Alan*Lawrence PRO 10:38pm, 29 October 2012
Just picked up this lens for $800 in mint condition but am having buyer's remorse because I've started, abeit too late, to read more about this and the G version online. I'm shooting with the D800. Of course, $800 is less than half the cost of the G lens. Even though I have the 70-200 f/2.8, will I be happy with the 1.4D or did I make a mistake?
kmacgray PRO 5 years ago
I'll let others with more experience with this lens reply with more info, but my one experience with renting the D model wasn't good. I found it to be very soft at different apertures. I suspect this may have been the copy that I had though.
MrDAT Posted 5 years ago. Edited by MrDAT (member) 5 years ago
I paid $800 for my D lens way before the G was announced. I would do it again!

I have the 80-200mm 2.8D (two ring) and they both are sharp but very different lenses. Your 70-200mm will never go f/1.4, f1.8, f2, f2.2, so you have that advantage now.

Also, it always depends what you shoot. If you don't need the lens, then you won't use the lens.
mausgabe PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by mausgabe (member) 5 years ago
It depends on how you want to use it.

The D has a bit more field curvature which gives its blur a distinctly beautiful quality not found in the G. The newer lens has more contrast and other good attributes.

Any of the 85mm D or G lenses (1.4 and 1.8) is worth using, so have no regrets about its qualifications.

There's a learning curve with any lens. Shoot with it, and decide if it's a good match for you.
genotypewriter PRO 5 years ago
Field curvature doesn't give out of focus blur areas a "distinctly beautiful quality".

If anything the D has much harsher out of focus areas than the G...

85D bokeh:

85G bokeh:

I'm sure now someone will come along and say they both have nice bokeh and bokeh is a subjective quality :)
mausgabe PRO 5 years ago
I prefer the subject isolation afforded by the D's "flawed" blur. YMMV.
MrDAT 5 years ago
The D version has Harsher OOF areas? So that means that since the D was known for it's "creamy" OOF areas, then the G is just so much better.

David Pinkerton 5 years ago
The D is still produces amazing results. The only reason I kept the G over the D was because of better focus accuracy and tracking. Otherwise, for portraits where your subject stands relatively still you can't go wrong with either. I still strongly prefer the build of the D and will likely buy another copy in the future.
CrumpJ 5 years ago
About a year ago I purchased a brand new D version for $1200 and still to this day have no regrets....probably the best lens I'll ever own!
genotypewriter PRO 5 years ago
: Well there was no other option back then. Why would anyone admit that it wasn't creamy? :D

Golden Bokeh. © Glenn E Waters Japan. Over 1,000 visits to this photo. by Glenn Waters ぐれんin Japan.

樱花 by Yu Yue Photography

Dandy.  © Glenn Waters. Japan. Over 4,000 visits to this photo.  Thank you. by Glenn Waters ぐれんin Japan.

 by John Erik
MrDAT 5 years ago
, But do you think people would call it something it's not? It would be better to not call it anything at all.
nahanni•whisky™ 5 years ago
i bought a creamy Ais version, for much, much, less than any of the prices stated above. does that count? :)
genotypewriter PRO 5 years ago
: Haven't you seen Leica users? :D
cassander1963 5 years ago
I just bought the D version at $800 mint yesterday. And I regret why I did not buy it before. I paired it with a D800 and actually gained back the joy of photography in my life. I have the 24-70 2.8 but it was so heavy that I find myself leaving the camera at home and planning to buy the Fuji x100. It's a good thing my friend sold his 85 D to me and he may have seller's remorse if he sees the pictures I just took right now. I am already planning to sell my zooms and shift to 1.4 primes ASAP.
sunnyUK 5 years ago
So.... are you sorry, Alan?
MrDAT Posted 5 years ago. Edited by MrDAT (member) 5 years ago
, Is the 85mm 1.4D lighter than the 24-70mm? [I guess I can check the specs. I'll do that later.]
mentalPICTURE 5 years ago
I have not done the $/£ conversions but that sounds quite steep?!

I had the "D" and then bought the "G"

The "G" is much much fatter and larger all over than the "D"

"G" has Nano coat, and moisture/dirt resistance that the "D" does not.

The "G" is noticeably slower to focus than the screw drive "D" on a pro style camera.

Currently "G" versions are selling here for appx. £850 used which makes them certainly more affordable.

Any difference as to image quality/bokeh etc., was either lost on me or I did not see it! :)

Either lens would be highly recommended in my opinion!

