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Do I need an 85mm lens
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May 18, 2024 12:27:52   #
grandpaw
 
I have the Nikon 105mm F2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 and was wondering what advantage there would be to owning a Nikon 85mm F1,8 lens. I have several other lenses but have never owned an 85mm so I was wondering what advantage there would be to owning one. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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May 18, 2024 12:40:47   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
MY thoughts: the zoom covers it, save the "low light" ability of the dedicated 85.
For my shooting I don't need the low light ability.
That's why my 18-200 lives on my camera.
(I also have an 25, 35, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, ..... in the zoom.)

It depends on your requirements and desires.

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May 18, 2024 12:52:58   #
UTMike Loc: South Jordan, UT
 
I have a Zeiss 85mm, f/1.8. It is great for low light, but also for flower and people shots.

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May 18, 2024 13:08:24   #
larryepage Loc: North Texas area
 
grandpaw wrote:
I have the Nikon 105mm F2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 and was wondering what advantage there would be to owning a Nikon 85mm F1,8 lens. I have several other lenses but have never owned an 85mm so I was wondering what advantage there would be to owning one. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.


I have all of the lenses you have mentioned in this discussion. (But my 85mm is not the f/1.8.) The possible advantage really depends on what you want to do with an 85mm lens, which is ideal for photographing people. Also...if I remember correctly, you are using a full frame camera.

The 70-200 is a great lens, but it is quite big and heavy. It is not particularly agile, and it's just about impossible to photograph discreetly with it.in fact, some folks might consider it to be somewhat threatening. The 105 isn't as large, but if you are shooting indoors, it can be a little too long.

The 85mm lens will primarily buy you significantly increased agility versus those other two lenses. Yes, it offers a little more than an extra stop of exposure, which may or may not have any real value for you.

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May 18, 2024 14:24:51   #
User ID
 
grandpaw wrote:
I have the Nikon 105mm F2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 and was wondering what advantage there would be to owning a Nikon 85mm F1,8 lens. I have several other lenses but have never owned an 85mm so I was wondering what advantage there would be to owning one. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Can you use Ai Nikkors ? The 85/2.0 is tiny !

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May 18, 2024 15:09:46   #
stan0301 Loc: Colorado
 
grandpaw wrote:
I have the Nikon 105mm F2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 and was wondering what advantage there would be to owning a Nikon 85mm F1,8 lens. I have several other lenses but have never owned an 85mm so I was wondering what advantage there would be to owning one. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.


I do portraits - and the 85 does have the habit of one ear in focus - one ear out of focus - I mostly use the 18-105 - and with photoshop it is very easy to select the subject and make the background darker and out of focus

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May 18, 2024 15:20:17   #
ken_stern Loc: Yorba Linda, Ca
 
I own an 85 1.4 but I don't own a 105 2.8
I would not think - even though the 85 is faster - That the 20mm difference would make all that difference
However; I don't do portraits & for that the 85 could be a better fit

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May 18, 2024 15:47:37   #
User ID
 
Always gotta wonder what Hawgsters actually mean when they say "portrait", altho all their parroting of "85, 85, portrait lens, 85, 85 ... " is a bit of a hint.

The function of an 85, relative to 50 and 35mm "normals" is to get a very slight shift toward longer lens perpective while not much demanding the usual long lens attention to increased steadiness and shutter speed.

Part of this is due to 85 being short enuf to share the lens speed typical of "normal" lenses while remaining fairly compact. A 105 f:1.8 is already a heavy bulky clunker, but an 85 f:2.0 looks like a 50 f:2 that grew a 1/2 inch longer.

85 may not seem very different than 105 if you just narrowly focus on the two numbers. But in use the two a quite different.

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May 18, 2024 16:07:04   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
User ID wrote:
Always gotta wonder what Hawgsters actually mean when they say "portrait", altho all their parroting of "85, 85, portrait lens, 85, 85 ... " is a bit of a hint.

The function of an 85, relative to 50 and 35mm "normals" is to get a very slight shift toward longer lens perpective while not much demanding the usual long lens attention to increased steadiness and shutter speed.

Part of this is due to 85 being short enuf to share the lens speed typical of "normal" lenses while remaining fairly compact. A 105 f:1.8 is already a heavy bulky clunker, but an 85 f:2.0 looks like a 50 f:2 that grew a 1/2 inch longer.
Always gotta wonder what Hawgsters actually mean w... (show quote)

An "accepted standard?" for doing portraiture...
I wonder who started the trend.

