Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

Lens Reviews / Nikon Lenses i Lab tested
85mm $519
average price
image of Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion

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(From Nikon lens literature) Compact and portable telephoto lens that is ideal for portraits. Rear focusing for fast AF operation. Subtle blurring of background for beautifully natural and evocative portraits.

SLRgear Review
August 4, 2008
by Andrew Alexander

The Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8 AF was introduced in March of 1988; the AF-D version was introduced a few years later in 1994. A small-sized medium-range fixed telephoto lens, the 85mm ƒ/1.8 is the little brother to the larger 85mm ƒ/1.4. The ƒ/1.8 version only loses two-thirds of a stop, but costs only one-third the price of the ƒ/1.4 version.

The 85mm ƒ/1.8 was originally designed to fit the 35mm film frame, so it will have no problems covering either FX or DX digital SLR camera sensors. On a DX body, the lens will give an effective field of view of 127mm.

The lens is available now for around $400, and ships with a round screw-in lens hood.

The Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8 AF-D is very slightly soft when used wide open at ƒ/1.8, ranging from just under 3 blur units in the corners, to just under 2.5 blur units in the center. This improves as you stop down; around 2 blur units uniformly at ƒ/2, and at ƒ/2.8 the lens approaches its optimal sharpness, at 1 to 1.5 blur units. At ƒ/4 the lens is essentially tack-sharp across the frame, but by the numbers it doesn't reach its optical peak until ƒ/5.6. At ƒ/8 and ƒ/11 performance continues to be stable, still tack-sharp, and ƒ/16 shows some degradation from diffraction limiting, but only reducing overall quality to 1.5 blur units.

On the full-frame D3, the 85mm ƒ/1.8 fares slightly better (and posed some questions to us we still can't answer - more on that later). At ƒ/1.8, the lens shows results between 1.5 and 2 blur units. Mirroring the D200, this performance improves as the lens is stopped down, achieving essentially tack-sharp performance by ƒ/4, though the differences between ƒ/2.8 and ƒ/4 are very small. Sharpness is excellent all the way through to ƒ/16.

The question we haven't been able to find a satisfactory answer to is why the ƒ/1.8 performance on the D200 is a full blur unit worse than that seen on the D3. The effect only occurs at ƒ/1.8; at other apertures, everything else is more or less as we would expect. If you have any insights as to why this might be, please chime in with a user review below.

To summarize, with the exception of some very slight softness as ƒ/1.8, the 85mm ƒ/1.8 offers excellent results for sharpness stopped down to ƒ/2.8 and greater.

Chromatic Aberration
We were very surprised by the excellent performance exhibited by the 85mm ƒ/1.8 to reduce chromatic aberration. Mounted on the D200, we see some of the lowest numbers we've ever seen for CA, with even the worst-case CA not exceeding 1.5 percent of frame height.

This performance is mirrored on the D3, where any extra CA introduced by the full-frame FX sensor is detected and automatically removed by the D3's image processor. To evaluate the lens' performance rather than the camera's we run RAW images produced by the D3 through Bibble to evaluate chromatic aberration. In this case, the lens does show some CA, but it's still not alot to write home about: in the worst case, 3/100ths of a percent of frame height in the corners.

Shading (''Vignetting'')
Corner shading isn't much of a problem on the D200: at ƒ/1.8, you can expect the corners to be about 1/3 of a stop darker than the center. This improves at ƒ/2, where this number drops to about a quarter-stop. At ƒ/2.8, corner shading is very low.

On the full-frame D3, corner shading is more of an issue. At ƒ/1.8, shading in the corners almost reaches a full stop; this improves to 2/3 of a stop at ƒ/2, and 1/3 of a stop at ƒ/2.8. At ƒ/4, light falloff is less than a quarter stop difference, and by ƒ/5.6, it's as low as it can get.

