>Hi George, > >I've been watching this thread but staying out of it because I >shoot FX and your profile indicates DX. Plus I haven't really >seen how you intend to use the lens so I'm going to assume >classical portraiture. I'm glad Brian added the technical >details because I think the 85mm f/1.8 AFS is a great addition >in the right situations. > >I used the 85mm f/1.8 AFD on a D200 and decided the focal >length didn't suit me on a DX camera. I found that the shorter >end of my 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS actually produced better portrait >results, but that lens is intimidating for most subjects. > >I recently added the 85mm f/1.8 AFS to my FX D700 and find it >to be a good match and I like it's rendering. I've used it >occasionally on my DX D2Hs, but I still find it a bit awkward >focal length for my preference. > >So much for that, have you thought about whether you will use >the lens at it's f/1.4-f/2.0 sweet spot? At f/1.4 the lens is >very critical about it's focus point. Much of that incredible >bokeh you see illustrated comes from FX cameras at those >apertures. > >My first experience with the f/1.4 AFD was on a DX camera. The >results were excellent. However, to achieve that bokeh I had >to "extend" the subject to background distance and >with the 125mm effective FOV, I just plain ran out of room in >my typical shooting venues before I could reliably get that >look. > >The suggestion to try one in your actual shooting situation is >likely your best bet. > >Just another thought.
One thing I failed to mention is my preference for portraiture, which is outdoor using fill flash or reflectors. I just love natural light. I have always been careful about choosing backgrounds. I will put some early examples of the type I enjoy doing in my gallery.
I have found that keeping my camera to subject distance closer than my subject to background really helps improve bokeh, as well as choosing a low contrast background. You can make a mediocre bokeh rated lens look a lot better by using good technique.
I am thinking the 85 on a DX is better suited for outdoor work, while a medium wide angle to tele zoom might be just the ticket for indoor shooting, something like a 28-70, or maybe even a 35-70. There is a great AF-D f2.8 which gets pretty good reviews and can be had used for a decent price.
I enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to make a lens 'sing'. Honestly, I have been just dabbling around in photography. I think it's time to get serious and really learn this art form. I have some good books to read, some great photographers here to ask questions of, so there's no excuse not to. Guess I'm challenging myself to get off my rear and get to work!