Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor

Lens Reviews / Nikon Lenses i Lab tested
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85mm $345
average price
image of Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor
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Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor User Reviews

9.5/10 average of 11 review(s) Build Quality 8.7/10 Image Quality 9.8/10
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by NickTrop (5 reviews)
    Image quality and overall sharpness, wide-open sharpness, size, bokeh, weight, cost
    Build quality could be better

    One of the sharpest prime lenses Nikon has ever produced. Sharp even at f1.8. Very nice bokeh as one would expect. This is a worthy successor to the venerable "D" version of this lens. A new classic 85 portrait lens in F mount. Reasonable price, especially compared to the 1.4 version, build-quality could be better but is adequate. Size and weight is also good, a definite advantage over shooting portraits with 1.4's, longer tele's, or zoom lenses -- you might actually toss this one in your bag rather than leave it home.

    reviewed June 8th, 2018 (purchased for $400)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by sjkip (26 reviews)
    Extremely sharp, lightweight, nicely priced.
    Not terribly sharp wide open; no VR

    I rented this lens to see if I should buy one for use on my D610 in museums. I don't take portraits or indoor action, nor do I shoot mid-range landscapes unless I'm using a zoom like my 24-85 VR or 70-300 VR. But for the advertised uses, I can only agree with everyone else that it would be the one to buy.

    For museums, however, it's not all that great. The 85mm focal length means I had to move way back from the subject, always watching for people behind me. The results were good, though not better than from my from 24-85. Uniformly, both lenses wide open gave similar resolution at 85mm.

    After shooting 70 pairs of museum pictures, I ran comparison tests on my breakfast table. As I closed down the aperture, I obtained the sharpness everyone else talks about. But without VR, it wouldn't be practical to hand-hold shots with the D610 and this lens in low light, stopped down even to f/4 or so.

    Of course, you can do it. But pushing even the D610 above about ISO 1600 is going to introduce noise. I prefer ISO 1000.

    During my kitchen tests, I observed that my 50mm f/1.8D sharpens up at the same apertures that this one requires. Since the 50 fits conveniently in my pocket, and the 24-85 delivers excellent museum pictures at ISO 1000, I decided not to buy this lens, because I know I wouldn't use it much.

    So while I highly recommend the lens for those who apply it to the purposes for which it was designed...portraits, indoor action and mid-range adds nothing to what most FX shooters probably already have in their bag...or should have.

    reviewed April 21st, 2015
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Squizz (2 reviews)
    Jaw dropping colour and clarity, inexpensive.

    Sharpness is well covered by the technical review - in use this is not a lens you need to pixel peep to see if it's better. The pictures just hop off the page and tell you. How would I describe the effect in one word "clarity".

    "Clarity" is made up of sharpness, lack of CA, contrast, nice bokeh, all these at wide apertures allowing subject isolation without compromise.

    Just a cracking little lens.

    And it's cheap and light. Yes, if you run a truck over it, it will break - so what? Unless you are a pro or don't treat you gear well, it's made plenty well enough.

    For what it's worth, DXO rate this as the best 85mm for Nikon (D810), bar none - marginally better even than the (expensive and heavy) 1.4. They also say it's the 4th best lens of any focal length for Nikon. (In both cases limited, of course, to the large number of lenses they have tested). I've not used the ones they compared it, but my experience has nothing to contradict their view.

    Used on a D7100.

    reviewed February 1st, 2015 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by rrwilliams64 (9 reviews)
    Image quality, bokeh, tack sharp

    95% of the Nikon f/1.4G at less than half the cost. This is THE lens i reach for when doing portraits. It's sharp wide open, doesn't need stopping down. I also owned the 85 1.8D and I believe Nikon's new coatings ("SIC", Super Integrated Coating) renders colors even better than on the previous iteration.. My favorite lens...

    reviewed March 5th, 2014 (purchased for $396)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Tord (30 reviews)
    Sharpness, price, and low weight
    A bit too plastic, maybe

    I have just a few lenses for my D600, and this is just the best of them all, no doubt about it. I love the 28/1.8G, and the 50/1.4G, but the 85 get more use than the others together!

