70-200 VR vs. 80-200/2.8: Back to the start

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by eli_fox, May 26, 2009.

  1. You all probably remember me--I posted a question about the 70-200 and 70-300 lenses last week. Well, I'm almost certain that I'll be going with a larger DX body (complementing a D40) and one of the f2.8 zooms. Which one is now the new question. Keep in mind that I will be shooting high school sports. Would it make more sense to...
    -Buy a 70-200 VR and use it on my D40 for a while; I would probably upgrade to a D90 or D300 by 2010
    -Buy an 80-200 two-ring as well as a D90 or D300 along with it, to have for the upcoming school year.
    In the other thread my impression was that the 70-200 VR is not worth the extra cash. Is that true? I don't think there's anything very wrong with my D40 right now, although it has 30K clicks on it and will probably die by the end of the year. The ideal option would be a D300 and 70-200 VR but I'd like to save at least some of my leftover income, which getting an 80-200 and a body (or just 70-200) would allow me to do. Thoughts?
  2. Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 is the best value in my opinion. But don't discount the Nikon 70-300mm VR, it has excellent reviews and is less than half the cost of the faster f2.8 zoom lens. I don't think the 70-200mm VR is a good value at nearly twice the price of the 80-200mm 2.8 when all it offers is VR and 10mm wider end. I would get the 70-300mm VR if I were you. You'd have enough saved to also buy a Nikon SB-900.
  3. I have an 80-200 two-ring and I don't doubt the 70-200 is worth the difference on DX if you can use it. VR by itself will be worth the difference for some things. It is definitely a matter of consensus that it is sharper on DX. And it has those handy focus-lock buttons. It's all a matter of how much those things are worth to you. To me... I can't justify it. But I'm a pure casual-hobbyist-type photographer and my investment in photo gear already matches what I can justify, at least for now.
  4. If you owned at least a D80 I would tell you to spend the money on a good lens, but since you have the D40 I would go for the 80-200 and get a D300. The AF system is far superior to the D40 not to mention, image quality, build, speed, and numberous other features. EVen the D90 would be a nice upgrade.
  5. The AF system and the speed are really what would make big differences for me. I think IQ would be almost the same for static subjects, although I'm saying this without having experienced a DSLR with more megapixels. The added cropability would certainly be a plus.
    Yeah, I think that's what I'm going to do. 80-200 and D300 it is.
  6. I would work towards the ultimate goal, which are the things that matter for high school sports -- f/2.8 VR lens and a body with the latest autofocus module. In today's world, that means a 70-200 and a D300.

    If you can't do it all at once, my recommendation is to go for glass first. Lenses are (nearly) forever, bodies get obsolete quickly. Don't spend money on an 80-200 or a D90, as these are only partial steps towards your goal (unless you need something *now* and it'll help you make money towards your goal...)
  7. Eli
    The 70-200 VR lens is the most over rated bit of kit there is, I sold mine for stupid money and don't miss it a bit. I see no advantage of the 70-200 over a used afs 80-200 for sports photography, for what you pay for a new 70-200 I have a (albeit well) used Nikon 300mm 2.8 a used Nikon 180mm 2.8 and Tamron 1.6 afs tc and money left over for bus fare.
    A used 80-200 will be every bit as usefull as the 70-200 for about half the money, I'd also keep the D40 till it either wears out or frustrates you so much you want to smash it to pieces , also don't waste any money on the 70-300 it's not worth mentioning in the same breath as the other lenses...
  8. With prices as they currently are, I'd be looking for the 80-200 AF-S lens - the predecessor to the current 70-200 and the successor of the two-ring 80-200 AF-D lens. You get the fast AF-S focusing without spending the money on the VR feature.
  9. Eli,
    I have also replied to your previous posts. I have not changed my opinion. Get a D300 and the 80-200mm.
    I have the 70-200mm VR - it's a great lens with terrific bokeh etc and really excels when shooting subject matter at shutter speeds well under 1/100th - 1/125th BUT for sporting action you will want to get a good still freeze frame and VR is not going to help you with that.
    Get a D300 for it's superior AF servo and the 80-200 glass which by all accounts is equal in IQ to the 70-200mm item.
  10. VR is something of a placebo in my opinion. It does it help yes a little, but not as much as marketed. The question comes down to AF speed versus vignetting. I have an old 70-200mm f/2.8 push pull that is in my backup kit. It works well but for the AF speed I still use the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR.

    I can say the vignetting is very significant with my D3 but correctable in adobe raw.

