Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8 D (DX) - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 13:29
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Review by Markus Stamm, published May 2011


The Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8 D is a classic portrait tele lens that is available basically unchanged since 1987 (when the non-D version was introduced). In this segment many regard the ultra fast 85mm primes (with maximum apertures of f/1,4 or even faster) as the ultimate portrait lenses. The problem however is that most of these high end lenses are quite expensive and as such out of reach or hard to justify for the average amateur that does not earn his income with portrait photography.

The AF-D 85/1.8 offers a slightly slower (but still quite fast) alternative at a much more affordable price.

In this review, we'll have a look at how the lens performs on our current DX test camera, the Nikon D7000, where it is the equivalent of roughly a 130/2.8 lens. As such it doesn't leave its original scope.

The build quality of the lens is very good and in line with most moderately priced Nikkors. The outer barrel is made of polycarbonate combined with a metal mount. The rubberized focus ring is very smooth and only marginally damped, but rotates during AF operation.

The AF 85mm f/1.8 D is a true IF (internal focusing) design so its length remains constant regardless of the focus setting and the front element does not rotate. Using a polarizer is therefore no problem.

The lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera, so AF is not available on the motor-free entry level Nikon DSLRs. As a result of the screw drive, AF operation will generate a moderate degree of noise.

Equiv. focal length127.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.7 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction6 elements in 6 groups
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.85 m (max. magnification ratio 1:9.2)
Dimensions72 x 59 mm
Weight380 g
Filter size62 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HN-23, barrel-shaped, metal, screw mount (supplied)
Other featuresLens provides distance (D) information to the camera