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Archive 2016 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift
  
 
ilnonno
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


Dear gang,

I am itching to purchase again a 85 1.4D, and would like tap the collective knowledge about it
Specifically, I'm interested to hear from those who currently shoot it, or that have experience with it:
* how does it perform on high resolution bodies, not only in performance, but more importantly, with regards to focus precision both near and far distances on newer bodies (D750, D810).

I owned a copy few years ago, on D700, and liked it very, very much, although focusing accuracy wasn't optimal.

I also owned the 85G 1.4, used on D3s/D4/D800 , and never liked that. Excellent by 4, but not worth it's high price for me, not merely for the lackluster 1.4/1.8 performance, but for the truly erratic focusing that eventually ruined one shot too many and got sold.

Having found a nicely priced copy of the 1.4D, I am tempted to bit the bullet while I wait for the Sigma Art (and maybe to keep it anyway, as it's an exquisite object and a very alluring lens), so would welcome any input on it.
If it can be got to focus on a D750/D810, I'll go. I don't care too much about corner sharpness where I know the G is better. as much as I care about focusing and center resolution already wide open and bokeh.

Thanks all!
Bests,
Lory



Oct 17, 2016 at 10:08 PM
jrscls
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


No experience with the 85 f/1.4 D, but the 85 f/1.8 G performs nicely on my D750. Might be worth considering unless you need f/1.4.


Oct 17, 2016 at 10:41 PM
BSPhotog
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


My 85mm f/1.4D has performed well on 2 different D800s, a D600, as well as D7100s (which actually have a higher pixel density than the D800). AF is not lightning, but it is acceptable. Accuracy is pretty good, sharpness and contrast good. j


Oct 18, 2016 at 01:39 AM
nuclearjock
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


BSPhotog wrote:
My 85mm f/1.4D has performed well on 2 different D800s, a D600, as well as D7100s (which actually have a higher pixel density than the D800). AF is not lightning, but it is acceptable. Accuracy is pretty good, sharpness and contrast good. j


Focusing on the 85mm f/1.8G as well as f/1.4G aren't that fast either.

My f/1.4D ain't going nowhere!!

Use it on a D810, as well as a D5 and D7200.



Oct 18, 2016 at 01:42 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


jrscls wrote:
No experience with the 85 f/1.4 D, but the 85 f/1.8 G performs nicely on my D750. Might be worth considering unless you need f/1.4.


Thanks.
Tried that on a D3s some time ago, and sometimes think about purchasing it given the glowing reviews.

But am after a lens with more of a "look", as I shoot very rarely over 35mm, and when I do, it's mostly people.

Lory



Oct 18, 2016 at 06:46 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


BSPhotog wrote:
My 85mm f/1.4D has performed well on 2 different D800s, a D600, as well as D7100s (which actually have a higher pixel density than the D800). AF is not lightning, but it is acceptable. Accuracy is pretty good, sharpness and contrast good. j


Hello, thanks for the experience.
I am not after "fast" autofocus (the 1.4G is pretty slow too, so...), rather, accuracy.
Happy to hear it works ok on your bodies, it is reassuring.

If I may ask, how often would you say it misses critical focus (i.e. focusing on a ear instead of the eyes) when shooting near distance, and how often does it miss when shooting wide open at a "distance" (4-10 meters)?

Thanks,
Lory




Oct 18, 2016 at 06:58 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


nuclearjock wrote:
Focusing on the 85mm f/1.8G as well as f/1.4G aren't that fast either.

My f/1.4D ain't going nowhere!!

Use it on a D810, as well as a D5 and D7200.



That the 1.4G & 1.8G focus slow is oh-so-true

I am looking at the 1.4D as I really liked the images it created, despite its blueish cast.
And, as stated, am after a lens with a distinct character; plus, care very little about corners, as I rarely shoot panoramas. Clinical 85mm, for when sharpness is paramount for really low light work, will probably be the 85ART as soon as its out.


Honest question: how would you grade its focusing precision?
I sold a D610 &D800 as I never could make them focus precisely enough fast primes.
Situation has improved (a bit) with the D750 and D810, but a relatively corrected 85 1.4 lens can be a harsh mistress for the autofocus.

