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Author Topic: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography  (Read 6983 times)

adpix

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Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« on: February 24, 2015, 08:55:02 pm »

Does anyone using the Nikon 800 series have experience with the 85mm/1.8 G lens in the photography of art or other flat subjects?

The Nikon micro 60mm/2.8 D on a D810 gives a disappointing image. As an alternative, I turned to the Nikon 45 and 85 PC lenses, and I am quite impressed with their resolution and color rendition. But I was wondering if the 85/1.8 might combine (or surpass) these virtues, and also give more of a "flat field" effect that resulted in better edge detail.

Thanks,  Bill Jackson
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Caslon

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 11:57:56 pm »

The 85G is an excellent lens on the 800 series camera.
The 60mm micro is a great lens too, it's all about how they are used.

The question is 'what do want to use it for'?
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adpix

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 12:53:13 am »

Sorry, but I thought I had said that I wonder how well it would photograph paintings, in terms of edge resolution and color fidelity.  My tests have suggested that the 60mm D Micro I own is wanting  in these respects. That is why I am now using the the 45mm and 85mm PC lenses. But I wonder if the G lenses are even better. Thanks.
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Conner999

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 07:40:30 am »

I've not used the 1.8G, but the 85mm 1.4G is my most used and loved. I would hazard that any lens with strong performance through to the edges and no field curvature, little distortion and where you don't get in the way of your lights would do well. 

If willing to go manual focus, the comparable-cost but #$%^ stellar Voigtlander 90/3.5 APO in Nikon mount would do an amazing job. There are other more costly options of course such as the Zeiss 135 APo (amazing), the Zeiss 100/2, etc, etc.
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NancyP

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2015, 10:07:38 am »

Ooooo! I enjoy MF lenses. More to the point, unless I am photographing action, I default to MF, being of a certain age. Is the 90mm apo Voigtlander really apochromatic and really sharp, on the level of the Canon EF 100 f/2.8L macro? Is it pretty small and light? I have been thinking about adding a short telephoto to my primes kit.
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adpix

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2015, 11:12:19 am »

Thanks for the good suggestions.  I am leaning towards the Nikon 85mm 1.8, but it seems to be on backorder at all the mega-retailers. 

Would you say that the "G" lens offers better color than the "D" version that preceded it? I appreciate the  superior resolution, but color can be an ineffable and subjective quality that is not easily rated in lens tests.  Yet painters stress it is their price concern.  (This concern with color is rather ironic, because my own art photography is nearly monochromatic.)

By way of background, I'm a former advertising shooter who turned to art photography;  and my introduction to the art community has led painters to my studio for catalog images. 
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dwswager

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2015, 11:22:51 am »

Does anyone using the Nikon 800 series have experience with the 85mm/1.8 G lens in the photography of art or other flat subjects?

The Nikon micro 60mm/2.8 D on a D810 gives a disappointing image. As an alternative, I turned to the Nikon 45 and 85 PC lenses, and I am quite impressed with their resolution and color rendition. But I was wondering if the 85/1.8 might combine (or surpass) these virtues, and also give more of a "flat field" effect that resulted in better edge detail.

Thanks,  Bill Jackson


The 85mm f1.8G is a great performer at it's price point.  It has significantly better resolution in the borders and corners than the 85mm f/1.8D.  It also seems to have very limited barrel distortion in the flat field tests.

Photozone Test on D3x
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David Anderson

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2015, 08:18:55 pm »

I've done a fair bit of flat copy art shots of prints and paintings with the D800e and the newer 60 macro.
It's a pairing that works very well IMHO.
The 85G is a great lens as well, but I think the 60 is an easier lens to work with for flat copy.
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LKaven

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2015, 10:09:32 pm »

The 85G is a great lens as well, but I think the 60 is an easier lens to work with for flat copy.

