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Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Oct 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Affordable. Well Built. Includes hood. Fast, accurate AF.
Not very sharp wide open. Screw on hood.

When I was shooting a Canon APS-C, I loved my 85 F1.8 so when I switched to the D700, I wanted to pick up Nikon's version for portraits. Unfortunately, while the Canon version of this lens is a cheap must have, the Nikon version is a bit lack luster.

•I am less than impressed with performance of this lens wide open. As a pixel peeper, it gets a passing grade but only just. The good thing, is that what I think is soft is still sharp enough for printing and web-sized photos. It's not terrible or even bad. It's just okay. However, once you stop down one stop it gets dead sharp.

• Color and contrast both are excellent and don't need any extra work in post.

• Vignetting on the FX sensor is there wide open, but it's not very pronounced and easily fixable if you notice it at all.

• Purple fringing and ghosting are also there when shooting wide open, but it's very manageable and hardly noticeable.

• AF Speed is fast and accurate, but you have watch out for the focus ring since there is no clutch in this lens. Also, no full-time manual focus. It's not silent, but it's not too loud either. Has a solid mechanical movement sound.

• The metal hood is a great addition, but it's a screw on type, which is a bit bothersome.

• Build quality is great for the price. Everything feels nice and tight and the plastics feel solid and high quality.

Overall, this is a good lens if you need the focal length, but don't have the money or don't see the need for the f1.4 lens. I'm not sure I will love this lens as much as Canon's but it will certainly work for what I need it for. If you're looking for the absolute best 85mm for Nikon, save up for the F1.4, but if you can sacrifice a bit of softness wide open then this is your guy.