Author Topic: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K  (Read 3047 times)

John Geerts

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Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« on: March 03, 2018, 21:28:52 »
A quick (and non-scientific) comparison between the Nikkor 85mm  f/2 AI from 1978 and the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8  Pre-Ai from 1976  (Both mint samples)

First the  85/2  and second the K version.  Images with the Nikon Df, undeveloped and at true size.


prepalaw

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 00:55:45 »
I have in my hand an 85mm AF Nikkor f/1.4D lens.  This is a magical lens for making portraits.  It is an awesome lens for night photography on a tripod.  Hand-held outdoors, this lens does not like weak or unsteady light.  The magic only works under proper lighting conditions.  The headlights of the car are on in the first photo, indicating that the time of day was close to darkness.  Not so with the second photo, which appears to have been taken at an earlier time of the day and/or under better lighting conditions.

I love this lens, but understand its limitations.  This is not the kind of lens to use just roaming around during the day.  If you get up at 3 AM and put the lens on a tripod. Use manual; set the lens wide open; ISO 100 or 200; put the camera on a 3 second delay; and expose for 15 seconds.  Then change to 20; then 10 and 5 seconds.  If the image in camera  review is almost black, you still have acquired data.  In Lightroom, boost the exposure to up to +3.0.  You will be amazed at the detail you have captured in your black photo.

Before taking the shots, you have to focus the camera at infinity - just find a light 10 meters away and put it in focus.


paul_k

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2018, 02:22:10 »
Had the 2/85 AI as a replacement for my 2.5/105 Ai back in the 80's for the extra half stop, although more importantly I switched because I had serious problems getting images without movement blur/shake with the 2.5/105
Admittedly this was due to my constantly working on and over the limit using shutterspeeds of 1/60th and lower handheld, being forced to do so shooting under low light conditions on the max ISO 400 (pushed to ISO 800 if forced to) films of those days (usually Tri X)

The 2/85mm did give better results in that respect, but for the rest I found it a good working horse lens at best, but not a particularly special lens as far as that was concerned

I guess about 10 years ago I got a modified pre Ai Nikkor H Auto 1.8/85, based on its serial number from the mid 60's
After initially not having used it much on my DX bodies, I nowadays have it on my FX bodies regularly, the DF in particular, and despite its age think it has a much more pleasing image rendering then the later model 2/85mm AI

A couple of years also got a 1.4/85mm AF D I use for portraiture and fashion, IMO a very special lens
Giving a beautiful image rendering when used wide open, despite/thanks to the ultra thin DoF, but just as capable of razor sharp images when stopped down only a few stops

richardHaw

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2018, 04:17:45 »
what a coincidence, i am currently writing an article for the 85/1.8K  :o :o :o

i did find that the 85/1.8K has a more pleasing rendering but the 85/2S was better-corrected.

David H. Hartman

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2018, 06:09:22 »
Years ago I printed for a friend who couldn't due to asthma. I was impressed with the 85/1.8 K factory AI. I own an 85/2.0 AIS.  It's OK.

I offered my friend $300.00 ea. for a 105/4.0 AI Micro and the 85/1.8 K. He sold me the 105 but would sell the 85.
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Roland Vink

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2018, 06:38:13 »
The 85/2 has had a weak reputation compared to the older 85/1.8, but my AIS version has always performed well, consistent with other Nikkors of similar vintage. I wonder if the AIS version has some improvements? Perhaps I should run some side by side comparisons ...

rolubich

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2018, 08:06:41 »
The 85/2 has had a weak reputation compared to the older 85/1.8, but my AIS version has always performed well, consistent with other Nikkors of similar vintage. I wonder if the AIS version has some improvements? Perhaps I should run some side by side comparisons ...

My 85mm f/2 AIS is quite good too, but I consider it a f/2.8 lens: wide open both resolution and especially contrast (strong veiling pink flare) are very low.
At f/2.8 performance increase a lot but it shine only from f/4 where it's very uniform too. I prefer to use it for landscape (in my opinion it is really excellent at f/5.8/8) rather than portrait.

My copy of 85mm f/1.8 HC is better in the center at wide stops but the sharp area is quite small and it needs to be closed a few stops to become uniform. I prefer it for portrait pictures.


John Geerts

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2018, 11:09:40 »
Thank you for all your comments.  Very interesting.

It is striking that Nikon  stopped production of  the 85/1.8 K, and introduced the 85/2 Ai.   An introduction of a lens which seems not better than the previous one.   The above comparision is clear I think. 

Can commercial motives play a role here as a few years later the 85/1.4 was introduced? 

Anyway, I don't think Nikon ever made a 'bad' 85mm lens.  A part of the downsides of the 85/2 do not really play a role any more in the digital age.

And the drawing of the 85/2 is also very nice, but I need to test that more. A big plus is the very small size of the lens, it has the feeling of a standard lens.


A 'portrait' with the 85/2  (were 'the softer' character of f/2 seems to work)

Jacques Pochoy

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2018, 12:14:57 »
I'm a bit surprised at the comparison between the 85/2 and the 85/1.8. While I don't have or used the 85/1.8 K, I find the f/2 AI (latest serial number before AI-s) much better then the usually "bof" appreciation.
As John said, for one, it's smaller then the 50mm f/1.8 G (or almost) and quite efficient for most uses. While it hasn't the DoF of the f/1.4 AF-D or even of the f/1.8 AF-D, it's not a bad one.

Even for portraits I seldom go below f/4 with any lenses but a F/2.8 the 85mm AI is not as "bad" as it's bland reputation. I find it a very useful tool 8)


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Jacques Pochoy

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2018, 12:34:10 »
And a candid portrait at f/2 with the venerable D200... ;D

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A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second. ― Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet.

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2018, 15:14:27 »
I will check my f2.0 when back home, but your results do not match with my memory of it.
I dont have the f1.8, only the AF version.

richardHaw

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2018, 17:24:03 »
http://richardhaw.com/2018/03/04/repair-new-nikkor-85mm-f-1-8/

here's my recently published article. check out the sample images there  :o :o :o

in my observation, the 85/2 has less smoother transition between what's in focus and what's not in focus. I do notice that the K has less of a tendency for CA but the 85/2 is sharper and has a flatter field if I recall it.

richardHaw

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2018, 17:31:53 »
i also noticed that the 85/2 series images has a more "modern" look to them and the contrast is better.  :o :o :o

John Geerts

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2018, 17:34:40 »
Today with  the 85/2 at f/2

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John Geerts

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Re: Nikkor 85mm f/2 AI and 85mm f/1.8 K
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2018, 17:36:56 »
http://richardhaw.com/2018/03/04/repair-new-nikkor-85mm-f-1-8/

here's my recently published article. check out the sample images there  :o :o :o

in my observation, the 85/2 has less smoother transition between what's in focus and what's not in focus. I do notice that the K has less of a tendency for CA but the 85/2 is sharper and has a flatter field if I recall it.
Thanks for the link, Richard.  !