Nikon has proven its expertise in medium telephoto prime lenses with the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G and the Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF which are among the best lenses ever tested on DxOMark.
We just tested the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm F/3.5G VR which comes at the lower end of the Nikkor prime lenses range, with price tag under $1000. So let's see how it compares to its predecessors.
If the relatively poor image quality of the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm F/3.5G VR wouldn’t make it a good choice for demanding photographers, its Vibration Reduction system and 1 :1 reproduction ratio are nice features for the ones willing to start experimenting with macro photography.
These interesting comparisons should help you make your opinion:
Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR vs Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED vs Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF
These 2 lenses are twice as expensive and logically the DxOMark Score is twice as good as the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR.
Let’s now see how Nikon performs compared to its competitors with this lens:
Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR vs Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon
As it could be expected, the Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon which is twice as expensive is also twice as good.
Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR vs Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherique IF Nikon
But the good surprise comes from the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherique IF lense which despite its affordable price, thanks to its manual focus, offers very good optical performance, much better than the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm F/3.5G VR.
Here are a few more comparisons:
Feel free to read the complete review of the Sony 85mm f2.8 SAM to get a full understanding of this last comparison.