Nikkor-H Auto 85 mm f/1.8 Nippon Kogaku on NX20 (quick review)

Nikkor-H Auto 85 mm f/1.8 Nippon Kogaku on NX20 (quick review)

How does this old Nikkor 85 mm f/1.8 perform on a modern 20 MP sensor?
The build quality of this old Nikkor is top notch, being mostly metal construction with a nice smooth focus ring. These old lenses are usually a joy to use.

The lens has 6 elements in 4 groups, with a 6 bladed, mostly straight, diaphragm. The minimum focus distance is a bit long for the class at 1 m (3.5 ft), and the weight is also fairly standard at about 420 g (14.8 oz). It uses the Nikkor prime standard 52mm filters. The lens is very dense, but not terribly large for the class of lens.

If I take a picture of the lens on the NX20, I will update the featured image.

Uncorrected RAW

From Sony NEX 3

From Sony NEX 3
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Comments on the Results

The lens is good in the center from f/1.8 and excellent across the frame from f/4.

The lens has virtually no distortion.

Lateral CA is well corrected. Longitudinal CA is typical for the class (fairly visible at large apertures).

Purple fringing is visible as with any lens with a fair amount of longitudinal CA. Average for this class of lens. Improves on stepping down the aperture. Lightroom 4.1 allows for correction of longitudinal CA and it does a good job, as long as you don’t overdo it and there aren’t strong colors behind the fringes that will desaturate.

Coma is minor. The bokeh circles are slightly catseye shape near the corners as expected.

Flare resistance is not good, even a not too bright light in the frame will wash out the image. When using adapters it is always possible that this is caused by the adapter, but my NX adapter is slightly baffled and painted flat black so it shouldn’t be a huge issue.

Measured focal length is 90mm at 1:53 magnification.

Pros and Cons

Bottom Line

This lens holds up well even on the demanding NX20, once you stop down to f/4, where the corners improve dramatically. This lens is better suited when stopped down, but is still good from wide open. The newer Samsung 85 mm f/1.4 shows how the modern design performs better at large apertures, but is actually not quite as good in the extreme corners past f/4 (the difference is small). However, one usually buys such a lens to shoot at larger apertures.

1 Comment

  1. I love this Nikon gear made before the AF plastic-fantastic !
    These Pre-AI lenses are build like tanks and a joy to use.
    Never saw any equal craftmanship like these !

    I use some of these modified to AI with my Nikon D800.
    Every little failture can be seen at a resolution with 36 MP !
    But most are made by the photographer and not by the lens.

    The Nikkor H 1,8/85 is sharp-sharp-sharp at f4
    and has a beautiful Bokeh wide open !