The 85mm ƒ/1.8 is optimized to produce distortion-free images. On the D200, there is statistically the slightest amount of barrel distortion, but it's a very, very small number. On the D3, you're looking at about 0.1% barrel distortion in the corners; however, this is almost so small as to be inconsequential.

Autofocus Operation
The 85mm ƒ/1.8 AF-D was developed before Nikon's newer AF-S system, meaning it uses a mechanical screw to move the focusing lens group. The lens focuses quickly, and does produce some noise while focusing, but the level of noise (as well as focus speed) will depend largely on the Nikon body being employed. Newer Nikon bodies like the D40, D40x and D60 which lack the focus screw will not be able to autofocus this lens.

The 85mm ƒ/1.8 offers very poor macro capability, with a minimum close-focusing distance of 85cm (around 3 feet) and a magnification of only 0.11x.

Build Quality and Handling
The 85mm ƒ/1.8 is often criticized as being one of Nikon's cheaper-looking lenses, primarily because of its plastic shell. Despite the plastic shell, it's fairly heavy for its size, at 374 grams (13 oz), and construction stands up well in day-to-day use with a metal body mount.

The 85mm ƒ/1.8 offers a windowed distance scale measured in feet and meters, with a companion depth-of-field scale and marked infrared index. The lens uses an aperture ring with a locking mechanism to prevent the ring from moving. Unlike its pro-level sibling, the 85mm ƒ/1.4, the ƒ/1.8 lens does not offer a lens-mounted manual focus switch.

The focus ring of the 85mm ƒ/1.8 is 3/8'' wide, using a soft rubber texture of raised squares. Manual focus travel of the ring is almost a quarter-turn: 85 degrees. The plastic filter threads take 62mm filters, which do not rotate during focusing.

The HN-23 lens hood is provided with the lens, a round screw-in hood made of metal, with a ribbed interior. Use of the hood is recommended to prevent flare and ghosting, but it's a screw-mount hood so much less easier to attach than newer bayonet-style mounts. The hood can't be reversed for storage.


There's really only one direct alternative for the 85mm ƒ/1.8; the larger, heavier, and costlier 85mm ƒ/1.4. However, if you're willing to sacrifice the ƒ/1.8 capability, there are a couple of other alternatives.

Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.4D AF ~$1,000
The ƒ/1.4 version of the lens is larger, heavier, and costlier, but you do get something for that: two-thirds of a stop faster aperture performance, and a bit more sharpness, at the cost of corner softness. Stopped-down, the 85mm ƒ/1.8 is actually a bit sharper, but the out-of-focus corners are a large part of what makes the 85mm ƒ/1.4 such a good portrait lens.

Sigma 70mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG Macro ~$400
It's not really in the same class of lens, as the Sigma 70mm doesn't provide the ƒ/1.8 of the 85mm, however, it offers a similar focal length. Optical performance of the Sigma 70mm is some of the best we've seen: tack-sharp at ƒ/2.8 (actually outdoing the 85mm ƒ/1.8) but a bit worse CA. Corner shading and Distortion are about the same.

Tamron 90mm ƒ/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF ~$450
The Tamron also isn't a good direct comparison, but it's in the same ballpark. It's primarily a macro lens, offering similar results for sharpness, corner shading and distortion as the 85mm ƒ/1.8; CA is slightly higher.

The comparison between the 85mm ƒ/1.8 and ƒ/1.4 versions is one of the longest ongoing discussions concerning the Nikon product line. In the final analysis they are dramatically different products, offering results which are difficult to compare. The ƒ/1.8 version offers better corner-to-corner sharpness, but at wider apertures, the ƒ/1.4 offers better central sharpness.

In its own right, the 85mm is an excellent lens, offering class-leading performance for chromatic aberration, very low corner shading at wide apertures, and practically no distortion. Sharpness is excellent at ƒ/2.8, only showing a touch of softness when used wide open. For the price, if you need the 85mm focal length, the lens is an excellent option we have no trouble recommending.

Sample Photos

The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.