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May 18, 2024 16:24:20   #
User ID
 
Longshadow wrote:
An "accepted standard?" for doing portraiture...
I wonder who started the trend.

I believe that I know. 85 is the journalists portrait grabber. Their "normal" may be a 35 so that 85 is quite a step up (vs when your normal is a 50). 85 is short and fast enuf for quick reportage style handheld "portraits", even in crappy light.

85mm is acoarst a Nikon FL. With Leica its 90. Note that I called it a "portrait grabber". Its not really a studio lens ... and anywho studio cameras are generally bigger. 85 and 90mm decend from rangfinder 35mm film kits. With RFs, the mechanical accuracy limited 105 and 135 lenses to slower max apperture, so 85 and 90 could be about a full stop faster than those longer lenses.

Thaz the deal in rather broad strokes. Broad strokes !! I now step aside so as to not get trampled as a herd of nit pickers rushes in.

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May 18, 2024 16:29:17   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
User ID wrote:
I believe that I know. 85 is the journalists portrait grabber. Their "normal" may be a 35 so that 85 is quite a step up (vs when your normal is a 50). 85 is short and fast enuf for quick reportage style handheld "portraits", even in crappy light.

85mm is acoarst a Nikon FL. With Leica its 90. Note that I called it a "portrait grabber". Its not really a studio lens ... and anywho studio cameras are generally bigger. 85 and 90mm decend from rangfinder 35mm film kits. With RFs, the mechanical accuracy limited 105 and 135 lenses to slower max apperture, so 85 and 90 could be about a full stop faster than those longer lenses.

Thaz the story in broad strokes. Broad strokes !! I now step aside so as to not get trampled by a herd of nit pickers.
I believe that I know. 85 is the journalists portr... (show quote)


Well, I'm not a journalist, so I wouldn't know.
A step up from what (don't say 50), explain the difference in attributes.

Any idea when/who started the trend?
Is a skosh of telephoto compression better that using a 50?

Everyone says it IS a portrait lens, has anyone said WHY?

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May 18, 2024 16:49:33   #
User ID
 
Longshadow wrote:
Well, I'm not a journalist, so I wouldn't know.
A step up from what (don't say 50), explain the difference in attributes.

Any idea when/who started the trend?
Is a skosh of telephoto compression better that using a 50?

Everyone says it IS a portrait lens, has anyone said WHY?

All the photo industry consumer rags were congenitally worshipful of journalists. Such journalists were depicted as toting Leicas with 35 and 90, or even two Leicas with both FLs already mounted. 35, not 50. Your question makes comparison with 50 and begs for a rationale for the 85, and I agree. I would not bother carryibg both 50 and 85. OTOH, swap in a 40 instead of that 50 and then I want my 85 or 90 !

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May 18, 2024 17:06:14   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
User ID wrote:
All the photo industry consumer rags were congenitally worshipful of journalists. Such journalists were depicted as toting Leicas with 35 and 90, or even two Leicas with both FLs already mounted. 35, not 50. Your question makes comparison with 50 and begs for a rationale for the 85, and I agree. I would not bother carryibg both 50 and 85. OTOH, swap in a 40 instead of that 50 and then I want my 85 or 90 !

Another reason I like my 18-200.......
Has all the numbers in-between.

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May 18, 2024 17:06:20   #
larryepage Loc: North Texas area
 
Longshadow wrote:
Well, I'm not a journalist, so I wouldn't know.
A step up from what (don't say 50), explain the difference in attributes.

Any idea when/who started the trend?
Is a skosh of telephoto compression better that using a 50?

Everyone says it IS a portrait lens, has anyone said WHY?


I can remember that when I was using Olympus equipment in the last part of the 1970s (full frame, not Pen F) that their product catalog prominently promoted their 85mm f/2 as a portrait lens. I wanted one for a long time. Finally bought one from one of the Manhattan camera stores when I was there on an extended work assignment in the early 1990s. I still have that lens and my OM-2s. I don’t do much formal portraiture, but it is a beautiful and useful lens.

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May 18, 2024 17:15:28   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
larryepage wrote:
I can remember that when I was using Olympus equipment in the last part of the 1970s (full frame, not Pen F) that their product catalog prominently promoted their 85mm f/2 as a portrait lens. I wanted one for a long time. Finally bought one from one of the Manhattan camera stores when I was there on an extended work assignment in the early 1990s. I still have that lens and my OM-2s. I don’t do much formal portraiture, but it is a beautiful and useful lens.

So, what make a "portrait lens" a portrait lens, and "preferred" for portraits?

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