Information on Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 short-Telephoto Lens

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Manual Focus Nikkor 85mm f/2.0s Telephoto lens (also please check the autofocus AF Nikkor 85mm telephoto lens group)

An excellent choice as your first telephoto lens. The original version of this Nikkor telephoto lens, can be dated back to Nikon rangefinder days, carried with it a rich and colorful background in the course of development of Nikon 35mm photographic system. I remembered once there was a gentleman wrote me a mail to protest and claimed I didn't featured this lens truthfully in an earlier attempt to create an article relates to this lens and he commented my ignorance as this Nikkor lens is one "best hidden secret" among the many lenses you can find in the Nikkor lens family. I cannot argue too much, because generally speaking, virtually all telephoto lenses in the Nikkor lens family are capable of delivering top rated optical excellence and they are usually also have excellent built quality. I have never doubt the Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 here is capable of matching any other top rated telephoto lenses produced by Nikon or even compared to lenses made by rivaling brands in delivering top notch optical results.

The Ai-Spec series of this 85mm telephoto lens was first Introduced in 1977 while the last series of this manual focus version carries an Ai-S lens spec where it was introduced during late August, 1981. However, there are little difference in lens specifications for both of these series as the Ai-S lens was a direct upgrade from the AI version. Both versions are solidly built and like other Nikkor lenses produced those days, the quality feel is all over. The lens coating of its front lens element has a deeply pinkish cast, it clearly distinguishes itself from the previous AI version which has a greenish lens coating.

Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <> 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.

Optically, both series of this Nikkor 85mm lens have similar optical design of 5 elements in 5 groups. And they even weigh similarly at 310g. A designing flaw with this lens is the lack of a built in lens hood. Instead, It is supplied with a Snap-On lens HS-10 hood which can be stored in the reverse position when the lens is not in use. The reason of the omission could be the length of a built-in hood may not be effective to shield off stray light entering the lens elements as the depth of the possible design was restricted by the physical length of the lens and thus, Nikon resorted back to Snap-On lens hood design. Note: The original reflex version of this lens introduced in 1964 did provided a built-in telescopic type of lens hood. This lovely telephoto lens can close focus to a minimum distance at 0.85m, which is similar to the f/1.4 version in this respect. However, this lens is not provided with a CRC system in its design that used in the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 lens. Other than that, it has a standard 52mm filter attachment size and hence providing a great compatibility with many other cheaper and readily available 52mm standard lens accessories in the Nikon photographic system.

monkies at play.jpg (38k) Loading ....
The Proboscis Monkeys at play at virgin forest in Borneo Island, East Malaysia

Focal length of 85mm can be used for wide varieties of subjects such as even wildlife observation etc. Sometimes, sharpness does not matter at all ... Image by
Michael Patrick Wong, the Awards winning Video/Photographer contributing some of his images for my Khatulistiwa@Malaysia <> Project - my privately-funded environmental project.

Although this great manual focus telephoto lens does faced a difficult position to find a footing amidst the AF-evolution especially when a faster AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 lens was announced and started marketing in 1988. However, despite with such "intrusion" of the AF counterpart, this compact Nikkor manual focus telephoto lens still be able to find a way to be remained in Nikon product sales listing until year 1994 - that clearly show how much Nikon itself has treasure and rated this lens themselves ! However, when the AF-D Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 lens with an distance chip incorporated within its design for more complex form of exposure and metering require in many of the modern Nikon AF SLRs, this delightful manual focus 85mm telephoto lens was eventually being phased out in the year 1995.

Technical Highlights: * A classic lens for portraiture either indoor or outdoor. Has enjoy a fine reputation for its excellent sharpness and a clear favorite among many Nikon followers. * Fairly large f/2 maximum aperture is very helpful in shooting indoor sports or stage productions in dim light. * Subtle blurring of the background for beautifully natural and evocative pictures. * Exceptionally compact and light for a telephoto lens. * Focuses down to a close 0.85m (3 ft.). * Supplied with a Snap-On lens hood which can be stored in the reverse position. * Takes popular 52mm filters.

Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <> 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.
85mmf2 AI lens.jpg 85mmf2optic.gif

Focal length/Aperture:
85mm f/2.0
Lens construction: 5 elements in 5 groups
Picture angle: 28°30'; Diaphragm: Automatic

Aperture scale: f/2 - f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
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 (3 ft.) to infinity (
oo); Weight: 310g
Dimensions: 63mm dia. x 60.5mm long (overall); 52.5mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 52mm front screw-in; Front lens cap: Snap-On
Lens hood: HS-10 Snap-On type; Lens case: CL-31-S hard leatherette, No. 61 soft pouch, or CP-8 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. NOTE: Serial Numbers of this version was believed to have been started with 270001 for this Ai-S version and 175111 for the Ai version. * Paul Howard has rporte"... My model is definately Ai-S with orange lens coating and Ai-S original mount and the Serial Number is: 256103 >..".

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/2.8 for F3AF

Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <> 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.

Relative: -
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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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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Credit: MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites; Lars Holst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; Ted Wengelaar, Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; Hiura Shinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. Lastly, to all the good people who has contributed their own expeience, resources or kind enough granted permission to use their images of their respective optic in this site. It is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets & brochures published by Nikon 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.