It’s that time again, the weekend update, right? Not exactly! Unlike previous weeks where I either haven’t had the time to go out on photowalks or have been taking pictures with multiple lenses, I looked back through my Lightroom catalogues and found that nearly every photograph I took this week was with the stunning Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AI-s! So, I’ll treat this post as a first impressions of the lens; though you’ll soon see, photographs here cover the typical gamut of my weekly style. 🙂
To sum up what the 85mm f/1.4 is in three words is simple: fast, long, (and) sharp! The maximum f/1.4 aperture provides not only excellent depth-of-field control, but also a lot of light to work with in all conditions. The 85mm focal length normally covers the “short portrait” field-of-view on a full-frame camera–but on APS-C, a very nice “long portrait” view, similar to a 135mm lens. Finally, this lens is killer-sharp, even wide-open! There are only two problems I’ve seen shooting at this exotic aperture, both of which are related. The difficulty in nailing focus is hard enough, but the gotcha is that anything that is even slightly out-of-focus is prone to heavy longitudinal aberrations. Thankfully, they can mostly be edited out, but it’s something to keep in mind. I’ve found the 85mm f/1.4 to really hit a sweet spot at about f/1.8, where it’s not only easier to focus, but the aberrations are also very manageable.
Also, the bokeh is simply beautiful. Hands-down amazing.
All of the following taken with the NEX-7, ranging from formal portraits to street photography to sports photography to stage photography (in that order!). What a mouthful!
As I mentioned last week, I’m almost positive this short telephoto will turn in a better performance than my beloved 105mm f/1.8 AI-s. More to come from this lens in the future, whenever I can find the time to write a full-featured review. I will make sure to still write the 105mm f/2.8 Macro‘s review first. Wow, I’m starting to get a backlog of lenses for review now… 🙂
That’s all for these first impressions guys and gals, thanks for dropping by!
Looks like a nice lens. How is the balance?
I have an FD adaptor, so I would happily look for something cheap, like the Canon FD 85 f1.8 to play with… but I’m not sure the optical quality is as high as this lens. You have some good examples here.
Thanks Martin. 🙂
Asking me how a lens balances is extremely subjective, since I am used to handling much larger lenses handheld (such as my 180mm f/2.8). However, it’s a bit shorter and a tad heavier than my 105mm f/1.8, so the balance is about the same. Easy to hold in one hand, though best results are holding with the lens.
This 85mm f/1.4 is known as one of Nikon’s best lenses, even to date. So with that in mind I’m not sure how it would compare with the Canon. Canon fd lenses, from what I have read, generally are a little less sharp than their AI-s counterparts, but produce better contrast wide-open. If one didn’t post-process much (where recovering contrast is easy), the Canon should be a great lens. However, more detail can probably be extracted from this Nikon.
But hey, if you can find a cheap(ish) copy of that Canon, I say go for it! 85mm even f/1.8-2 gives you PLENTY of room for depth-of-field control, as you see in my examples.
This lens is one of the reasons I love the Nikkor AIS family of lenses.
Review’s up. 😉