Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 85 mm f/1.8 S

13 March 2020
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary


  • solid, sealed casing, mostly made of metal,
  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • good image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • moderate longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • practically zero lateral chromatic aberration,
  • low spherical aberration,
  • negligible distortion,
  • moderate vignetting on the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • lack of astigmatism related problems,
  • silent and accurate autofocus,
  • blurry areas pleasing to the eye.


  • distinct vignetting on full frame.
By and large you can repeat here everything from the summary of the Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S test, published not so long ago. Once again you deal with a very long list of pros and just one flaw. Still the 85 mm model seems to be a tad weaker than the 50 mm instrument because its maximum MTFs are lower and it performs a tad worse near the maximum relative aperture. Mind you, the standards are raised very high here and yet the new Nikkor compares very favourably indeed with other 1.8/85 devices we've had an opportunity to test so far.

The only thing you can complain about is the price. The reflex camera model could be bought for less than $450 without any problems and the mirrorless device costs almost $800. The difference is really big, even after taking into account the fact that the novelty tax might be lowered after some time and the price might stabilize on a bit more approachable level.

Still, without doubt the new model is better than its predecessor; the rival Tamron 1.8/85 VC, optically very similar to the tested lens, costs over $700 as well. Of course you can also mention here the Zeiss Batis 1.8/85 which comes with a price tag of $1080. It seems times when brand name 1.8/85 models could be bought for about $400 are gone for ever.

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Despite the fact that the Nikkor Z 85 mm f/1.8 S fared a bit weaker in our test than the highly praised 50 mm lens, its excellent performance and a very long list of pros compared to just one position in the 'cons' section made us quite determined to award it our „Editors' Choice” badge as well.

Nikon Nikkor Z 85 mm f/1.8 S - Summary