Nikon 85mm F1.4D vs Nikon AF-S 85mm F1.8G

PavvybenPavvyben Posts: 11Member
edited July 2014 in Nikon Lenses

I currently own the 85mm F1.4D, and everyone seems to hold this lens in high regard in terms of quality, but I'm slightly baffled by this. I honestly don't believe the quality is actually that good, and the amount of purple fringing I've noticed on photos since I've owned it, really deters me from using it at all. The AF isn't particularly great on it I've found, even on a body such as the D3. The 1.4D was used for indoor sports, which it wasn't really designed for, but the light in some of the indoor arenas that I've taken photo's in has been really bad. I was usually shooting at F1.8 on my D3 at 6400 ISO with 1/250 sec shutter speed!

All of this has got me thinking. In an ideal world, I'd buy the 85mm F1.4G probably, since it's apparently fixed most of the issues I have with the D version.

But the G version is pretty expensive, so I was thinking, would it be worth selling my 85mm F1.4D and buying the 85mm F1.8G. Is the G version going to be better quality than the 1.4D?

The bokeh on the D version was actually very good, so I can imagine the 1.4G being even better, but I feel my money is best placed in other lenses at the moment.

The lens would be used in conjunction with a Nikon D4s.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.




  • PavvybenPavvyben Posts: 11Member
    Is there any chance of a Sigma 85/1.4 Art being released soon?

    I tell you what, Sigma really have impressed me recently with these Art lenses. No offense to anyone who owns Sigma gear, but I always felt it was 2nd rate in terms of quality compared to Nikon/Canon equivalents. But the 35/1.4 Art wipes the floor with the Nikon/Canon equivalent, same with the 50/1.4.

    Yeah the purple fringing does drive me crazy. It just looks plain awful! Whether I buy the 85mm F1.8G and then buy the Sigma when it comes out, I'm not sure. However, I'm almost certain it'll be as good as if not better than the Nikon if previous Art lenses are anything to go by.

    That is a fantastic photo by the way - the amount of detail and sharpness is incredible!

  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    edited July 2014
    The 85 1.8g Does show some CA but it is one of my favorite primes. Since it is very sharp I can only imagine what Sigma's 85 1.4 Art would look like and I too would probably order one.

    Here is what this lens looks like at 2.8 and you can see some ca and purple fringing on what the woman is holding on her left hand

    Post edited by Vipmediastar_JZ on
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Hi Ben, welcome to the forums.

    Having owned the 85 1.8, I have been very pleased with it performance on my D4. However, I have not used this lens for shooting indoor sports. If you live in the states, why not rent the 85 1.8G & 1.4G and see if they address your concern.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    We just covered the 85s on this thread (Portrait lens for Df ) and that will probably help with most questions.

    Here are my comments from it:
    I have been looking and testing (with D800) 85s as I need to update my old 85mm 1.8. DxO artificially creates or makes people believe the difference is very different than what it really is and what can been seen.
    What I found:
    First and foremost, all of the lenses are sharp and I could not really tell any real difference between them.
    •Nikkor 85mm 1.4G - $1,600 • Smoothest bokeh, warm color, AF faster than "D" lenses but I have seen faster.
    •Nikkor 85mm 1.8G - $500 • Neutral color, Fastest AF of the group, Bokeh a bit harder than the 1.4g - similar to Sigma's.
    •Nikkor 85mm 1.4D -$1,000 • Noticeably slower focusing. Slightly on the warm side. Bokeh just behind the 1.4g, a bit better than the 1.8g.
    •Nikkor 85mm 1.8D - (What I have) Got trounced in every category. Considering one can pick one up for $200, it is a hell of a deal though.
    •Sigma 1.4 - $950 • Nice lens, had some weird CAs in the bokeh that really stood out. Fast AF, about the same as the 1.4g. 85mm 1.4g was just as good.
    •Zeiss 1.4 ZF.2 - $1,300 • Very nice lens but manual focus. Seemed to be almost identical to the 1.4D. Bokeh edges seemed a bit harsher of the bunch.

