Image © Nikon Corporation

The AF-S 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor could easily be lost among the D4 announcement, but ironically, due to cost and popular specification, it is probably of more interest to a greater number of Nikon users as a whole.

I of course reserve judgement until I have shot with it enough, but what I can say is that it is light, very user friendly to handle and will sit well across numerous Nikon bodies.

It uses the rear element focus design that its AFD predecessor does. I remember launching that lens over twenty years ago and a fine performer it is as I often tell people on my workshops, but it was due for a rework.

But apart from the weight  I think users will also like the manual focus feel, still that crucial tool that many sadly today neglect. It has the resistance that makes for example,  focusing on an in a portrait eye such a delight.

AF is very rewarding also, so all round my first impressions are very good. And for a lens that has such a good wide maximum aperture, although the filter attachment size has increased to 67mm (from 62mm on the AF 85mm f/1.8D, it remains comfortable to use. Here are the official details:

AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G — Master of Character

RRP: £469.99 / €554.00
Sales start date: 22nd March 12 (tbc)

London, UK, 6th January 12:          Nikon today announces a new fast aperture medium-telephoto lens – the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G.

The combination of the classic focal length, large (f/1.8) aperture and re-designed optical system that meets the requirements of today’s D-SLRs, delivers superb image quality whilst offering photographers an affordable way to take advantage of Nikon’s rich legacy of renowned 85mm NIKKOR optics.

Kentaro Kusakari, Product Planning Manager, Nikon UK says: “This new lens is ideal for photographers looking to experience the benefits of a fast medium-telephoto lens, whether they are shooting portraits in a studio or on location making the most of natural light.”

Classic character
The classic 85 mm focal length allows for tight head and shoulder shots with extreme detail. The fast f/1.8 aperture perfectly balances sharpness and bokeh, so you can single out subjects beautifully, and it provides a bright viewfinder image that makes it easier to compose your shots. An excellent choice when shooting in low light, the fast aperture also helps you shoot with available light and still capture striking, sharp images.

New optical design
The new 85mm f1.8 lens is an ideal portrait lens that features an all-new optical design that has been optimised to meet the requirements of today’s D-SLRs. Compromising 9 elements in 9 groups, it offers superb image quality and makes an attractive choice for videographers. The dedicated Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures discreet but accurate autofocus.

Weighing in at only 350 grams, this weather-sealed compact new 85mm lens is lighter than its predecessors. Compatible with Nikon FX-format D-SLRs, it offers a 127.5mm (equivalent) focal length when used with Nikon DX-format D-SLRs, and is fully compatible with entry level D-SLRs that do not have a built in autofocus motor.

The lens is supplied with a lens hood HB-62, and a soft pouch CL-1015.

End. (06/01/12).