As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor User Reviews

9.2/10 average of 35 review(s) Build Quality 8.8/10 Image Quality 9.4/10
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by MorkSvartson (1 reviews)
    Good build quality. Fast autofocus. High resolution and good sharpness. Minimum distortion. Low price.
    Very soft on open apertures. Cold color rendering. Poor bokeh quality.

    This lens has both fans and haters. I became interested and I bought it. Assembled very well, I do not understand the complaints. Inside it is metal (the lenses are fixed in an aluminum tube), only the outer frame is made of polycarbonate. The Micro-Nikkor 60 / 2.8D and Micro-Nikkor 105 / 2.8D are made in the same way, which no one complains about. Autofocus on professional cameras is fast and tenacious. I was unlucky to get a front focus lens, but after adjusting the AF in my D300, I got accuracy. Unfortunately, due to the front focus, I can't use it on my favorite D200 and S5pro, which have excellent color reproduction but no autofocus adjustment.

    Technically, the lens turned out to be good. I don't like shooting at wide apertures, so image quality issues at f/1.8-2.2 don't bother me. Starting from f/2.8 the lens is sharp and contrasting, in the f/5.6-11 range it is quite suitable for technical shooting, not much inferior in resolution even to Micro-Nikkor lenses. There are practically no distortions, there are chromatic aberrations, but they are not annoying and can be easily removed in the editor. There is also a problem - a large focusing distance does not allow you to approach small objects at the right distance. I did not check how the lens works with macro rings. It does not seem to have a CRC system, but at the minimum focusing distance I had no complaints, so I think it will be good for shooting at 1:4 - 1:2 scales.

    Portrait. At f/2.8-5.6 you can get good close-up portraits. Technically, there is nothing to complain about - the lens, I repeat, is contrasting and sharp. But the quality of his bokeh leaves much to be desired. It is "rough" and "nervous", somewhat similar to the bokeh AF Nikkor 50/1.8D. You need to watch the background very carefully, or shoot in a studio where you can control everything. I was surprised that the color reproduction of the lens tends to be cold. I have a late version of the lens, I know that the early version of Nikkor 85/1.8 (without "D") has a different lens coating. Perhaps she has a different color rendition, I did not check. But my lens noticeably cools the image, which is perfectly visible in comparison with the same AF Nikkor 50 / 1.4D or the superb old Nikkor 85/1.4 AiS. I prefer "warm" color tones, although "cold" ones may be closer to someone, this is a matter of taste.

    I summarize. If you want to shoot at wide apertures - look at more modern devices, this old man reveals himself after f / 2.8. If you are not confused by the nature of bokeh and cold color reproduction, the lens is wonderful. It is inexpensive, well made, well suited for studio portraits, still life, and technical photography.

    Good luck everyone, and sorry for my english :)

    reviewed July 19th, 2022 (purchased for $300)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Hochzeitsfotograf-Frankfurt (5 reviews)
    size price lightweight
    soft at 1/8 slow focus

    I have this lens for about 8 years. it's my all around portrait lens but it took some time untill I got used not to use it wide open because it is very soft. Go up a bit till 2.2 and this will become very sharp. I like it a lot to use it in low light environments like churches. More photos with this lens are on my blog Hochzeitsfotograf Frankfurt

    reviewed May 6th, 2017 (purchased for $300)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Chop (7 reviews)
    Great Portraits and balance between cost and quality.
    Some guys like a little longer option

    Super portrait lens. Very sharp and great Bokeh. Fast enough and a pleasure to use. I pull this for use on my F100 with slow film.

    reviewed October 16th, 2012 (purchased for $300)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Prime Minister (47 reviews)
    Small, sharp, fast focussing, cheap, decent build quality

