Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8

One of the best bang-for-the-buck lenses around! Superb performance for an incredibly low price

+ virtually perfect optically, almost no flaws in normal use
+ superb value, you would need to spend 10 times more money for an only very slightly better lens
+ excellent for portraits

- excellent for portraits, very good for indoor sports, but pretty much useless for anything else
- bokeh between f/2.8 and f/8 in certain distances can be fair to bad. Good wide open and in close distances
- for special use; not a "general purpose" lens
A "photographer's lens"; lovely for all kinds of assignments

Intended Users
Great for:
  • portraits
  • candid shots outdoors
  • indoor sports, concerts, theatrical performances, etc.

Not for:
  • general purpose - too short for birds, way too long for closed spaces, group shots, etc.
  • sports when you can't control how far/close you are to the action - way too short for football stadiums
  • landscapes

Final Verdict
Superb lens, pretty much flawless optically. The only little snag is the unpredictable bokeh - it's at its worse in middle range aperture values and medium to long distances. In other words, you won't probably notice anything wrong in portraiture, which is - after all - the intended use. Like every large aperture lens, it requires certain discipline in focus - many people mistake out-of-focus blur for lack of sharpness; this is not the case. This lens is pretty much useless for anything other than portraits (and some indoor occasions), but it's so, so utterly excellent for portraiture, that it'd be a crime not to at least try it. At a price like that, you can't go wrong!

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