sensor as a general purpose walk-around standard kit lens. The lack of SWM and VR might be good if you want to use it for decades. There were incidents reporting that the SWM broke down in just a few years.

Among the other alternatives (85 1.4G, 85 1.8G and 85 1.8D), it has the highest score in terms of price/performance ratio. An excellent match with my D700.

Registered: November 2009
Posts: 5
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by radityopradipto
Review Date: 11/14/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,050.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp wide open, well controlled CA
Cons: no Nikon SWM and still AF-D lens, corner not as sharp, weather sealing

After the release of the younger 85 1.4 AF-S, this lens is still one of Nikon's best lens ever. Soft on the corner, but why bother? Most of the time you'll use it wide open to isolate your subject.

Missing SWM for quite focusing, this lens focuses faster than the 85 1.4 AF-S. Noise is still acceptable even though you might want to do manual focusing on events

Get this lens if you:
- are looking for wide open performance
- want the best creamiest bokeh possible on Nikon
- love heavy and robust build quality

Great for portrait and street shooting!

Registered: November 2010
Posts: 8
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by colinjames
Review Date: 11/10/2010 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $900.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Tank Murdock, bokeh, Sharp from 2.8+
Cons: too soft, blooming, loca's

With all the excitement of new fast 85mm lenses coming out I decided to review some old shots I took with this lens on my D700 and D300. They make me glad I sold it. Looking forward to the Sigma or 85G when I get back in the country...

Registered: February 2010
Posts: 3
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by mark
Review Date: 2/10/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,000.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: High quality f/1.4 telephoto, sharpness, contrast and bokeh bokeh bokeh

This is an excellent lens on DX and FX. Whatever the criticisms about this lens, I find that my 'keeper' rate is higher for this lens than just about any other.

Comment to SLR Gear- on a D700, a 2 year ago purchased (new) lens gave sharper performance wide open than you indicate. IMHO, you should take down the full frame test performed with this lens adapted to a 5D and retest the lens with a Nikon FX DSLR.

Registered: January 2010
Posts: 6
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by mtravella
Review Date: 1/10/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,200.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: High quality optic
Cons: M/A switch

It is not an AFS lens, other than that perfect.

Registered: June 2009
Posts: 16
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by RadiantLite
Review Date: 6/13/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,050.00| Rating: 0 

Pros: Built quality, bokeh, sharpness
Cons: Slow AF

Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D has been hailed as legendary lens for Nikon DSLR or film camera. I think it is because of its unique characteristic but also its age. This lens has been around for thirteen years.

Image Quality and characteristic
Mounted in Nikon full frame camera D700, the lens is sharp at maximum aperture of f/1.4D, which is excellent. Stopped down to f/2.8, the lens become very sharp. But extreme sharpness is not what this lens is made for. It is primarily made for its ability in low light condition, and its ability to create a beautiful out of focus effect in background or foreground.

Because of those characteristic and its fixed focal length, this lens is ideal for portrait. It is also good for candid portraiture such as in wedding. For Nikon pro wedding shooters, this lens is one of must have lens.

Unfortunately, this lens suffers a bit from purple fringing in high contrast area (see sample pic below), it is also susceptible to flare, but not as bad as other lenses.

Auto Focus operation
Because Nikon 85mm f/1.4D does not have built-in motor focus like modern lenses (AF-S) lens, it relies on camera body to focus. It speed will also depend on the camera body. The more higher-end model such as Nikon D700, D3 or D3X will focus faster than the entry-level camera.

When mounted in Nikon D700, the lens focus very fast. Unfortunately entry level user such as Nikon D40, D40X and D60 only can use manual focus because the camera body doesn't have the capability to focus AF lenses. This lens also create some noise when focusing because lack of Silent Wave Motor.

In sport games such as basketball, the lens has difficulty in continuous tracking. It fails to lock on the object properly resulting in many blur image. I don't recommend it for sports.

Build Quality
Built quality of this lens is awesome, it is average in size and weight and very nice to handle. The focus ring is smooth. Closest focusing is 85cm, make it not very ideal for macro / close-up photography.

It will come with "metal" lens hood. Unfortunately the lens hood it screw in type and you can't reverse it for more compact storage. In spite of that, the lens hood is fully metal, so it is better than regular plastic type and a lot more durable.

Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D vso 85mm f/1.8D
Compare to f/1.8D version, This lens is 2.5 times more expensive, the cheaper lens is not as sharp as f/1.4D in its maximum aperture of f/1.8. At f/2.8, the sharpness is almost equal. The build quality is also a lot worse than the f/1.4D. But the 85mm f/1.8 is more compact and portable.

