22 Apr 2013

Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G = Smooth as butter backgrounds!

Even on my crop frame D300s and at a small distance from the subject this beautiful lens renders lovely out of focus backgrounds! This was set to f2.8. Taken during our Sunday cycle through the countryside.

Just to give an idea of how sharp this lens is, here is a pic also taken on Sunday with the 85mm f/1.8, and included is a 100% crop of the windmill section below that:

100% crop:

One last point, if there is any distortion from this lens I am totally unable to see it! :-)


  1. Yep, this is a good lens, I do agree. IMHO, the most important factor is the fact it is not a zoom, but a fixed focal. It is possible to get results that are - almost - as good with pro zooms, but you need at least some basic post-processing.

    I have also noted that the longer the focal, the easier it was to make a lens that gave good results with minimum distortion and aberration. 85 mm is at the beginning of that curve, and 100 mm lenses from top notch manufacturers like Nikon and Canon are almost perfect in that respect.

    One thing surprised me too: almost all lenses suffer from some distortion, but sometimes the only way to get the proof of it is to correct the image using the maker's algorithms for that lens. Both Canon and Nikon offer tools that eliminate totally distortion, aberration and vignetting, so nowadays this is much less important that it used to be… starting with a good lens of course!

    Another point: I do agree that there is no apparent distortion. I would be curious though to know what Nikon's correction tools do with this image. I would bet on a very slight barrelling effect. But I would keep the bet very low, say 10 cents… :-)))

    1. I agree with the distortion effect on almost every lens, but in this case I really can't find any. I suspect that being an FX lens used on a DX (crop) sensor camera I am effectively simply cropping out all the worst bits and only using the best part from the center of the image circle. I have the same thing with my 50mm f1.8D lens, which is a little shaky on a full frame camera around the edges, but on a DX sensor... incredible!

      When used on an FX sensor, then I would probably have to be as conservative as you are when placing any bets! :-)

      I use DxO for my RAW conversion most of the time and it's correction tools are unmatched (IMHO) by any other software, it also has a handy button to click and compare the original and the corrected image. Very revealing about how flawed a lot of lenses really are!