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Nikon 16-35/4 VR and 17-35/2.8 (not to scale)  
Nikon 85mm f/1.4G

Aperture Series f/1.4 - f/11 Lembert Dome

This scene was shot at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, with Lembert Dome featured in the distance.

General comments on performance of the 85/1.4G

See the Reader Comments page for thinking on why a sharper and more contrasty lens is not necessarily the better choice for any particular task.

Under the flat and dull lighting conditions seen here, the 85/1.4G delivered a crisp high contrast image with rich color saturation. The lighting was what most photographers would disdain, yet the quality of the result is very high. The heavy cloud cover dispelled any hope for a brief peek of front lighting.

Field curvature appears minimal (very hard to detect), and no evidence of focus shift in this comparison or others. Those qualities make the 85/1.4G an unusual and easy-shooting lens; focus it wide open and shoot with the confidence that you’ll get what you aimed for. The minimal field curvature means that subject matter at the same distance will be sharp, with only a modest loss of sharpness to the edges and corners. The lack of focus shift means that wide-open focus yields optimal results stopped down (no focus shift). Neither of these factors is a given with many designs, so the 85/1.4G is eminently practical as a precision lens requiring no special fuss.

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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.

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The test scene showing the distant point of focus

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