Very often when there are two price options for a lens that has slightly different specs, the cheaper lens comes out on top in many peoples' eyes. In this review, two Nikkor 85mm prime lenses are put to the test against each other, so which one wins?
Unfortunately, photography is not a pastime or profession that is cheap. Between camera bodies, lenses, filters, software, and miscellaneous other gear and gadgets, we need deep pockets. So it's always nice to have the choice of a cheaper option for certain things such as lenses. But how much do you sacrifice in quality when you go for the cheaper version? As the old saying goes "you get what you pay for," but is that really the case in the camera lens world?
In this review, Matt Granger puts the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens up against its more expensive counterpart, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G. As he explains in the video, the f/1.8 version is about three times cheaper than the f/1.4 version, and about half the weight. The price and weight might be significantly different but what about image quality, which is really what we care about?
Granger puts four sets of similar photos taken with both lenses side by side, and even when I paused the video and really had a long look at each I couldn't tell much difference between them. Of course, how you define "difference" is very subjective but Granger makes a salient point which I wholeheartedly agree with: 99 percent of consumers and buyers of prints are not pixel-peepers who care about that extra bit of bokeh or that tiny bit of extra sharpness. Really, they don't. We might, but they don't. And as this review shows, the f/1.8 stacks up very well against the f/1.4.
Granger clearly states that in almost every aspect, the more expensive f/1.4 lens is better. But not so much better to warrant paying almost triple the price. And that's the conundrum we have to face as consumers, or professionals, or serious hobbyists: is the extra money really, really worth it when to the naked eye of most people, there really is very little variance between different priced versions of lenses?
What do you think?