The King is dead. Long live the King.

cassander1963 5 years ago
Mr DAT, the 24-70 is very heavy... But it still gives a very nice bokeh...
mentalPICTURE, I agree they are great lenses.
Digital Degenerate 5 years ago
Alan, the 85/1.4d is a GREAT lens. Just because there's another newer lens with newer technology doesn't take away that fact. The new 85/1.4g is AF-S, and so will focus a little faster, has the nano-crystal coat which will cut down a bit on flare, is a little sharper out to the edge when used wide open, and comes with a hood that can be reversed on the lens for storage. These are conveniences, but will not necessarily help you take better pictures than you would with the 85/1.4d.

The 85/1.4d is tack sharp in the centre and softens a little bit out towards the corners when used wide open. If it's portraiture you're after, then this really isn't a bad thing. IMHO, the bokeh on this lens is as good as with the new one, so the apparent 3d effect you get which makes the subject pop is still there. The glass doesn't have the nano crystal coat, so flare could be present if you have a light source in your FoV, but this could be controlled to a great extent with the substantial metal hood. The 85/1.4d will focus quite fast on a D800 motor (just a tad slower than the 85/1.4g), and focus is accurate, so I wouldn't worry about focus speed.

Remember that this lens has been around for a decade and a half, and has earned a reputation as one of the classic portrait lenses of all time. It's a true bokeh monster and a beautiful lens. Now quit reading these posts, bury your buyer's guilt/remorse/anxiety, and go out and take some pictures. Then post them here. And have fun doing it!
MrDAT 5 years ago
the 24-70mm is the next on my list to get. I'll have to compare my co-workers 24-70mm and my 85mm.
mentalPICTURE Posted 5 years ago. Edited by mentalPICTURE (member) 5 years ago
Digital Degenerate:

The 85mm AFS "G" f1.4 actually focus is SLOWER than the "D" version.

..somewhere I have a link to find for the two lenses side by side full focus range and it shows this clearly.

However it may be more accurate to get there.

Nano coat will obviously help with flare from light that gets past the hood,

I know some users love the flare from the "D" shooting into backlighting anyway.

sunnyUK 5 years ago
Digital Degenerate - while the G version focuses at whatever speed it focuses, given that it has its own motor, that is not the case for the D. The D is driven by the camera's focus motor. So it focuses with whatever speed the camera can deliver. As such it is meaningless to argue about which is faster, unless you also specify which camera they are attached to.
mentalPICTURE 5 years ago
I had a D90 when I had my "D" version, when I borrowed my friends D700 I was amazed how the lens came to life with the faster AF screw motor in the camera.

....I will try to find the link to youtube showing the two compared side by side on pro body camera....
Digital Degenerate Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Digital Degenerate (member) 5 years ago


You both have a point. I have a Nikon D600 and used to have a D90, and I have used D and G lenses on both bodies. The D600 has a more powerful screw drive than the D90, and I couldn't find much difference between the focus speeds of the 85/1.4D and the 85/1.4G on the D600 (I have used both lenses at around the same time). Again, this depends on the lens. I have the mammoth 80-200/2.8D too, and while it's a gigantic and heavy piece of glass, the motors on both bodies don't seem to have any trouble achieving quick focus with this lens, but I would say the D600 is faster. With the tiny 50/1.8D, focus is achieved in an instant with both bodies.

Dave, the link you're referring to may be a YouTube video (Nasim Mansurov) where he's mounted both lenses on two pro bodies (looked like D3) and evaluated the amount of time it took for the motors to drive the focus from 0 to infinity and back ( Yes, the D version was faster, but I'm not sure if this can really be called a scientific test. If you look closely, you'll find that the camera with the G lens was set to aperture priority at f/8 (too small for the available light), while the camera with the D lens was set to manual mode at f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/100 s. This was essentially a test of "hunting" speed, not "exact focus" speed. The D lens took less time to travel from 0 to infinity and back. I have found that the D lens may get to the approximate focus distance in less time, but in some cases, low light especially, it clicks back and forth for a split second to achieve exact focus. The G lens drives up to the focus point a little more gently, but usually locks dead on. In my opinion, on my D600 body, on average there isn't much difference in real operating conditions.

P.S. I own the 85/1.4D but have also used - and have a lot of respect for - the 85/1.4G.
mentalPICTURE Posted 5 years ago. Edited by mentalPICTURE (member) 5 years ago
Digital Degenerate:

I started with the "D" lens and then sold it to buy the "G"

Both were used on several different bodies, D90, D700 I know the D700 had the most powerful AF motors so it did make the "D" noticeably faster to achieve focus.

I also have the Sigma 50mm f1.4 and it seems to suit my shooting style more as it has a much closer focus - which I use for closer portraits.

The AF on that lens is stellar and well noted for its speed (despite the other problems often found with it!!)