    I like this lens, I like it a lot. Sharpness is excellent at f/4 (and smaller) and that's often the minimum aperture I like to use for portraits with this lens. Images are really sharp! I find it very nice that this model is sharper then the new AF-S version. Saves me some money. Also, autofocus is faster with the AF-D. I've had no problems with autofocus accuracy or speed. I find the autofocus speed of the 50mm and 85mm AF-S models annoyingly slow. The AF-D has no ass gasket like the new AF-S version has, but then I don't care for that much. The focussing ring rotates during focussing, but the lens barrel is large enough to grip the lens without touching the ring. I like the build quality of this lens. The lens has a nice feel and weight to it. I prefer it to the build quality of the AF-S version. If you are looking for a prime in this range, I recommend this lens.

    reviewed May 4th, 2012 (purchased for $400)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Yucel (15 reviews)
    Price, Size, Sharpness
    62mm Filter Size, No Bayonet Shade

    This lens takes an impressive image for not much $.

    Is only 1/2 stop slower than the 1.4D for less than 1/2 the bux.

    For my glamour portraiture usage, I have some sample images by this lens and a comparison to several of its peers avail in a more detailed review @

    For the money, if you need a sharp 85mm AF, it's hard to beat.

    reviewed November 23rd, 2011
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Suntoro Tjoe (3 reviews)
    Very consistent sharpness, great bokeh and fast auto focus

    It's absolutely great lens!
    I use this lens for all my studio work and produces great shots.

    To view some of the shots, click

    reviewed November 5th, 2011 (purchased for $520)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by scott leeson (1 reviews)
    price, IQ

    this lens is an absolute gem!
    i use it for ALL my studio work on my d3x

    i have tested the 85mm 1.4 d and g and they are not any sharper stopped down and not worth the increase in price.
    buy this lens!!

    reviewed May 20th, 2011
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by colinjames (8 reviews)
    Sharp, great focus ability, tiny
    LOCA, wish it focused closer

    Great lens for the most part. Sharp. Annoying green and magenta aberrations until f5.6+

    reviewed November 10th, 2010 (purchased for $350)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by micahmedia (3 reviews)
    size, weight, build, rear focus
    spinning focus ring during AF

    I suspect any negatives about this lens wide open come from AF inaccuracy. On bodies that have AF fine tune abilities, with some tweaking, this lens is DAMN sharp wide open. A bit of field curvature up close, but not and objectionable amount. Again, it's down to AF--if you choose a proper point and the camera nails it, you're golden.

    I wouldn't count the lack of AFS as much of a negative, except in circumstances where you hand you camera to some one else--as a pro, this is pretty never.

    The AF issue may or may not be because of the screw drive, but I have noticed that newer bodies are consistently bad at focusing these screw drive lenses at default settings. For example, the D90 is inconsistent and the D200 wasn't very good with it either. D300, D700, D2x, and D3 were all great, but only after adjustment. And the amount of adjustment was different for each body (among similar AND different models).

    High contrast situations can excite some LoCA--but that is so for MANY lenses, even the 1.4D and the new 1.4G. It's just a fact of life, and one that's hard to cure in post. Pretty much goes away stopped down.

    Great bokeh, with a caveat: edge quality of point light sources can be excellent to mediocre, depending on subject distance. I'm not talking about just the amount of blur, but the quality. It does actually tend towards 100% neutral at closer focus distances. Very subtle ringing as you get closer to infinity, but never objectionably so.

    In closing: an undervalued gem!

    reviewed November 2nd, 2010 (purchased for $230)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by adrian snow (6 reviews)
    Corner to Corner sharpness f/4 and above
    Soft until f/2.8

    I'm rating this lens a solid 9 all-around.

    The build quality is excellent, but not pro-calibre.

    The image quality is excellent, but not until f/2.8 and doesn't see it's best until f/4. The good news is that at f/4 all the way through f/16 it is evenly sharp all over. This is great for those shots where you need the detail and sharpness all over the frame.

    The lens handles direct light very well. I've never experienced any ghosting problems. Chromatic aberation is there wide open. By f/4 it is gone.

