Deciding between 85mm lenses.. help!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by CThomas817, Sep 17, 2017.

  1. CThomas817

    CThomas817 TPF Noob!

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    I went in to my local camera store to purchase the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AF-S. I have been renting this lens for a while and I am so impressed by it's quality, sharpness and consistency that I was pretty dead set on it despite the hefty price tag. However, it was suggested that I consider investing in the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 or the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 before taking the plunge for the Nikon.

    I know that only the Sigma has image stabilization but I would prefer an overall sharper lens to this feature. I realize that the Tamron is only a 1.8, but at less than half the price, how much flexibility am I sacrificing by losing a stop (portraits)?

    Any helpful feedback would be appreciated. I would rather make the best investment over saving money on the initial purchase.


     
  2. pixmedic

    pixmedic The Mustached Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    i never shoot portraits at f/1.8 so it wouldnt be an issue for me.
    i guess it depends on what sort of portraits your taking. I shot 97.5% of mine against a muslin backdrop with 3 flashes in brollys so i dont need the wide aperture for light. I also prefer more than just my subjects face to be in focus so i always stop down the lens for DOF anyway.
    i never felt i needed image stabilization on an 85mm lens, so thats not a dealbreaker either.
    so for me, the older Nikon 85mm f1.8D worked out great as a portrait lens. you could also split the difference and get the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D, which is still one of the highest rated portrait lenses Nikon ever produced. The Cream Machine. (its true, look it up!)

    i mean, its really a question only you can answer.
    how much flexibility do you need with your 85mm lens? will you need that extra 2/3 of a stop for portrait work?
    will you be shooting anything in low light with no supplimental lighting? or do you want a super thin depth of field?
    dont forget, as far as background rendering you wont necessarily need a wide aperture to get things OOF, you just need to know how to adjust DOF, which is more than just aperture. focal length and distance to subject/background can be just as important. all 3 work together and can be utilized to adjust DOF. dont get caught up on just aperture.

    if it were MY money, I would get the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D and spend the rest on anything else you might need.
     
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  3. CThomas817

    CThomas817 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you this was helpful! I am shooting young children and at times outdoors where the background is not always something I want in focus. Being able to shoot at a low aperture helps me to virtually lose the background while using the benefit of natural light. I think I want to stick with the fixed focal length for now - I know that it affects DOF as well. Also, shooting babies up close the 1.4 is useful when I only want to focus on singular features. And yes, there are times when I am shooting into dusk and it's nice to be as wide open as that so that I can keep my shutter as fast as possible and reduce grain. I think I agree with you on the Nikon.
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    OMG that lens is expensive!
    Have you thought of the 85mm 1.8 G? That one is about 1/3 the cost of the 1.4.

    nikkor 85mm f/1.8 af-s Buy or Learn at Adorama
     
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  5. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Shooting babies up close with that lens at 1.4 means milimeters in focus. Plus that lens isn't great at 1.4. look at nikon's 1.8g as an alternative to the 1.4g at least Google comparison reviews of them to make an informed decision.

    If I was looking at that price tag if toss the new 105mm 1.4 into the mix.
     
  6. CThomas817

    CThomas817 TPF Noob!

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    Hi and thanks! I have used it before to focus on an eye, a curl of hair, etc. and successfully achieved the look I want. Beyond the f-stop, do you think the 1.8 is as good of a quality lens? I have looked at the reviews for both and I am still unsettled.
     
  7. CThomas817

    CThomas817 TPF Noob!

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    I know =/ And I have thought about the 1.8. I want to invest in something that will give me versatility as I become more skilled. I am considering the Tamron 1.8 as a lot of reviews find it superior to the Nikon
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The Tamron has VC (Vibration Control), but tends toward some nervous, hard bokeh from what I have seen...very nervous IMHO. THe set of 20 fashion pics I saw made with the Tamron 1.8 VC lens were very ugly on the out of focus elements...really something that made me not even interested in the lens, despite the VC it offers.

    I dunno...in trms of pure shaprness, the f/1.8 AF-S-G Nikkor is an amazing 85mm lens; in some metrics it is better than the much more-expensive 1.4 AF-S G model. WHY Nikon's 85/1.8 is so,so,so sharp, andr why therr 1.4 AF-S G model is not any better but is so much more-expensive makes me wonder WTH is going on.

    Seriously...look at some Tamron 1.8 VC samples...harsh, UGLY bokeh...a major drawback.

    I pefer the older 1.4 AF-D for bokeh rendering to ANY of the other lenses mentioned...better than the new 1.4 IMHO...but not as bitingly sharp across the frame, but more of a classic fashion/beauty/portraiture lens design. Has softer edges and fall-off, and looks fantastic on eople pics, but not anywhere near the landscape lens as the 1.8 or 1.4 AF-S G models.

    A LOT of people who review lenses today have a reverence for sharpness over bokeh, and sharpness over rendering, and sharpness over lens drawing style. Not me--the exact,total opposite. So, to me the Tamron is out, and the Sigma is marginal.

    At close range, f/1.4 is a recipe for disaster.
     
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  9. Dragster3

    Dragster3 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    My 85mm f/1.8 is my favorite lens. Love it, love the price and performance is stellar.

    Tamron one...thumbs down. Sorry.
     
  10. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I can't tell you much about Nikon lenses I'm afraid, but I've lately bought the Sigma 135mm f1.8. I am still impressed by the overall quality and look of the image this lens can produce. Same with their 35mm f1.4. Sigma has changed a lot in recent years, so looking at their lens lineup is something you really should consider. They are no more the company that produces cheaper alternatives for people who don't have the budget, but rather offer high qualiy lenses. But as Derrel said, there is more to an image than just sharpness. There is contrast, color rendering, focus speed and accuracy,...
    Depending on where you live you may be able to compare the three or four lenses in question at your local photography store (or maybe amazon?), which I would highly recommend doing.
     
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  11. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, I own it. I personally would never buy the 85mm f1.4G considering how close the 1.8G is and the price tag. My 85mm cost me ~$375 used.

    The 1.8G is sharper from corner to corner, and produces just as pleasing of bokeh. It's a lot smaller, and weights a LOT less.

    For the 1.4G, all you're paying for is the Nano coating. On paper, the 1.4D performs similarly -- when you read accounts of people who have used both, some prefer the D, some prefer the G.

    They do render differently, where the D tends to be a cooler blue true rendering, and the G tends to be a warmer artsy rendering. The G will handle back-lit situations much better with the coating and tends to have better contrast.


    I wouldn't hesitate, however, to own a 105mm 1.4G.

    I also own the 58mm 1.4G -- it's the absolute softest lens in my arsenal, but has a really unique rendering.
     
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  12. davidharmier60

    davidharmier60 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This post speaks to Canon 50mm primes but I think my points are valid. I did a lot of comparison between a 1.4 and a 1.8. I find the 1.8 to take more pleasing photographs. The 1.4 in my opinion isn't the better lense.
    Your mileage may vary but I say 1.8 or even 2.5 are fast enough.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     

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