Nikon 85mm 1.4 vs 1.8: Which is Better?

Nikon 85mm 1.4 vs 1.8: Which is Better?


In this article, we will compare the Nikon 85mm 1.4 and 1.8 lenses to determine which one is better for your photography needs. We will discuss the key differences between the two lenses, including image quality, aperture, and price. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of which lens is the right choice for you.

1. What are the key differences between the Nikon 85mm 1.4 and 1.8 lenses?

The Nikon 85mm 1.4 and 1.8 lenses differ primarily in their maximum aperture and price. The 1.4 lens has a wider aperture, allowing for better low-light performance and shallower depth of field compared to the 1.8 lens. However, the 1.4 lens is also more expensive than the 1.8 lens, making it less accessible to some photographers.

Another key difference is the build quality of the two lenses. The 1.4 lens is typically constructed with higher quality materials and features a more robust build compared to the 1.8 lens. This can be a factor to consider for photographers who require a more durable and weather-sealed lens.

2. Which lens is better for portrait photography?

For portrait photography, the Nikon 85mm 1.4 lens is often preferred due to its wider maximum aperture. The 1.4 aperture allows for excellent subject isolation and background blur, creating stunning and professional-looking portraits. The 1.8 lens, while still capable of producing beautiful portraits, may not achieve the same level of background separation as the 1.4 lens.

Additionally, the 1.4 lens generally offers better performance in low-light conditions, allowing photographers to capture sharp and detailed portraits even in dimly lit environments. However, it’s important to consider the price difference between the two lenses when making a decision for portrait photography.

3. Which lens is more suitable for street photography?

Street photography often requires quick and discreet shooting, making the Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens a more practical choice for this genre. The 1.8 lens is lighter and more compact than the 1.4 lens, facilitating easy maneuverability and inconspicuous shooting on the streets. Its slightly smaller maximum aperture is still capable of producing stunning images in various street photography scenarios.

While the 1.4 lens may offer superior bokeh and low-light performance, the added weight and size can be a hindrance when shooting in dynamic urban environments. Therefore, the 1.8 lens may be the preferred option for street photographers seeking a balance between image quality and portability.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, the choice between the Nikon 85mm 1.4 and 1.8 lenses depends on your specific photography needs and budget. The 1.4 lens excels in low-light and portrait photography, delivering exceptional image quality and beautiful background separation. On the other hand, the 1.8 lens offers affordability and portability, making it a versatile option for street photography and general purpose shooting.

Ultimately, both lenses have their strengths and limitations, and it’s essential to consider your shooting style, budget, and desired image results when deciding between the two. Whichever lens you choose, Nikon’s renowned optical quality and performance will undoubtedly elevate your photography.

5. FAQs

Q: Can I use these lenses for video recording?

A: Yes, both the Nikon 85mm 1.4 and 1.8 lenses are suitable for video recording. Their versatile focal length and wide aperture make them excellent choices for capturing cinematic footage with beautiful background blur and sharp subject focus.

Q: Are these lenses compatible with all Nikon camera bodies?

A: Yes, both the 1.4 and 1.8 lenses are designed for Nikon F-mount DSLR and mirrorless cameras, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of Nikon camera bodies.

Q: Can I achieve professional-quality results with the 1.8 lens?

A: Absolutely. While the 1.4 lens offers certain advantages in specific scenarios, the 1.8 lens is certainly capable of delivering professional-grade images, especially when used skillfully and creatively. The difference in image quality may not be a significant factor for many photographers.

Q: Which lens is better for astrophotography?

A: For astrophotography, the wider aperture of the 1.4 lens may be more beneficial in capturing faint stars and celestial objects in low-light conditions. However, the 1.8 lens can still produce impressive astrophotography results with careful planning and camera settings.

Q: Is the 1.4 lens worth the higher price?

A: The decision of whether the 1.4 lens is worth the premium price ultimately depends on the individual photographer’s requirements and budget. While the 1.4 lens offers superior low-light performance and background blur, the 1.8 lens provides excellent value and image quality at a more affordable price point.


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