February 3, 2010
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF was released back in 1995 as a replacement for the manual focus version. The Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4 is considered the best of the best when it comes to portrait lenses for the FX format cameras. It can of course be used on the DX sized cameras as well, where the lens will give you a bit more distance to the subjects to get the same framing as on the FX sized cameras. The AF 85mm f/1.4 will not auto focus on the lower end Nikon Dslr like the D40, D60 and so on, as the lens needs a camera with a built in AF motor.
With it's f/1.4 aperture, it`s excellent in low light photography and has an excellent isolation of subjects as well as a smooth bokeh. As usual with Nikon f/1.4 lenses it costs a small fortune.
|| 9 elements in 8 groups
||28°30' (35mm/FX) 18°50' (DX)
|Minimum focus distance:
|| 0.85m/ 3.0ft
||77mm Snap-on front lens cap
Rear lens cap LF-1
Screw-in Hood HN-31
80×72.5 mm / 3.2"x3.1"
||550g / 1.23 lb
|| 9 rounded blades
- Bokeh, the bokeh (the rendition of out of focus) is simply stunning on this lens.
- Sharpness, wide open the sharpness is great in the center of the image, little less in the corner un till you hit f/2.8, or f/4 if you need perfection.
- Contrast is sweet even on f/1.4.
- DOF / IR markings. Lens comes with both Depth Of Field and Infrared compensation markings. DOF is only marked in f/11 and f/16 though.
- Build quality, good old Nikon built like a tank quality.
- Light fall-off/vignetting, wide open and to f/2.8 there is some visible vignetting, not really a problem on a portrait lens.
- Pricey, but the build quality/performance does make up for a lot of the price.
- Close focus is 0.85m/ 3.0ft which I find to be just a bit to much.
- CA, the lens shows some longitudinal CA, as well as some purple fringing.
The 85mm f/1.4D IF was shown off with the release of the Nikon D3 camera, quite understandable as both the lens and camera really rocks.
The Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4 outperforms the manual focus version without a doubt. On the performance side it is overall pretty damn good, with the exceptions of longitudinal CA, what this means is that the focal planes of the various colors do not coincide. This is usually most noticeable as reddish fringes to the foreground of focus, and greenish fringes towards the back of the focused plane(check the sample pictures). There is also some CA/purple fringing going on in high contrast areas, when using the lens wide open. The vignetting doesn't bother me at all on a portrait lens, but for some people this might be a drawback. I'm way more concerned about chromatic aberrations/purple fringing then anything else when it comes to lenses. Removing the ammount of CA in post was not a big problem.
The 85mm f/1.4 is perfect on the D2H IR, infrared performance on the DX format with the Life Pixel IR filter is excellent.
The reasons I see for picking this lens over the Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D is build quality, Bokeh, and contrast/sharpness wide open. It's definitely a better performer then the 85mm f/1.8D when used wide open(except for the longitudinal CA) It also outperforms the manual focus 85mm f/1.4 AI-S. The build quality of the f/1.4 is just awesome compared to the plastic AF f/1.8D
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF $1,149.95 USD
Purchasing items through these links helps me adding more content to this website. The links takes you to B&H's website, which is my recommended store to get equipment from. I've used B&H personally since 2005, and I get all my equipment from them these days(including the lenses used for these reviews). Thanks for your support, Fredrik.
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D. From $424.95 USD
Nikon PC-E Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D. From $1,699.95 USD
Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 ZF Planar T From $1,033.00 USD
Or if you want a similar lens for a DX Dslr
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8. From $119.95 USD
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D From $299.95 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G From $429.95 USD
Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI-S From $459.95 USD
Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AI-S From $679.95 USD
*Prices and rebates are subject to change. Listed price is from March 7, 2010
There is no post processing done to the images. Images have been imported to photoshop CS4 through Capture NX 2 thus leaving the original image settings as shot, I. E white balance, sharpening, etc .etc. Full resolution sample images are in RGB color mode. Check out my copyright page for information about usage of these images.