    Superbly sharp, from full open, and just the right weight for use on the D600.

    Amazing piece of optics, if one consider its price! The 85/1.4G is maybe slightly better at f1.8, but costs many times more.

    An aperture ring had been nice, but for its price it has no competition, period!

    reviewed April 3rd, 2013 (purchased for $600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by bobbibrown (4 reviews)
    IQ, weight,price

    For this price it is a non-brainer. Sharp, even wide open and in the extreme corners. Focus is not super-fast, but it is really fast enough. D800? No problems with this lens. I own the 85/1.4G as well, and this lens feels like a 85/1.4G light. Great lens!

    reviewed June 28th, 2012 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Prime Minister (47 reviews)
    Sharpness, contrast, bokeh, price, silent

    I've always been a huge fan of the older AF-D model, but it was only really usable from f/2.8. What a nice surprise this new AF-S version is! More then adequate sharpness and contrast n the center of the frame at f/1.8 and at smaller apertures it only gets better.

    Sharpness, contrast and bokeh are wonderful, almost no CA, the autofocus is reasonably fast and I found it to be very accurate too. Vignetting is kept well under control. I found no problems with under or over exposure.

    The build quality is very modern; big-size, lots of plastic, whimsy AF-S motors and no aperture ring. I wonder how long it will last. It does have an ass gasket to prevent dust and moisture getting into the camera and lens. The rear element does not move, nice detail.

    Personally, after trying this lens, I wouldn't bother with the f/1.4 offerings from Sigma or Nikon or the older AF-D versions. This lens is as good and often even better and costs less. Just buy one if you need a prime in this range. You won't regret it.

    Update: There is of course the relatively unknown Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro lens. And it is sharp!

    reviewed June 28th, 2012 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by chemprofguy (2 reviews)
    very sharp, lightweight, great bokeh, internal focusing
    lack of VR

    I am using this lens on a D7000. This is a very sharp lens - even wide open. Very easy to carry and use. I love the ability to isolate subjects with this focal length and background blur. Focuses well in low light. Overall, one of Nikon's best lenses in this price range. My lens hood is solidly made - and needed when you are shooting towards the sun.

    Shooting outside, images seem overexposed and I often need to adjust exposure compensation down a stop or two.

    reviewed June 15th, 2012 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Yucel (15 reviews)
    Size, Price, Sharpness, Speed
    Filter Size, Could focus faster...

    Love the lens... Great sharpness and contrast...

    See sample Hollywood style portrait here:

    1/2 the price of the 1.4G, 25% more than the 1.8D.

    Not the tank the 1.4D is, but half the price, sharper. Lighter. Focus is about same speed, but a touch more accurate, important at wide apertures. A keeper.

    Takes 67mm filters... odd ball size... so not same as the pro 77mm standard size.

    Still, hard not to love it.

    reviewed April 4th, 2012
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by NeoCon (4 reviews)
    sharpness at wider aperatures
    autofocus could be better

    I have recently found that I needed a fast tele lens. Was cropping too much using my 50mm. THis lens gave me a 70% magnification. What I did not expect was the image quality at wider aperatures. It is something to behold. Glad I decided to get this model, rather than the older D version.

    reviewed March 28th, 2012 (purchased for $499)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by hekob (6 reviews)
    sharpness and contrast wide open, manual focus ring feel
    flimsy lens hood

    I recently received this lens having pre-ordered in January. I am amazed at the sharpness and contrast wide open. Having shot the D version, this lens is a solid step up, besting the D from 1.8-2.8. Focus speed and construction are comparable to the 50mm 1.8 G lens. For portrait shots, I find F2.8 to be optimum because of the thin depth of field at f1.8. The lens has no trouble tracking sports action. In bright daylight I must set exposure compensation to -1.0 on my D5100. Color saturation is incredible considering the absence of ED glass. Nikon should be ashamed at the cheap construction of the lens hood however. It looks as if it would never survive a modest knock, and mine arrived from the factory with what appeared to be an oily discoloration on the inside of the hood surface. Ah, China!!! Given the available options, this is a lens that performs higher than it's price tag. It's a must have in this focal length.

    reviewed March 1st, 2012 (purchased for $500)

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