The $379 Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 Z DF DSM lens is among the many first third-party prime lenses obtainable for the Nikon Z system that not solely has a powerful autofocus system, but in addition boasts a customizable Lens Operate button (L-Fn) and management ring.
Many third-party producers have lately flooded the market with guide focus lenses for mirrorless methods. And whereas these are nice, they arrive with a caveat of no digital connection to a digicam and, after all, no autofocus. A majority of third-party lenses out of China, Japan, and Korea comply with this pattern, however there are exceptions just like the YN85mm f/1.8.
Yongnuo’s compact and light-weight lens was initially designed for the Sony E-mount and includes a quick f/1.8 aperture which makes it superb for portraiture and still-life pictures. It additionally is available in at an impressively inexpensive worth of simply $350 to $380 (relying on the mount). Even when it didn’t carry out the very best — we had no concept what to anticipate — we determined to check out this lens primarily based on that worth alone.
Construct High quality and Design
The Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 lens helps each guide and autofocus management and is constructed of 9 parts organized into eight teams together with one low-dispersion aspect and the promise of a non-structure coating to cut back ghosting and flare. That is paired with a seven-bladed aperture. The autofocus is powered by a digital stepping motor (DSM) that permits for quiet focusing (even with video) which is surprisingly correct the lens’s low worth.
The compact lens weighs simply 0.76 kilos (346 grams), has a 58mm filter thread, and is pocket-sized at simply 2.64 by 3.46 inches (67 by 88mm), making it impressively simple to journey with and use.
Regardless of the low worth, the lens is remarkably well-built and includes a weather-seal gasket on the chrome and gold-plated mount. The complete-frame lens is designed to be mud and weatherproof and includes a strong metallic bayonet that appears and feels fairly strong and sturdy.
In contrast to many earlier Yongnuo lenses which have largely been plastic in design, the all-metal physique of this explicit lens even has the model emblem and “85” engraved and painted into the lens, giving it a way more “premium” really feel than any of the corporate’s earlier designs.
Firmware of the lens may be up to date by a USB-C port discretely situated on the underside of the lens close to the digicam mount. I do should admit that I don’t like this design for the USB-C port as whereas it’s good and discreet, it’s not safe. Since it’s on the surface of the barrel and has no “tie,” it may be simple to lose the rubber cowl for the connection port. If this occurs then the weather-sealed design sort of goes out the window since water, mud, and dust, can all discover their means into the digital space of the lens. Hopefully, a greater answer might be offered in future generations of the lens.
When mounted, the left facet of the lens options the AF/MF change positioned straight under the customizable L-Fn button and the big (additionally customizable) management ring leads as much as the entrance of the barrel. The management ring itself is simple to grip and grooved sufficient that it’s also simple to regulate with a spotlight motor, however the ring does transfer a bit too unfastened with little resistance, which means when manually controlling it may be simple to maneuver previous the mark you’re trying to find resulting in a little bit little bit of backwards and forwards looking.
Realistically, with the autofocus characteristic that works in addition to it does, most customers will possible swap this ring to an aperture or ISO management to make their private workflow even simpler.
The one factor the lens appears to be lacking is built-in stabilization, which can solely be a difficulty for customers of the Z50 or Z fc methods which lack the in-camera stabilization characteristic.
Lastly, it’s price noting that the YN85mm f/1.8 Z lens has a minimal focus distance of 0.8 meters, a most magnification of 0.13x, and a most aperture of f/16. Given the precise focal distance of the lens, there shouldn’t be any events the place you’ll should be nearer than the minimal distance to your topic anyway. Apart from, that’s what macro lenses are designed for.
Dealing with and Efficiency
To my shock, the autofocus efficiency was really fairly quick. No, it’s not as quick because the first-party Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 lens, however contemplating the value distinction (the Nikon lens is commonly priced at $800), it’s a reasonably honest trade-off. Efficiency-wise, in each a panorama and avenue setting in addition to in studio for portrait classes, the autofocus was impressively correct on a Z6 II physique and produced very sharp outcomes, even when capturing wide-open at f/1.8.
Whereas the bokeh isn’t fairly as “creamy” and pronounced as its first-party Nikon counterpart, it nonetheless has a clean and interesting look with very good separation from topic to background and foreground.
For essentially the most half, there’s little or no chromatic aberration, however there have been some noticeable lateral aberrations and vignetting in the direction of the perimeters of the body. The excellent news is these issues are simply corrected utilizing the obtainable lens profiles in most apps like Adobe Lightroom and Seize One Professional — and even in-camera.
The AF motor is impressively correct when utilizing the attention/face autofocus setting, and is ready to observe a shifting mannequin with ease throughout a shoot solely lacking focus for a small fraction of the photographs, and I’d affiliate that with person error over the autofocus primarily based alone observe report.
Even when evaluating to the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G (F-mount), capturing at f/1.8 to f/8 for portraits, facet by facet, there have been subsequent to no main variations aside from the vignetting which I left uncorrected for the aim of this writeup.
Once more, when shot nearer to vast open, the lens is impressively sharp in the course of the body, and the fringing and vignetting had been solely current on the outer edges, and even then it is vitally simply accommodated for with in digicam or software-based lens profiles. Whenever you place the lens between f/2.8 to f/11 the efficiency is impressively sharp.
Completely Well worth the Low Price of Entry
With the starvation variety of guide lenses obtainable for Nikon Mirrorless methods, the introduction of the autofocus-equipped Yongnuo YN 85mm Z DF DSM lens is a greater than welcome addition. Whereas the autofocus just isn’t as quick as a first-party Nikon S lens, Yongnuo’s possibility is considerably cheaper and nonetheless gives you with correct and spectacular outcomes.
The worth of the lens is much more obvious when you think about the pace, efficiency, and sharpness it’s able to as well as the very fact you may customise the management ring and L-Fn button to fit your particular wants for about half the value of Nikon’s 85mm S lens.
Are There Options?
The excellent news is, should you aren’t too involved about having an digital / autofocus lens, there are a number of alternate options obtainable for each native Z mount, in addition to F-mount choices. This consists of the $399 Viltrox 85mm f/1.8Z AF lens which, because the identify suggests, has autofocus, the $800 Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S lens, or the $426 Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G and $1,447 Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G for F-mount paired with the FTZ adapter.
So far as guide focus choices, there’s the $399 Samyang/Rokinon 85mm f/1.4, $449 Venus Optics 85mm f/5.6 Extremely Macro, the $499 Lensbaby Velvet 85, and at last the $499 Mitakon 85mm f/1.2. The drawback to those, clearly, is a scarcity of digital communication with the digicam physique.
Ought to You Purchase It
Sure, if spending additional for the Nikon model of the lens isn’t in your finances. Regardless of some slight shortcomings, the Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 DF DSM lens for Nikon Z mirrorless cameras (in addition to Sony E-mount), is compact, light-weight, quick, customizable, and has an correct autofocus system making it really helpful for portraiture and nonetheless life pictures that’s an absolute cut price.