Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 no longer supported?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by inTempus, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    A photographer on a website I frequent has posted that he sent his Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 in for service and was told no parts are available to fix it!

    Could that really be?

    ModelMayhem.com - goodbye nikon 85 mm f 1.8

    If what he's claiming is true, that's a huge blunder by Nikon - just dropping a popular lens and cutting off all support so soon after, especially when it's still listed as a current item on their website.

    I just can't believe this is the case. Given there is a shortage of lenses on the market perhaps there's also a shortage of lens parts and that's all this is.

    Has anyone else heard this?
     
  2. kitedemon

    kitedemon TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm that would be very sad. I have one too since the mid 90's it is kinda like an old friend to me. Anyway I haven't heard but the lens is still listed on the nikon web site and still has pricing there. Maybe I'll pick up a new one.... in case.
     
  3. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    Since that's my favorite lens, you hit a nerve with me. I called Nikon support and the rep said that he has heard nothing like that but he added that he's unable to absolutely confirm that the story is incorrect.

    Since the lens is still listed on Nikon's web site as available for sale, I kinda doubt that there's reason for concern. It may be nothing more than a temporary "we're out of part #XYZ right now."
     
  4. JamesMason

    JamesMason TPF Noob!

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    Its not in nikons intrest to support older lenses, why repair old lenses when they can sell you a shiny new model. Shame tho, its a great lens
     
  5. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Reading the thread I linked to and some of the more recent posts, I'm going to side with the notion this guy might be out in left field.

    If you talked to Nikon and they told you they had parts and were still servicing the lenses, I see no reason to lend any credibility to this guys report. I assume Nikon told you the lens was still supported, correct?
     
  6. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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  7. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It would follow Nikon's new lens trend if they released a 85mm f1.8 AF-S, thus discontinuing the AF version. Or it could be that someone didn't know what they were talking about.
     
  8. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    As with so many things on the internet, several things just do not add up with this alleged story. Let's try and apply what few facts we know about the lens in question,and the original poster, a Model Mayhem member named Norm Coe, who photographs a lot of models along the Florida coastline.

    Here is what Norm Cole finally admitted about 3/4 of the way through the post: "the lens was at least 12 years old.* it shorted out.* i think i got around salt water with it once too often.* i've learned from this thread that nikon is still making the glass, so i'll replace it with something newer.* glad to learn this. i first sent it to Mike's in Boulder CO, which always has done good service work for me.* they sent it on to nikon.* i told them to not send it back, to junk it. maybe i should have asked them to return it." ModelMayhem.com - goodbye nikon 85 mm f 1.8

    Note that he wrote, "I told them not to send it back, to junk it. Maybe I should have asked them to return it." Also, he says the lens was was shorting out; the diaphragm actuation system in AF-D lenses is entirely mechanical. It's quite possible,likely even, that the lens would still focus by hand and possibly even autofocus, and that it would stop down and still shoot pictures, but with the electronics all corroded from saltwater, the lens probably would not light meter. There is no AF motor inside an AF or AF-D Nikkor--the focusing motor is inside the camera body.


    The AF 85mm F/1.8 began its life in March of 1988, over 20 years ago, and ran through April of 1994. The OP from Model Mayhem said the lens was "at least 12 years old", which makes me think he bought it used; otherwise, he'd know how old the lens was. Working backwards, if he bought the lens 13 years ago,that would be 1996. I used to own one. It had a rather small AF ring, which was narrow and very far forward on the barrel. My guess is, if Norm Cole purchased the lens used, say 13 years ago in 1996, the chances are extraordinarily high that he bought a first-version 85mm/1.8 model that was made sometime beteween 1988 and April of 1994, when the first 106,125 1st-variation units were made. Based on production numbers, it's around TEN times more likely he bought a first-run lens than one of the then-brand-new 85mm AF-D models that had been made for around 12-18 months, out of an eventual 11-year run.

    In March of 1994 Nikon began the second variation, an 85mm f/1.8 AF-D model that they produced 102,403 units of. The second variation had a much wider, rubberized "modern style" focusing ring,and was made for about 11 years, until 2005. In 2006 Nikon introduced another serial number block of the 85mm 1.8 AF-D, which the total number of currently stands at 42,588 units made. All these dates and numbers are from Roland Vink's excellent web site at Nikon Lens Serial Nos

    So...according to the lens' owner, after one too many saltwater exposures, a 12+ to potentially 21 year old 85mm lens finally gave up the ghost! A guy who shoots lots of nudes and bikini models based out of Naples, Florida has finally had a lens ruined by "one too many saltwater exposures". Imagine that! And note what Mr. Coe also wrote: "i've learned from this thread that nikon is still making the glass, so i'll replace it with something newer. glad to learn this."
     
  10. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Whoa... that things going to be expensive! LOL. I don't understand the 85 f3.5 DX VR though.... maybe a macro lens? Seems like a strange aperture/focal length combo.

    And Derrel... do you do some kind of research to make a living? I half expect to see footnotes on your posts, and I don't mean that as an insult. I had no idea their were two generations of 85 1.8's, and it's obvious the OP didn't either.
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Antithesis,
    Yes, the 85mm f/3.5 DX is widely expected to be a Micro~Nikkor design, and the slower maximum aperture is probably a combination of cost-cutting and trying to keep the weight low. There's always a balance between maximum aperture, lens size, optical quality, and price to performance ratio. Since most macro shooters work at f/8 to f/16, Nikon probably figured there was little need to equip the lens with an f/2.8 max. aperture, especially if it would keep costs down; many DX convenience shooters simply can not afford $789 macro lenses, and are instead looking for a lens priced at $399 or so.

    And the 85mm f/1.4 AF-S will probably cost a pretty penny more than the current 85mm 1.4 AF-D does--but take heart, the soon-to-be-old 85 1.4's are gonna' lose value as the market is flooded with them as people migrate to the new. Keep in mind, the new 85/1.4 is likely to be a lens that will last 15 years in the lineup before it is refreshed.

    I think the OP might not have wanted to pay the repair bill, but he got at least 12 years out of a lens he probably payed $185-$250 or so for at the time. I bought a used 85 1.8, the 1st version, in 2001 and payed $170 for it. I ended up giving it to a very close friend, who is still using it eight years later--but not around saltwater, just around the Great Lakes.
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some of this reeks of miss-information to me. I mean it's no one's fault really, but Nikon's customer service aren't infallible. Given the lens which admittedly was released in 1994 is still listed on Nikon's website I doubt that would be out of parts for it. I know the customer service of Nikon Australia are full of incompetent idiots, so if the ones he was talking to are anything like this then I doubt that this lens isn't supported.

    It would be interesting to find out.

    I agree it also comes down to stocking parts. At some point you just physically have to let go otherwise you'd end up with ludicrous stockpiles supporting all your old gear, selling new lenses probably doesn't come into it.

    That said it is still listed as a current model! Something smells!

    Yep and if a lens like that is mounted on many modern Nikon cameras you get one of two options either the aperture comes up as "ERR" and you can't release the shutter, or (in the case of a short) the camera turns itself off.

    That is an incredibly huge assumption to make. I have a 50mm f/1.8 that's at least 2 years old. Forgive me for already not knowing when I bought it. I'm sure in 10 years I will have even less of a clue. Some people don't care about when they bought their lenses.


    But yeah there's something not right about this. 12 years is a good life for a lens that has use in a corrosive environment but it's not a long life for a lens by any means and I would imagine that if I managed to get a Vivitar 1 series 70-210 from the mid 70s with a completely jammed aperture mechanism repaired then a 12 year old lens shouldn't be too much of an issue.
     

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