According to photozone.de:

Nikon 85/1.8g

http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/606-nikkorafs8514ff?start=1

Nikon 60/2.8g Micro

http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/656-nikkor6028gfx?start=1

The 85/1.8g is just stunningly sharp out to the corners, as the tests show (see page 2 of the reviews).  This suggests that the 85 has a good flat field in order to achieve these numbers.  And it's distortion level is quite low, very nearly as low as the 60/2.8g Micro. 

kers

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 03:38:38 am »

I can tell you that the 1.4G 85mm has a very flat field of sharpness ( @ 20M @f1.4 already- do no know what happens closer)
It is sharper than the 85mm PCE-
the 1.8G lens i do not have...
Also i find it hard to imagine the 60mm macro is not up to this task- @d8 it should do the job...
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Pieter Kers
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Conner999

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2015, 02:28:43 pm »

Nancy -

The 90 CV is tiny, very well made (made by same manufacturer as Zeiss's 100/2, etc), buttery smooth focus and if not true APO very, very close - as good (or better) as any of the Leica R APO glass I've owned over the years on digital (e.g 100/2.8, 90/2, 180/2, 180/2.8, etc). The rare CV 180/4 APO (also owned) may be a hair better in terms of CA control and while the CV 125/2.5 macro APO (owned as well) has great image quality, I never loved the mechanics - too long a focus throw (for me) for anything but macro work.

Put it this way, I compared a CV 90 APO years ago against a Leica R 90/2 APO that I owned, both mounted on a 5D. I sold the Leica a week later.  I could not tell the test shots apart - and the CV had better CA control.  The 90CV is one of my fave lenses on both Canon and (now) Nikon and lives up to the demands of the D800e easily. The images have great 'clarity' or transparency due to color control.
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adpix

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2015, 04:12:27 pm »

I posted the original query about the suitability of Nikon's 85mm/1.8 G for art photography.  By the time I decided to spring for one, they were sold out at the major retailers.  Hence the delay in reporting on my findings.  I finally got one this week, and  found that it was not really worth the wait.  While it's reasonably sharp out towards the corners, the lens renders colors as somewhat tepid, at least on the painting I shot as a test with my D810.  My Nikon 45mm PC yields far richer hues and subtle tints, with satisfactory sharpness.  So there I will stay.

On the handholding front, I must sheepishly admit that I am loosing my grip.  I had just assumed that all lenses from Nikon now came with VR, and the 85mm 1.8 does not. So I will have to relearn the grip zen that I had let slide.  I think my body quiver might be tempered if the lens were a bit heftier.  It is very light. 

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Jim Kasson

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2015, 05:06:13 pm »

I posted the original query about the suitability of Nikon's 85mm/1.8 G for art photography.  By the time I decided to spring for one, they were sold out at the major retailers.  Hence the delay in reporting on my findings.  I finally got one this week, and  found that it was not really worth the wait.  While it's reasonably sharp out towards the corners, the lens renders colors as somewhat tepid, at least on the painting I shot as a test with my D810.  My Nikon 45mm PC yields far richer hues and subtle tints, with satisfactory sharpness.  So there I will stay.

If you decide to try again with an 85 or 90, here's a test of five medium teles on the D810. I didn't use a flat target, though.

By the way, I've never encountered a lens color cast that was constant across the frame and couldn't be calibrated out.

Jim

ACH DIGITAL

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2015, 08:33:39 pm »

I used to have a macro 60 D. Really bad lens. Now I have the 60mm Macro G lens and is sky high compare to the D version.

I use it fro food and products with very good results.

I have the 85 1.8 G lens too and is superb, but as it is not a macro lens I use it for exterior photography more than anything.

Having used the 105mm Macro G lens I can tell you that is astonishing for this type of work.

Maybe the combination of the 60 G and the 105 G would do the job.
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Antonio Chagin
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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2015, 02:36:30 pm »

Thanks for your fact-filled replies

Jim, that's a very useful comparison of the high-end short telephoto lenses.  My ironic response is that the Otus might have too much "presence" and resolution for the photography of fine art.  I have heard painters complain that such lenses draw  attention to the "granular" elements of their work, whereas a softer image better expresses the emotional impact.  In fact, I recently had a painter prefer that his work be shot with the D810 at ISO 400 rather than ISO 64.  And this at more a major New York gallery. 

But for my own fine art photography, I lust after the Otus 

ACH, thanks for the endorsement of the 60mm G Macro.  That's where I may go next.  While some reviewers have been tepid in their evaluations, the clarity and colors on your website certainly validate the lens for my commercial needs. 

Perhaps I should mention that when I knock around the country doing my own fine art shooting, I prefer one of two sets of Nikon lenses:  the PC series of 24, 45 and 85mm or the basic zooms of 24mm-120mm/f4 VR and the 70mm-200mm/f4 VR (especially when I can't use use a tripod).   Thanks.   
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jduncan

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2015, 12:13:24 pm »

Thanks for your fact-filled replies

Jim, that's a very useful comparison of the high-end short telephoto lenses.  My ironic response is that the Otus might have too much "presence" and resolution for the photography of fine art.  I have heard painters complain that such lenses draw  attention to the "granular" elements of their work, whereas a softer image better expresses the emotional impact.  In fact, I recently had a painter prefer that his work be shot with the D810 at ISO 400 rather than ISO 64.  And this at more a major New York gallery. 

