I'm considering picking up the 85mm 1.4G while the deal from Nikon is still in effect. I currently own the 14-24mm 2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 80-400mm VR 4.5/5.6, and the 50mm 1.2 AI-S. Mainly I shoot with the 24-70 and the 80-400. I like to photograph trains, landscape, winter storms and what ever else might come up. I rarely do portraits unless some one ask's me to. I would certainly do more, if more people would ask.
The 50mm 1.2 I've had since my film days. Though it has never seen much use, even back then because I'm not overly happy with it's performance at wide apertures. I have always been into the detail that photographic images can contain. So sharpness is always a concern to me. Plus I like to shoot during the "Golden Hours" when I can, so lens speed is a factor as well. Plus thats why I picked up a D3s
So what I'm looking for here is, does anyone think I'll see much use with the 85mm 1.4G? I've read numerous reviews on it and it seems like a stellar performer, even wide open. I'm hoping the lens is also well suited for other uses than just portraits, and that I would find it usefull for many situations.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this soon... as there's only a few days left on the deal from Nikon. Thanks Jim H.
"Things are'nt always quite as cherry, as they first seem"
I highly recommend that lens. I have been shooting with it for 2 years and this is definitely the best I ever have. So sharp and the color / contrast are so good. I used it for landscape a lot and the results were stellar. Some people say the 1.8 is close, which may be true. But for me, the extra quality of bokeh and sharpness, plus the image quality is clearly worth the price. The lens of a life time for me.
I had the 1.4G but sold it a year or so back because I needed to use the cash elsewhere. I then picked up the 1.8G, which is a good performer, but ... I now have another 1.4G on order that will arrive tomorrow via the big brown truck. As good as the 1.8G is, there is just something magical about the 1.4G, IMHO ... Larry
"Every moment in life is unique and will never be repeated. These are the moments that present the greatest opportunity for a photographer..."
The 85 f/1.4 (D or G) is a stellar lens. In addition to portraits, it is great for any situation where you want subject isolation — the f/1.4 aperture and the short telephoto effect cannot be beat. All that said, It's a great short telephoto at all apertures, good for candid and street work. . Jon Kandel A New York City Nikonian and Team Member Please visit my website and critique the images!
Thu 28-Feb-13 12:56 AM | edited Thu 28-Feb-13 01:21 AM by JPJ
I would seriously consider the 85 1.8g, which I just picked up.
Sounds like you have no particular plan for the 1.4, other than perhaps to use it as a low light prime. Even with the sale, at over a $1000 more than the 1.8g it is a very expensive lens to just pick up to see what you will do with it.
The 1.8g is a stellar performer, recently being ranked the top scoring 85mm lens by DXOmark, over the 1.4g. Another good thing about the 1.8g is it is notably smaller and lighter than the 1.4g, which means it fits the bill as a light prime you can carry with you for when you need it.
At $400 right now to me this is a no brainer.
Not knocking the 1.4g but Nikon kind of messed with it by making it $1000 more than a completely awesome alternative. The most noticeable difference between the 1.4 and 1.8g is the price. Now the old D versions of these lenses were pretty far apart with the 1.4D being much better.
That is one heckuva deal with the $300 rebate, so now is the time. I was looking at it myself today, but not in a position to pull the pin right now.
I recall DigLloyd's review was absolutely stellar.
From some other posters I gather the f/1.4G advantages are better bokeh, sharpness extending to borders/corners, and one poster indicated faster focussing, and of course the extra 2/3 of a stop of light.
If these are advantages to you then now is the time Or as others mention the 1.8G is also a smokin deal too right now at $400!
Keep us posted with your decision. Would be a great lens as a people lens or as a combo for example with one or two other primes for street/walk around, or for me in low-light theatre. Not sure if those needs are meaningful for you. What's holding me off, apart from not wanting to spend the money right now, is I cope fairly well using my 70-200 VRII, so I've got s good stand-in.
If you wanted to supplement the long side of your lens kit, a 70-200 f/4, or a 135mm f/2, may also make some sense given your other lenses.
I've had the 85/1.4G since it came out, and it is superb. Last week I also got the 85/1.8G, to try it out and compare it. I figured, at $399 it was worth a shot, to see if it was "good enough", and perhaps it could replace the 1.4. Or if not, I can probably sell it for the same amount, once the sale ends and the price goes back up.
Anyway, it's too soon for a conclusion since I only had it a couple of days, but so far I see very little if any difference to the 1.4. All the qualities I cherished in the 1.4 are also present in the 1.8: precise focus, very high sharpness across the frame wide open, very good contrast, nice colors and bokeh. Obviously it will have a bit less subject isolation at f/1.8 compared to f/1.4, but one would only notice this when taking shots with both lenses side by side.
So of course you can't go wrong with the 85/1.4G, it may be the best 85mm lens out there. But the 85/1.8G is just about as good, at a fraction of the price.
I had the 85 f/1.4D and now have the 85 f/1.8G. I wouldn't go back to the 1.4. There is a slight bokeh difference but I bet in blind tests most people honestly wouldn't see a meaningful difference. The extra 2/3 stop is nice but how useful is it really? It depends on your situation. Personally I'm tired of portraits where only one eye is in focus.
My 2c: Unless you can clearly describe how not having the 1.4 over the 1.8 is holding back your photography you really don't need the 1.4 -- instead you merely want it. Wanting is fine, of course. But then the justification is simpler: buy it because you want it.
WOW... Thanks to all who chimed in here. I wasn't aware that the 85mm 1.8G was such an excellent performer as well. In all pratcicality the 1.8G seems like the best route to take. The replies did make my decision a little tougher to make, I like what "nwcs" wrote in his last paragraph, that pretty much sums it up. Is there any way to really justify spending over a grand more for the 1.4... I cant think of any. On top of that, I would think by now, that I should have learned my lesson that bigger is not always better. But with that being said, I just sprang for the 1.4G from B&H. I should see it with in a week.
Hopefully I'll wind up with a great copy and I'll enjoy using the lens for what it excels at. I like what my 50mm 1.2 can do but I don't like how the image quality falls apart at the wider apertures. That really kept me from using the lens more often.
Thanks again to all.
"Things are'nt always quite as cherry, as they first seem"