Photography - Nikon 85mm f/1.8

Overview

The 85mm f/1.8 is a specialized lens, made for portraiture. And that is exactly what I got it for.

My Nikon D90

Sharpness

This lens is pretty sharp. Wide open is okay, but improves with the aperture closed down a little. Stopped down to f/2.2, and the lens becomes very sharp

Focusing and Other Notable Attributes

The AF-D 85mm f/1.8 does not sport a built in motor, so some lower-end camera bodies (D40, D60, D3000 and D5000) cannot auto focus this lens. For bodies that can, the 85mm is great! It spins reasonably fast and is fairly accurate on my D90, though the very narrow depth of field can be tricky to work with. I suspect the lens would also cope with moving targets better with the torquier pro-bodies.

As the lighting gets dimmer, this little guy really starts to shine. Opening up to f/1.8 really helps, and low light / available light photography is a joy with this lens.

Handling and Use

Small and light, the 85mm f/1.8 isn't quite as compact as the 50mm f/1.8 or 35mm f/1.8, but is still easy enough to pocket, and no one will complain about the weight it adds to a bag.

85mm becomes 127mm on a DX body, making this an ideal portrait lens. The length allows you some working distance from the subject, which I'm sure they enjoy as much as I do, from my side of the lens. This lens is too long for just shooting pictures of the family gather, or indoors (you would really need to back up to get the image into the frame), but absolutely shines when taking portraits; head and shoulders indoors, or full body outside. You just have to keep that focal length in mind, when shooting.

Sample Photos

Here are a few samples I have taken with this lens:

Alexis in the snow

Alexis Christmas Portrait

Reach