Nikon 85mm 1.8 Af D Review

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Nikon 85mm f/1.8

AF and AF-D NIKKOR (1987-2018)


Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8


Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Please help

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D

Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D (metal 62mm filter threads, 12.9 oz./366g, 2.8’/0.85m shut-focus, about $460 new or $350 used). enlarge. This free website’s biggest source of back up is when y’all utilize these links, specially this link direct to information technology at Adorama, at Amazon or used at this direct link to information technology at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get
anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.

April 2012    Nikon Reviews    Nikon Lens Reviews   Other Reviews


Nikon 85mm f/1.8 Chiliad:

the new plastic consumer version for more money.

Nikon 50mm and 58mm Bokeh Comparisons.

Why Fixed Lenses Take Better Pictures

Nikon High-Speed 50mm Lens Sharpness Comparison
09 Sep 2010

Sample Images from California’southward Fundamental Declension
June 2010

85mm Lens Specifications Compared
23 June 2009

85mm Lens Central Sharpness Comparison

23 June 2009

85mm Lens Corner Sharpness Comparing

23 June 2009

No instant manual override




Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Compatibility    History    Product

The Nikon 85mm f/i.8 AF and AF-D have superb optical and mechanical quality. They have been among Nikon’s most popular lenses for many decades, and rightfully so.

They have superb performance, especially for use on the 36 MP Nikon D800.

As a rear-focus lens, zilch moves externally as it focuses except the focus band. The all-metal filter ring stays put!

You always have to move the switch on your camera to switch betwixt auto and transmission focus. If y’all just want to take hold of the ring to focus at whatever time, go the newer, dinkier Nikon 85mm f/1.eight AF-S G.

I adopt this original lens to 2012’s new plastic made-in-China 1000 version. This original lens offers a better ix-bladed diaphragm, superior mechanical quality that will last a lifetime, isn’t gelded then it works on every camera, has a hard infinity-focus stop, metal filter threads, faster autofocus and smaller size than the new K 85/1.viii.


intro      pinnacle

This is an FX lens, and works especially well with on FX, 35mm and DX Nikons like the D4, D800, D800E, D7000, D700, D3X, D300s and F6. It works fantastically on transmission-focus cameras like the F2AS, F3, FE and FA, since it has real manual-focus and discontinuity rings that work exactly as they should.

The 85mm f/1.eight AF-D and AF works great with near every film and digital Nikon camera made since 1977. If you have a coupling prong added to the diaphragm ring, it’south perfect with every Nikon back to the original Nikon F of 1959.

The simply incompatibility is that information technology volition not autofocus with the cheapest D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, D5000 or D5100, just if you focus manually, everything else works great. These cameras have in-finder focus confirmation dots to help you.

See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the “AF, AF-D (screw)” column for this lens.


intro      top

In that location are two almost identical version of this lens: the original AF version from the dawn of Nikon’southward autofocus made from 1987-1994, and today’southward AF-D version, fabricated since 1994.

The merely minor difference is the addition of the “D” feature which couples focused altitude to the camera for exposure calculations, which only matters with flash. This review applies equally to either version.

The way to identify them is by the “D” on the newer lens (as “1:1.eight D” on the front and side, or past the picayune slide lock only above the aperture ring. The older AF lens is simply marked “1:i.8” and the little lock above the discontinuity ring is a improve and more complex bound-loaded and rotating pushbutton matter.


intro      top

Nikon has made over 300,000 of these lenses.

Nikon fabricated over 100,000 of the original (1987-1994) AF version, and has made more than then 225,000 of the current AF-D version — and so far.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D

Nikon 85mm f/1.viii AF-D.




Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations


Nikon calls this the Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.viii or f/1.8D RF.

Nikon’southward brand name for their lenses.

Couples altitude information to the Matrix Meter (from 1994).

Rear focusing; nothing moves externally as focused except the rear element.

62mm filter thread.


6 elements in 6 groups.


Rear focus; nothing moves except the rear element and focus ring as focused.


Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D

Forepart, Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D.

9 directly blades.

Stops down to f/16.


35mm motion picture, FX and DX.

Focal Length


When used on a DX camera, information technology gives angles of view similar to what a 129mm lens gives when used on an FX or 35mm camera.

Angle of View

28.5° diagonally on FX and RealRaw.

(18.8º on pocket-sized-format DX.)