Curious to know if you can nail focus at short distance (1.5-2m) and longer distance (4-10 meters) wide open or so, that's my main interest.

Many thanks!
Lory



Oct 18, 2016 at 07:07 AM
Paul_K
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


1.4/85mm AF D (no AF fine tuning applied)

Nearly wide open:
Half total at f1.6
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/145046620
close up at f1.6
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/145046623

Closed down a few stops
Half total at f4.5
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/163023739
close up at f5.6
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/163023746

In short, ultra shallow DoF wide open makes an interesting picture,
and when closed down a few stops, the lens becomes razor sharp

That said, I use mine very rarely nowadays
But that is more due to a luxury problem then to questions/doubts about AF, IQ, or (possible) focus shift

I have, since I got it 5 years ago, also bought a 1.4/58mm AF (which I prefer for half totals, and at times even close ups) and a 2/135mm DC (obviously great for close ups http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/160930825 , but IMO also a very viable, since, due to the smaller size and weight, much less 'present' and consequently more discrete, alternative to the 2/200VR, with, when used wide open, a nearly as beautiful background rendition http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/160167132 http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/164139049 )

The 85mm still is a great lens to keep around though, focal length fits nicely between 58 and 135mm, great focal length for e.g. studio use, obviously excellent choice for e.g.low light PJ shooting (I also have a 1.8/85mm AF D lying around, a very capable workhorse lens, but lacks the X factor of the 1.4 version)

Only time I had an issue with the 1.4/85mm was when I first used it in earnest on my D3, seemed it suffered from back focus.
Turned out the lens was not to blame, the camera needed AF recalibration after I had dropped it from around ( or even over) 3 feet high (with a 200-400VR) on a concrete floor



Oct 18, 2016 at 08:24 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift



Hi Paul,
thanks for sharing your experience.

Nice pictures with great mood!


I tried the 58, didn't like sharpness at 1.4-2, although rendering is quite nice. Very polarizing lens.
Same goes for the 135DC: liked the look, disliked it till 2.8+.
Looks like we have quite different tastes in lenses

I love a sharper look, thus I had the 105DC, which is quite sharp already at 2, and still keep the 135 Zeiss and the 200/2. For the same reason swapped the 35 1.4G for the Sigma Art, and am thinking of acquiring the 24 Art, as while the 24 1.4 Nikkor has a beautiful rendering, it is a mess to use in low light, due to being hard to focus and being very weak wide open, which leads to lower quality high-iso images than would be possible with sharp lenses like the 35Art.


Anyway, the 85 1.4D for me is a way to buy a nice, "special" lens, to keep for probably a long time. It is just beautiful in the hand (and I still bang myself on the head for letting slip the beautiful 28 1.4D I found once on sale at a good price...), and a special lens in the line up.

My only quibble would be an unreliable autofocus.
Here, too, we may have different tastes/needs: the 58 1.4G I tried didn't really focus accurately, no surprise given how uncorrected it is wide open. My 105DC too suffered a lot in this field. The 135DC I tried was also luckluster as to focus precision...
I just hate it when a shot is ruined because the af missed. My mistake is ok, my equipment's (repetitive) failures... not so much.


Bests!
Lory


Paul_K wrote:
1.4/85mm AF D (no AF fine tuning applied)

Nearly wide open:
Half total at f1.6
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/145046620
close up at f1.6
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/145046623

Closed down a few stops
Half total at f4.5
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/163023739
close up at f5.6
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/163023746

In short, ultra shallow DoF wide open makes an interesting picture,
and when closed down a few stops, the lens becomes razor sharp

That said, I use mine very rarely nowadays
But that is more due to a luxury problem then to questions/doubts about AF, IQ, or (possible) focus shift

I have, since I got it 5 years ago, also bought a 1.4/58mm AF (which I prefer for half totals, and at times even close ups) and a 2/135mm
...Show more




Oct 18, 2016 at 09:49 AM
nuclearjock
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


ilnonno wrote:
That the 1.4G & 1.8G focus slow is oh-so-true

I am looking at the 1.4D as I really liked the images it created, despite its blueish cast.
And, as stated, am after a lens with a distinct character; plus, care very little about corners, as I rarely shoot panoramas. Clinical 85mm, for when sharpness is paramount for really low light work, will probably be the 85ART as soon as its out.

