Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/01/19

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Nikon RF 85/2 Lens - User Experience
From: Marty Deveney <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 23:52:40 -0800 (PST)


Coming to the rescue of a favourite lens . . . !

B.D. wrote:
>Nope - he means the Nikon 85 1.4 AIS lens, which as near as I can tell,
>is identical to the current autofocus version. 
>Both are killer lenses, with a "finger print" indistinguishable from >that of the magnificent - or it would be if it were an 85 ;-) - Leica >M 75 1.4.

No, and yes.  The AF 85/1.4 Nikkor has internal focusing, the AiS does not.  The AF has nine elements in eight groups, the AiS has seven elements in five groups (even if several Nikon sites say it has seven elements in nine groups!?).  Clearly a different design.  The results are very similar.  In extreme tests the AF has some colour fringing and the AiS a little distortion and is softer at the edges.  Depending on what you do the softness might be an advantage.  The AF is sharper if you like taking pictures of little B&W lines and developing for acutance.  People argue about this, of course.

None of this matters much in real life.  I kept the AiS, mostly because it has a 'look' more like the Leica-M 75/1.4, which although I love it, try as I might, I cannot focus consistently on an M camera.

Gary wrote:
>Oh please.  While the Nikkor may be sharp, the sun has yet to rise or
>set on the day a Nikkor has the bokeh of a Leica.  

If there is a difference between these particular Nikkor and Leica lenses, it's _not_ in the bokeh.  The optical formulas are so similar as to make the bokeh of this pair almost indistinguishable (shall we conduct a test!?).  The real differences lie in the Leica having better coating (making it less flare-prone and having slightly better colour saturation) and tighter QC (meaning you're less likely to get a 'dog' and that it costs three times as much).  Of course the Leica is a 75, the Nikkor an 85.  As B.D. points out, that probably is the most significant difference apart from the fact that the Nikkor attaches to an SLR and the Leica attaches to an M rangefinder.

The Leica 80/1.4 R might be stellar too, but I never tried it because I'm not a big fan of the R cameras.  The best of all the 85's may well be the Carl Zeiss 85/1.2 but it has a 1 metre close-focus and is like hen's teeth.  The Zeiss 85/1.4 is also amazing.

Now, let's all go find one of Kyle's posts and read the last line . . . 


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