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Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Review - Performance

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Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Performance

Sharpness is quite remarkable and is in fact outstanding, both centre and edge, all the way from f/1.8 through to f/8. It is still evenly matched at f/11 and f/16, centre and edge, where results are excellent. Simply put, use any aperture and images will be gorgeously crisp all over the image field.


Nikon NIKKOR Z 85MM f/1.8 S MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution and sharpness as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon Z7 using Imatest. Want to know more about how we review lenses?


CA (Chromatic Aberration) is virtually banished at the centre of the field, even with all in-camera corrections switched off. The figures approach zero. The edges also measure extremely low values, so CA is just not a problem at any level.


Nikon NIKKOR Z 85MM f/1.8 S Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon Z7 using Imatest.


Distortion measures +0.27% barrel, also a very low value, making the lens extremely suitable for architectural shots, or indeed any shots where straight lines at the edge of the frame are required to be rendered straight.

With such high sharpness, sometimes lenses can look a little severe in terms of bokeh, but the Nikkor does not fall into that trap. Bokeh can be described as creamy, ultra-smooth or having lovely gradation, but it all amounts to the same thing, a lens that renders out of focus areas with a beautiful smoothness.

Flare resistance is excellent, with no artefacts and only a very slight loss of contrast when shooting right into bright light sources.

Vignetting is well held at just -1.7 stops of corner darkening at f/1.8, reducing to -1.6 at f/2 and thereafter to around -1.4 stops for the rest of the aperture range. This is also an excellent performance, and what darkening remains can be either removed in software or used to advantage to help concentrate our eyes on the centre of the image. This will work well for portraiture in particular.

In summary, this is a superb overall performance, right in the top league of lenses.


Nikon NIKKOR Z 85MM f/1.8 S Sample Photos


Nikon NIKKOR Z 85MM f/1.8 S Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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JackAllTog Plus
11 6.1k 58 United Kingdom
24 Sep 2019 5:03PM
Interesting point thanks that the focus ring can also be configured to be aperture or EV adjustments whe in AF mode.
13 Oct 2019 11:18AM
This is a wonderful lens - very happy with it!

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