Nikon AF-S 85mm f/3.5 Lens Review

This Nikon AF-S 85mm f/3.5 DX VRII ED G lens is used with both my D80 and my D5100, mostly the latter. I had done quite a bit of review and article reading about many Nikon, Tokina, Sigma and Tamron f/2.8 aperture prime lenses in the 60mm to 105mm range for my macro work, and then I literally stumbled on this beauty and became intrigued by it, the more I read. While only a semi-pro, I do have the desire to capture artistic images.

Irregular Curve MumI do a lot of macro photography with flowers. I have taken many excellent close-up shots earlier with my 18-105mm as well as more recently with my 18-200mm, but I find that the consistency of obtaining truly crisp images is nowhere near what this 85mm lens will do for me. The yield of top quality shots is a much higher percentage, as it should be.

Nikon 85mm 3.5The auto focus is definitely fast and very sharp and this lens produces outstanding color and has a very nice bokeh. The VR function works exceptionally well for me in AF mode. I do have pretty steady hands and find that I rarely need to use a tripod for my flower macro work to obtain striking results. I even did a test, taking a dozen or so handheld shots and a similar number of tripod shots. I could really not see a difference until I was at home on my 23 inch monitor and started seriously zooming in on specific stamens. Then I could see a slight difference. Do keep in mind, however, that the images were not taken in low light, but fairly well-lit botanical gardens. Having said all of that regarding AF mode, I find I do need the tripod in manual. However, since I end up with such crisp shots in AF I find I am rarely using MF.

Crimson Tide MumThe build quality seems quite good. Yes, lots of plastic, but that is what we live with nowadays except for the most expensive options available. The bright side of that is the weight is quite minimal and it does not feel cheap. Using the 85mm with my D5100 is a real pleasure. If you don’t have $1,000 to spend on a higher quality lens, and need a very good DX macro lens, this is certainly one to consider. I highly recommend this lens.

Over For Now.

Main Street One