Nikon Z 85mm f/1.2 S Review

January 23, 2024 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


Considering the high asking price of the Nikon Z 85mm f/1.2 S, especially in comparison to the great 85mm f/1.8 S lens, you have to really, really want/need that extra aperture to be willing to make the substantial extra outlay.

The Nikon Z 85mm f/1.2 S is undeniably an excellent lens which creates beautiful shots and is a flexible enough focal length to make it ideal for a number of different subjects. For wide aperture portraits and still life shots, it creates wonderful bokeh which is undeniably more impressive than the f/1.8 version.

Sharpness is also fantastic, while ghosting, flare, distortion and chromatic aberrations are kept to an absolute minimum - as we’d probably expect from such a premium lens. Build quality is fantastic, with the extra bonus of having the function button and control ring to make usability very good.

All that said, it’s not just the sky-high price that needs to be considered when thinking about this lens. Despite the added usability benefits, it’s also considerably larger and heavier than its f/1.8 sibling, meaning it takes up more space in your kit bag and is certainly less viable as a walk-around type lens.

If you’re a professional photographer who typically shoots subjects which would benefit from a very wide aperture 85mm lens, it’s a fantastic option to have. For the average enthusiast, it would also be fantastic, but the high price means that probably only those who regularly shoot a lot of similar types of subjects - such as portraits - would get the best value for money from it.

For most people who crave the 85mm focal length, the already excellent f/1.8 version will most likely suffice for most scenarios. However, if you want the best of the best, the sharpest results and most beautiful bokeh, then the Nikon Z 85mm f/1.2 S lens is simply superb.

If you’re still on the fence after reading this review, you might want to consider renting the f/1.2 alongside the f/1.8 to see if you think it’s really worth the extra outlay for your particular needs.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4