Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G £1180, $1600
A favourite with the pros thanks to its performance and reliability, it’s Nikon’s go-to portrait lens
Not just a revamp of Nikon’s classic 85mm f/1.4 D-mount lens, which is still available, this G-series optic was a completely new design when it was launched four years ago. It boasts a nine-blade diaphragm, plus Nano Crystal Coating for reducing ghosting and flare. Unlike the older D-mount version, it also features ringtype ultrasonic autofocus, rather than relying on AF drive from the host camera (which is absent in bodies like the D3300 and D5300).
In keeping with the upmarket price and fully professional aspirations of this lens, build quality is superb. The tough yet lightweight magnesium alloy barrel is fitted with weather seals, and the manual focus ring feels incredibly precise. It’s about the same size as the Samyang and Sigma 85mm lenses on test, but rather lighter in weight than the Sigma, at 595g compared with 725g.
Autofocus speed and reliability, as well as image quality, are in keeping with the premium build, making this an excellent lens in every respect. It’s sharper than the Samyang and Sigma 85mm lenses at f/1.4, and one of the sharpest lenses in the group at medium apertures. However, the Sigma is better value at just over half the price.