Best 85mm Lenses For Nikon – 2019 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

No wonder photographers reach out for an 85mm lens to create some beautiful portraits. With its ideal focal length, an 85mm lens allows you to bring the features, expressions, and personality of a subject to life in a still image.

The most peculiar thing about this lens is its focus, which offers a complex and interesting relationship with the background.

In this guide, we have presented some of the best 85mm lenses for your Nikon camera that will certainly carry out the most reliable results.

Comparison Chart of the Best 85mm Lenses For Nikon

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

  • Silent wave motor to allow silent operation
  • Super integrated coating makes it highly durable
  • Considered as the best overall for its fast and sharp aperture
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Rokinon 85MAF-N 85mm F1.4

  • 72mm filter thread to provide exotic images
  • With a great aperture range, this is the runner-up
  • Manual focus to allow adjustments according to your desire
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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM

  • Compatible with a range of Nikon bodies
  • 9 diaphragm blades to improve the quality
  • With advanced features like a hypersonic motor, this is the best for the money
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G

  • An ultra-fast lens having a nano-crystal coating
  • 77mm filter thread to give stunning photographs
  • Allows a quick change between manual and autofocus operation
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Samyang SY85MAE-N 85mm F1.4

  • 72mm filter thread to provide high-quality pictures
  • Maximum aperture of f/1.4 to give faultless images
  • Fixed focal length suitable for full-frame photography
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What Does 85mm Lens Mean?

85mm lens is a group of prime telephoto lenses, featuring a fixed focal length of 85mm. This means it does not have a zoom ring and indicates the focal length on the lens barrel. 85mm is a relatively large focal length and allows you to take some creative shots. These lenses are a bit longer than others and, therefore, quite easy to identify.

The minimum focusing distance of the 85mm lens is 2.8ft, which means you need to stand further away from the subject while making a shot. The wide aperture and decreased depth of field results in creating a creamy and blurry bokeh effect.

What is an 85mm Lens Good For?

85mm lenses are used by professionals and semi-professionals for adding an incredible effect to their pictures. With its fixed focal length, this lens limits any distortion and adds an artistic blur to your photograph.

Exquisite Bokeh Effect

The 85mm lenses are well-known for creating some stunning bokeh and compression effects in your pictures. It does so by making the background appear closer and allowing the object to stand out at the same time.

Street Photography

Another use of 85mm lenses is in street photography. Their wide aperture makes them highly efficient, even in low-light conditions. With these lenses, you can easily frame visual elements of a view, making it ideal for street photography.

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G 

Wedding Photography

Being one of the fastest lenses available today, the 85mm lenses are quite suitable for wedding photography. The wide and sharp aperture allows you to capture beautiful shots during a wedding ceremony.

Portraits

85mm is considered to be the ideal length for portrait photography and is therefore quite popular among portrait photographers. The main reason for the 85mm lens’ popularity is its ability to maintain closeness to your object without resulting in any distortion. Having negligible distortion and chromatic aberration are the main concerns of most photographers out there.

How Do I Choose an 85mm Lens?

While investing in an 85mm lens, you need to be careful about picking the right one. This is extremely important in order to bring value to your purchase. Therefore, we have listed a few features that must not be overlooked while selecting your ideal product.

Sturdy Construction

Perhaps the most prominent feature of a great 85mm lens is quality construction. It is essential to look for a lens that is made from high-quality materials and comes from a reputed brand. This way, it is likely to last for a longer period of time compared to one composed of cheaper material.

Weather-Proof

Another feature to look for is the weather-resistant capability of the lens. Go for a model that is dustproof, waterproof, and can easily endure harsh conditions. These benefits dramatically enhance the reliability and durability of the product.

Ease of Use

This feature is quite important for beginners, as they might get confused while working for the first time. Therefore, always look for a lens that does not require manual settings and results in amazing pictures.

Budget-Friendly

Not everybody can afford to spend much money on a lens; therefore, this feature is quite crucial for such people. Always pick a lens that is offered at a reasonable price with almost all essential features.

Quick Take - Best 85mm Lenses For Nikon

Before we dive into our review, here are the best 85mm lenses for Nikon:

  1. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  2. Rokinon 85MAF-N 85mm F1.4
  3. ​Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM

Review of the Best 85mm Lenses For Nikon Cameras

Now that we are done discussing the features you should always take into consideration whenever you set out to purchase a lens, let’s start the detailed reviews of our top picks currently available on the market.

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Autofocus is quite fast
  • Compact design that is highly portable
  • Capable of producing superbly sharp images
  • Comes with a lens hood to mark the perfection
  • Composed of high-quality materials to offer robust construction

CONS

  • Made of plastic, not metal
  • Bokeh effect is not impressive
  • Might face some chromatic distortion

What Recent Buyers Report

This best overall product has succeeded in winning the confidence of many customers out there. They like this model for its fast and smooth operation, which gives excellent images under any conditions. Moreover, users report that with this lens, you can manually adjust the focus according to your desire.