I am looking to buy the Nikon 35mm f1.4 next as it interests me as a focal length on FX.

Sadly for now I needed the funds so sold my 85mm as I was not using it enough to justify its keeping! - I will no doubt buy one again in the future!!

As for AlanLawrence: you chose an amazing lens - just use it now and it will reap rewards back! :)

As for the difference in AFD/AFS speed - I personally am not good enough to focus manually at speed - so would always choose either in a heartbeat - they certainly out speed me!!

Dave :)

Some pictures I took with my 85mm :-

smell these! (they have a nice bokeh) She's Got The Whole World In Her Hands bat girl downside up gaze
Digital Degenerate 5 years ago

Pity you sold your 85. I hope you get another one soon. The Sigma 50/1.4 is one of the best 50mm lenses made (it's dubbed Sigmalux because it renders IQ similar to Leica's Summilux lineup), and it's no surprise you're happy with it. So I would recommend you check out the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM before you splurge on the Nikon. Read the reviews on lensrentals and other websites. I bought it ;)

I know this is an 85/1.4 forum, and I'm digressing, so I'll stop talking about other lenses. I'll just say to Alan and all users of either the D or G version of the 85/1.4 that you've got yourselves one of the best portrait lenses in the business, so just enjoy the lens you have and take great pictures.
atomstitcher 5 years ago
I have the D version and see no reason to upgrade to the G in terms of image quality. The main annoyance with the D is the screw-in hood, which can be a pain when trying to use filters. The noise of the screw-drive could be a problem when you need to be discrete also (wedding ceremonies, theatre etc).

Some examples:

Veterans' March

Childish Things

Spring Sakura
nahanni•whisky™ 5 years ago
sud u 5 years ago
I'll avoid the cliche'd reply, but I did note that they test the 1.4D on a d300 and the 1.8G on a d3x.....
sheepeck 5 years ago
I also decided to buy D. I think corner softness will be very useful for my shooting style as I concentrate mainly on portraits.
Just today I got the lens to my hands - my wife just returned from Japan and brought it for me - I found one almost brand new in Japanese second hand online-shop - for sweetest 684 dollars!!!!!
I just played with it and I'm already sure I won't be sorry, no way. :-)
Regarding screw in hood - I actually like it as I got used to it while using my old 85 1.8D.

BTW, if you guys know someone just going to Japan, search for lenses - the yen rate is fine now.

I have found the lens here >>>>
mkrigsman PRO 4 years ago
I had the 1.4 D version and recently sold it for the G. Without doubt, the D is a great, great lens. However, the G has several advantages, at least for me:

-- appears to be sharper wide open
-- definitely less purple fringing wide open
-- manual focus is much easier than the D version

For me, these benefits make the new lens worth the upgrade price.

(My D version is currently for sale, in excellent condition)
mausgabe PRO 4 years ago
Greater contrast (in addition to less CA) is good, too.

Flatter field curvature contributes to the G's sharpness wide open and might make it a bit easier to nail focus wide open, as well. That same attribute may look like less subject isolation and greater *apparent* DOF in some cases.
stef thefox 4 years ago
I compared the D (a demo model) and G version (new) in the shop and...bought the D, mainly because of its size and the fact that I couldn't see a difference in the so-called sharpness wide open at 1.4. Great lens, no regrets, excellent portraits.
On a site note : I still have the AiS version which is remarkably softer wide open. If I wouldn't get problems with focusing manually,I would even prefer the character and signature of that older version.
Albin Lohr-Jones PRO Posted 4 years ago. Edited by Albin Lohr-Jones (member) 4 years ago
i know this is an old topic, but....

if you buy an 85mm for the normal purpose it serves for most (not all, but traditionally MOST) photographers, then you are buying it as a portrait lens... i suppose there's an aesthetic that requires more sharpness from edge-to-edge than the AF-D was ever meant to deliver... the focus ring on the AF-D is less than perfect -- a major problem for me as i prefer manual focus even when shooting on d800... for most of my purposes though (including a lot of street photography), it shines... i cannot image needing anything sharper than this:
Sunday in Washington Square Park, 8/11/2013 by Albin Lohr-Jones
chrisps PRO 4 years ago
When I bought my G, I sold my D, now I have sellers regret. I miss my old friend. I wish I had them both.
fakoman PRO 4 years ago
I will probably end up owning a collection of all fast 85mm primes built for Nikon. I love them all.
rosshj 4 years ago
I like the fact the D can also be used on my FM3A—but that's just me. Heard the G is great, but the D has that old school feeling to it that I like. Both are amazing, just start shooting and fahgettaboutit!


