Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4 D (DX) - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Review by Markus Stamm, published March 2013


Anyone looking for an ultra-fast portrait lens nowadays can pick from a wide choice of selections. There are manual focus offerings from Zeiss and Samyang, but also three lenses featuring autofocus: Nikon's latest product in this class, the AF-S 85/1.4 G, Sigma's very fine EX 85/1.4 HSM and last but not least the Nikkor AF-D 85/1.4.

The latter has been superseded by the AF-S lens, but surprisingly can still be purchased new in many stores (at the time of this review).

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 lens. As such it doesn't leave its original scope (portraiture).

The AF 85mm f/1.4D is a beautifully crafted lens with most parts made of metal. Introduced in 1995 it features the typical crinkle finish used for Nikon's previous generation pro grade lenses. The rubberized focus ring operates very smoothly and is slightly damped.

The AF 85mm f/1.4D 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 (which means there is no AF with Nikon's entry level DSLRs). As a result the AF generates a moderate degree of noise. The AF speed is pretty fast for a lens in this class thanks to a rear-focusing system.

Equiv. focal length127.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.1 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction9 elements in 8 groups
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.85 m (max. magnification ratio 1:8.8)
Dimensions80 x 73 mm
Weight550 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HN-31, barrel shaped (screw-in, supplied)
Other featuresLens provides distance (D) information to the camera.

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