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  • Entry #4
    © Glenn Hewitt

    Chairman's Challenge "SPORTS" Winner

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85mm f/1.4 AIS Nikkor

Suitable For:

Low light photography, portraiture, stage work.

Camera Formats:

FX and DX


Focal length: 85mm
Maximum aperture: 1.4
Minimum aperture: 16
Angle of View: 28° 30'
Focus Throw: °
Maximum reproduction ratio: 1:7.9
Lens Elements: 7
Lens Groups: 5
Diaphragm Blades: 9
ED Glass Elements: 0
Autofocus: n/a
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.85m
Filter Size: 72mmØ
Filter Type: front screw in
Dimensions: 80.5mmØ by 64.5mm
Weight: 620g
Accessories: HN-20 lens hood

Bjørn's Rørslett's Overview:

A truly professional lens with an impressive front element and a rock-solid mechanical construction to match, this is a perfect choice for photogs loving MF lenses and available-light photography. It delivers outstandingly sharp images stopped down a few stops, to f/2.8-f/4, and keeps the excellent image quality all the way down to f/16. Some people criticise the out-of-focus rendition of the MF lens, and I for one think they have a small point here, witnessed by a possible encroaching harshness of the non-focused highlights. With its big front element, flare is a potential problem and the huge hood HN-20 should always be mounted. Ghosting does occur but rarely is critical for image quality. The 85 MF, although having a 72 mm filter size, works perfectly with the 6T close-up lens mounted in a 62-72 mm step-down ring.

On the D2X, the softness of the image at f/1.4 was much more evident and you need to stop down to f/2.8 to get details crisp and sharply rendered. On the other hand, the ability to keep the image coherent at f/11 - f/16 is also quite evident on this camera. Tentatively, I rate this lens a little under the "top" rating because of its wide-open behaviour. If that's not an important issue, put the 85/1.4 on your D2X and enjoy its image quality.

On the bigger FX format cameras (D3, D3X), the 85 really shines and shots appeared crisp and sharp, but with a lower contrast at f/1.4.

IR performance: So far I haven't seen any hot-spot and this is a little unexpected given the large rear element.

Bjørn's Rating:

5 (F5)
4.5-5 (D2X)
5 (FX: D3, D3X)
IR: 5 (D1, D200 modified)

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