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Nikon 85mm f/1.4 D
© 2007-2012 KenRockwell.com

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared    Recommendations

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Nikon 85mm f/1.4

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AF-D (77mm filters, 18.5 oz/524g, 3'/0.85m close-focus, about $1,230 USA / $1,040 gray / $900 used.) enlarge. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially to where I got mine at Adorama, or to it at Amazon, or to them used at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.


See also:

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G (2010-)

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AI-s (1981-2006)


85mm Lens Specifications Compared 23 June 2009

85mm Lens Central Sharpness Comparison 23 June 2009

85mm Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison 23 June 2009


April 2012, November 2007     More Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses   All Reviews


Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared    Recommendations

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Ritz Camera

I use Adorama, Amazon, eBay, Ritz, B&H, Calumet, J&R and ScanCafe. I can't vouch for ads below.

This is a very, very good lens. It is made with the same sturdy mechanics as the 28mm f/1.4D AF and 20-35mm f/2.8D AF.

It is especially well suited to the new Nikon D4 and D800, in fact, this is the lens with which the Nikon D3 is shown in many of Nikon's promotional photos.

This 85/1.4 has always been a favorite of portrait professionals, along with the older 85/1.4 AI-s and newer 85/1.4 G.

THis AF-D lens is the toughest 85mm autofocus lens ever made by Nikon.


Compatibility       intro      top

This is an FX lens, and works especially well with on FX, 35mm and DX Nikons like the D4, D800, D800E, D7000, D700, D3X, D300s and F6.

It works great on manual-focus cameras like the F2AS, F3, FE and FA, since it has real manual-focus and aperture rings that work exactly as they should.

The 85mm f/1.4D AF works great with almost every film and digital Nikon camera made since 1977. If you have a coupling prong added to the diaphragm ring, it's perfect with every Nikon back to the original Nikon F of 1959.

The only incompatibility is that it will not autofocus with the cheapest D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, D5000 or D5100, but if you focus manually, everything else works great. These cameras have in-finder focus confirmation dots to help you.

See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AF, AF-D (screw)" column for this lens.


Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared    Recommendations



It has nine elements in eight groups.


Internal focus.



It has a nice, curved nine-bladed diaphragm that gives a circular, not polygonal, opening from f/1.4 through about f/5.6. It stops down to f/16.



Close focus is three feet or 0.85m.


Filter Thread

77mm, metal.

Never moves.



3.1" (79mm) diameter by 2.9" (74mm) long.



18.485 oz (524.1g), measured.

Nikon specifies 20 oz. (560 g).



A nice metal screw-in metal HN-31 hood is included.


AF-Manual Selector

There is an AF/MF selection ring on the lens barrel, just like the other AF Nikkor lenses of similar vintage and quality.

This lens was introduced in the mid 1990s.


Nikon Product Number




Made in Japan.



$1,230 USA, $1,040 gray, $900 used, April 2012.

$1,225 USA, 2009.


Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared    Recommendations



Autofocus is fast.

It's about the same or a hair slower than the extremely fast 85mm f/1.8D AF.

Autofocus accuracy is very good, making use at f/1.4 reasonable for sharp results. On the D800, autofocus is dead-on to sometimes a tad far at f/1.4. If so on your camera, AF Fine Tuning will take care of it.

AF speed is very fast on my F100.



Bokeh is very good to excellent for backgrounds and foregrounds. This is the reason many pros so love their 85mm f/1.4 D.



It has no distortion.


It's super-sharp, another reason it's the favorite lens of many pros.

On the 36 MP Nikon D800, it's sharp and contrasty, even at f/1.4. The corners are a little less sharp and contrasty.

It gets a little better at f/2.8, f/4 and f/5.6.

It's always good, and optimum at f/5.6.

If you want to look in the corners at 36 MP at f/1.4, the newer 85/1.4 G is better, and so is the 85/1.8 G. If you're a pixel-counter as opposed to a photographer, get the 85/1.8 G.

See also

85mm Lens Central Sharpness Comparison 23 June 2009

85mm Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison 23 June 2009



There is some spherochromatism, as expected for a fast, long lens.

This means that background out-of-focus highlights may have green fringes (which helps bokeh), and foreground out-of-focus highlights may have magenta fringes.


Compared         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared    Recommendations

See also:

85mm Lens Specifications Compared 23 June 2009

85mm Lens Central Sharpness Comparison 23 June 2009

85mm Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison 23 June 2009


Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AF

Nikon 85/1.8 K, Nikon 85/2 AI-s, Nikon 85/1.4 AI-s, Nikon 85/1.8D, Nikon 85/1.4D and Vivitar 85/1.4. enlarge (actual size at 106 DPI).


Nikon 85mm lenses compared

Nikon 85/1.8D, 85/1.8G, 85/1.4G and 85/1.4D. enlarge.


Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared    Recommendations

This 85/1.4 AF-D is Nikon's toughest 85mm autofocus lens of all time. If you want a solid, all-metal professional autofocus 85mm lens, this is your only choice.

The plastic made-in-China 85/1.8G is Nikon's sharpest by a small margin on the D800, but people buy these for their incredibly pleasant bokeh (out-of-focus backgrounds), for which this f/1.4 AF-D lens is better.

The newest professional 85/1.4G is sharper and has even better bokeh and allows instant manual-focus override, but costs twice as much.

If you want a fast, tough 85mm, that's why this lens has been sold out for most of its 15 years as Nikon's top fast telephoto lens.



I'd keep a Nikon 77mm NC filter on it for protection on digital cameras, or when shooting color print film, or B&W film indoors.

I'd use a 77mm Hoya Super HMC 81A filter with Fuji Velvia 50 or other color slide film.

I'd use a Hoya 77mm yellow filter outdoors with B&W film.


Help me help you         top

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Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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