1.4 VS 1.8


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Jun 17, 2009
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Ok so I am wanting to get opinions.

I am looking into a good portrait lens( i bought a 105 f/2.8 but am probably selling it as I think it was not a good choice) but anyways... I want to go with an 85mm lens. I had a 1.8 before and it was tack sharp....My question is this..Is it really worth the nearly 800 higher price tag to go with a 1.4.I had a Cannon 50mm f/1.2 for a while and it was fun to play with on my old Ft but the focu area was sooooooo tight... How often would I be actually shooting at at f/1.4...nearly never... soo the fact that both lenses would most likely be stopped down to f 4 or so would the 85 f/1.4 be that much different... I want honest opinions here as I am considering both....

Thank guys.
Buy the 85/1.8 and with the extra money, also pick up a 105mm f/2 AF-D Defocus Control lens. I dunno...I had an 85mm 1.8 AF, the pre-D one for a while...it was a pretty good lens, but I shot it on the old D1, which was very,very low-resolution. I got a good deal on an 85/1.4 AF-D back when a good deal was $575, and it was a good lens, I could tell that, but I never really understood what all the fawning and oohing and ahh-ing over the 1.4 was until I made the move from a 6.1 megapixel camera to the D2x in 2005...immediately, on the first day, with the D2x, I could see why the 1.4 was held in high esteem...but on the earlier 6.1 MP cameras, the sensor was a limiting factor.

The newer 85/1.4 AF-S G lens...I'm not 100 percent sold on the way that lens renders the OOF background areas at wider f/stops...I have seen some weird bokeh from that lens on certain types of scenes, as well as some pretty easy scenes that look to me like they are set up to disguise/minimize the way the newer 85 draws its backdrops with strong shapes...you do not mention which 1.4 you are interested in, but I am assuming you mean the older AF-D model...

I dunno...the 1.4 AF-D model "draws" pretty well at f/4...that might in fact, be its optimal performance aperture,especially on a 16-24 MP sensor. It's sort of like the difference between the $24.99 bottles of wine and the $12.99 ones...I dunno...maybe yes, maybe no, it depends...how does one define "worth it"????
LOL you make a good point..... I guess I just wonder if spending the extra would be worth the money it would cost... In reality I dont think it would be for me. Maybe for a guy shooting a 20K high resolution front page for cosmo but sadly that is not me... :) any other input?
IMO if you can afford the 1.4G, do it.

if you can't, go for the 1.8D instead and pocket the difference.

Aside from the bokeh at the wide aperture, i've never been a huge fan of the 1.4D. It's a great lens, but the 1.8D, like what derrel said is 1/3rd the price, almost the same performance in the bokeh wide open, and is actually quite a bit sharper when stopped down shooting full frame.

The thing that I don't like about both the 1.8 and 1.4D's, and i've bitched about it before, but the handling just sucks. They're clunky 20 year old designs and it's obvious. I'd get the 1.4G just because it has AF-S. The better flare performance from the nano coat is a plus, and from most reports it's basically the sharpness of the 1.8D, with the bokeh of the 1.4D, and the handling of a modern design.

All of which easily justify the $400 difference.
The 1.4 kicks butt wide open. Super sharp. The 1.8 does look sharp wide open until you compare photos from the 1.4

The 1.8 also had a lot of blue fringing in every outdoor scene once I opened it wider than 2.8. Indoors, it worked great with available light.

If you're using it to make money, go for the faster lens. For hobby work, buy the 1.8.

Money not an issue? Buy both.

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