Why it Stands Out to Us

An all-arounder, the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G stands out from its rivals for a number of reasons. It comes with sturdy construction that can survive a drop on concrete. Similarly, the autofocus is very fast and yet silent, thanks to the silent wave motor. Moreover, it is lightweight and incorporated with a weather-sealed mounting plate to ensure reliability.

Who Will Use This Most

Weighing a modest 350g, this model is an ideal choice for anyone who does not want to add much weight to their luggage while going on an adventurous trip. Since it has fast autofocus and also allows you to adjust the manual focus, this lens is perfect for anyone who likes to take control during photography.

Bottom Line

A powerhouse of features, the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G is a compact and lightweight lens that perfectly suits a Nikon body to give you vibrant images in no time. With fast and silent autofocus in addition to a weather-resistant design, this lens will never wrong its user.

Rokinon 85MAF-N 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Nikon with Automatic Chip (Black)

PROS

  • Great sharpness and contrast
  • Nice aperture range to choose from
  • UMC multi-layer coating to avoid any flare
  • Attractive design with an appealing appearance
  • High-quality construction to serve you in the long run

CONS

  • Focusing can be hard at times
  • Does not work well with EXIF data
  • Aperture ring blacks out the viewfinder

What Recent Buyers Report

Users have many positive reviews about this product for providing them a wonderful experience. It is much admired for its image quality and best tone rendering, which adds a beautiful contrast to the pictures. Moreover, its users report that it has a robust construction that is meant to serve long.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Rokinon 85MAF-N 85mm F1.4 is surely one of the most efficient lenses for Nikon body you’ll find on the market. It comes with a great aperture range of F/1.4-F/21, making it an ideal choice for photography lovers. Moreover, the manual focus and great filter thread add to the perfection of this lens.

Who Will Use This Most

A solid performer with sturdy construction, this model is an ideal option for photographers who need to take an extra lens onboard during their trips. It can easily endure harsh conditions without compromising on the performance, which makes it suitable for professional portrait photographers as well as videographers.

Bottom Line

Another great product on the list, the Rokinon 85MAF-N 85mm F1.4 is a sturdy and lightweight lens that goes perfectly with your Nikon camera. Not only is it weather-resistant and durable, but this model also offers some beautiful shots whenever you want. All in all, this lens should not be missed.

Best for the Money:
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F (321955)

PROS

  • Better torque than its predecessor
  • Most reasonably priced lens on our list
  • Equipped with extremely fast autofocus
  • Can be used with multiple Nikon cameras
  • Features advanced specifications to give vibrant images

CONS

  • Very heavy to carry around
  • Slightly fatter than most lenses
  • Calibration can be improved

What Recent Buyers Report

This model is also well-received by photographers. One of the most amazing things about it is its affordable price and sturdy construction. You get to enjoy a superb set of features that will surely result in stunning pictures. Moreover, users report that it gives sharp photos and creamy bokeh.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Sigma DG HSM mainly stands out to us for its super-fast autofocus due to the incorporation of the hypersonic motor. Similarly, an amazing filter thread of 86mm is perfect for getting exotic images in almost no time. Last but not least, color fringing, coma, distortion, and flare are completely negligible.

Who Will Use This Most

With so many features and a reasonable price, this lens is surely a suitable option for those who can’t afford an expensive lens. It is highly compatible with a number of Nikon cameras, including APS-C Nikon D7100, D7200, and D3100, as well as Nikon Full-frame DF such as D600, D750, D4, and D5.

Bottom Line

A great model packed to the brim with exceptional features, the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM has extremely fast and efficient autofocus that ensures wonderfully soft and creamy bokeh. Moreover, it also features weather-seals to avoid any damage. Honestly, you won’t find a better lens at this price range on the market.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Smooth and silent operation
  • Provides extremely sharp images
  • Pictures have a fantastic bokeh effect
  • Compatibility with a number of Nikon cameras
  • Design has a nano-crystal coating to ensure durability

CONS

  • A bit on the pricey side
  • Lens hood is a little loose
  • Does not work well with all advertised models

What Recent Buyers Report

Many customers have given positive remarks about this lens. Most of its users are photography enthusiasts who love to do portrait photography. It is highly appreciated for its robust construction as well as its quality performance. Users report that its autofocus is extremely fast and meant to provide excellent images under every condition.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

If you are looking for a great lens that is perfect for portrait photography, you must get your hands on the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G. It features fast autofocus capable of producing quality images that are flawlessly sharp in all the right places with a beautiful bokeh effect in the background.

