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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G

10 March 2012
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • Excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • Very good image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor and full frame,
  • Slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • Negligible distortion,
  • Low coma,
  • Imperceptible astigmatism,
  • Slight vignetting on the APS-C/DX,
  • Silent and accurate autofocus.

Cons:

  • Significant longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • Weak work against the light,
  • Significant vignetting on full frame.

You can sum up the review of this lens in two ways, according to that old adage: some people see the glass is half empty, others see it half full. The first group will notice that a 1.8/85 lens should differ from a 1.4/85 lens not only in aperture and price. You would wish the cheaper sibling was manufactured equally well, in the same plants and using the same good components. In the case of the Nikkors it is not the case. The slower model is produced in China, not in Japan, using worse parts and less efficient antireflective coatings.

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On the other hand a cheaper 1.8/85 model, when compared to its faster brother, many times surprises us very positively. Firstly it provides a great image quality. Secondly, it corrects the chromatic aberration and the coma better, faring equally well in the category of astigmatism and distortion. The only category in which the cheaper model loses to its more expensive sibling is the work against bright light. Worse quality of coatings made themselves felt here and we definitely didn’t like the outcome.

Finally the matter of the price. Currently for the Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G you must pay almost 2,000 PLN. It is much more than the cost of other amateur models like the 1.8/35 and the 1.8/50. The rival Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM is also cheaper. You must keep in mind, though, that the Canon is already an elderly construction (although still produced in Japan) and the Nikkor is a novelty so you can predict its price will get down to a level by several hundred PLN lower. When it happens we will recommend this lens for sure.


Sample shots

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.2, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.47 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/4000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.88 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 800
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 11.21 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/60 s, ISO 800
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 10 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.5, exp. 1/100 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 9.87 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/100 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.84 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/60 s, ISO 800
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 9.99 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.5, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.11 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/250 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.52 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/640 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.09 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6.39 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.2, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.35 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/400 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.75 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.5, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.55 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/250 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 6.49 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.2, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.05 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.05 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.23 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.02 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.43 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.45 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.92 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.47 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.64 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.13 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.35 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 800
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 10.43 MB
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G  - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 14.2 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 10.11 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 85 mm, f/11.0, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 9.15 MB



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