    Overall I'm rating the lens a 9 for it's limited use wide-open.
    You wanna buy a fast lens like this to take advantage of the maximum aperature.
    This lens is nothing special from f/1.8 to f/2.8.
    It is very, very good at f/2.8.
    It is a dream lens at f/4 and above.

    I'm selling mine because I get very similar performance out of my 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S.

    reviewed March 28th, 2010 (purchased for $350)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by ZinMe (3 reviews)
    Sharp! Durable. Focus is fast enough for most applications.
    No AFS

    I use this lens for shooting indoor sports in poorly lit gyms on my D300. It is very sharp, even at f1.8 (my results are better than the slrgear sharpness results would show). For a non-AFS lens, it focuses fast, however, it can't compare to an AFS lens for sports. I do find that sometimes the focus doesn't keep up with the action. If you are shooting sports at f1.8 which offers little to no depth of field, you get some shots which are out of focus. But this is a minor complaint. This lens is also great for portraits. I also use it to shoot theater if I can get close to the foot of the stage-- the results are superb. Sharpness, color rendition, contrast are exceptional.

    reviewed January 5th, 2010 (purchased for $350)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by moose (21 reviews)
    Superb build quality and sharp as a tack
    Not an AF-S lens

    Nikon professional user. This lens is superb. I use it on the D300 and D200. It oozes quality. Perefect for outdoor and studio work. It is sharp as a tack.

    reviewed November 28th, 2009 (purchased for $490)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by lightknight (31 reviews)
    Inexpensive, great and consitantly great performance

    This is a cant loose lens. While doing a studio shoot with some guys a few months ago this lens earned its keep in company with a raft of F1.4 and Canon f1.2 85 mm. So the question was when shooting a F4 @ 250th, why do you need a 1.4 or a 1.2? The answer of course is that you don't...the little 1.8 was as sharp as all of them at that aperture and just 33% of the cost. yes it may not be as rugged but its still a decent lens and its works an absolute treat on my D700.

    I have an example below for anyone that wants to look.

    reviewed November 5th, 2009 (purchased for $450)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Eager (7 reviews)
    fast, sharp, smooth bokeh
    focus ring rotates with AF

    Exellent portrait lens. Lovely creamy bokeh, good sharpness and contrast.

    reviewed October 25th, 2009 (purchased for $460)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by sgnirts (7 reviews)
    Great focal length, SHARP!, FAST!, great bokeh...just right portrait lens.
    We are not born with this lens. noisy focus.

    WOW!, just perfect, all the "right moves" for portrait and low light work, always sharp in the center (even f1.8!), fairly quick focus...I can't ask for much more...maybe add VR to it one day and a motor? Primes offer so much bang for the buck in the category. I have even shot some very nice landscapes with this lens, who says all landscapes have to be wide? just silly! :-)

    reviewed February 6th, 2009 (purchased for $275)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by RRJackson (6 reviews)
    optical quality, price, size
    not expensive enough to have a mystique

    This is probably the single best value in the Nikon lens lineup. The performance of the lens is much more consistent than the 85mm f/1.4. This lens isn't designed to give you soft corners. It's not a dreamy portrait lens, though it does make a very good portrait lens. It's like a neo-realist portrait lens. The 85mm f/1.8 is also very sharp when stopped down. I have a D700 and find this lens attached to my camera much more than I imagined. This and the 35mm f/2 are really the only two lenses I'd have a hard time living without. If you like the speed, size and convenience of fast primes you aren't going to want to let this one pass you by.

    reviewed January 29th, 2009 (purchased for $325)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by lexluthor (1 reviews)
    Bright!, compact and light, very good built, nice bokeh!
    So far so good

    This is my first prime lens and I'm already in love with it. I put it on my D90 to replace my 18-105mm kit lens. It is very bright and a killer in indoor low light situation. I use it mostly for portrait. I'm warmly recommend it!

    You can check some pictures on my Flickr account here :

    reviewed January 8th, 2009 (purchased for $450)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Canon-Nikon-user (14 reviews)
    great sharp lens , very well corrected , very low CA, AF fast enough.
    slower than the Canon 85f1.8 in terms of AF, flare more than the Canon.

