Additional Information on
Nikon's AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8s; AF-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D and AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF medium telephoto lenses

 
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2nd draft edited on 16.07.2007

David Douglas Duncan picture
A Brief Version History on Nikon 85mm telephoto lenses:- Shown at the left hand side is a picture of David Douglas Duncan, a star Life photojournalist taken by Jun Miki (a Life Magazine photographer) who has first helped on the discovery of the alternate Japanese optic in the 35mm photographic market where it used to be dominated by the like of Leitz and Contax Zeiss during the '50. The rangefinder (RF) 85mm short telephoto lenses designed for the early rangefinder Nikon (Nippon Kogaku) cameras were comprised of two versions, the Nikkor -P 1:2 f=8.5cm (85mm f/2.0) and another was an amazingly fast speed Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm (85mm f/1.5). The first version of the RF Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 lens was being released as early as back in 1948 . It was a popular lens during those days for the RF Nikon bodies.

Rangefinder RF Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 optical design Rangefinder RF Nikkor 85mm f/1.5 optical design
Most of the occupied and post occupation versions of the 8.5cm f/2.0 were produced in chrome bodied. Most of the later versions were in black. Optically, the 8.5cm RF Nikkor has a simple 5 elements design while the f/1.5 uses 7 elements. The optical bright line finders were available in both finishes too.

RF Nikkor 85mm f2.0 .jpg RF Nikkor 85mm f/1.5 telephoto lens RF Nikkor 85mm f/1.5_A.jpg
Credit: Image(s) of 85mm f/1.5 courtesy Camron8888 where I spotted these picture from his EBAY STORE. The 85mm f/2.0 was Emanuele Camera$@Ebay. All image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 non-Ai early Nikkor telephoto lens
The manual focus 85mm Nikkor telephoto lens designed for the Nikon reflex SLR photography was first released between 1964/5. The first model was probably the Non-Ai Auto Nikkor-H 85mm f=1.8. There was an interim model in 1973 which involved a round of facelift. During the pre-Ai period, were two models available for the short tele Nikkor lens. The followed up version appeared in 1973 has lens coating treated (indicated by a "C" with S/N 390001). The later 1975 version was a completely redesigned optic and it has NIC lens coating. A variant (shown above, 3rd from left) was offered as a variation. This could be the last of this series of the f/1.8 version as in 1977, where Nikon has revised the 85mm focal length with a slower maximum lens speed of f/2.0 instead of f/1.8.

<<<--- Early Reflex mount 85mm f/1.8 could has been released back in 1964. This photo shows an early prototype with a silver front filter ring.
Nikon's early 85mm f/1.8 non Ai telephoto lens

Pre Ai era Nikon's Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 telephoto lens

Nikon's 85mm f/1.8 telephoto lens Ai spec
The Ai -spec Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 was replaced with an Ai-S Nikkor 85mm f/2.0s in 1981- along with another fast speed Nikkor 85mm f/1.4S was being released for the first time. In 1983, there was also an alternate AF-Nikkor 80mm f/2.8S designed specifically for the Nikon F3AF as a companion lens to the AF Nikkor 200mm f/3.5 ED.
Nikon's manual focus (MF) Nikkor85mm f/2.0 Ai Nikon Ai-S 85mm f/2.0 medium telephoto lens

Fast speed Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 manual focus medium telephoto lens


seperator line

Nikon AF-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8s short telephoto lens
Marketed 1988; Discontinued: 1994

The first* autofocus version of Nikkor 85mm telephoto was introduced in 1988. The early batch of AF Nikkor lens group in 1986 did not had a provision for the 85mm focal length (there were only two telephotos, AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8S ED IF and AF Nikkor 300mm f/2.8S EDIF were being offered in the early AF-Nikkor lens batch). The reason was being, partly, Nikon has designed an AF Teleconverter TC-16A, which worked as a 1.6X Tele-Extender in its nature and when used it with a compatible Nikon AF SLR camera, the motor powered AF converter will "transform" a manual focus Nikkor lens to provide autofocusing function. This interim measure of the TC allowed the Nikon to buy some time in their intense research an development to gradually introducing other usable solutions for the AF Nikkor lenses. Whatever it is, during those early days - some may like the idea of an AF converter but most didn't as the TC-16AS will firstly, decrease the working aperture as well as multiplies the primary focal length of the lens in use. Eventually, the first dedicated Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S was only being released two years later in 1988 where it was about the same year Nikon F4 was introduced. Probably the two years of patience by photographers brought some justification as Nikon didn't took a short cut by converting the manual focus version straight into an autofocus outfit. This AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S telephoto lens was actually was designed from ground up. The most significant change was, other than it delivers autofocusing, it also has a marginally faster maximum lens speed of f/1.8 instead of the f/2.0 used by the manual focus.