Honest question: how would you grade its focusing precision?
I sold a D610 &D800 as I never could make them focus precisely enough fast primes.
Situation has improved (a bit) with the D750
...Show more
Yea my 85D nails focus wide open. AF fine tune is very important though. And @f/1.4, you may need different AFT values for different distances.




Oct 18, 2016 at 02:04 PM
 

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Mark_L
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


ilnonno wrote:
Hi Paul,
thanks for sharing your experience.

Nice pictures with great mood!

I tried the 58, didn't like sharpness at 1.4-2, although rendering is quite nice. Very polarizing lens.
Same goes for the 135DC: liked the look, disliked it till 2.8+.
Looks like we have quite different tastes in lenses


If this is the case I think this lens is everything you don't want! It is very soft away from the very centre and poorly corrected. Af is actually pretty fast compared to nikon G primes but it will not track anything that moves reliably at all. Accuracy is not real issue.

I owned this lens for years and I cannot understand the mythical reputation is seems to have got, I think it is based on the years when it was the only game in town and the 1.8 sucked and the current fashion for anything older. I very much doubt anyone could tell the difference between it and any other 85mm in a blind test unless they looked at corner sharpness or flare.

The hood is screw hood and a pain, it flares at the drop of a hat (major issue for backlit portraits), contrast is very poor which is why people seem to think it's bokeh is amazing over modern lenses.



Oct 18, 2016 at 05:12 PM
OldDogKen
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


Hi Lory,

I purchased my 85mm 1.4D from KEH and have used it on a D700, Df and D800E. I am pretty fussy about wide open sharpness and after testing it with each camera found that with my lens I did not have to use AF adjusting at all. Mine just doesn't focus shift. It does, as you said, have a cooler look to it but that is easily manipulated in PP. I used it extensively last week on the Df and while the focus doesn't blaze, it is adequate to keep up with some movement. Everyone has a different need and requirement for their tools and with some this lens just does not resonate. For me, it is a great lens that works for me wide open. I also use the 50mm f/1.2 AIS wide open as well and really enjoy the output from it. Basically, I know the features and limitations of my tools and use them accordingly. I have these fast lenses specifically for the wide open features and the images they provide. I would pull the trigger if it were me.

Good luck.

Ken



Oct 18, 2016 at 06:08 PM
ilnonno
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


nuclearjock wrote:
Yea my 85D nails focus wide open. AF fine tune is very important though. And @f/1.4, you may need different AFT values for different distances.



That is one thing I feared (and the reason why I so love the Sigma USB dock...).
Although, the 1.4D seems not to be alone in this in the Nikkor stable...

Thanks a lot for sharing.

Bests,
Lory







Oct 19, 2016 at 06:03 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


Mark_L wrote:
If this is the case I think this lens is everything you don't want! It is very soft away from the very centre and poorly corrected. Af is actually pretty fast compared to nikon G primes but it will not track anything that moves reliably at all. Accuracy is not real issue.

I owned this lens for years and I cannot understand the mythical reputation is seems to have got, I think it is based on the years when it was the only game in town and the 1.8 sucked and the current fashion for anything older. I very much doubt
...Show more

Hi Paul,

yes, i remember the old 1.8D. Not too difficult to put up a good show against that (I remember at the time I preferred to shoot the 70-210 4-5.6 rather than the 85 1.8D; the zoom is a lens with many redeeming features for people shooting despite its incredibly low price).
I also remember that the 85 1.4D looked sharper on the D700 wide open at at near distance than the 1.4G I later shot on the D3s/D4. Some pictures I have from that time corroborate this.

In any case: the 85 1.4 idea comes from being on the fence about buying the 105 1.4, mainly because I feel much more comfortable with 85mm as a focal length. When I had (and loved the output of) a 105/DC, I found I rarely used it because I could never get to grips with the perspective.
The 85 1.4G is out of the question, as I had it, and for the price, I'd rather have a lens that is at least partially useable at 1.4-1.8, and that doesn't drive me nuts with focusing.
So I was left with the 1.4D, which is beautiful to hold and look at, and my samples show nice picturing capabilities.
Was only left with the true elephant in the room: ability to focus; and this seems to be very problematic still...

