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I've been using a Nikon D60 for over a year now, and thinking about upgrading the stock lens.

I am thinking about this lens: Nikon Telephoto AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF Autofocus Lens

But on the page it says "AF not supported by D40 and D60 cameras". As I am still pretty new to photography, I am not sure if this would be a good combination (body + lens).

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Manual focusing a f/1.4 lens on a DX body is a pain because:

Therefore, unless you replace you focusing screen by a new one specifically dedicated to manual focus, it will be very hard to get good focus at full aperture, especially in low light. And if the full aperture is not usable, then there is no point in buying the f/1.4 when the f/1.8 is good and so much cheaper.

I would recommend you buy 85/1.4 AF-S instead. If you really want the AF-D, then buy a camera that can autofocus it, or replace your focusing screen (not sure it is possible on the D60).

BTW, both 85/1.4 are awesome for portraits with softly blurred backgrounds.

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Indeed, it will not focus by itself but you will be able to focus manually.

If that is acceptable to you and you understand the field-of-view will be narrower compared to a film camera, roughly equivalent to the field of view of a 135mm lens, then it can be quite suitable.

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would you recommend upgrading the camera body instead just the lens? to even something like D90? –  Sonic Soul Sep 22 '11 at 13:02
    
yes, if you could upgrade BOTH body and lens (keep away from the kit lens). you would be able to use very large selection of very good older (and even not so old) lens that do not contain AF motor. see kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm –  Mart Oruaas Sep 22 '11 at 13:08
    
so what would you recommend for body upgrade? keeping in mind i am not a photographer.. but would like to get better at it. –  Sonic Soul Sep 22 '11 at 13:23
    
Without knowing what you are doing it is hard to tell you what is best. In general, between a body and a lens, I'd get a lens. Particularly if you only have low-quality lenses. The lenses you choose should match the types of photos you want to take. A bright 85mm for example is good for close up portraits and detail shots. –  Itai Sep 22 '11 at 13:49

No 'AF' lens will autofocus with that camera, you need 'AF-S' or a third party lens indicating that it has a motor in the lens.

Manually focusing on a DX camera is a pain. You can certainly do it, but the focusing screens aren't really designed for it and the viewfinders aren't particularly large. I'd not recommend spending good money towards one unless you also upgrade (or plan to shortly) to a body that supports autofocus on the lens.
Its not that you can't, its that its a pain.

If you're looking for a budget friendly upgrade from your kit lenses - try a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 or Nikon 50mm f/1.4. The 85mm is often used as a portrait lens and the 50mm on a DX body serves this purpose well. It won't be quite as tight for portraits, but you can get some stunning results. Plus, if its your only 'good' lens, its a bit more useful for general purposes*. I wouldn't worry about it overlapping with your kit's focal length - these lenses are just optically so much better that you won't care too much.

Additionally, you can go the other direction and consider something like the Tamron Macro 90mm f/2.8, if the focal length is important to you. You get nearly the same field of view as the 85mm and the ability to do macro shots (super duper close up shots of flowers, insects, water drops, etc). BUT, its a 'slower' lens at f/2.8. You won't be able to shoot quite as fast as the f/1.4 or f/1.8 lenses and you won't be able to get quite as 'creamy' a background.

Obviously, if you've got the money (2k US), you can consider the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 - it will autofocus. You can also consider the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 which will autofocus with your camera and is about half the cost of the Nikon at around 1k US.

All of these options are considerably better than the kit lens and provide autofocus options. Unless the AF 85mm f/1.8 is exactly the lens you want for a particular reason, I'd consider one of the above as a friendlier option.

*This isn't another 'everybody should have a 50mm' thing. Its just a budget friendly option that's an alternative to the suggested lenses.

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Moving to a manual focus lens, especially on a DSLR with a smaller view finder and lack of real focus screen could prove challenging, especially if you are new to photography. I certainly never got comfortable with manual focusing on my Nikon D60.

That said the easiest way to find out how a specific combination would work for you would be to rent the lens. The 85 f1.4 (AF-S or D) is a fairly common lens and should be easy to find at one of the national level online rental companies if not somewhere local.

Another consideration may be that it is a fairly big and heavy lens, compared to most lenses in the DX line up, and probably won't feel well balanced on a body like a D60.

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