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Nikon 85mm f/1.4G Prime

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G Prime

Review Overview

Image Quality
Focusing Speed
Intrinsic Qualities (Bokeh, Burts etc)

Ridiculously Awesome!

Pros: Image Quality, Build Quality, Specular Highlights, Bokeh Only one Con: Price

Admin | On 16, Oct 2012

Recently, I made the big switch from Canon to Nikon, and the first lens I had to get was an able replacement for the awesome Canon 85mm f/1.2L prime that I used to use for almost everything on my 5DmkII.

The Nikon 85mm f/1.4G was the one in which every online review I read, was the answer to Canon’s version. I’m not one to usually trust online reviews and really wanted to check it out before I bought it. But with portrait gigs coming up, and with my comfort zone being at the 85mm focal length, it really was a no brainer to get into this lens without renting it first.

A few things off the hop. The 77mm filter size means polarizers and ND Filters are not cheap for this beast. but no worries. When you’re dropping almost 2K on a lens, you had better not skimp out on the filter you put it front of it.

First thing I found on this lens was that the bokeh (the out of focus area of the frame) was SO ridiculously creamy, that I think it even outshone the Canon 85mm f/1.2L prime by a pretty wide margin. Specular highlights were rendered as perfectly smooth circles with no visible artifacts or distracting harshness. Even with busy backgrounds, the OOF (Out of Focus) area was rendered as a beautiful creamy blur.

When shooting at apertures that would normally render bursts, I immensely enjoyed the fact that the bursts were rendered as beautiful 18 point stars thanks to the 9 rounded diaphragm blades. It makes for spectacular nighttime cityscapes. Yes, I use this lens for landscapes as much as I do for portraits. It’s almost always on the D700 and will certainly take up residence on the D800E that will be on its way soon.

In darker environments this prime lens is not the fastest focuser ever, but it still destroys its Canon equivalent for AF Speed.

There’s not a lot bad to say about this lens. It’s pricy but worth it. If you’re primarily a portrait shooter, using Nikon DX or FX bodies, and you are in the market for the best portrait lens you can buy, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G should be at the top of your shopping list. Seriously. Save the money…buy the best, and do it once.





  • Ozkan Ozmen

    Hi, thank you for your review. I am a Canon shooter and have thoughts of moving to Nikon. What holds me back is the 85mm f1.2. Did you compare the images side by side with 85mm f1.4? I feel like 85mm has more pleasing shallow depth of field and 3d effect than Nikon 85. Any thoughts?

  • Ozkan Ozmen

    Moved to Nikon in the meantime :)

    I have just uploaded a video comparing Nikon
    85mm f1.4 g vs Canon 85mm f1.2 for those who
    are interested :

  • Sally

    Can someone tell me what “burts” is in the overview?