G - a bit shaper in the corners, plastic
D - old school (in a good way), built like a tank
Ais - If you don't mind manual focus, another good one
Skeptiq_1 PRO 4 years ago
Stop fretting and start enjoying! I've seen unbelievable pics with lenses I never considered . . . too cheap, too slow, etc.. To quote the old cliche, it's not as much about the lens/equipment as it is about the person taking the pics. Having said that, I have taken amazing pics with this lens that range from razor sharp to beautifully soft in all the right places (which is what made it famous in the first place). I have used it on DX (d200) and FX (d700) with equally good results, and best of all, it's made of metal (not plastic) and no AFS going haywire to worry about. So, take that bargain and never look back!
Remorse? That won't last long! Wait 'till you begin using your 85mm lens-it is awesome!!!!

I used a 85 f1.4D for 3 months and I didn't wanna give it back!!!! But, I did and then bought the 85mm f1.4G lens-damn, its just as awesome too!!!!!!!

you'll love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)
ramkumar999 4 years ago
I was also really torn trying to buy a 85mm f1.4., I finally bought a used Rokinon 85mm f1.4 ($150) and loving it on my D600.
MrDAT 4 years ago
"Used Rokinon 85mm f1.4 ($150)"

Nice purchase! I'd buy one for that price too!
ramkumar999 4 years ago
Yeah.. I was surprised to find one popup in the Craigslist while I have been searching eBay for a while. It came with all papers and box and the owner was upgrading to 85mm f1.4 G
Sharp as a razor wide open.
Random Friend by ramkumar999

Husky by ramkumar999
Radu Rîcă Posted 3 years ago. Edited by Radu Rîcă (member) 3 years ago
The topic is pretty old but I can't help myself praising the 85mm 1.4D. I'm enjoying this lens for over a year and still can't believe how good it is. Wide open the lens is tack sharp in the center @ f1.4. It focuses very fast on pro bodies. It's built like a tank, like every lens should. Old school is the best. It's got a little too much fringing at times but not very often. I've never had any problems with flare and loss of contrast so the hood usually stays at home. The thing is... I've never shot at any other aperture beside f1.4. I'm using mine on D300, D3 and F100. This is my Nikkor AF 85mm f1.4D set on flickr:
joeink35 PRO 3 years ago
Yup, I'm late to the party here as well, but I have to chime in.
I've gone from Canon, (where I shot the 85mm 1.8, the Sigma 85mm 1.4 and then onto the 85mm 1.2 II,) to Fuji, (where I lived on the 56mm 1.2) and now to Nikon, where I'm using the 85mm 1.4D. I could have gotten the G, but from everything I read, and after my experience with the Canon 85mm 1.2 II, I decided to go with the D over the G.
You might wonder why I even bring up the 85mm 1.2 II in comparison to the G, and it's merely because of price. Any time I've shot with a prime that is THAT much more than it's previous or lesser version, I honestly never feel as if it's worth it.
The 85mm 1.4D, in the short time I've owned it and used it on both my Df and D700, is quite sharp at 1.4, and extremely sharp at f2, same as the Canon, as it was good at 1.2, but great at f2. If I could shoot the Canon 1.2 II for $1600 or the Nikon 85mm for $800 on the same body, I'd gladly pick the Nikon and use the $800 (plus a little more) on the 135 f2. So, by that logic (if that is indeed logical,) yes, you've made the right decision if you've gone D over G. If the D was a dog and really was soft and slow and inaccurate wide open, then it would behoove you to get the G or even just get the 1.8G, but there's a reason it still commands $700+ (I picked mine up from KEH for $699 with a bent filter ring, otherwise mint, that I unbent and fitted with a 77-82 step-up ring, win-win!)
For me, it's one of the elements that made my switch from Fuji to Nikon and never back to Canon all the easier. The fact that I can also get a FX body like the D700 used for short money also makes the whole transition sweet.
Anyway, my two cents. Great lens. Don't look back.
Owned most of the Nikon 85mm lenses at some stage of my life MF and AF along with there 135mm lens.
Still in my possession the 85mm f1:1.4 AFD and the 135mm f2.0 AFD- DC len's can't see me ever parting with them !
Well not in this lifetime :-) simply stunning pieces of optical engineering !
Hannu_E_K PRO Posted 3 years ago. Edited by Hannu_E_K (member) 3 years ago
Original posting:
> 11:38PM, 29 October 2012 CET BPE2* @DAPA Group:
the 85mm f1:1.4 AFD and the 135mm f2.0 AFD- DC

+1, I looked on review data at many places, read a lot of reviews and finally found nice used copies. These will be "mine" just as long as I keep this hobby.
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