Nikon 85mm 1.4 or 24-70mm 2.8???

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by artoledo, May 6, 2010.

  1. artoledo

    artoledo TPF Noob!

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    I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. I am mainly shooting portraits, maternity, weddings and sweet 16's and I would like to get a little input on which lens would be best for me in the long run. I am skepticle about the 85mm 1.4 because it was released in 1995 and I am sure Nikon is going to release an upgrade of this lens soon. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Nothing I say takes into consideration the IQ of the different lenses since I do not know them or Nikon. I am merely thinking of coverage.

    And in that case it seems it is an easy choice. You already have the Sigma covering the 17-50 range and it's a 2.8. Add the 85 and you're covering a longer range than the 24-70 plus you have the advantage of a faster lens which might come in handy someday.

    Considering also that you have 3 bodies it is easy to have the 17-50 on one and the 85 on a second so that you don't really need to switch lenses too much.

    Because it is a 1995 release, yes, it could get an upgrade in the not too distant future. But another way to look at this is that you could spend your entire life waiting. Something is always getting upgraded.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Nikon is expected to release an 85mm 1.4 AF-S lens "sometime soon". People who are familiar with Nikon are expecting that the new lens will be the (dreaded) G-series design without an aperture ring, which will limit the use of the new 85mm on non-Nikon bodies, like video cameras, Canon video capable d-slrs, and m4/3 bodies, so the "old" 85mm 1.4 AF-D lens design has the advantage for off-list uses.

    The thing about an 85mm prime is that it is very useful, very handy indoors on a FX format body, but on a 1.5x camera, the angle of view becomes pretty narrow,and the 85mm length requires you to have the camera about 30 feet from a 6 foot tall man, in order to get a field of view that's about 8.5 feet tall, in order to get the man in, and to leave some room for head space and foot space at the top and bottom of the frame, and to allow for a bit of room for say, an 8x10 crop option. So, for weddings and things like that, the 85mm lens on a 1.5x camera forces you to be at a "certain range" in order to use that lens...indoors, that can be a big problem unless you have a lot of room to back the camera up. The zoom lens obviously offers more focal length flexibility for fluid situations. The zoom is very heavy compared to the 85/1.4.

    The "old" 85/1.4 is a good optical performer, with lovely bokeh. It's got a very sharp center and softer edge performance, which makes it work great for portraiture at wider f/stops. I am going to assume that the newer version will also be blessed with the same degree of killer-smooth bokeh that earned the old lens the nickname "the Cream Machine", for its smooth, creamy, defocused background rendering characteristics.
     
  4. artoledo

    artoledo TPF Noob!

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    Derrel, you are an encyclopedia! I am going to use it mainly for portraits. But for those instances where I will be taking pictures of the bride and groom indoors I will most definately use my Sigma. (Too bad my Nikon 17-55 was outperformed by my Sigma).
     
  5. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I used a 135mm on a FF body (slightly longer than the 85 on a crop) and found it very useful but I wasn't shooting quite the same kind of stuff you are...

    Still, considering your other choice goes up to 70mm, there is not much difference and you gain speed. And what Derrel has to say about this lens definitely confirms my choice. But, that's just me.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    This entire "area" of lens focal lengths and camera formats is an area I'm very,very familiar with. It's kind of one of my areas of interest. The thing is, with an 85mm lens on FF at 20 feet, you get about the same field of view as you do at 34 feet on a 1.6x Canon body, and just slightly shorter on a 1.5x camera. The difference between 20 feet and 34 feet means the difference between being able to actually MAKE a full-length head to toe portrait with a full frame camera using your 85mm lens indoors in a "normal room ", and being forced to stand literally 34 feet away if you have a crop-body camera.

    The loss of angle of view, 1.5x or 1.6x, is a potential advantage when you need to shoot with a 300mm lens across a soccer or football field. But that same narrowing-down of the lens' angle of view in social/news/close-range shooting means that DX-format bodies can often times make it really tough to get the wider-angle shots some people want, and the 1.5x to 1.6x field of view narrowing on telephotos makes your 85,105,and 135 lenses simply too danged narrow-angle to actually "use" in many locations like patios, decks, living rooms, smaller camera rooms, and so on.

    The traditional focal lengths like 24,28,35,50,85,100,135,200,300 all were designed for FX format cameras.

    It might not seem like the difference between an FX and DX format camera makes much of a difference, but it really,really does when it comes to prime lenses and how you actually can use them in the real world. And the same with a lot of the older zoom lengths. If you have unlimited space to shoot in, DX bodies are great. Indoors, the DX format imposes its 1.5 to 1.6x penalty on all your lenses. Sometimes that's okay,other times it's not okay.
     
  7. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Which is why I said "but I wasn't shooting quite the same kind of stuff you are..."
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yeah...I agree with you c.cloudwalker. No disagreement with your POV on this....I personally really,really LOVE 135 ON FF...IT'S SUPER-HANDY! For the OP, I think your idea (c. cloudwalker's idea) of going with the 24-70 for weddings and events is the right choice. For outdoor stuff, 135mm on FF is one of my favorites,and has been for a long time. I really like how 135 on FF is long, and has shallow DOF, and throws the background OOF,as well as compresses space a little bit, but not too much.

    It's weird, but the method of multiplying a focal length x 1.5x or 1.6x and relating it to the FF angle of view doesn't tell the user everything about it...it's not "quite" the same...the different capture format size means a "normal lens" on 6x6, 24x36, and 1.6 all looks quite different in terms of the actual photos. 80mm versus 50mm versus 35mm while mathematically approximate just are not "identical".
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    What you could do is get rid of the 50 1.8, get the 50 1.4G and the 85mm f/1.4, than you'll have your long portrait lens, and the 50G for looser portrait and will blow apart the sigma no sweat, and at the same time making your camera 4 times more sensitive, so instead of shooting at ISO 3200, you can shoot at 800.

    The 35G, 50G, and 85 1.8 would be killer combination of lenses for under $1000. If I shot DX, that's what my game plan would be.
     
  10. artoledo

    artoledo TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to all for your replies. I ended up going with the 85mm 1.8 and a Tokina 11-16 2.8. I couldnt justify the extra $800 for the 1.4 at the moment. Maybe when I go Full Frame I will consider it. But right now I think I made a wise choice.
     

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