Nikon offers the 85mm f/1.4 D AF (£897) and the newer 85mm f/1.4 G AF-S. The 85mm f/1.8D AF was launched in ‘94 and its design does look older than its rivals. Designed for Nikon D-SLRs that use the FX mount, it’s also compatible with DX cameras such as the D7000 and offers an equivalent of 127.5mm with the crop factor involved. D60/D3100 users should note that there’s no motor in the lens, though, so it’s MF only on those models.
Smaller and more compact than Canon’s 85mm f/1.8 USM, it shares the same f/1.8 maximum aperture. Construction is made up of six elements in six groups and the lens features nine aperture blades. It sports a metal lens mount behind the aperture ring and focus distance markings are clearly displayed on top of the barrel. As there’s no Silent Wave Motor, this lens isn’t as quiet in terms of AF performance as most modern day Nikon lenses, so expect a few whirrs and groans, but it locked on quickly to our subjects even when lighting conditions darkened.
The focus ring offers plenty of grip, but we would have preferred extra resistance for more refined manual focus adjustment. The front element is fixed and doesn’t rotate during focusing so there are no issues when attaching graduated filters or polarisers to the 62mm filter thread. Included in the price is Nikon’s HN-23 lens hood.
- Street price: £399 (Secondhand price as of July 2016)
- Maximum aperture: f/1.8
- Mount: Nikon F
- Weight: 380g
- Full Frame or APS-C: Full Frame
- Visit: www.nikon.co.uk
This review was first published in the April 2011 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.