Who Will Use This Most

The rugged construction of this lens ensures that it can handle traveling, making it suitable for professional photographers and videographers. Its super-fast autofocus makes it also suitable for outdoor shooting under every condition. Moreover, this lens works well with both FX and DX cameras to give stunning images.

Bottom Line

A near-perfect portrait lens, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G is equipped with a nice design that is built to serve in the long run. Thanks to its fast autofocus, it is capable of producing flawless images that have beautiful sharpness and contrast. In short, this model is a steal.

Samyang SY85MAE-N 85mm F1.4 Lens for Nikon AE

PROS

  • Equipped with a lens hood
  • Fully capable in many applications
  • Nice design with sturdy construction
  • Ultra-multi coating to add to the perfection
  • Splash-proof and dustproof model that lasts a long time

CONS

  • Fairly bulky
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Heavy to carry around

What Recent Buyers Report

Just like other options on this list, this lens is also well-received by users. Customers report that it has a great design that is also protected by the lens hood to ensure reliability. Moreover, it has a great aperture range to let you take some worthy shots. Another striking aspect is that it is very easy to use, which is quite appealing to many photographers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Samyang SY85MAE-N 85mm F1.4 features everything that you would look for in a great lens. It comes with the widest aperture, allowing you to concentrate purely on photography. It is weather-resistant and splash-resistant, thanks to its ultra-multi coating. Moreover, the 9 blades in the diaphragm assist in producing smooth bokeh.

Who Will Use This Most

With a 72mm filter thread, this model is quite suitable for portrait photography and videography. Its water-resistant and weather-resistant capabilities make it an ideal option to take with you while traveling. Furthermore, it can be used with a range of camera bodies to produce some stunning bokeh effects.

Bottom Line

Within this lens, you will find extremely fast autofocus and a standard 72mmm filter thread for producing some exotic images. It can be used for portrait photography by professionals as well as beginners. All in all, this model might be the one you’re looking for.

Pros and Cons of 85mm Lenses

The 85mm lenses have become quite trendy among beginners as well as professionals photographers for taking some worthy shots. These are quite preferred for providing a maximum angle of view and giving the best possible results. Below are some associated pros and cons of 85mm lenses. Let’s discuss them one by one!

Pros

Excellent Image Quality

One of the significant advantages of the 85mm lens is its capability to provide the best quality photographs. This is the reason it is often used by professionals to obtain vibrant images from their camera gear. All the pictures display perfect sharpness and contrast with negligible levels of distortion and chromatic aberration.

Versatile

Another amazing advantage of this lens is that it can be used for multiple types of photography. Whether you want to take some headshots or love to do street photography, an 85mm lens is there to serve you.

User-Friendly

The 85mm lens has fewer moving parts, which means it does not require much effort from the user. Ultimately, there would be fewer chances of any problem to arise from general use.

Cons

Cost

One of the major disadvantages of using an 85mm lens includes the price factor. They are quite heavy on the pocket, even the very basic models, when compared to their zoom counterparts.

Fixed Focal Length

Having a fixed focal length is another drawback of 85mm lenses. It lacks any zoom, so you have to frame the view by moving away from or nearer to the subject yourself.

Conclusion

With wide aperture and great focal length, 85mm lenses have become a go-to choice for many beginners and even professionals. These are being used for portrait and landscape photography to create an effect of artistic blur. Hopefully, the thorough reviews we provided for each product on this list has helped you in selecting the ideal option for your interests. Moreover, it is recommended to always read through the buying guide at least once in order to avoid any regret in the future.

People Also Ask

Many people have certain questions associated with 85mm lenses for Nikon cameras. Some of them are crucial to improve the picture quality and handling of the lens. In this section, we have tried to answer some of these frequently asked questions by customers, so you can make your decision accordingly.

Is an 85mm a Prime Lens?

A prime lens has a fixed or single focal length and therefore, lacks a zoom in and out feature. Since an 85mm lens is also equipped with a fixed focal length and lacks the capability for zoom, it can be referred to as a prime lens. It offers just the right perspective for the subject as well as the background.

Why is an 85mm Lens Good for Portraits?

An 85mm lens is suitable for portrait photography due to its ideal focal length, which provides sharp images and renders the background out of focus. It makes the background more closely framed on the object. The longer focal length of an 85mm lens tends to create portraits that are fantastic.

Is an 85mm Good for Street Photography?

Street photography is quite appealing as it lets you in the middle of the action without any distortion. Since the 85mm lens has a great focal length, it seems very suitable for street photography. With this versatile focal length, you can capture a variety of multiple visual elements without facing any distortion.

Is an 85mm Lens Good for Landscape?

Yes, the 85mm lens is undoubtedly a great choice for landscape photography. It gives you dynamic landscapes as well as imaginary views. The sharpest aperture and best focal length give you an edge in creating some stunning scenery shots. In short, this 85mm lens is not only good for portraits but also aids you in exotic landscape photography.