After many years of avoiding "wide" prime lenses (other than the 50 f1.8D) I finally broke down and picked up a Nikon 85 f/1.8G. My first impression when I opened the box was it doesn't seem as well built as I expected it to be. The body is a plastic material that quite frankly Im not a huge fan of. It feels like it will break on me if Im not super careful with it. Let me say this, Im not super rough with my gear, however, all my other lenses feel much more robust and that they would be able to handle more usage.
The first thing I noticed when I mounted the lens on my camera (both the D3 and D500) was the autofocus was super fast and accurate. Now I will say it didn't seem as accurate at f1.8 but that might just be my technique and the fact that Im not used to the lens yet. The other thing I noticed was at f1.8 there was a ton of chromatic aberration between (CA) f1.8 and f2.8. Especially if I was shooting in bright light. Now I know most of the time using editing software you can remove this but I was fairly unsuccessful in removing it using the automatic CA removal in both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW however I was successful in removing it using the manual CA removal in Lightroom. Now around f4 the lens is pretty much dead accurate on the focus and the CA is pretty much nonexistent.
Now with that being said if I underexposed the photo about 1/3 a stop at f1.8 the CA did decrease and was much less noticeable. This isn't a problem unless Im shooting a darker scene because the shadows are going to be super crushed. Ill have to wait and see how I can overcome this issue.
On to the positive notes. Along with the focus being super fast on all of my cameras it's super accurate and very sharp. The bokeh is VERY smooth and what you would expect with a f1/8 lens. Even shooting at f4 the bokeh was still very nice and still present giving good background separation.
The color rendering on this lens was very surprising to me. I was expecting it to be decent but wasn't holding my breath because of the price (approx $500). The few sample shots I took the color was deep, rich, had a lot of contrast and very accurate to the scene I was shooting. Im expecting by creating a color profile with the ColorChecker Passport the color rendering would be absolutely spot on.
Going back to how it felt to hold. Other than the plastic body (which like I said previously Im not a fan of) it felt good to hold on both the D3 and D500. It was fairly well balanced and with the hood attached its big enough to get my whole hand on the lens and stabilize it (unlike the 50 f/1.8).
Overall I think this lens is going to be a great addition to my arsenal. For the price (approx $500) it should be a good addition to anyone's kit.