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Nikon 85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

by Nikon
4.6 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews
| 23 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
  • 85mm focal length is considered the optimal choice for portrait work using a 35mm SLR camera
  • High-performance, fast, maximum-aperture, NIKKOR telephoto lens
  • Internal focusing for fast AF operation
  • Rounded diaphragm makes out-of-focus elements appear more natural
  • Fast f/1.4 aperture is helpful in shooting indoor sports or stage productions
3 new from $1,359.95 11 used from $709.00
Important Warranty Information: All Nikkor autofocus lenses from Nikon Inc. USA include four years of Nikon Extended Service Coverage at no charge. Be sure to look for the Nikon ESC certificate with every Nikkor lens purchase you make.

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Technical Details

Product Description

85mm lens for Nikon SLR cameras

Product Details

User Manual [2.31mb PDF]
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches ; 1.2 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • ASIN: B00005LE76
  • Item model number: 1933
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes
  • Date first available at February 9, 2006

Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I didn't expect this lens to be so astonishingly good.

I've read all the reviews and all the tests, and I've used my share of older Nikon AF and AF-D lenses, and I expected a performance from this lens along the lines of what I'd experienced with other, similar lenses - just with the addition of the legendary bokeh that everybody seems to buy it for and the giant fast aperture.

Instead what I got is a lens that exceeds its spec sheet, exceeds the performance implied by every formal test I've ever seen of it, and exceeds nearly every expectation I had for it.

Here's why:

Any lens will tend to lose acuity as larger apertures are used. This is due to spherical aberration and occurs to very different degrees in different lenses, but occurs to some degree in every lens. Tests of this lens show this loss of acuity to a similar degree to that which occurs in its smaller f/1.8 sibling, which I found to be mediocre wide open, and to most of Nikon's older AF and AF-D primes, the performance capabilities of which I'm also familiar with and not always particularly impressed by.

Yet while those other lenses are indeed diminished in terms of image quality as their wide-open aperture is approached, the 85/1.4 doesn't seem to lose a thing in terms of the visual impact of its images no matter how wide it's opened up. Even wide-full-open at f/1.4, this lens gives stunning images with excellent sharpness, excellent contrast, and beautiful colors that leap right out of the image in full three-dimensional glory.

The reason, I suspect, has to do with the fact that the perception of sharpness in an image is not at all the same thing as pure optical acuity.
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This lens is highly coveted by anyone that has ever shot with it. The 9-bladed aperture creates beautiful bokeh (the out of focus areas) and the sharpness, color and contrast are amazing. Primarily designed as a portrait lens, it really shines at f/2 to f/5.6 with an amazing 3-D like quality that has to be seen to be believed. The fit and finish are first class, with a nice feel and balance to it. It uses 77mm filters like most other Nikon pro glass and flares quite easily so be sure to use the included metal lens hood.
2 Comments 117 of 122 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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(purchased Jan 2003) I bought this lens to use for "candid portrait" photography, and have captured brilliant images of my two fast-moving sons. The wide maximum aperature (f 1.4) and nine-blade aperature mechanism draw attention to the subject of the photographs by causing things that are not in focus to be blurred nicely. More importantly, this lens is extremely sharp. Its images are very detailed and the color contrast is excellent. I have not had trouble with flare, but when the sun strikes the front element, image contrast suffers. Therefore, keep the large lens shade on when shooting outside. The focus is very fast on a Nikon F100.

The only downsides? Closest focus is not great, and the cost!
1 Comment 74 of 79 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Stellar lens from Nikon, probably one of the Top 5 best ever made.

Say "available light" and you will see me drool. This lens makes almost everything possible when shooting under low light, concert stages, in-door concerts and of course this is a sublime portrait lens.

Get your metering and exposure readings from a few test shots, and then stick to Manual from there on. Make it do things you think it cannot handle and then let it surprise you with the lighting, the depth of field, the smooth blurred background.

Focusing is fast to me. I dont own the 70-200 AF-S VR [yet] so cannot compare responsiveness in that respect, but I shot a whole evening at a recent athletics event and did not feel that it could not keep up. I had trouble keeping u with the athletes!

The build is strong, all metallic body, the lens hood is a screw-in metallic type.

Some people dont like those in particular but I reckon once you mount your hood, it should just stay there permanently.

There is a way to fix the lens cover even with the hood on. The lens cover is a snap-on type, so just make you go fully in and then release the snaps to see the cover stay put on the glass.

This lens is a gem, no questions asked.

If possible test it before buying it. After all, it may be your style to use this focal lenght on a D2 or equivalent, but I can assure you that once you have seen the results, you will be a believer :)

Save up and enjoy this very fine piece of engineering.

Thank you Nikon!
Comment 71 of 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Verified Purchase
I've had my eye on this lens for some time, but was very hesitant to spend the money on it. I bought it a couple of months ago and have used it almost exclusively on my D90 since then. This is a great lens, and I know it was the right lens for me to add to my photo gear right now.

I agree with previous reviewers, there are 2 main reasons to buy this lens. First, if you shoot in low light conditions this lens performs incredibly well. The other day I was at my kids' school taking some musical photos for the yearbook. The auditorium manager was out for the day, so we couldn't turn on the stage lights. We only used the house lights and a very small amount of background stage lights, so it was very dark and I wasn't feeling optimistic about getting some decent shots. But wide open, the lens was capable of producing sharp, clear, decently exposed images.

The other main reason to buy this lens is the bokeh, of course. It is very smooth and beautiful. However, this lens does take some practice and skill when shooting wide open. It is a very sharp lens even at 1.4, but there is no room for error with focus since the depth of field is so narrow.

One other thing that I really like about this lens is it's size and weight. It's hefty and well-built, but isn't too heavy or cumbersome on my D90. I feel perfectly comfortable walking around with this lens. Sometimes people suggest getting a 70-200mm before or instead of the 85mm, but for me this lens is a much better fit and more versatile. Yes, the 70-200mm also has great bokeh, has a more versatile range, and can be better for indoor sports. But it's size and weight are a major negative me. I wouldn't use a 70-200mm for casual portraits, or as a walk around lens, or everyday casual shots.
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