    The big difference you would see is the focus speed. The "G"'s are much better. Other than that, I don't think you will really see much of a difference.

    Personally I'm still sitting on the fence between the 1.4 & 1.8 G Nikkors. Most of that depends on other purchases I need to make rather than any performance being better than another. I prefer the warmth of the 1.4g and I thought the bokeh was a bit softer. The 1.4g is also a bit better built which makes a difference for me personally. I know it won't be disappointing to get the 1.8g if I do go that route though.

    One other lens one might consider is the 105mm 2.8VR. It is a great portrait lens and I use it a ton. If one is focused on available light shooting, the VR really does make a big difference on "keepers." The added benefit is that you get a macro as well. The price has really fallen in the last few years.
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 372Member
    Just curious, are you shooting RAW? Processing with what? I ask because on my much lower-scale, I have issues with the 35mm f/1.8 DX because of purple fringing. I think those who shoot JPEG with a modern camera that corrects for CA have a higher regard for the lens than those who shoot RAW, or with an older camera.

    I just tried Capture NX-D. It has the CA correction which helps, but also a quite effective axial correction. Anyway, if you're shooting RAW without Nikon's special sauce, then I think you're looking straight at the purple fringe, but JPEG with corrections, or one of the NX solutions working with the RAW files might mitigate the issue, no matter which lens you choose. Don't know what the D3 is capable of in terms of corrections.

    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • tektradertektrader Posts: 58Member
    the fringing you see in the D lens is just as bad as what is in the G lens. So bad in fact I sent mine back and continued to use my 70-200 f2.8G.

    I will buy the 85mm ART lens if it fixes the LOCA issue. The others are rubbish.
  • PavvybenPavvyben Posts: 11Member
    Yeah it's a tough call really on what to do. The 85mm F1.8G seems like potentially good option. The bokeh isn't as good as the 1.4G, I would definitely agree with that, but it's also as people have said, a 1/3 of the price.

    Even as a professional photographer, I'd have a hard time justifying the 1.4G unless I used it an awful lot.

    And on the plus side, if the 1.8G has the fastest autofocus, that could make it useful for indoor equestrian events that I shoot. It might make quite a difference going from the D3 to the D4s in terms of ISO performance however, so I may not need to use the 85mm much as I'll be able to shoot with the 70-200 f2.8.

    I did always notice, the photo's always appear 'brighter' with the 85mm compared to the 70-200mm f2.8, even if they were both stopped down.

    Not a great example, but that was shot at 1/250 sec and F1.4 at 6400 ISO on a D3 about 7 years ago! It was also shot as a 'Medium JPEG Fine' as the company didn't want me to shoot in anything better!

    But the D4s will go up to 25,600 ISO with probably cleaner results than the D3 gets at 6400, so that should make a considerable difference.

  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    ...And on the plus side, if the 1.8G has the fastest autofocus, that could make it useful for indoor equestrian events that I shoot...
    I don't shoot equestrian, but I have the same teeter-tot on the focus speed. It is noticeably faster than the 1.4D, but in the whole scheme of things not that much against the 1.4G. Build quality always plays into my decisions too as having a lens die during a shoot scares the hell out of me sometimes.
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2014
    Four days ago I did a very small test for us with my new 85mm f/1.8G (great lens for me) on the D600.

    Direct out of the camera, imported in LR, nothing edited.
    I made 5 photo's, shot in RAW direct after each other with:
    ISO 100, f/1.8, f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6 and f/8.0, all - 2/3 EV.
    Cropped to 2670 x 1783 and left different peaces of background.
    My distance to the bird was about 3 meters.

    Just for information.

    You can clearly see the CA by f/1.8, mentioned by Pitchblack. (that should drive you crazy)
    You can check the other 4, they are on my Flickr account.


