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Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Review

Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S Review - John Riley reviews Nikon's new Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 for Z-mount mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7.

| Nikon NIKKOR Z 85MM F/1.8 S in Interchangeable Lenses

Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Review: Nikkor Z 85mm F1,8S Front Oblique View

We have already reviewed the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 and Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 full frame lenses for the new Nikon Z system cameras. Both were found to be exceptional performers, duly picking up the accolade of Editor's Choice. As the system expands and the choice of lenses widens, the continuation of this high standard will be crucial to its success, so it is with great interest that we now look at the new Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8S, using the 45.4MP Nikon Z7 camera body. Can Nikon do it again? We find out....


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Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Handling and Features

Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Review: Nikkor Z 85mm F1,8S On NikonZ7 No Hood

First impression is of a well made, very understated lens in terms of appearance, it being little more than a tube with one control ring and an AF/MF switch. It weighs a modest 470g, is dust and water-resistant and has nano crystal coatings that enable us to peer into the front element and clearly see the 9 bladed diaphragm. The diaphragm is electronic, as on all recent Nikkor lenses, making the operation smooth, silent and accurate. This is ideal for videographers in particular.

There is a provided bayonet fit lens hood, another simple tube that matches the lens itself perfectly. This clips firmly into place and has no tendency whatsoever to be accidentally shifted. Within the bayonet fit is a standard 67mm filter thread.

The manual focusing ring is very broad and allows for excellent grip. It is electronic and totally silent in operation, but it is more than that as it can be programmed to adjust focus (full time), aperture or exposure compensation; all silently and so having excellent potential for video shooting as well as stills. The focusing range extends down to 0.80m, or 2.62 feet, a maximum magnification of 0.12x or 1:8.3. This is marginally closer than some traditional 85mm lenses, but not by a hugely significant amount. It is an excellent focal length and focus distance for flattering portraits.

Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Review: Nikkor Z 85mm F1,8S On NikonZ7 With Hood

Optical construction is 12 elements in 8 groups, including 2 ED (Extra Low Dispersion). This relatively simple formula is no doubt possible because the maximum aperture has been held to f/1.8, rather than the increasingly used f/1.4. The benefits are lower cost, but mainly a much lighter and more compact lens. This is far more in keeping with the supposed ethos of a mirrorless system than adding a monster of a lens to a svelte body.

This reduced size and weight is well received and makes carrying the kit so much easier for longer periods. This is obviously ideal in travel situations, but can be appreciated for other photographic areas. The lens is so simple, but works superbly well and is a pleasure to shoot with.

Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Review: Nikkor Z 85mm F1,8S Rear Oblique View

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JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 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.
stevedigip Avatar
13 Oct 2019 11:18AM
This is a wonderful lens - very happy with it!

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