But for my own fine art photography, I lust after the Otus 

ACH, thanks for the endorsement of the 60mm G Macro.  That's where I may go next.  While some reviewers have been tepid in their evaluations, the clarity and colors on your website certainly validate the lens for my commercial needs. 

Perhaps I should mention that when I knock around the country doing my own fine art shooting, I prefer one of two sets of Nikon lenses:  the PC series of 24, 45 and 85mm or the basic zooms of 24mm-120mm/f4 VR and the 70mm-200mm/f4 VR (especially when I can't use use a tripod).   Thanks.   

Hi,
This is an interesting inside (the 400 iso and why) . I will not have expected it (when reproducing clasical art you want each stroke each substrate detail etc). So I will give a confidence mark to both forum suggestions: the 60mm macro and the 85mm f1.8G. 

For your personal work I will suggest the nikon  200mm f4.0 it's super sharp, and can do macro, it is light (for a 200mm) and not that expensive. The working space is the issue with this one. The tamrom 90 f2.8 is great and super sharp, and working distance is more flexible. Also price is very good.
The manual focus Ziess 135mm f2.0  is a lens that get far less credit than it deserves. It's sharp and "light" and beautiful.  It's twice as expensive as the 200mm.

Best regards,

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kers

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2015, 02:41:01 pm »

... My ironic response is that the Otus might have too much "presence" and resolution for the photography of fine art.  I have heard painters complain that such lenses draw  attention to the "granular" elements of their work, whereas a softer image better expresses the emotional impact.  In fact, I recently had a painter prefer that his work be shot with the D810 at ISO 400 rather than ISO 64...

The problem you mention i think is that just the sharpening is set too high and too much on detail.
With these very sharp lenses you need to apply less sharpening and contrast in the (RAW)software.
64 asa makes the image softer (more tones) not harder and prevents the introduction of digital grain...
So no i cannot understand this reasoning...


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Pieter Kers
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adpix

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2015, 05:27:57 pm »

I agree that the preference for ISO 400 sounds counter factual to a photographer, but painters may see things differently (as my wife the artist  tells me nearly every day). As creators of art rather than art historians, they may prefer photographs that sacrifice the sharp detail and subtle color passage to the overall composition and big idea of the canvas. They want the image to reflect their emotional investment in the work and the emotional response they hope to provoke.  And remember that the goal of most art photography is to advertise, promote and sell the piece. A little hype, a little exaggeration is acceptable to many painters if it draws attention to the work, in a marketplace from which too many are shut out. Finally, there was no sharpening applied to the images where the artist preferred ISO 400 to ISO 64.
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kers

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2015, 08:44:28 pm »

I agree that the preference for ISO 400 sounds counter factual to a photographer, but painters may see things differently (as my wife the artist  tells me nearly every day). As creators of art rather than art historians, they may prefer photographs that sacrifice the sharp detail and subtle color passage to the overall composition and big idea of the canvas. They want the image to reflect their emotional investment in the work and the emotional response they hope to provoke.  And remember that the goal of most art photography is to advertise, promote and sell the piece. A little hype, a little exaggeration is acceptable to many painters if it draws attention to the work, in a marketplace from which too many are shut out. Finally, there was no sharpening applied to the images where the artist preferred ISO 400 to ISO 64.

well, of course -the artist is always right; it is their work.
me myself, i also like the old uncoated lenses - sharp but also soft... (do not use them with backlight!)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 08:46:43 pm by kers »
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Pieter Kers
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LKaven

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Re: Nikon 85mm /1.8 G for art photography
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2015, 09:25:19 pm »

As creators of art rather than art historians, they may prefer photographs that sacrifice the sharp detail and subtle color passage to the overall composition and big idea of the canvas. They want the image to reflect their emotional investment in the work and the emotional response they hope to provoke. 

You might like the 28 f/2 AI for its particular way of rendering mid-level detail.  It is plenty sharp enough for a D800, but not clinically "sharp".  It has a more "painterly" character, and I've used it happily with a few paintings. 
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