Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G

My favourite lens for portraits is the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G, but the longer Nikon 85mm f/1.4G has its place in my heart too. It’s a matter of people’s taste. Someone enjoys sharper portraits, someone more dreamy. It probably best describes the comparison of these two amazing glasses

Two years back, I had the opportunity to borrow this great glass for two days and try it with Nikon D610 body. I was dazzled, because the drawing and bokeh of this lens was simply astonishing. The depth of field looks so pretty like from much longer focal glass.

The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1,4G is a professional grade lens, which was announced with three other lenses in August of 2010. Nikon 85mm f/1.4G has ten elements lens in nine groups with Nano Crystal Coating and 9-blade rounded aperture. This Nikon is one of the best Nikon lenses for portraits money can buy. I can recommend the cheaper, lighter and smaller Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, but those who want the fastest lens with the best image qualty and sublime bokeh, simply must choose the big brother f/1.4.

Front barel of the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G
How it looks and works?

The external lens barrel is made of plastic, inside the lens from the metal. It’s not so tiny but it fits nicely into my smaller hands. I am excited about the size and weight of this lens as well as with Nikon 35mm f/1.4G. Of course, if you use multiple lenses, weight can be limiting. But one of my friends said, „I’d rather pull a truck than save a few grams at the expense of the quality of my photos.“

The front element looks amazing. It’s not a huge lens like newer Nikon 105mm f/1.4E, but it is much bigger than little brother Nikon 85mm f/1.8G or older 85mm f/1.4D. The build quality is indentical with Nikon 24mm f/1.4G or 35mm f/1.4G lenses. No wonder, all they were introduced during the 2010. So the materials and mechanics are at the same level for all of these three lenses.

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G brings the highest standards of newly manufactured Nikon lenses. On the tube is a classic auto and manual switch. The front thread is made for 77mm filters. Rear barrel comes with a rubber gasket on the lens mount, which provides good sealing against dust making its way into the camera (the rubber gasket definitely helps not only in reducing sensor dust, but also in reducing the amount of dust that could potentially end up inside the lens). The lens mount is made from metal the same like the lens inside mechanism.

Front element of the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G
About the eighty-five

I will repeat, but the comparison with smaller, lighter and cheaper Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, which I ever used in the previous 2 years is obviously. From my perspective, this is the highest quality fixed lens, at a reasonable price, that Nikon has ever produced. It’s similar lens, but I don’t fit that constructively as well. Optically this lens generally applies the rule, that it produces sharp and cold photos, especially suited to the next post-process in computer.

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G delivers superb image quality. Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coating improves light transmission, provides the best color consistency, and minimizes ghost and flare to a negligible level.

The lens is so sharp, and extremely resistant in backlight. Compared to the other 85 lenses, this lens has beautiful colors with a warmer shade of color spectrum. If you are shooting in studio with studio lights or flash, the biggest difference is visible from f/1.4 to f/2. The main focus of the lens is the exterior drawing in daylight in a real environment.

When I had the ability to shoot with the newest Nikon 105/1.4E which is sharper and faster – due to the focus and the electrically controlled curtain, I had a direct comparison with it. Pictures taken outdoors, in real light were much lighter.  Weight and price are also important to me so that’s why I finally decided for 85/1.4G.

All pro grade lenses hold their retail price well if you ever decide to sell them on, but trust me on this one – if you can get your hands on one of these lenses, you’ll never want to sell it …

Comparison with Nikon 35mm f/1.4G and 58mm f/1.4G:
The front elements of Nikon 85/1.8G ad 85/1.4G lenses:
Merit:
  • Superior image quality
  • Build quality – so handly
  • Backlight resistance
  • Beautifully blurred backgrounds (bokeh)
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Excellent aperture at f/1.4
  • Lens caps, hood and case included
Cons:
  • High price
  • Slower autofocus speed
Summary:

What to say at the end? The image quality of this lens is phenomenal. From my perspective, this is the highest quality fixed-focal lens from Nikon, that Nikon has ever produced.


Thanks for reading!


Specifications:

Lens type: Normal
Focal length: 85 mm
Maximum aperture: f/1.4
Minimum aperture: f/16
Lens construction: 10 elements in 9 groups
Angle of view: 28°30' (18°50' with Nikon DX format)
Minimum focus distance: 0.85 m (from focal plane)
No. of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
Filter-attachment size: 77 mm
Diameter x length: 86,5 x 84 mm
Weight: 595 g (excluding hood)
Accessories: 77 mm Snap-on Front Lens Cap LC-77, Rear Lens Cap LF-4, 
             Bayonet Hood HB-55, Flexible Lens Pouch CL-1118

* sample images from Nikon 85mm f/1.4G