Close Focus


2.viii feet (0.85 meters).

Maximum Reproduction Ratio


Difficult Infinity Focus Cease?


This is cracking for astronomy; just turn to the stop and you have stock-still laboratory-perfect focus all dark.

Focus Calibration


Depth-of-Field Scale

Yep, for f/11 and f/xvi.

Infra-Cerise Focus Alphabetize

Yes, white dot in depth-of-field calibration.

Aperture Ring


Full-stop clicks.

Filter Thread

62mm, solid metal.

Does not rotate or move, always.


Nikon specifies” (58.5mm) extension from flange by 2.81 ” (71.5mm) diameter.

Nikon specifies the before AF version as 71mm (2.80″) diameter.


The D version weighs 12.892 oz. (365.5g).

The earlier non-D AF version weighs 14.155 oz. (401.3g).

Nikon specifies thirteen.4 oz. (380g) for the current AF-D (1994-today) version.

Nikon specifies 14.half-dozen oz. (415g) for the earlier AF version (1987-1994).


Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D box

Nikon 85mm f/1.eight AF-D and included HN-23 metal hood.

HN-23 metal spiral-in, included.


specs       height

TC-200/201, which are manual-focus but.

TC-14A, which is also transmission-focus only, and Nikon further warns that in that location can be some vignetting.



Made in Japan.

Made in Thailand since 2010.

Nikon Product Number



December 1987.

AF-D version: March 1994.


intro      tiptop

Corrected for
inflation, 2012*

Dollars at the fourth dimension*












$310 (after rebate)




























* At full NYC discount. Very few people bought their lenses this inexpensively before 2005.

** Greyness/U.s..



Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Overall    Autofocus    Bokeh    Color   Coma    Distortion

Ergonomics   Eyeblow   Falloff    Filters   Focus Animate

Ghosts   Hood    Lateral Color Fringes    Mechanics

Sharpness   Spherochromatism  Sunstars   Survivability

       performance     meridian

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF and AF-D is among Nikon’s best lenses of all time, as are well-nigh 85mm to 105mm lenses.

       performance     top


Autofocus is fast and sure, yet you lot must move a mechanical switch on your camera to swap betwixt manual and autofocus.

AF Speed

Autofocus is fast, faster than the new 85mm f/1.8 G!

AF speed is super fast on every Nikon, even the old F100 and F5.

One full turn (two half-turns) of the AF screw pulls focus from infinity downwards to xvi anxiety on the original (1987-1994) AF version, and down to 12 feet on today’s AF-D version (1994-today).

AF Accurateness

AF is ever right on, especially on the 38 MP Nikon D800, and especially at f/1.8.

Manual Focus

Manual focus is perfect.

The metal internal-focus ring flicks with a fingertip.

       performance     tiptop

Bokeh, the character of out of focus backgrounds, not simply how far out of focus they are, is good plenty. If you lot want out-of-this world bokeh, become the Nikon 85mm f/1.iv AF-Southward M.

Spherochromatism will also affect bokeh depending on the colour of your background.

Here are crops from the middle of 100% FX 12MP (D3 or D700) images, focused on a reference phase lattice at three meters (ten anxiety) with constructed reference vegetation at 15 meters (fifty feet). Printed full-image at this size, these would be about 42 x 28″ (105 x 70cm) prints, at least equally seen on well-nigh 100 DPI computer monitors:

Colour Rendition
       performance     meridian

The color rendition is the same every bit my other Nikkor AF lenses.

       performance     top

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 has no blackout, whoo hoo!

Coma (saggital coma flare) often causes weird smeared blobs to announced around bright points of light in the corners of fast or wide lenses at large apertures. In lenses that have information technology, coma goes away as stopped down.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 Coma

Full-frame image, 8 seconds at f/one.8, ISO 200, Nikon D3.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 Coma

Crop at 100% magnification from lower left.

       performance     top

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D has no visible or measurable distortion at any distance. Whatever it may be, it’s less than what would take a gene of ±0.1 in Photoshop’s lens distortion filter to correct. Bravo!

FX and Pic




30′ (10m)



ten’ (3m)



three’ (1m)



© 2012 All rights reserved.


