Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens: “the best 85mm lens in the DxOMark database”

ChuckvChuckv Posts: 8Member
edited January 2013 in Nikon Lenses
This is some great information, but I've understood and was under the opinion that the Nikon AF-S 85mm F/1.4D was better than the 1.4G. Since Nikon still sells the D model and it's less than the G model, I would have liked to seen that included.
Chuck

Nikon Camera's D4, D700, F100 - Nikon Lens 50 1.8, 24-70 2.8, 85 1.4D, 70-200 VR 2.8
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Comments

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    The 85 1.8G is truly an amazing lens and one that I will keep for many, many years to come. With that said, the 85 1.4G serves a totally different purpose..much like any 1.4 prime.
    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 |
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited January 2013
    As Golf007sd said "the 85 1.4G serves a totally different purpose..much like any 1.4 prime" I can't agree more on that. Every lens is made for a specific purpose 1.8G is a more general multi-purpose than the straight portrait the 1.4s are. The 85 1.8g is a great performer for sure. I found it interesting that my old 85mm 1.8 is up there as well. Quite frankly I personally don't think that is quite true - my 60mm and 105vr are much better in my use.

    My 5 sec harp on DXo - LENSES DO NOT CHANGE MAGICALLY FROM ONE BODY TO ANOTHER. DXO tests sensors, and pawns it off as lens tests, not lenses. The scores are so heavily weighted by the sensor it exaggerates what the real result is - that the lenses are not that far apart. Note how Vignetting & Transmission changes. Those are static or should be from body to body.
    image
    I have also see they have not adopted a D800 for tests - Anyone wonder why? You know they have tried it.
    Why don't they post all lens scores at f/5.6 or ff/8? That would keep it the same across all lens models. Reason - the scores would be so bunched together, that they would all look the same.

    I know they are the only one's out there that have software that is accessible to cheaply do tests, but I don't think it is remotely that great - its just the only one out there.
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 468Member
    edited January 2013
    Agree with TTJ ...

    Also , you see in scores that best results are at wide open apertures which is odd as we know lenses perform better 1.5-2 stop stopped down from max. Then you go and check "measurements" and see that the resolution is actually better at stopped down apertures.

    It means the other parameters used in scoring are more important than resolution which is hard to accept in a lens test.
    Post edited by Paperman on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    edited January 2013
    You're mostly right Tao, it is very sensor based, but look a little closer at those scores. FX is constant and DX is close enough to being consistent, within the margin for error. Vignetting characteristics on a DX and FX body are different, even if the lens doesn't change. Why? The amount of light that hits the sensor is different, simply due to the sensor size. Shoot the same FX lens on a DX and FX body, and you'll quickly see the DX suffers less from vignetting.

    The T-Stop and distortion score make no sense though. The max sharpness score is pointless.

    I'm not trying to defend DXO marks (I think it's a joke), but some of it is not too far fetched.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    Actually the distortion does make sense as the DX sensors use the sweet spot (center) of the lens whereas the FX sensor uses more of the outer area of the image where distortion gets bigger.

    I use this lens on a D700 and I agree, it is a great lens. Although the 1.4s might be better in some respects I prefer the smaller size, weight and especially price of the slower lenses. :)
  • SkintBritSkintBrit Posts: 79Member
    I'm just addicted to 77mm!
    D3s's D700 F100 / Trinity 2.8 Zooms & 1.4 Primes / 105 micro. SB900s with Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 / Mini TT1s. Camranger remote control system.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    The 85 1.8G is truly an amazing lens and one that I will keep for many, many years to come. With that said, the 85 1.4G serves a totally different purpose..much like any 1.4 prime.
    I know that is an accepted answer, but I don't understand how an 85mm f1.4G is for a totally different purpose than the 85mm f1.8G - presumably meaning that you can't interchange them for some uses - can somebody enlighten this poor amateur why that is please?
    Always learning.
  • AMusingFoolAMusingFool Posts: 5Member
    Tao, I wonder at your complaints. Sharpness varies consistently with pixel density, as you'd hope. Distortion varies from DX to FX, since distortion always gets bigger the closer you get to the edge of the lens, and an FX sensor sees closer to the edge. Vignetting also always increases as you get closer to the edge, so the DX lenses have one score, while the FX ones have another. T-Stop is the difference between 1.9 and 2.0; probably the equipment can't give more than 0.1eV precision, and the real value is about 1.95. Can your camera even set the exposure to that level of precision?
    "Geeks of All Nations, Compile!"
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    The 85 1.8G is truly an amazing lens and one that I will keep for many, many years to come. With that said, the 85 1.4G serves a totally different purpose..much like any 1.4 prime.
    I know that is an accepted answer, but I don't understand how an 85mm f1.4G is for a totally different purpose than the 85mm f1.8G - presumably meaning that you can't interchange them for some uses - can somebody enlighten this poor amateur why that is please?
    That's what I also would like to know.
    1. If I would have known there will be an 85/1.8 G I'd have waited for it
    2. "portrait and low light", I thought, would be the main terrain for the 85/1.4G. But maybe I was wrong?
    image That's a completely dull picture, I know. And it doesn't become less dull by taking a 100% crop out, but:
    image
    I was not able to see these posts and the wires more than 2 miles away, in hazy evening light. Ever since I see the 85/1.4G a bit more versatile although I really don't believe I'd be able to drive it to it's limits.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Let's clear a couple of things up from my post:

