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Nikkor 85mm F/1.4d vs 85mm F/1.8d

Carol Sahlfeld , Sep 27, 2005; 06:52 p.m.

Hello, I'm new to the forum and am researching lenses for my D70. There is a huge price difference between the Nikkor 85mm F/1.4D and the 85mm F/1.8D. I'm just a weekend amateur, looking for nice shots, but not expecting to compete with the pros. Does anyone have an explanation on why the price difference is so high between the two? 1.4 vs 1.8 doesn't seem to warrant this, but admittedly I am a newbie. Thanks for any input.


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Jerry Litynski , Sep 27, 2005; 07:05 p.m.

The 85mm lens is a good choice. The f1.4 lens may have better out-of-focus highlights in the background at f1.4 than the f1.8 lens produces at f1.8. (85 x 1.5 = the actual focal length on your digital body,) so you may be happy with a AF 50mm f1.8D Nikkor lens for general shooting. It is even smaller and less costly than a AF 85mm Nikkor lens. Or a AF 28-105mm f3.5D~f4.5D Nikkor zoom lens might do as well for weekend shooting.

Your money and your choice.

Drew Dalziel , Sep 27, 2005; 07:07 p.m.

The 1.4 is nearly a stop faster, that means instead of a photo at 1/60 the 1.4 will take it at about 1/100 (that's a rough guess), that could be the difference between getting and not getting the shot for a pro. There may be quality differences but it's most likely the extra speed you're paying for.

As an amateur as well I'd go for the 1.8

Frank Schifano , Sep 27, 2005; 07:45 p.m.

"85 x 1.5 = the actual focal length on your digital body"

That's patently not true. What you get is approximately the equivalent angle of view on your D70 with the 85mm lens that you would get with a 128mm lens on the standard 24 x 36mm film frame. None of the optical properties of the lens do not magically change because you mount it to a digital camera. Look at it this way. The digital sensor is smaller than the film frame, so what you're getting is an in camera crop of the lens' image circle. That's all.

Vishal Goklani , Sep 27, 2005; 07:53 p.m.

an 85mm lens is ideal (well, this is purely subjective) for a film SLR, but it is kind of annoying on a DSLR with a crop factor. I would personally recommend the 50mm lens, as the focal legth is more convenient for portraits.

Andy Radin , Sep 27, 2005; 08:50 p.m.

on the contrary, I find the 85mm 1.4 to be my favorite lens on DX sensors. Don't recall ever seeing a 135mm 1.4 for film, only 2.8. The speed and shallow DOF is highly useful. my usual around town kit is the 85mm as a short tele, and a 12-24 for everything else.

now it's surely true that this is a DIFFERENT lens on DX than on film - I happen to prefer it this way. When I shoot portraits on DX, they tend to be close and tight with the 85mm or at 24mm with lots of background. your mileage and taste may vary.

The 1.4 va 1.8 has been discussed a lot here, and very much ad nauseum on other boards like dpreview.com etc. Consensus is that the 1.8 is great for the money, go for it, but the 1.4 has something intangible that's hard to put a price on. I had the 85 1.8 and sold it for the 1.4 and am very glad I did.

Frank Skomial , Sep 27, 2005; 11:15 p.m.

Carol asked about: "Nikkor 85mm F/1.4D and the 85mm F/1.8D" Why then people cannot read that, and recommend a 50 mm lens?.

Either Nikkor 85 lens is great! Have the money get 1.4 and you will be proud of the lens. 1.8 is a lot lighter and smaller, but will serve you in most cases equally well. As a "weekend amateur" you will be happy with 1.8, but if you are rich ?...then get the 1.4.

Some people, like myself, would be bothered by the idea that I got not the best lens, and that seems unreasonable and is against common sense. If you a such a person, then get 1.4 and you will never regret.

Chris Chow , Sep 28, 2005; 12:00 a.m.

The explanation may be:

1. The 1.4 is expensive to make. Optical designs, glass types, mechanical construction, QC, etc. 2. The 1.4 cannot sell in big volume.

Why make it at all? Because it is better than the 1.8 and can enhance the Nikon brand image. Some people are willing to pay for it.

The 1.8 is a great lens nonetheless.

Jerry Litynski , Sep 28, 2005; 12:15 a.m.

"Don't recall ever seeing a 135mm 1.4 for film, only 2.8."

So what is the AF 135mm f2D DC-Nikkor lens?

KL IX , Sep 28, 2005; 12:44 a.m.

an 85mm lens is ideal (well, this is purely subjective) for a film SLR, but it is kind of annoying on a DSLR with a crop factor. I would personally recommend the 50mm lens, as the focal legth is more convenient for portraits. - Vishal

Yes on the 85mm/crop factor; definte no on the 50mm recommendation for portraits -- awful bokeh.

Carol - if you can afford the 85mm/1.4 AFD, GET IT. If you have to think twice because of cost, then the 1.8 should do nicely. Where the big difference would be is out of focus areas on some sunny outdoor subjects.

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