Friday, June 15, 2007

Re: nikon 85 1.4


Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not trying to be elitist or anything.  I have all four of the pieces you talk about in your e-mail -- the 85 f/1.4, 85 f/1.8, the 50 f/1.4 and the 50 f/1.8 -- and they are all great glass, every one.

I love the 85 f/1.4, partially because of the 1.4 f-stop, but that's not the entire story.  The contrast, color and sharpness are incredible.  I feel (on the D2Xs) that the 85 f/1.4 outperforms the 85 f/1.8.  On the D200 the difference in sharpness isn't very clear but the color and contrast, in my option, is nicer on the f1.4

One thing that really sets the 85 f/1.4 apart from the f/1.8 is the build.  If you compare the f/1.8 and f/1.4 in the 50mm version the builds are about the same -- cheap Chinese plastic.  Great lens both, but the build is not very impressive. 

The 85 f/1.4 is built like a tank.  Solid, tough, durable and heavy.  I like the solid feel of a good pro lens -- the 17-55 f/2.8, the 85 f/1.4 and the 60mm macro are among my favorites in the lens collection because of the way they balance on a big body and how they feel in use.  However, do not discount the size and weight of the 85 f/1.4 -- it is heavy and big.  The 85 f/1.8 is way more portable, takes nicer filters and has a easy-to-remove hood.  The f/1.4 has a screw-on metallic hood that mounts onto the filter's screw rings.  This makes it difficult to remove quickly so you end up taking up lots of space in the bag with it.

The 85mm f/1.8 is impressive and compares very well with the 50mm f/1.8.  You will like any of the glass we're talking about -- they all take great pictures.  I'm not really sure if the extra f/0.4 gets you that much in practice
anyway.  And the 85 f/1.4 is expensive by comparison.  One of my most loved thing about the 50mm f/1.8 is that it is relatively inexpensive to replace.  However, the flip side is once you get into the expensive glass, like the 17-55mm f/2.8 AFS, you'll start to think of the 50mm f/1.4 as a "cheap" lens too.  All a matter of perspective :)

On 6/15/07, Ryan wrote:

Hey Cory,

I saw your review of this lens on Amazon and checked out your site (some nice shots by the way).

Had you done any side by side comparisons with the 85 1.8?

I'd love to get the 1.4 but being twice as much am struggling if it will be twice as good.

I love available light and good bokeh so this lens sounds like a perfect match.

But 1.8 is good w/ available light but am unsure how much creamier the bokeh on the 1.4 is.

I have the 50 1.8 and am happy with the bokeh on that so I guess as long as the 85 1.8 is as good or better than the 50 I have then I'll be happy.


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