I mounted both the 85/1.4G and 85/1.8G on the Nikon D800E and scrutinized the flare behavior, placing the sun just outside the frame in the corners, along the edges, rotating the angle of the camera, etc.
I came to two general conclusions:
- The 85/1.4G has more veiling flare.
- The 85/1.4G has less ghosting flare (spot).
But provoking ghosting flare in the 85mm f/1.8G requires a precise placement of the sun outside the frame to generate it.
- By comparison to the veiling flare with both lenses, the ghosting flare is immaterial from what I observed.
As a practical matter, it appeared to me that the 85/1.8G is the overall winner on flare, and that both lenses fare badly if a bright light source (outside the image) strafes the front lens element. Shading the lens offers a huge improvement in this regard. Since the lens hood is round, it might be possible to apply tape to square off the coverage of the hood for critical applications.
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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.
DAP includes thousands of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution Retina-grade examples detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare, behavioral and practical usage.