    I like its size and AF speed as a screw driven lens.

    I think this lens is quite sharp wide open and well corrected almost distortion free lens.

    Its only one weakness is the flare control, its color and contrast are good , almost no CA even wide open.

    This lens is small , fast , sharp and makes my D300 looks so small , I love it , I think this lens is a better lens than the f1.4D if you like street photography or sharp corners as this very site says.

    One of these best bargain lenses in Nikon world.

    reviewed December 4th, 2008 (purchased for $370)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by glen (12 reviews)
    Sharp, fast, good value
    Bit noisy, build quality

    Picked up this lens a couple weeks back and have taken forty - fifty shoots with the D200 and half a roll with the F100. Since then, I've taken lots of shots which has only confirmed my initial impression on both FX and DX - this lens is SHARP!

    I did not expect this lens to be so sharp wide open, and stopping down, it just seems to get sharper and sharper. The bokeh at f/1.8 is good and improves as the lens is stopped down. Focus speed is good, a little louder than AF-S, but not a big issue. Focus on the D200 works well, but you can still miss a shot wide open since the DOF is narrow.

    I have not seen any purple fringing in FX or DX or on film. Build quality does not compare to older AIS lenses but it is very decent.

    This lens is a keeper.

    reviewed November 14th, 2008 (purchased for $390)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by HighSierra (13 reviews)
    SHARP! Nice Bokeh, Light and Small
    A bit of pruple fringing, not built like a tank

    Whew, and I thought the Nikkor 180/2.8 was sharp! From about f/2.2 on, this lens will just slice you up, certainly the sharpest I've yet mounted to my D200. Most other aspects of image quality are great as well. The only issue I've had in that regard is purple fringing, much like from the 180, particularly at the larger apertures. If only it was correctable easily in software, it would be no worry.

    The lens is built very well, and the internal focus is a welcome upgrade over similar Nikkor primes like the 50/1.8 and 35/2.0. The focus ring could stand to be larger and better damped, but it is an AF lens after all.

    The only reason I'm getting rid of this lens is that I've found the focal length to a bit of a tweener on DX. I'd rather use 50-60 or 135-150. I'm sure this lens would be great on film/FX, filling the hole I use 50 in on DX.

    reviewed October 7th, 2008 (purchased for $340)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by jonnyapple (6 reviews)
    fast, small, great focal length for portraits
    closest focus 3ft

    I've used this and the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro in this focal length range, and it seems like the pictures with this lens wide open are a bit softer than the test results would imply, but I don't think that's a bad thing. This and the Tamron are about equally sharp at f/2.8 (the 90mm's max), but I love the softer images with the 85 at wide apertures. And who can complain about an extra stop (and a bit) for low light situations?

    This is a wonderful portrait lens, and it wont make your camera front-heavy. I haven't noticed the autofocus being slow or noisy (on a D300), but I haven't had much experience with Af-s lenses for financial reasons.

    I don't think people would consider this if they're looking for a macro lens at this length, but if you are don't because it's not a macro lens. Closest focus is 3ft, but I guess you can't have everything.

    reviewed August 4th, 2008 (purchased for $400)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Artman57 (6 reviews)
    Great detail, fast, reliable

    I have this piece of glass since 1994, used it with my F2A Photomic with great results and now with my D200. This is a great portrait lens but not only. It is always attached to my D200 body and I use it for anything I can throw it in, with great results all the time. Focus it's a bit noisier than the "kiT lens" but the construction of this 85mm is excellent. Very fast and reliable, it is almost impossible to take bad captures with this baby.Great prime lens.

    reviewed February 26th, 2007 (purchased for $527)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by rcoder (6 reviews)
    amazing low-light captures, excellent portrait telephoto
    AF can be slow on consumer bodies

    I absolutely love this lens. Most of my favorite pictures taken with my D70 have been through its fine optics, and it just seems to coax flattering expressions from people's faces. This is also the best lens I've used for live music photography -- it's small enough to pack around in a crowded club, and has just enough reach to pull just the singer out of a busy scene.