    -- DX vs FX - In no way was I trying to say there should not be a difference in those - I figured that was a fairly obvious and elementary assumption. My mistake and I should have been more clear. What I was pointing to was how it changed between DX and FX bodies. i.e. transmission between D3x & D4. Transmission and Chr. Abrasion should never change between formats.

    -- I have been watching, comparing, cross comparing (with publications) DXO's scores which on other lenses show even higher variances. Sometimes you will see various publication (Popular Photo uses DXO as well) will have different results from DXOmark's scores and I have even seen lenses like the new Sigma 35 1.4 get a considerable lower score than the Nikkor, Canon, & Zeiss 35mm lenses. That is opposite from everything we have been hearing.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I know that is an accepted answer, but I don't understand how an 85mm f1.4G is for a totally different purpose than the 85mm f1.8G - presumably meaning that you can't interchange them for some uses - can somebody enlighten this poor amateur why that is please?
    When lens designers start with a lens, they have a specific intended primary purpose of a lens - macro, sport, portrait, architectural, etc. Most lenses then have a practical uses that people use them for other then the primary one. I'll use the example of shooting Basketball.

    1.4s are primarily built for Shallow DOF, where pleasing Bokeh is a major design concern as too is getting the correct focusing point due to the very limited focus area. In essence, portraits or subject isolation. Because of DOF the focusing is a bit slower, wide open usually is a tad softer on minute detail (skin etc.) but structural contrast is still strong. The 85mm 1.4g has coatings that make images a bit warmer than other lenses as well. The people who purchase the lens are looking at it for portraits, and usually have the finances to purchase other lenses that would be used for sports, macro work, etc. So the compromises in secondary uses are more acceptable due to the fact most owners will have other lenses that .

    1.8s by contrast are cheaper, used by more people who probably do not spend $20,000 on specialty lenses and utilize the lenses for a broader range of subjects. The 1.8 also has a bit more focus area so the AF can be sped up without sacrificing errors. It is lighter/smaller, so reportage comes into play, so AF speed is needed as too the sharpness goes up, and bokeh down since it is used for low light coverage. As it is prices for the masses, it is more likely to see uses in landscape, portrait, sports, faster pace environments, etc. so building a lens that is a bit more universal becomes a greater focus than a more portrait focused lens.

    For example, I have seen many shoot 85mm lenses for basketball, and almost all shooting the 1.8 because it has always been faster, 1.4 is too really shallow, and size. So the AF needs to be a bit faster, the focus is on the subject and intended image has less focus on the bokeh being and element of the image because the viewer is more focused on the subject.

    In my eyes neither one should be compared 1:1 in general all encompassing terms. The 85 1.4 is a portrait lens, arguably one of the best ever made. People that use it, use it for that purpose and almost completely for that purpose. Deliberate, planned, controlled environments to give their work just that bit more oomph. The 1.4 will not be grabbed for macro work, probably not sport work, highly doubtful for landscape work. At $1,700 it is very likely the person owning it has the money for glass that is better suited for that and/or has a collection of lenses.
    The 85mm 1.8 on the other hand is generally owned and used by people who want a great portrait lens, price is a major concern, and also grab it for low light situations where they need more reach than a 50mm. Owners are less likely to also have a extensive use-specific lens collection so it gets used in various ways.

    What is amazing is how Nikon has turned the 85mm 1.8 into a bit more versatile lens and gained more ground in being a better portrait lens at the same time. Prior to it's release I was going to get the 1.4 and sacrifice the "low light-need more reach" lens but now I'm not sure if I need to make that sacrifice.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    Thanks Tao, I had no idea that such a seemingly small difference meant so much.
    Always learning.
  • AMusingFoolAMusingFool Posts: 5Member
    i.e. transmission between D3x & D4. Transmission and Chr. Abrasion [sic] should never change between formats.
    You're right, they shouldn't. But my point is, unless you have reason to believe the equipment can measure more precisely than 0.1eV, there is no difference there. If it was 1.9 vs 2.1 or 2.2, I'd see your point.