In Conclusion
You might want to get this lens because of several reasons:

You frequently shoot at extremely low light condition which f/1.4D is often needed

You are concern about artistic, especially smooth background blur.

You might not want this lens if you are looking for the sharpest lens from edge to edge of the image. (The lens is designed to be sharp in the center "focus" and soft in the corner).

Don't buy this lens for indoor sports, it is better to get either f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens or lighting equipment.

Please check out for sample photos and more reviews.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 15
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by bfischer
Review Date: 5/7/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,300.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: excellent performance at wide stops, small, light, smooth bokeh
Cons: longitudinal CA, purple fringing, screw-in hood

Excellent wide open performance for a spherical design. Very good color and sharpness, slight veiling effect in bright light at f/1.4.

Purple fringing can be troublesome at point light sources and wide stops (depends on focusing). Also longitudinal CA can compromise image quality in certain situations.

Really shines on FX. Highly recommended.

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 82
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by lextalionis
Review Date: 5/8/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,000.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: One of Nikon's best portrait lenses.
Cons: Lack of ED glass

Carl Christensen provided some good feedback and sample photos taken with a D80.

Sample Photos taken with a Nikon D80


Registered: April 2007
Posts: 8
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by italy74
Review Date: 4/23/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,755.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast focusing also in low light
Cons: None

It's unbelievable how this lens is able to find light where there isn't and how precisely it focuses also in manual mode. Definitely a must where light is never enough.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 7
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by marokero
Review Date: 12/15/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $700.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: very nice bokeh, bright, sharp, contrasty, rugged construction
Cons: not AF-S

I love this lens for all the reasons in my list of pros, as well as what people have already said. It's the lens I reach for when in low light environments, awesome for portraits, but equally as good for landscpe creativity. I bought this lens cheap from a friend who was switching to Canon - he now regrets that switch Nah! Anyway, the lens was like new, immaculate glass and AF operation, just a few scuffles on the outside. Being spoiled by all AF-S lenses in my kit, I wished this lens was also AF-S but the image quality makes me forget all that. Here are a few examples of the wonderful bokeh of this lens:

Being a mechanical lens (not AF-S that is), the 85 f/1.4 depends on the built-in motor of the camera it's mounted to. I used to have problems with this lens on my D100, as the motor wasn't as fast and snappy as it is on the D2x or the D200. On an F5 body this lens is faster still! Nowadays I switch back and forth between this 85 and my 105 VR, but in low light locales, f/1.4 beats f/2.8 + VR Smile

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 9
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by anabasis
Review Date: 12/10/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,049.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: BOKEH, IQ, speed
Cons: no AFS, screw on hood

This is the legendary Nikkor portrait lenses. The lens comes with a screw on hood, excellent metal construction and is a solid performer.
Image quality at middle distances is fantastic. The BOKEH is to die for, especially wide open, and the 9-bladed iris helps when the lens is stopped down. I prefer to shoot this lens from wide open to perhaps f8 as diffraction at the smaller apertures degrades quality. I like the sharpness and contrast of the lens and it is a top rated performer and a good sports lens for indoor events where the wide aperture makes formerly impossible shots within reach.
The lens is of an older design however, and could certainly use several upgrades for better performace (while keeping the same image quality). For starters, the screw on hood is difficult to put on the lens, and I am not happy with how I can damage the lens by bumping it against something, as I am prone to doing. With a bayonet lens, the hood flies off and is easily retrievable, with a screw on hood, there is likelihood of thread damage.
The AF is also a bit dated. While the lens has internal focusing, the use of the “screwdriver” technology makes focus slower, which is a real issue in sports shooting. Also problematic is that there is a ring to select manual or auto focus, and you must switch the ring to engage the MF focusing ring. I would like to see this lens in an AFS form while retaining the IF feature. This would not only speed up focusing tremendously, but also allow for on the fly manual focus over-ride.
This lens is obviously a portrait lens, and gives top-shelf images when used properly. However the design needs some updating to make it truly spectacular, especially in indoor sports shooting.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 5
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by redgetanj
Review Date: 11/25/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: build quality, low-light capabilities, and the best bokeh one can achieve
Cons: price

This lens is highly regarded amongst Nikon users as one of the best portrait lenses ever made. Having 9 diaphragm blades helps it produce one of the best bokehs not only for this range. It produces wonderful color saturation and image quality even at f/1.4. By f/2, quality is excellent. Build quality is solid like old nikkor lenses. Focus ring is very smooth to operate and autofocus is fast as one would expect from a f/1. 4 prime lens.

