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Gear Reviews

F1.8 vs F1.4 – Which Nikon 85mm is right for you?

By Anthony Thurston on May 30th 2013

The 85mm focal range is arguably one of the best lens lengths for portraits, Nikon makes two 85mm primes that most people look at when looking to buy an 85. The questions of the day is which lens is right for you?


The Difference in Price

This is probably the biggest factor that has nothing to do with quality when deciding on a lens. The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 retails for around $500, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 retails for a little over triple that at around $1700. This will likely be one of the biggest deciding factors when you are looking into one of these lenses. So just make a note.

The Difference in Quality

The difference in quality between these two lenses is very apparent, but is it worth an extra $1200 to you? According to the video I am going to share below an 85mm 1.8 is about 90-95% as good as the 85mm 1.4 in both build and image quality. So you are paying $1200 for an extra 5-10% better performance.

That being said, the 85mm 1.4G is a gorgeous lens. Bokeh like butter and images as sharp as a tack are its hallmarks. Check out the video below to learn more about these two lenses and see which one is best for you.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Bob Davis

    The f1.8 is razor sharp…my go to lens.

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  2. Tom Blair

    Going to order the cheaper one f1.8

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  3. Chuck Eggen

    I guess in the end they both have their pros and cons. Expense comes to mind. Bokeh on the 1.4 is fantastic. As far as sharpness they both excel. It really boils down to budget I suppose.

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