    Thanks for going into more detail about why you see the 1.4g and 1.8g being rather different beasts. That was very useful.
    "Geeks of All Nations, Compile!"
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @TaoTeJared Your response hit the ball out of the park. I could not have said it any better....well done buddy.



    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 |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Very shortly after I purchased this lens, the tests showed it was sharper than the f/1.4. And, in my experience, this is a phenomenal lens, right along with the 24mm f/1.4. Nikon is doing something right at least, even if they have made some camera body goofs.
    Msmoto, mod
  • DY8DY8 Posts: 13Member
    The 1.8G vs 1.4G decision was a struggle, but price eventually won...since I really just wanted to replace the 1.8D and was happy with it. I haven't been able to see or experience any difference between the 1.8 and 1.4, but I'm sure that's just from not using both in comparison for a long period of time. Having said that, the 1.8G is currently the SHARPEST lens I own with the best out of focus characteristic. (I own the Nikkor 2.8 trinity set, 50mm 1.8, sigma 105mm macro, bunch of DX lenses, D4, D700, D300)

    I am thoroughly happy with the 85 1.8G and considering I paid $470 Cdn from a real vendor, it is the best value. I use it mainly for natural light portraits but will hopefully test soon in a studio setting to see how it fares with strobe lights. I suspect the 1.4, with lens coatings may make studio performance a distinction between the two.
  • TriShooterTriShooter Posts: 219Member
    DXO has never run a test on the old 85mm AIS F1.4 ED which to this day may be the best of the best in an 85mm lens. The sharpness and the bouquet on this particular lens is about as good as it gets for Nikon, but they are hard to find because they are like magic for focusing on a subjects eyes. On the new lenses I would go with the 85mm F1.8G, for the same reason DY8 said so eloquently above.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Quasar Asked
    Hi guys,

    I just bought a D800 and I'm looking for a very sharp lens to capture all that detail. DXOMark lists the 85mm Nikkor primes as being the sharpest (please correct me if I'm wrong). DXO 1.8G & DXO 1.4G

    I was trying to research whether or not the 1.4G was worth the extra $$$$ over the 1.8G. I will rarely be shooting at F 1.4, I'll most likely be shooting F4 or 5.6.

    However, I was watching this video comparison on youtube (ThatNikonGuy channel) and the 1.4G looks like it has way more contrast and richness to the colors.



    Does anyone have any idea if this is really the case or was the camera just set up slightly differently and the reviewer didn't notice, or something else?

    Thoughts?
    - See more at: http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/1316/nikon-85mm-1-8g-af-s-vs-85mm-1-4g-af-s#Item_5
    Msmoto, mod
  • QuasarQuasar Posts: 24Member
    Let's clear a couple of things up from my post:

    1.4s are primarily built for Shallow DOF, where pleasing Bokeh is a major design concern as too is getting the correct focusing point due to the very limited focus area. In essence, portraits or subject isolation. Because of DOF the focusing is a bit slower, wide open usually is a tad softer on minute detail (skin etc.) but structural contrast is still strong. The 85mm 1.4g has coatings that make images a bit warmer than other lenses as well. The people who purchase the lens are looking at it for portraits, and usually have the finances to purchase other lenses that would be used for sports, macro work, etc. So the compromises in secondary uses are more acceptable due to the fact most owners will have other lenses that .

    1.8s by contrast are cheaper, used by more people who probably do not spend $20,000 on specialty lenses and utilize the lenses for a broader range of subjects. The 1.8 also has a bit more focus area so the AF can be sped up without sacrificing errors. It is lighter/smaller, so reportage comes into play, so AF speed is needed as too the sharpness goes up, and bokeh down since it is used for low light coverage. As it is prices for the masses, it is more likely to see uses in landscape, portrait, sports, faster pace environments, etc. so building a lens that is a bit more universal becomes a greater focus than a more portrait focused lens.

    For example, I have seen many shoot 85mm lenses for basketball, and almost all shooting the 1.8 because it has always been faster, 1.4 is too really shallow, and size. So the AF needs to be a bit faster, the focus is on the subject and intended image has less focus on the bokeh being and element of the image because the viewer is more focused on the subject.

    In my eyes neither one should be compared 1:1 in general all encompassing terms. The 85 1.4 is a portrait lens, arguably one of the best ever made. People that use it, use it for that purpose and almost completely for that purpose. Deliberate, planned, controlled environments to give their work just that bit more oomph. The 1.4 will not be grabbed for macro work, probably not sport work, highly doubtful for landscape work. At $1,700 it is very likely the person owning it has the money for glass that is better suited for that and/or has a collection of lenses.
    The 85mm 1.8 on the other hand is generally owned and used by people who want a great portrait lens, price is a major concern, and also grab it for low light situations where they need more reach than a 50mm. Owners are less likely to also have a extensive use-specific lens collection so it gets used in various ways.