(treatment and ease-of-use)       performance     meridian

Ergonomics are straightforward: if you lot don’t mind moving the AF-MF switch on the camera to bandy modes and keep your fingers abroad from the focus ring while it’s autofocusing, everything else is

The 85/1.8D feels perfect. It’south a precise, tough and well-built instrument.

       functioning     top

The rear element of the 85mm f/i.eight AF-D moves a little as focused, simply non plenty to notice whatever air accident out of the eyepiece.


(darkened corners)       performance     top

Falloff on FX is visible at f/1.8 and f/two, and gone by f/ii.8.

It won’t exist an consequence at all on DX (run into crop factor).

I’ve exaggerated this past shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D falloff on FX and film at infinity, no correction.

© 2012 All rights reserved.

Filters, utilise with
       functioning     top

There is no problem with vignetting, fifty-fifty with combinations of thick filters.

The metallic filter ring never moves.

Focus Breathing
       performance     acme

Of involvement mostly to cinematographers focusing back and forth between two subjects, the image size from the highly avant-garde rear-focusing Nikon 85mm f/one.8 AF-D doesn’t vary much as focused.

If you’re pulling focus through the entire range, image size is minimum at well-nigh x feet (3 meters), and grows slightly at infinity and at closer distances.

       performance     top

Every bit shown at Coma, in that location are no significant ghosts.

       performance     top

The screw-in metal hood is included.

It’s so much nicer than the plastic turd included with the Chinese 85/1.8G.

Lateral Color Fringes
       performance     top

At that place are no lateral color fringes on the D3 or D7000, which corrects them automatically.

At that place is some spherochromatism, which is a unlike abnormality.

Mechanics and Structure
       functioning     peak

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G

Rear, Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D.

The Nikon 85mm f/i.8 AF-D is a tough, all-metal lens encased in a plastic comprehend.

It’s a lot tougher than the new plastic 85/1.8G.

Filter Threads

Solid metal.


Solid metallic.

Hood Mountain

Solid metallic.

Butt Outside


Focus Band

Solid metal; rubber covered.

Depth-of-Field Calibration




Aperture Ring

Plastic, pained numbers.


Slow-chromed brass.



Mounting Alphabetize

Engraved line filed with white paint.


Nikon 85/1.8 engraved identity ring

Engraved metal identity band.

Front ring: engraved metal, filled with white paint.

Barrel: paint.


Laser engraved onto bottom rear of aperture ring.

US Model Signified by

“US” prefix to serial number.

Pelting seal at mount


Noises When Shaken

Mild clicking from the diaphragm blades and actuation arrangement.

Fabricated in

Thailand since 2010.

Made in Japan 1987-2010.

       performance     meridian

Warning one:
Epitome sharpness depends more than on yous than your lens.

Alarm 2:
Lens sharpness doesn’t mean much to good photographers.

With those caveats, the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D is super sharp at every aperture even on the 24 MP Nikon D3X and 36 MP D800, fifty-fifty the get-go 1987 version, even out to the corners at f/ane.8!

Of course diffraction limits functioning at smaller apertures depending on the resolution of your photographic camera. The 85/1.8 is so sharp that f/4 is its sharpest aperture; on the D3X and D800, diffraction makes the paradigm, under ideal exam atmospheric condition, slightly softer starting at f/5.6!

It’due south super-sharp on a D3X and D800 even wide-open at f/1.eight edge-to-edge, and gets fifty-fifty slightly sharper stopped downwards to f/2.8 or f/four.

To get this level of sharpness, you really have to take your technique well dialed-in. If y’all’re out of focus, or your subject isn’t flat and well-aligned to your image sensor or picture plane, sloppy technique limits sharpness more than anything to do with this lens.

Diffraction means that the 85/1.8 is much softer at f/eight and smaller if yous’re really looking closely, as it is with all lenses. Nearly lenses aren’t every bit good as this 85mm, so diffraction’s deposition at smaller apertures isn’t as obvious with them.

       operation     superlative

Similar many fast, long lenses, the Nikon 85mm f/one.eight shows some spherochromatism.

This aberration, called “color bokeh” past laymen, renders mild green colour fringes around background highlights, and magenta color fringes around foreground highlights.

If you’re not in perfect focus, it will put these color fringes on brilliant highlights. Information technology’s not the lens’ fault; information technology’s yours for non existence in perfect focus.

       functioning     meridian

With its straight ix-bladed diaphragm, the Nikon 85/1/8 AF makes
18-pointed sunstars with vivid points of light.