    The balance and handling are quite good, though the MF ring on mine is a touch loose. Wide-open, it adds just enough softness to images to avoid the need for photoshop retouching of minor skin blemishes, and the extremely-thin DoF renders background features beautifully blurred. Bokeh is generally quite nice, though extremely bright points of light in the background can occasionally appear more polyagonal than circular.

    My only real complaint is with the focusing distance -- if you want to do any close-up work, then you'll probably want to check out the 60mm or 105mm macro units. AF speed also isn't anything special, but much of that is probably the D70 AF system not being quite up to some of the low-light situations I press on it.

    reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $450)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by photogizmo (2 reviews)
    Compact, lightweight, bright, quick autofocus, well built.

    This is a great portrait lens. In fact, I think it would be pretty hard to take a bad portrait with this lens. I used the 85mm f/1.4 at a Nikon event and although it was beautiful, it was also much larger and quite heavy, (and twice the cost). This lens is compact and lightweight. I love using the Nikkor 50mm and this lens is not a lot bigger. The out of focus area with this lens is soft and the colors are rich and well saturated. Perfect.

    reviewed December 29th, 2006 (purchased for $399)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by placenamehere (5 reviews)
    fast, sharpness, overall image quality
    not the 1.4?

    This lens is on my D80 85% of the time for both indoor family photos and general outdoor or street photography. The image quality is excellent. Its plenty fast to capture most events without resorting to flash use. I really don't find myself longing for the extra speed of the F1.4 as I usually end up shooting at around F2.0 or F2.2 for a good DOF + speed compromise.

    reviewed December 26th, 2006 (purchased for $400)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by NikonNut (3 reviews)
    very fast lens

    I bought this lens to take photos of dance competitions where flash is not allowed. It has performed flawlessly. Focus is quick, and final products have been well received

    reviewed December 19th, 2006 (purchased for $300)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by kanabeans (5 reviews)
    Sharp, great color, great DOF
    None that I can think of.

    I just bought this lens a few weeks ago and the results are amazing! The DOF is beautiful, the lens is sharp and the colors seem so much better than my other lenses! I definately recommend this lens!

    reviewed December 17th, 2006 (purchased for $450)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by deanzat (9 reviews)
    great color, sharpness, and feel

    This and my 80-200 are the "10s" in my collection. I often use this one to shoot local concerts at clubs or "all ages" venues, where I can move about freely. Naturally, I also use it for portraits, although it is sometimes too sharp and I must resort to smoothing techniques in photoshop.

    Every photographer should use a lens like this to understand the famous filter-vs-no filter debate. Take a couple of shots without a filter on this lens, and if you've always believed in protection filters, your world will be rocked. The resolution can be stunning.

    People might think that I write a lot of gushing reviews, but I've had a lot of Nikon and Canon lenses over the past thirty years, and I've only kept the ones I really like. Here's one of my favorite shots from this lens:

    reviewed December 12th, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Karl777 (2 reviews)
    ultra fast, lightweight
    noisy, autofocus on low light with Nikon D50

    I use this lens as an addition to my tamron 17-50 Zoom. The lens isn't full metal as already told. the focusing ring and the lense hood are metal.

    first i tested this lense indoor at evening having normal artificial light; I wundered that the autofocus was not as reliable as with my tamron zoom. When the lens did not find the focus it gots very noisy searching the right focus from one to the other end. This is a little bit disappointing for a low light lense.

    But experience showed soon it is often better to focus manually. I think the small focus range of the lense makes it for the auto focus system of D50 harder to get the correct focus.

    Then i went outside - downtown and was very impressed to shoot pictures with ISO400 and 1.8 Appertue at times about 1/125s! Some poeple looked strange at me doing this all without flash!

