Information on Nikkor 85mm f1.4 Lens

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Manual Focus Nikkor 85mm f/1.4s Telephoto lens

This is the fastest short telephoto lens* at Nikkor 85mm focal length or even to be more precise, within the Nikkor telephoto lens group. The maximum aperture f/1.4 enables any Nikon SLRs' viewfinder image remains bright for ease of focusing and picture composing. The lens was also the first Nikkor telephoto lens which incorporates the innovative close range correction system (CRC) to ensure its superior optical quality extends to its closest focusing distances where It focuses down to 0.85m.

(also please check the
autofocus AF Nikkor 85mm telephoto lens group)

<<< --- Copyright-FREE images collection 2001
* In 1951, Nikon optical engineers designed an extremely fast 7 elements Nikkor 85mm f/1.5-S lens for their rangefinder cameras. That lens was in fact, optically an "enhanced & magnified version" telephoto lens based on the optical design of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. Nevertheless, for quite a long spell, it remains as the fastest Nikkor telephoto lens until the arrival of the Nikkor 85mm f1.4 in 1982.

This Ai-S version of the Nikkor telephoto lens was first announced as early as in 1980 but it was only began marketing late in September, 1981.This lens weighs quite heavily at 620g but the quality presence of its physical construction is apparent once you hold one in your hand. Possibly its weight was due to its complex 7 elements in 5 groups design and with its few of the large pieces of lens elements at the front section. Its extraordinary light gathering power, top rated optical performance and moderate compression of perspective makes it an ideal lens for indoor and/or low available light shooting such as stage fashion, press and photojournalism. Strangely, the MF lens is heavier than the current AF lens (550g) despite the AF lens has an even more complex optical arrangements with its 9 elements in 8 groups design - possibly the AF version has the aid in the adoption of an internal focus (IF) design. Well, come to think of it - how nice if we can interpret weight ratio into dollar and cents..... in such case - the AF lens should cost lesser huh ?

85mmf14optic.jpg af85mmf14optic.gif
Comparing optical construction between an Ai-S Manual Focus Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 and a current AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 D lens which has an IF design side by side. The manual lens is incorporating a CRC system and has a 7 elements in 5 group design while the new AF lens has more elements within in a 9 elements in 8 group optical arrangement So, we would assume the reduction of weight probably is resulted from other various physical components used and thinner glass elements etc....

Optically, this lens is able to provide high contrast images with high definitions across all aperture range. The edge of the two maximum apertures at f/1.4 and f/2.0 is still considered slightly soft, a normal behavior in high speed telephoto lenses. But since the lens is specifically designed for handling low light shooting, sometimes the generous f/1.4 is everything you'd need to squeeze another stop in hand holdable shutter speed to save a shoot.

Naturally, this lens is also a perfect solution for shooting indoor such as studio photography where you don't really has too much working distance. Lastly, although it shouldn't confine its wide range potential in just to shoot portraiture but still it is best to shoot half body length portraiture if you insist as the 85mm is still falls short to maintain a natural perspective if use too close for such specific application.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specialises trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Well, I am not sure if you ever notice that, very often, high speed lenses at few specific focal lengths are used as status lens to demonstrate the technological advances and breakthrough individual companies can strive for. This fast Nikkor lens is used to compare it with competing rival brands which has similar manual focus optic of equivalent maximum lens aperture. For an instance, 85mm lenses produced by other manufacturers such as those by Contax's Zeiss Planar 85mm f/1.2 lens and the Canon's FDn 85mm f/1.2 L.

Another strange off-topic phenomenon relating to this lens is, this manual focus telephoto lens actually was co-existed and remained in production along with the equivalent AF lens version for quite sometime until Nikon announced its discontinuation. (Until year 1988, Nikon still stated availability of this high speed manual focus lens in their Nikkor product sales manual with two AF Nikkor lenses each at f/1.4, f/1.8 and the MF lens at f/1.4. Naturally, the great piece of Nikkor optic possesses every features of how a Nikkor Ai-S encompasses within its shell and enables it to maintain a wide compatibility with many Nikon SLR cameras introduced over the years which includes many of the Non-Ai Nikon bodies which still able to work in stopped down metering. Other than a selective latest entry level Nikon AF SLR cameras that may not be able to show metering info inside the viewfinder when this lens is used, this lens can be mounted on virtually with ALL Nikon bodies and retains full-scale functional of various features, regardless they are non-AI, AI or AF. Thus, this lens does provides exceptional good elements in good investment and/or re-sale value, compatibility and most of all, top class performance.

Optical Contruction for Nikon Manual focus Nikkor 85mm f/14s
Nikon F2 85mmf1.4.jpg
Technical Highlights:

* Natural perspective and superlative image sharpness. * At f/1.4, it is the fastest telephoto in the Nikkor lineup, providing an exceptionally bright viewfinder image and critical, pinpoint focusing. *The first telephoto lens to employ Nikon's Close-Range Correction System to insure high resolution down to a close focusing distance of 0.85m (3 ft.). * Beautiful selective focus at maximum aperture makes this lens most suitable for pictures of people.

Technical Specifications for Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.4s:

Focal length/Aperture:
85mm f/1.4
Lens construction: 7 elements in 5 groups
Picture angle: 23° 20'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/1.4 - f/16 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Maximum Reproduction ratio: 1:7.9
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method with AI cameras; via stop-down method with non-AI cameras.
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from from 0.85m (3ft.) to infinity (

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specialises trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

Weight: approx. 620g;
Dimensions: 80.5mm dia. x 72.5mm long (overall); 64.5mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 72mm front screw-in Front; lens cap: Screw-in

Focusing screen compatibility chart
Lens hood: HN-20 screw-in type; Lens case: CL-17 hard leatherette. No. 62 soft pouch or CP-9 plastic
Usable teleconverter(s):
TC-200*, TC-201s*, TC-14A * When used with aperture smaller than f/11 with fast shutter speeds, there is occasional uneven exposure. Warning: Certain AE modes (Programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE) on selective Nikon SLRs will not work efficiently with older TC devices. Use an Ai-S version for better compatibility, read the respective Tele-Extender(s) sections.

<<< ---This tele-Nikkor lense will work with all metering systems in cameras such as Nikon F4 and a few other equivalent AF bodies introduced during the mid-'80. NOTE: Serial Numbers of this version was believed to have been started with 179091 for this AIS-only telephoto lens

85mm focal length Manual Focus Nikkor Lenses:
Manual Focus Nikkor Lenses at
85mm focal length : | Early non-AI versions | pre-AI versions | Late 1970 | Early 1980 - present: 85mm f/1.4s | 85mm f/2.0s | AF-Nikkor 80mm f/2.8s for F3AF (also please check the autofocus AF Nikkor 85mm telephoto lens group)

| Back | to Main Index Page of MF Nikkor lenses at 85mm focal length

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail) who specialises trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8s autofocus wideangle lens
AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D autofocus wideangle lens
AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D autofocus wideangle lens

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