    What is amazing is how Nikon has turned the 85mm 1.8 into a bit more versatile lens and gained more ground in being a better portrait lens at the same time. Prior to it's release I was going to get the 1.4 and sacrifice the "low light-need more reach" lens but now I'm not sure if I need to make that sacrifice.
    Hi,

    What I'm wondering is which one produces the more accurate colors / contrast?

    Is the 1.4G exaggerated and unrealistic while the 1.8G is realistic; or is the 1.4G more realistic and the 1.8G has less realistic contrast / colors?

    In this video comparison the 1.4G looks warmer like you mention but also looks like it has more contrast and richer colors.

    For color sensitive work (where the main concern is realistic / accurate to real life imaging; as opposed to aesthetically pleasing imaging) which one is the better lens?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZkbEivJbUw
  • safyresafyre Posts: 113Member
    edited July 2013
    The reason why the pictures from the f/1.4 looks warmer (more contrast/richer colors) in the video was cause it was taken at an earlier time of dusk than he did for the f/1.8 pictures. Earlier time = more light = warmer tone. Frankly, this is a really bad comparison video as you need to do these tests in a controlled environment like a studio or else you have all these variables like outdoor lighting get in the way (especially since the quality of light at dusk changes every minute). So all these differences you're seeing have to do with the lighting, not the actual lenses. Personally, I have used both of these lenses, and the color rendition is the same. Yes, the 1.4 does produce some slightly better bokeh if you're into pixelpeeping, but overall, not worth the huge jump in price point from the 1.8 to the 1.4 imo.
    Post edited by safyre on
  • QuasarQuasar Posts: 24Member
    The reason why the pictures from the f/1.4 looks warmer (more contrast/richer colors) in the video was cause it was taken at an earlier time of dusk than he did for the f/1.8 pictures. Earlier time = more light = warmer tone. Frankly, this is a really bad comparison video as you need to do these tests in a controlled environment like a studio or else you have all these variables like outdoor lighting get in the way (especially since the quality of light at dusk changes every minute). So all these differences you're seeing have to do with the lighting, not the actual lenses. Personally, I have used both of these lenses, and the color rendition is the same. Yes, the 1.4 does produce some slightly better bokeh if you're into pixelpeeping, but overall, not worth the huge jump in price point from the 1.8 to the 1.4 imo.
    @safyre Thanks for the feedback.

    I hadn't thought about the light changing. I assumed he was switching the lenses back and forth because the subjects were the same.

    I wish I could find some sample shots online of the two on the same camera with the same controlled lighting.

    What sites do you guys visit to read lens reviews? Do any have sample shots like that?

    Thanks again
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited July 2013
    @Quasar: There are many site's, but have a look at this and see what you think:

    Nikon 85 1.8G
    Nikon 85 1.4G
    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 |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I suppose I am not very discriminating but for the life of me, I doubt I can tell the difference between shooting at f/1.4 or f/1.8. And, as these lenses are so very close, I doubt in the final analysis anyone else can tell, even if the images are side by side.

    My decision to purchase the f/1.8 over the f/1.4 was based upon the cost, the fact I have another f/1.8 from the 1960's and the weight/balance of the smaller lens. I rarely shoot at f/1.8 in any case.
    Msmoto, mod
  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    1.8G is a more general multi-purpose than the straight portrait the 1.4s are.
    What an odd way of thinking. I have used my 85mm 1.4 as a multi-purpose lens, just like the 85 1.8D I had before that. I see no big difference between them, except the 1.4 is bigger, heavier and a lot more expensive.
    1.8D had different color output and different contrast, but that´s it.
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    edited July 2013
    I agree with Godless; the 85 f/1.4G is perfectly usable as a general purpose lens as well, AND you have the f/1.4 capabilities and the great Bokeh for portraits. I tried the 1.8 and was impressed, but then I tried the 1.4 and was more impressed...
    Post edited by Killerbob on
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    Just in case this has been overseen because the other thread was closed: If the 1.4G is an option anyway, in terms of budget available, I'd strongly advise to simply order the two and compare them yourself. I just takes a day for thorough testing and checking out the images afterwards, a day well invested.

    Given you have a little experience with the type of stuff that you want to shoot, you can check all the critical issues that matter to you.

    None fo the resources online, and none of the speculations and advise that we all can give you can replace this comparison. What are you waiting for?
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