Thanks a lot for your input.
After the initial enthusiasm, I am slowly losing momentum; the seller being vague about a potential scratch on the front element is curbing any remaining attraction...

I guess the easiest thing would be to just look for one to try on my bodies and then decide.
It's just not that easy at all where I currently live... so resorted to the very kind help of the forum.

Thanks again, and bests,
Lory



Oct 19, 2016 at 06:18 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


OldDogKen wrote:
Hi Lory,

I purchased my 85mm 1.4D from KEH and have used it on a D700, Df and D800E. I am pretty fussy about wide open sharpness and after testing it with each camera found that with my lens I did not have to use AF adjusting at all. Mine just doesn't focus shift. It does, as you said, have a cooler look to it but that is easily manipulated in PP. I used it extensively last week on the Df and while the focus doesn't blaze, it is adequate to keep up with some movement. Everyone has a different need
...Show more

Thanks for your input Ken.
Like you, I wouldn't need it to track, or just very very little. Mainly, it should focus reliably, something I have got more and more frustrated with the passing of years and the advancement in bodies' resolution

As I answered to another post in this thread, I think the only sane idea is to look for one to try myself, although that's not easy where I live. Opinions on focusing seem to vary quite a bit, on a variety of bodies (D600 to D5...), perhaps it's just a bit of "luck" with finding the proper pair?

Thanks again, and bests,
Lory



Oct 19, 2016 at 06:22 AM
silvermesa1
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


Hello,

I am a amateur compared to most here but use the 85mm 1.4D with a Nikon D300. With that combination my in focus shots went way up when I put the camera on single point focus. I mainly use it to photograph family.

I have not fine tuned the lens. In general I'm really pleased with it.



Oct 19, 2016 at 11:50 AM
OldDogKen
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


ilnonno wrote:
As I answered to another post in this thread, I think the only sane idea is to look for one to try myself, although that's not easy where I live. Opinions on focusing seem to vary quite a bit, on a variety of bodies (D600 to D5...), perhaps it's just a bit of "luck" with finding the proper pair?

Thanks again, and bests,
Lory


Hi Lory,

Is there a way you can try out the lens/camera combo in person or perhaps arrange for a conditional purchase contingent upon the focus capability?

Ken



Oct 19, 2016 at 05:46 PM
BSPhotog
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


ilnonno wrote:
Hello, thanks for the experience.
I am not after "fast" autofocus (the 1.4G is pretty slow too, so...), rather, accuracy.
Happy to hear it works ok on your bodies, it is reassuring.

If I may ask, how often would you say it misses critical focus (i.e. focusing on a ear instead of the eyes) when shooting near distance, and how often does it miss when shooting wide open at a "distance" (4-10 meters)?

Thanks,
Lory



Hmm, interesting question that I'm not sure I can answer adequately. I do the majority of my wide open shooting at portrait distance and it is pretty reliable there in good light. I do my AF fine tuning on this lens from about 10' or so. Lots of variables including the AF system of the body you are using, light available, and relative size of the target.



Oct 19, 2016 at 08:33 PM
ilnonno
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


Hello Ken,

therein lies the rub: I can not get one to try in my relative vicinity, so, for now, should have bought and got it sent to me.
Although, "luckily" the seller won't answer my questions (not a single one ), so I'm not really into it anymore.
At the right money (550 or so it was) I was ready to purchase it, but at the prices usually asked for the rare ones that pop up here (some even north than 800... :naughty, there's no way I am buying.

Bests,
Lory

OldDogKen wrote:
Hi Lory,

Is there a way you can try out the lens/camera combo in person or perhaps arrange for a conditional purchase contingent upon the focus capability?

Ken





Oct 20, 2016 at 06:14 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 85 1.4D Focus accuracy and shift


silvermesa1 wrote:
Hello,

I am a amateur compared to most here but use the 85mm 1.4D with a Nikon D300. With that combination my in focus shots went way up when I put the camera on single point focus. I mainly use it to photograph family.

I have not fine tuned the lens. In general I'm really pleased with it.


Thanks for sharing.
Seems to be rather a "lottery" whether one gets a camera+lens combo to work or not...

Bests,
Lory



Oct 20, 2016 at 06:15 AM
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