Nikon 85mm f1.8 AF-D, AF, Nikkor, D800, full frame, digital, HD, movies among friends, lens, camera, DSLR, video, interview, Canon, 5D, mark, ii, iii, T2i, T3i, T4i, D90, D4
The Nikon 85mm f1.8D AF is long and fast. You won't find a zoom that can shoot at f1.8 or many lenses that can create as sharp an image. It's a simple lens, makes a great companion to the Nikon 50mm f1.8 AF, and it isn't too big, heavy or expensive.
The first thing you'll notice about the 85mm f1.8 AF is how huge the glass is. It's like looking through a telescope. That ensures its ultimate wide-open shooting. The most recent copies of this lens are made in Thailand and have fairly loose focus rings and are made with lots of plastic, but it still has some weight to it and feels very well solid. If you're shooting all day and night, you might consider the Nikkor manual focus all-metal 85mm f1.8 lens, available on the used market.
Because this AF-D version has an aperture ring, you can adapt it for use on a Canon body, like the 5D Mark ii or iii and use it for video just fine. So if you shoot video and are buying a 5D, your old Nikkors and Nikons will work fine.
Loose focus ring
The copy of this lens that I purchased brand new at B&H has a fairly loose manual focus ring. It reminds me of Sigma lenses, not other Nikon lenses.
It's somewhat disappointing because super smooth manual focusing by hand may be challenging with this lens, but with a follow focus mounted on it there shouldn't be a problem.
Shoot in no light
Because you can stop open to f1.8, you don't need much light with this lens. Of course more light helps, but you can get away with more with a faster, or brighter, aperture like a f1.8.
With video this lens is way sharper than you even need it to be. It will render the smallest details visible, and at the same time it will make people look beautiful because they will barely be in focus.
Shallow Depth of Field
You have to really be careful with focus with this lens, especially when it's wide open, and even at f2.8 or f4. Even then only about an inch of the focal plane will be in focus. Everything else will be out of focus. For important interviews and closeup shots, always double check your focus.
Shop around. Websites like KEH, ebay or craigslist carry many versions including this one. New this lens goes for about $480, which is a bargain. Used it may run $300-400. Manual focus versions may cost you $350 or less.