AF80mmf451971.jpg (11k)
* NOTE:- Back in 1971, Nikon did showcased with a prototype AF Nikkor 80mm f/4.5 with a massive 15 elements in 9 groups design but it has never been marketed commercially. Yes. It was a produce during the mechanical Nikon F2 era ! Next, the 1983's AF Nikkor 80mm f/2.8S came close to this focal length of 85mm but it was a F3-AF specific lens and Nikon warned/advised not to mate the lens to use with any of the newer series of Nikon AF SLR bodies.

AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8s early autofocus version in 1988
Besides, the delay of launching this Nikkor AF telephoto lens could had brought some other benefit because it has little trace of the previously poor design as used on all those early generation of AF Nikkor lenses. The lens now has a widen manual focusing ring and a very well laid out lens functions. The overall finishing has improved considerably from previous AF Nikkor design as well. For those of you who likes to go into details; the minimum aperture lock of this early AF version still has a twist and lock design where the next upgraded version in 1994 uses a slide switch. The photo at the left illustrates a first version of this Nikkor telephoto (take a note with the minimum aperture lock at the bottom).

Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <shutterblade@comcast.net> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Other than the autofocusing, this non-D AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S has something unique in its design where the rear lens elements shift while focusing, and this has enabled the lens focusing mechanism to be operated in a very much faster and smoother. The optical system uses a very straight forward 6 elements in 6 groups design. Due to its commendable light gathering ability, the lens has a relatively lager dimension than the older MF version. Its picture angle is approx. 28° 30' (or narrow down to 18° 50' on a Nikon DX digital SLR format cameras and replicates as an approx. 127mm on Nikon digital SLR camera). It focuses down to 0.85m (approx. 36") and offers a maximum magnification ratio of approx. 1:9.2 which is average performer in this respect but as it was not designed as a close-up lens but rather as a short telephoto so, in a way, it does really matter much to us. However, other good points is, the lens diaphragm uses a 9 blades design which is useful for portraiture where it renders out of focus highlights more evenly and natural. While the maximum aperture of f/1.8 is one of its main asset as it can help to open some low available light photography, but a slight draw back is the minimum aperture where it has only offered a so-so f/16. The depth of field scales printed just under the distance scales window offer two settings of f/16 and f/11 respectively where personally, I thought if it has included a few more mid apertures would be better. The filter attachment size of this AF Nikkor short tele lens uses 62mm filters or accessories but good thing is, the front attachment thread is a non-rotating type, making use of front attaching accessories such as circular polarizer or even bellow units easier to operate. Together with this Nikkor telephoto, Nikon has designed a dedicated lens hood HN-23 for shooting in backlit to block out stray lights, the hood is not very extended but for most situations, it serves as a good accessory.

AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8s early autofocus version in 1988, rear section view

Credit: Images at far left and middle of this AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S courtesy of Mr. Martin from Photo-Bear@EBAY, Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers. Image of the inverse view at far right courtesy was provided by Laura Kornylak ® from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

Overall, with a compatible Nikon body, I would conclude this is a lovely short telephoto lens to use. The sample I tested at a good friend's outlet works smooth and steadily on my Nikon F5 where focused subject just snapped into focus almost instantly. The slight increase in its perspective compression and the moderately fast lens speed of f/1.8 makes available light photography such a pleasure to use (comparing to the zoom lens I tested). Weighing merely just 414g (14.6 oz), it balances very well on a borrowed Nikon F4 too but it is slightly out of balance on my old Nikon Nikon FM2/T but good thing is, it permits use on most older manual focus Nikon bodies (minimum Ai-Spec). It probably will make as a perfect companion with cameras such as power packed equipped Nikon F100, Nikon F80 or a comparable Nikon Digital SLR body. This original version of the 85mm tele-lens does not has distance chip within so, for Nikon autofocus SLR camera models which provides 3D Matrix Metering, it may not bring the best out of your camera - as only basic Matrix will be offered in such a combination (for MF Nikon users, you can just use it as if it is a MF Nikkor via the improved MF ring provided). Personally, the lens speed may not be as fast as the alternate f/1.4 version but it extends its reach to more photographers as has a more affordable price tag. By evaluating other factors such as portability, excellent lens handling with equaling optical properties, it makes a very good consideration as your prime short tele lens for your Nikon. Combining a very functional lens speed and a telephoto nature, this lens is most ideal to be used for backpacking, indoor / outdoor half length portraiture, stage and fashion, street candid as well as indoor sport photography. True enough, its potential awaits a creative photographer to unleash. For those who prefer full compatibility of a AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D, you may check the details at next chapter.