    Nikon D600, 85mm f/1.8G lens, ISO 100, f/1.8
    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited July 2014
    @PitchBlack: I was think the same thing at first, but then I took a step back and thought, perhaps the OP has two bodies: one with a telephoto and a second with the 85 to shoot when the action gets closer and thus he or she switch, in order to really isolate the subject. I have seen many NFL photographer to have 3 bodies with them while capturing the action on the field: Body 1) Monopod + long telephoto, Body 2) wide angle. Body 3) midrange prime.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    @Pavvyben: I can see why you would like fast glass. You need 1/250 to stop action - so VR is of little use here. Your picture at 6.400 ISO tells us that you would be close to 25.000 ISO with 70-200 2.8.

    How bad is your 85 at F2.0? That would be 12.500 ISO. Maybe use that until a decent 85 hits the market :-)
  • PavvybenPavvyben Posts: 11Member
    edited July 2014
    @PitchBlack With indoor equestrian events, I move around, so I'm never stood in the same place. So for example that photo was in one position, I would then walk across the arena to another fence etc, while the horse/rider is doing it's round. It's fairly normal really, so you can capture more than one jump!

    The 85mm is actually a pretty good focal length I've found for indoor equestrian events. It's probably too short if you were shooting from outside the arena, but because I'm actually right next to the fences, it's possible.

    I never would shoot above 6400 ISO on the D3, basically because I just don't think the quality is very good. Sure if I was using a D4s, I could up the ISO to 25,600, and probably shoot with the 70-200mm F2.8, but I've not tried that as yet.

    This is another photo was taken on the limits of what I think the D3 is capable of:

    1/250 second
    85mm F1.4 @ F1.4
    ISO 6400

    The D3 can go higher on the ISO, but as I say, I think the images start to look really really noisy. It's really the reason I use the 85mm F1.4, is because it buys me more light without having to increase the ISO.

    @Ton yeah I can see what you mean, although I don't think it's as bad as what I've had on the 1.4D, but yeah, you can see it. The quality looks good though!

    @Golf007sd That will be my intention, to use both the D3 and D4s alongside each other, although It'll probably be a 300mm F2.8 VR II with the D3 on a monopod and the 70-200mm F2.8 VR with the D4s on my shoulder. Certainly for larger outdoor events, this is usually the perfect combination.

    @henrik1963 The 85 is pretty solid around F2.0/F2.8, it's just the autofocus that feels a bit clunky. It doesn't fill me with confidence when I'm trying to track a horse going over a jump.

    That was taken at the same venue (you'll notice the awful coloured lighting. It basically ends up being completely orange as the day goes on!!). This one was taken long before I started shooting with manual white balance, which I used to constantly re-calibrate with a white piece of paper.

    The photograph taken with a Nikon D3 + Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 VR

    1/320 sec
    200mm @ F2.8
    ISO 6400

    But the difference is, this is during the day, when it's light outside. You'll notice in the 85mm photo that it's pitch black outside.

    But I've ordered a D4s and it should be arriving later in the week. It could be a game changer for me in terms of low light photography that I've been used to with the D3 - 7 years is quite a long time in terms of camera technology, so the 70-200mm F2.8 could be perfectly good now.

    The only other concern I would have, is that the 70-200mm F2.8 VR isn't apparently very sharp across the photo on full frame, wide open at F2.8 vs the VR II version. Now I rarely shoot my 70-200 F2.8 at anything below F4, so I can't say I've ever noticed it on the D3. But I imagine if I was having to shoot at F2.8 indoors, then it might be a problem Not sure what your thoughts are on this?

    Thanks for the continued advice/opinions everyone!
    Post edited by Pavvyben on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator

    Taking another look at the image you posted on the 18th, IMO the CA is of no concern if the image is viewed from a normal viewing distance. And, the goal of producing an image, again IMO, is to have them look good for those who are looking at them.

