Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

Nikon has plenty of experience in producing lenses in the 85mm range. These lenses are best known for their excellent performance as a portrait lens because of the fact that it has a very wide maximum aperture size and a sufficient focal length to do the job with clarity. However, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF NIKKOR lens aims to separate itself from the rest of the competing telephoto lens by excelling not only in the sharpness, but just about all other major areas as well so it can be a worthy companion for both full-frame and sub-frame bodies. The Nikon 85m f/1.4D is a lens that is full of complications in both design and features and that is a good thing considering that it costs less than $1,000.


Design & Construction

The Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF lens is a heavy duty lens that separates itself from the other lenses that are primarily made of plastics only the mount containing some metal. With the 85mm f/1.4D weighing nearly 20 ounces, this lens contains more metal composites to makes this studier than the other models. In addition, it is coated with a nice finish and a metal lens mount with a metal 77mm filter ring. The outer part of the lens is texturized so it is easy to handle despite the materials.

Although the lens hood can be difficult to install and travel around with, it still remains as a useful frontline protection against harsh elements. When attached to a D200 or other midrange camera, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D  fits quite well adding only a little bit of extra weight to the front. The entire lens as a whole is good in both aesthetics and functionality alike.

Actual user review:
“I have been using this fantastic lens for 2 months now and believe me it blows my mind every single day. The pictures I have taken with this baby beyond imaginations. I bought it without even testing it, I had just done a research about this lens online and I’ve found out was it was one of the best nikon lenses ever made. So I spilled the cash and went for it, boy was I ever glad I did that. Build quality is solid all metal and lens is razor sharp, but the beauty of the light it captures is so amazing. If you are a serious photographer you should own this gorgeous portrait lens. I know I will be working with this lens for years and years. I mounted on a D70 and it made my D70 like D2X that’s how brilliant were the images. I did lots of portrait shootings with lens wide open at f/1.4 background is very blurry and colors are fantastic.Now that I purchased a D200 from it is a blast to use it. Thanks Nikon!” – T.Sayin (CT,USA)

Features & Specifications

The sharpness quality of the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF lens isn’t the best of the family, but there is no need to be alarmed by that because decent performance can still be achieved when the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 where the corner to corner sharpness is successfully achieved. It is also important to understand that the technology behind the lens has been used way back in the 90s and is currently being replaced by a new wave of lenses. Still the 85mm f/1.4D is still being sold today as it is more affordable the sharpness doesn’t fall short. Portrait photographers can still use this lens by using its thin depth-of-field and combining it with the large-aperture to take nice looking shots without seeing the extra corner softness as a drawback. The actual sharpness results depend on the camera, but in general, the sharpness is only optimal when shot wide open and significantly stopped down.

What the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D really performed well in was how it handled the chromatic aberration which is one of the recurring problems that frustrate photographers. The design of the lens contributes to the good performance and the results really show where the worst possible results of chromatic aberration to out lesser than 2/100ths of a single percent of frame height regardless of the aperture setting.

Just like the sharpness, the autofocus performance depends on the body being used as each model has a different amount of torque available. It doesn’t use the AF-S technology either, but it shouldn’t take too long in midrange units like the D200 taking around a second for the camera to get into the focal range. The rounded diaphragm also helps as well by naturalizing the look of elements that are out-of-focus. Distortion isn’t a major issue of this lens either no matter what camera it is attached to.

Bottom Line

The Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Lens has proven to be a lens of choice for the average portrait photographer. However, thanks to the other decent features and fantastic build quality, the 85mm f/1.4 remains as one of the few choices for those that want the f/1.4D aperture making it ideal for shooting at very low depths-of-fields and/or low light conditions. Taking ordinary photos doesn’t disappoint as well making it one of the great feature lens that are comfortably affordable.

Average User Rating:

  • “I’m convinced if you could put the 85mm f/1.4 on a pin hole camera you would get UNBELIEVABLE pictures. I’ve only been using this lens for a few days, but I can’t tell you how impressed I am. The pictures are TACK sharp. The bokeh is beautiful and the weird 3D like effect is amazing. Auto focus is great on my D200. Not any louder than any of my other Nikon lenses. Worth every penny. Highly recommended.” – Scott (MO,USA)
  • “With my older film Nikon cameras, my absolute favorite lens for almost every occasion was the 105mm f/2.5 lens. The razor-sharp clarity, the high speed, I LOVED this lens. Now, lo and behold, for my Nikon digitals, the 85mm f/1.4 is like my old favorite, only faster! Long enough to get no distortion on portraits, fast enough for avaiable light close-ups in the garden. And as sharp as the old 105. I think I’m in love…” – W.H.Willis (Fl,USA)

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