Yongnuo YN85mm F1.8 DF DSM review

The Yongnuo YN85mm F1.8 is a lot smarter than the average independent lens

Yongnuo YN85mm F1.8 DF DSM
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

There’s a growing rank of ‘dumb’ fully manual lenses for Nikon Z system cameras from independent manufacturers. They lack any electronics and therefore can’t communicate with the camera body, so there’s no autofocus, you have to set the aperture manually and there’s no EXIF data stored with images. This Yongnuo is entirely different, not only featuring autofocus but also boasting a customizable L-Fn (Lens function) button and customizable control ring. Its 85mm focal length and fast f/1.8 aperture make it ideal for portraiture and still life photography. As well as the Nikon Z edition, it’s also available in Sony E-mount, and it’s a standout bargain at the price.


  • +

    Desirable focal length and aperture

  • +

    Customizable controls

  • +

    Quick, virtually silent autofocus


  • -

    Poorly rounded aperture

  • -

    Noticeable lateral chromatic aberration

  • -

    Imprecise manual focusing

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The Yongnuo YN85mm F1.8 DF DSM was originally designed for Sony E-mount mirrorless camerasand is now also available in a Nikon Z mount, and for Canon RF. The popular focal length and aperture combination of 85mm and f/1.8 enable a compact and lightweight build, while giving a short telephoto field of view and tight depth of field on full-frame cameras, ideal for portraiture and still life. As such, it goes head to head with the Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM and Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S, but at around half the price.


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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.