    To all…we talk a lot about comparing lenses and much or our discussions are in the pixel peeping venue. I believe if one shoots a scene, using the 85/1.4 and 85/1.8, prints at a size of say 24" x 36", that in a side by side comparison very few folks could tell the difference nor be able to distinguish which was shot with a particular lens. I might suggest that I could use my old 85mm f/1.8 from the 1960's and it would also be indistinguishable.

    Also, in use the difference of focus speed of these lenses is so minimal as to once again be of no consequence unless action photos are being taken.

    It comes down to the prestige issue and how much one wants to spend…. for me, the 85mm f/1.8 G wins hands down.

    All of the above is merely my opinion.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Benji2505Benji2505 Posts: 517Member
    Here is an interesting comparison between the two G lenses. Maybe you like it.

    I have the 1.8G and I really like it
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,000Member
    edited July 2014
    If you're using the 85/1.4g wide open outdoors, you will see purple fringing and it will annoy you. Mine drives me crazy but I put up with it because it's the best 85 that autofocuses out there. It's not as bad as the D, but the G still has the problem.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the day if/when a Sigma 85/1.4 Art comes out. The 35/1.4 Art and the 50/1.4 Art both handle chromatic aberration exceptionally well. Don't expect it to be cheap, though. I'm thinking it will likely come in around $1300-$1500.

    Here's a photo from the 50/1.4 Art that I posted elsewhere in the forum. It's shot under the most brutal conditions and shows only minimal fringing. I know I'm looking forward to the 85/1.4 Art, and even though I own the 85/1.4g, I'll probably preorder the thing.
    You've done a nice job roping in any trouble there ;) We all know you work in the most brutal conditions LOL :)
    And we'll see what Sigma can do @ Photokina. Siggy's ole 85 1.4 has CA problems, but that was not ART.
    Post edited by manhattanboy on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Go to Nikon's site and view the MTF charts for the two lenses. By a narrow margin the f/1.8 is sharper…but, only by a small increment. Of course this is comparing f/1.4 with f/1.8 so, maybe not fair.

    Here are the links:
    85mm f/1.8 G!

    85mm f/1.4 G

    On both these you must click on the MTF tab to see the curve.
    Msmoto, mod
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    If you're not in a hurry, @Pavyben it's worth to wait until October/November and get a real good lens (Sigma) instead of the CA collecting f/1.4 G. at a possibly lower price. I hope, Sigma will use higher Quality focus drives than Nikon did as it's the only lens I had to send in because of malfunctioning AF-drive. And I don't use it in harsh conditions - it shouldn't be a problem after less than 2000 shots

    The Nikkor is nice and sharp with nice bokeh, just not very usable wide open. If you would buy one now, you'd loose a lot of money. Except if weight is an issue: I expect the Sigma being no lightweight and certainly heavier than the Nikkors.
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    I will have to agree with Msmoto that the Nikon 85 1.8 is a fine lens if you look at the whole picture :-)

    Before I got the 1.8 I did a lot of test shots with a 1.4. Both really sharp wide open. The 1.4 was a bit warmer and had a little better bokeh. But it is only marginally better than the 1.8.

    There seems to be a Sigma craze at the moment - only Sigma lenses seems to be any good - and all Nikon lenses are junk :-)

    After shooting a lot of pictures with my new Sigma 35 1.4 Art I can understand that people like what they see. I like my Sigma a lot. But it gives you a distinct look that is different from Nikon lenses. And that look may not be what everyone wants.

    For lack of a better word my Sigma is more "clinical" - that is fine but it is different.

    Maybe we should go shoot some pictures in stead of pixel peeping so much :-)
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited August 2014
    +1 henrik1963

    Well the Nikon 85mm f/1.8g is not a lens for this, but it was the only one I had with me.
    Nikon D600 with the 85mm f/1.8, f/4.0 at 1/800, ISO 100, manual. (very little LR)

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
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