Friday, December 11, 2009

Nikkor 85mm f/1.8

I acquired this lens in a two for one swap for my Tamron 180mm f/3.5 Macro lens. In return, I got the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 and a new 50mm f/1.8 ... and since I already had an older copy of the 50mm, I was able to sell that one for an $85 net return. So the Tamron effectively sold for an 85mm f/1.8 in new condition and $85 cash. That's just about exactly the right price.

The Tammy was an awesome macro lens, to be sure. But I found that I was shooting models all summer and really enjoyed that aspect too. So the trade was worth it to me to get a nice mid-range portrait lens that is very compatible with the D700 I ordered from the proceeds of my fire sale of everything I had acquired over 4 years and was no longer using.

So, to test my copy of the lens, I thought I'd do an aperture ladder from 1.8 through 11. Anything above 11 on my D300's APS-C sensor is a waste of time, as it will begin to be affected by diffraction, which softens details.

Looking over the review of this lens on, an excellent private test site, I must say that I was expecting great things. Some loss of contrast at 1.8, which is generally unavoidable in such a moderately priced lens, but rapidly improving contrast through the range. Here is the chart ...

And I was *not* disappointed. Wow ... the lens is usable at 1.8 for sure, but at 4 and upwards it blew my mind. Such acuity ...

Here are the 100% crops ... remember to click on the image to see the full-sized version.

And a couple of the full-sized images processed ...



Such a delicate lens. Awesome.


nintendo dsi r4 said...

This is a great lens for the price you are paying. The 85mm f/1.4 is about 3 times the price (I don't own it so I cannot compare apart from the specifications), and gives you about 2/3 more stops of light. This lens has 9 aperture blades, which gives a very nice bokeh.

Kim Letkeman said...

Yes, in fact this lens tests better at than its 1.4 counterpart. I am pleased with it, to say the least.