The wild monkies at Kuala Selangor's light house.. shoot against the sunset at The Straits of Malacca
A lone monkey sat atop of an old Canon at Kuala Selangor Light house against the sunset Straits of Malacca. For the photobugs, there are plenty here and free postings when ask for food .. hehe..

leofoo® for my Khathulistiwa (Tropical belt) Project.

Technical Specification for AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S short telephoto lens:-

Type of lense: Autofocus/Manual focus Nikkor fixed focal lens with built-in CPU and Nikon bayonet mount
Focal length: 35mm; Maximum aperture: f/1.8; Minimum Aperture: f/16
Lens construction: 6 elements in 6 groups
Picture angle: 28° 30' (35mm);
18° 50' Nikon DX digital SLR format cameras (approx. 127mm)
Diaphragm: Fully automatic,
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 0.85m (36"') to infinity (OO)
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system
NOT POSSIBLE for this Non-D version.

Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S early version with lens cap and metal lens hood HN-23
AF 85mm f/1.8 with HN-23 metal lens hood.

Credit: Image courtesy at left hand side of Laura Kornylak ® <shutterblade@comcast.net> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Image of the HN-23 mounted AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S courtesy of Mr. Martin from Photo-Bear@EBAY, Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers.

Aperture scale: f/1.8 to f/16 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Metering Coupling Prong: -none
Depth of Field Scales: provided for f/11, f/16 only
Reproduction ratio: 1:9.2 maximum
Minimum aperture lock: Provided, Twist and press to lock type

Lens Coating: NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating possibly for early versions; SIC for newer models)
Exposure measurement: Via full-aperture method for Ai cameras or cameras with CPU interface system; No distance info relaying
Filter Rotation: NO; Infra Index: Provided
No. of diaphragm: 9 blades
Mount: Nikon bayonet mount with CPU contacts; Attachment size: 62mm (P=0.75mm)
Dimensions: Approx.71mm x 58.5mm (69mm from the flange)
Weight: Approx. 414g

Portrait by Randy Meyer
Credit: Image courtesy of RANDY Meyers, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Supplied accessories: Screw in HN-23 metal hood, front lens cap (62mm), rear lens cap LF-1. Optional accessories: Lens case CL-15S
Other info:
Circular polarizing filter: Usable; Circular polarizing filter II: Usable (also with dedicated Lens Hood HN-23); AF-3: Usable. (2); AF-4 Usable. (4): Indicates maximum number of usable hoods (HN-36 for AF-3/HN-37 for AF-4): Usable teleconverters: TC-201S, TC-14AS, TC-16AS

Serial numbers: 200001 < 201800 - 307925 > Reference: Roland Vink's lens data sheet.

| NEXT | 1/3 Nikon AF-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D short telephoto lens Marketed 1994; Discontinued: ~ Still a current model as at 2006

Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S | AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D | AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF | PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D

RELATIVE:- Manual Focus Nikkor Lenses at 85mm focal length : | Early non-AI versions | pre-AI versions | Late 1970 | Early 1980 - present: Nikkor 85mm f/1.4s ; 85mm f/2.0s | AF-Nikkor 80mm f/2.8 for Nikon F3AF

Main Index Page - Autofocus Nikkor lenses

| Message Board | for your Nikkor Optics in a shared environment
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Nikon MF RF-Nikkor lenses for Rangefinder cameras:- Main Index Page
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Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:-
Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |

Nikkor Link.jpg   Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm


MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

Recommended Reading Reference on Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses | about this photographic web site

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Credit: To all the good people who has contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough granting us permission to use their images appeared in this site Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.