    This lens is an optical cutting machine - with open aperture you can extract everything you want too.

    My daugter soon loved this lense walking around and making interesting pics.

    pictures seems are very brilliant if you get the right focus.

    A very special glass - one of my diamands!

    a little bit expensive in europe!


    reviewed December 9th, 2006 (purchased for $550)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by DoFJerk (7 reviews)
    Lightweight, Good color reproduction
    Some visible CA at wide open

    Inexpensive, good color reproduction, smooth & natural skin tone. Better sharpness get start at f/2.

    If you can't effort 85/1.4, this lens will not let you disappointed.
    If you love protrait, you will love this lens.

    reviewed November 26th, 2006 (purchased for $340)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by audioguru1 (7 reviews)
    reasonable, amazingly sharp
    no afs

    This lens is very sharp. It seems to have some focus error on older bodies like my s2 (backfocus). It works great on my d80. Likely just the focus system on the s2, but something to note if you dont have a newer body.

    This is great for closeup portraits. It is the 105/135 portrait lenses for digital.

    The focus on this lens is clunky and loud - especially compared to the 50mm. But it gets the job done. Having a speedlight with the red led focus grid helps in the dark.

    The 1.4 version gets you IF and a little more sensitvity. The 1.8 is just as good in every other way.

    reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $300)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by mmroden (3 reviews)
    well built, light, sharp
    no af-s

    I like this lens. I don't really shoot in this range often (I tend to max out at 55-60 mm, just a personal preference), but when I do, I reach for this lens.

    It's small, not much bigger than my 50 1.4 and smaller than my 60 2.8, and isn't intimidating on the camera at all.

    It tends to hunt for focus in low-light situations, and has to be used manually when there's very little light (ie, on the street at night).

    reviewed September 8th, 2006 (purchased for $380)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by sduford (9 reviews)
    Superb image quality, well built, fast
    no AFS

    This is a superb lens. It is 979% as good as the F/1.4 yet it is much smaller and cheaper.

    Build quality is not all metal but still very good. It is the old style auto focus but it nonetheless operates very fast and precisely. Filter size is 62nn. A very nice and compact lens.

    I find it a bit long for portraits on a DSLR, but we currently have no alternatives.

    reviewed August 1st, 2006 (purchased for $400)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Das Bosun (7 reviews)
    A sharp & compact lens that's not all that expensive
    It would be nice to have AF-S auto focus

    AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D

    All of my lens test/comparisons were performed on a Nikon D2x (reduced frame, 1.5x 12.2MP CMOS sensor). The camera was set to mirror lock-up, mounted on a tripod and fired with the MC-30 cable release. The test exposures were captured as NEF raw files and compared with no image sharpening.

    This undoubtedly is one of the sharpest lenses I own and it’s not all that expensive. The best results arrive with the 85mm f/1.8D lens when it’s set to around f/4. In fact at f4 it out does the critical sharpness of anything I own.

    The HN-23 screw type lens hood is a welcome addition, that’s permanently affixed to the end of my 85mm f/1.8D. Edge sharpness is fantastic, whilst chromatic aberrations and vignetting are very well controlled.

    Mounted on a D2x the auto focus of the 85mm f/1.8D is not too far off the quiet and speed offered by an AF-S lens. Mounted on the Nikon D70 the same lens becomes noisier and is more prone to ‘searching’ in low light.

    Note: these are subjective results that may not reflect your particular sample OR use of this lens.

    Das Bosun

    reviewed November 23rd, 2005
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Leander (1 reviews)
    very sharp, small, very good for low light shooting
    some CA at f1.8

    I've used this lens mainly for low light theatre shots on my D70 and it performs excellent at that. Focusing is fast. Hardly ever hunts even in low light. There is some CA at f1.8 but at 2.2 there's almost none. A near perfect lens for my taste.
    (by the way I have the non D version, but it looks an behaves the same, I think)

    reviewed November 11th, 2005 (purchased for $215)