Nikon NIKKOR Z 85/1.8 S Lens (85mm f/1.8)

Review of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 85/1.8 S Lens (85mm f/1.8).

Overall Rating:


This lens is 5 years old and made in China. It features two ED elements — a first for any Nikon 85mm lens which have never had this glass before. Nikon have a long history of making sharp 85mm lenses just none with ED glass. It features a stepper autofocus motor which is silent for video usage. Being an S line lens, it receives Nikon's best optics and weather sealing to protect it against the elements. It's a modern lens design made for today's high resolution sensors. It is expensive at $800 (USD) (2020). This lens was introduced when 45MP cameras were modern.

This lens is good for a more natural perspective given its reach and only 0.8 meters (2.6 ft) closest focusing which means it is good for people. For pet portraits try the Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S which focuses closer for a dramatic, exaggerated perspective.

a natural perspective of a dog, f/1.8


This is one of the best lenses on the market right now. Period. It is certainly the best 85mm lens Nikon have ever made.

There is no color fringing. There is some vignetting wide open, and is nearly gone at f/2.8-f/4. Barrel distortion at less than 0.2% means it has none.

Color fringing detail at 3-to-1:

center at f/5.6
corner at f/5.6

Lens is sharp wide-open and sharpest at f/4-f/5.6, It is hard to see a difference between f/1.8 and f/5.6. This lens is that good wide-open.

sharpness at f/5.6 (detail)

There is a little focus breathing. Try a depth of field calculator with it. Coma is "fair" with only a little.

This lens does not have the best maximum reproduction ratio at only 1:8.3.


Infrared performance not tested.


The bokeh is nice making for a good portrait lens.

bokeh, f/1.8
bokeh, f/2.8
bokeh, f/4
bokeh, f/5.6

Ghosting & Flaring

This lens exhibits very little ghosting when photographing a subject on a bright background like into the sun. It has no flaring and produces a nice star at f/16.

little ghosting, f/4
star, f/16


Because this is a Z-mount lens designed for Nikon's latest mirrorless cameras, it is not compatible with older DSLR cameras.


Focal length 85mm
Maximum aperture f/1.8
Minimum aperture f/16
Lens construction 12 elements in 8 groups
Angle of view 28° 30'
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:8.3 (0.12×)
No. of diaphragm blades 9 (rounded)
Filter-attachment size ø67mm
Accessories HB-91 hood
Diameter × length Approximately 75 × 99 mm/3 × 3.9 in.
Weight Approximately 470 g/16.57 oz.
Price $800 (USD) (2019)


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Nikon lens construction legend

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