I highly recommend this lens expecially if you shoot alot of photos of people.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 8
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by ultrafast
Review Date: 11/23/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $875.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: f/1.4, wonderful "bokeh", sharp, excellent color rendition
Cons: expensive and heavy, no AF-S

The PROs say it all. This is a lens with all the aspects of good construction one would expect from a pro nikkor. The images are simply stunning. The blurred out backgrounds (bokeh) at wide apertures are fantastic for drawing attention to the subject and making a nice smooth compliment. Amazingly, there is no incentive to stop this lens down, as it is tack sharp even at f/1.4 and by f/2.8 it is probably my sharpest lens.

Great for low light sports like basketball too, though only on a D2 series body, since the more powerful AF motor is necessary for a good focusing speed on the non AF-S lens.

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 2
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by aurora
Review Date: 11/22/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: amazing build quality, ultra fast, ultra sharp
Cons: focus ring not as smooth as it could be

This lens is so rewarding to use that it is often hard to be convinced to use anything else in my bag. As another poster has noted, it is of such high calibre that clients consistently pick images from this lens over others taken with even the most modern zoom alternatives.

Bright, fast, solid, exquisitely sharp, and contrasty all only begin to describe this lens' attributes. Images taken with it have a quality look and distinct signature that cannot be matched by any other lens I own. Users rave about the lens' bokeh, which is indeed excellent. It's blazingly fast maximum aperture of 1.4 provides a world of creative possibilities for everything from portraits to landscapes to sports to event work.

The only way this lens could be improved would be to add AFS, to promote quiet focusing as opposed to improving focus speed, and to utilize the more modern lens hood mounting system. The screw mount for the hood can be a pain when using filters, otherwise the hood stays on most of the time.

Many lenses come and go during a photographer's tenure. But this one will remain a lifetime investment once purchased.

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 2
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by JAM
Review Date: 11/16/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $795.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, great bokeh, wonderful contrast
Cons: Needs silent wave motor for faster focusing

This is my workhorse portrait lens in the studio. One of Nikon's best lenses - I only wish they would update it with a silent wave focusing motor.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 3
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by ljsegil
Review Date: 10/24/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 


Absolutley beautiful images when focused properly. When used wide open the DOF is so shallow that it is possible to focus on the subject's nose and be soft on they eyes. Therefore sometimes better handled with manual as opposed to autofocus. Sharpness is outstanding at any wide aperture. Everyone has heard raves about the bokeh, but it is absolutely true; the creamy backgrounds just make your portrait that much better. I have never tried to use the lens for purposes other than portraiture, but for this it is unsurpassed.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 5
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor review by chimpp
Review Date: 10/21/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $750.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, ruggedness, fast aperture
Cons: AF speed, screw-on hood, focal length a bit too long for 1.5-crop sensors.

Sharper than any other lens I own, including the 50mm 1.8D and the 70-200VR. My most detailed and sharpest images (where you can see the pores on the skin) were done wide open.

If you don't know what bokeh is, try using this lens at f/1.4. A downside of using such a wide aperture with its inherent shallow depth-of-field is that you have to know exactly what you're focusing on or else you might get the hair or ears in focus and not the face, for example.

Very good feel to the rubber grip around the focus ring, too bad I can't manually focus this using the D70's tiny viewfinder.

The screw-on hood requires several rotations to be seated snugly, and it fits into the filter thread. You can't screw the hood on the lens in reverse for storage.

Autofocus is slow. Don't expect to use this for fast-action shots or quick candids. I used this in a dark wedding reception on one D70 and the second D70 had the 18-70 kit lens. The kit lens focused just fine but the autofocus kept hunting on the 85 f/1.4 and was nearly useless unless I switched to MF.

This lens is built for three-quarter portraits and headshots, where it really shines. Lens wide open, you can easily render a wall totally blurred half a meter behind the subject. Because of its telephoto nature, doing portraits of two or more people may require you to back up really, really far.

It's well worth the money I paid and I've since stopped using the imposing 70-200VR for portraits. It's also brought about a newfound interest in primes, especially for portraiture. My clients overwhelmingly choose pictures taken with this lens over those taken with other lenses during events.

Disclaimers: I haven't used this lens for sports and I've never used the 85mm f1.8D.


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