Sunstar, Central Coast, 19 June 2010

Sunstar and Rockwell, Ragged Point Resort, xix June 2010

       functioning     top

Unlike the new 85mm f/1.viii M which is mostly plastic and depends on a proprietary ultrasonic motor for its heart, this archetype screw-focus AF lens has nothing to break within of it that a good contained repairman tin’t fix for you 50 years from at present.

The plastic on the exterior of this AF and AF-D lens is merely a cover to keep it from freezing to your skin in arctic cold; the internals are metal.




Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AF

Nikon 85/1.8 K, Nikon 85/2 AI-s, Nikon 85/1.4 AI-due south, Nikon 85/1.8D, Nikon 85/1.4D and Vivitar 85/1.4.
(enlarge; actual size at 106 DPI).

Nikon 85mm lenses compared

Nikon 85/1.8D, 85/1.8G, 85/i.4G and 85/1.4D.

Nikon has made a lot of 85mm lenses in its mean solar day. In rangefinder days, information technology called them 8.v cm lenses. Even my 8.5cm f/two lens for my Nikon SP is super sharp; all Nikon’southward 85mm lenses are superb.

This 85/1.viii AF is optically superb, compact, well-made and handles well. There’s no reason to look whatever further, unless you lot’d rather have a dinkier plastic lens in exchange for instant manual-focus override or need autofocus on Nikon’s cheapest DSLRs (then get the 85mm f/1.8 Thou), or want the ultimate in Heavenly bokeh, for which you deserve the unmatched 85mm f/one.4 AF-Southward Yard. For the smallest size, I’ve ever loved my 85mm f/ii AI-south.

Come across also:

85mm Lens Specifications Compared
23 June 2009

85mm Lens Central Sharpness Comparison

23 June 2009

85mm Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison

23 June 2009


Nikon 85mm f/ane.8 Chiliad

January 2012.




Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

I love this lens so much I own at least 2 of them! I especially dear the fast focus and 18-pointed sunstars I get from its 9-bladed diaphragm.

I have no beloved for the dinky new 85mm f/1.viii G. Why would I desire to pay more for a plastic lens with a downgraded 7-bladed diaphragm?

This is a lens to get if y’all don’t take an eighty-200/2.8 zoom. The zooms tends to be well-nigh as precipitous and most as fast, so don’t ever acquit both at the same time.

I strongly recommend this lens if you want a superb fast prime portrait lens or general-purpose fast, short tele at a reasonable price. It’s the one fixed tele I’d grab along with a wide lens for mean solar day-to-mean solar day shooting.

If you own the 28-300mm VR, forget any fixed lenses in this range; you’ll probably not always pull out a stock-still 85 if y’all have the zoom.

If you lot accept a zoom and want a lens to blow-out backgrounds into shine, soft colors at a reasonable price, shoot it at 200~300mm, and you’ll get the same effect or improve than an 85mm lens at f/one.8. If you want a stock-still tele for blurring backgrounds at a reasonable price, go a manual-focus 135mm f/2 or 180mm f/2.8 instead. Longer focal length has much more to do with blurring backgrounds than maximum aperture.

If you want an 85mm with incredible ability to blur backgrounds and keep the bailiwick ultrasharp, the extraordinary 85/1.4G is fifty-fifty better than this 85mm AF-D.

So, especially bought used, this 85mm f/1.8 is among Nikon’south best lenses ever, at a very reasonable price.

If yous observe all the time I put into sharing all this inquiry for complimentary, this free website’s biggest source of support is when y’all use these links, especially this link directly to it at Adorama, at Amazon or used at this directly link to it at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when y’all get
anything, regardless of the land in which you live. Thanks! Ken.


the included HN-23 metal hood screws into the lens’ 62mm threads. The front of the hood has no threads, all the same any of the Nikon snap-on 77mm plastic lens caps pop right on the forepart of the hood. If yous don’t change filters, you could leave the hood on all the fourth dimension and use a 77mm cap!

The focus ring moves even during autofocus, and so keep your fingers off it.

I’d keep a Nikon 62mm NC filter on information technology for protection on digital cameras, or when shooting color print film, or B&W film indoors.

I’d utilise a 62mm Hoya Super HMC 81A filter with Fuji Velvia 50 or other color slide flick.

I’d use a Hoya 62mm yellowish filter outdoors with B&W picture show.

More Information:
Written review in Popular Photography, February 1999, page 76.

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