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Nikon 85mm f1.4 vs. f1.8

Jae Baik , Nov 13, 2007; 11:06 p.m.

I am looking at these two lenses, but the price difference is significant. Is it really worth going for f1.4 rather than f1.8? I heard f1.4 is a little soft at wide open. Your answer is greatly appreciated.


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Ken - , Nov 13, 2007; 11:11 p.m.

Nice comparison of the two here: Utopia Photography

Matthew Currie , Nov 13, 2007; 11:14 p.m.

Tomasz Widlack has a post further down the page with a pretty nice comparative test of several 85's including the ones you're looking at:


Jae Baik , Nov 13, 2007; 11:19 p.m.

Ken, this helped a lot. f1.4 is a lot sharper than f1.8 is, but she makes good point that we don't need to see those details in someone's face since 85mm in crop body is mainly for portraits.

Thanks again.

Bill Keane , Nov 13, 2007; 11:29 p.m.

PhotoZone suggests the 1.8 is sharper. Sample variation comes into play here.

Juanjo Viagran , Nov 14, 2007; 12:03 a.m.

I had both, now I have the 1.4D. Both are great but once you have the 1.4D you no longer have your question.

Ian Cox-Leigh , Nov 14, 2007; 01:12 a.m.

The Utopia Photography comparison is great. I have neither lens but have been considering a prime at that focal length for some time now.

Moreover, I notice a similar difference in contrast and colour shift between the 50 1.8 and the 50 1.4. I feel like making a similar test to show the results on those lenses.

David Craton , Nov 14, 2007; 01:18 a.m.

What bill keane said. I have the 1.8 and can tell you it is my favorite lens. It is tack sharp on my D200's and produces stunning results for portraits (if you have the room), event photography, concerts, and I use it for indoor sports when I have a press pass.

The 1.4 is very soft under f/2.0. So is the 1.8. However, after f/2.8 I find both lenses superb as do most.

Not just my thoughts: http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/nikkor_85_14/index.htm.

Save your money and have room for another stellar lens. Both are great, but read the verdict on the f/1.8: http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/nikkor_85_18/index.htm.

More than that, I totally agree with the above reviews having shot with both lenses and now have the f/1.8. Was not a financial decision, but an IQ descision in that the 1.8 had consistantly produced better images than the 1.4.


Good hunting!

Walter Schroeder , Nov 14, 2007; 02:28 a.m.

I suppose the question is how you define "better" IQ.

I am with David and other posters but in agreement with what we know from other fast lenses a f1.4 lens is a specialist. Better only wide open up to f2 or f2.8 and obviously faster. Besides, the "signature" from 1.4 to 4 is very special. You can get "sharpness" in post processing if the resolution is there any time^^.

Oskar Ojala , Nov 14, 2007; 05:46 a.m.

I suspect the the f2.8 pic from the 85/1.8 on the Utopia photography comparison is a bit misfocused. The main reasons to buy the f1.4 is the better bokeh, better build and better performance below f2.0. The f1.8 has in turn advantages of its own, like size, weight and stopped down performance. See the photozone review.

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