    Nikon D3 with the 70mm-200mm f/2.8 VR
    Camera: Nikon D3
    Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1600)
    Aperture: f/2.8
    Vignetting is fairly visible.
  11. Not wanting to confuse your desicion prosess, but I have lately been in much the same dilemma, wanting a fast telezoom for dance competitions. I have given this much thought, and was on the verge of buying the 70-200, at a price that is rediculously high (I live in Scandinavia - price USD 2800). I have a 180/2,8 already, so the need for the high end is not that high, but I wanted some more on the low end.
    I have almost decided upon a Sigma 50-150/2,8 which has a much, much nicer price and lots of good reviews here on photo.net, and if I am lucky, I can get a nice used 300/4 as well, and still pay less than a 70-200.
    Sorry if I made the desicion harder.....
  12. I like everyone else had the same decision...I opted for an excellent used 80-200mm f/2.8 and its the BEST lens I own, would not part with it. My used version was 1/3 the cost of a new 70-200mm f/2.8...it was a no brainer as far as I am concerned
  13. It must be 'bash the 70-200' time of the week again! :)
    I use it on a daily basis (on DX and FX) bodies, no complaints from me.
    In fact, even if a newer 'improved' version were to appear it would be a tough decision to upgrade.... imho.
  14. If you don't need VR, get a 80-200. Otherwise, the 70-200 VR is the better lens. To those who see no benefit to VR in the 70-200 range, yo obviously don't shoot in low light, hand held. I do and am not as steady as I once was. As far as image quality, flip a coin. If you don't need VR, get the 80-200 and a D300. Yo won't be sorry.
  15. I sold my 70-200 VR to help fund a D700 because high ISO performance mattered most to me (I often shoot indoor basketball in poorly lit gyms, and I never use minature formats to shoot landscaapes). I didn't sell the 70-200 because of performance. It's an excellent lens, and I tested it on FX before I made my decision.
  16. If you can find the 80-200/2.8D AF-S 2nd hand for a good price, it's worth considering though 1) it's heavier, 2) it's more expensive than the 80-200/2.8D AF N. But I agree about the general plan. The D300+80-200/2.8 (in one version or another) will get the job done very well. ;-)
  17. Yes, the 70-200/2.8 is painfully expensive. And if you're truly sure that sports action is where your money shots will come from, then the VR may indeed not matter to you.

    But here's what tends to happen: you'll find yourself shooting other stuff. The VR is a real thing, and is not a trivial tool when you swing that lens over into the shade to shoot a portrait-style shot of a coach, player, or fan on the sidelines (or any of a jillion other subjects, away from the sports venues). I use the 70-200/2.8 on a D300 for action, and it is indeed a great combination.

    It's hard to say if I'd rather have it on a D40, or the 80-200 on a D300 (in your either/or scenario). I do know that I use the 70-200 in low light, at lower shutter speeds, on a whole host of subjects that I didn't expect to find myself shooting. I'd really miss it if I had to go with a screw-mechanism, non-VR lens.
  18. Eli, in the either or scenario you presented, my vote is for the 80-200/D90 or D300. I have shot a lot of indoor high school sports. Many of the facilities have very poor lighting. The single most important limitation in getting good shots is high ISO so you can get faster shutter speeds. The D40 goes to ISO 3200. The D90/D300 go to ISO 6400. It might not seem like much, but that extra stop will increase your number of useable shots dramatically in poorly lit gyms. It will make the difference between shooting at say 1/160th which will not freeze all action up to 1/320th. In some gyms, I have seen a one stop difference like this increase the number of usable shots by ~ 25% to 50%.

    Good luck. . .
  19. I also want to stress the importance of fast shutter speeds in sport photos. I'm shooting a lot of freestyle dance competitions in poorly lit indoors sportsarenas. I am often using 1/320 sec, f3.3 and ISO 6400 with my D300. If I use 1/250 sec to lower the ISO count, I get a *lot* less keepers...
  20. Violinist Jascha Heifitz being hailed by a man on a New York street. The man asks Heifitz, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" And Heifitz replies, always "without breaking stride," "Practice! Practice! Practice!"
    One thing to remember is VR counters your movement it does nothing counter the subjects movement. So to freeze action a faster shutter speed will do more for you than VR. One can hold a 70-200mm f/2.8 at 1/30- 1/10 with practice with or without VR. Shooting in Low light takes practice it is like any other skill.
    Just remember the shutter speed focal length rule is a guideline not a law.
    Stunned neighbors watch as Kings County and Hanford Firefighters struggle to contain a fatal house fire on Myrtle Street Wednesday morning.
    Camera: Nikon D2X
    Exposure: 0.167 sec (1/6)
    Aperture: f/2.8
    Focal Length: 200 mm
    ISO Speed: 3200
    Exposure Bias: 0/6 EV

    From the far left, California Highway Patrol officer Chris Maselli watches fellow California Highway Patrol officer Dominic Heredia searches DWI (driving while intoxicated) suspect Earl J. Yechny Jr. with the support of Kings County Sheriff Deputy Richard Oliver right. Earl J. Yechny Jr failed the sobriety check and was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated after crashing his grandmotherÕs Ford Expedition into a tree stump, Friday morning.
    Camera: Nikon D2X
    Exposure: 0.1 sec (1/10)
    Aperture: f/2.8
    Focal Length: 70 mm
    ISO Speed: 1600
    Exposure Bias: 0/6 EV
  21. Although I own many Nikon lenses I could not afford either the 80-200f2.8 AFD or the AFS 70-200f2.8 VR so I researched 3rd party lenses and ended up buying the new Sigma HSM 70-200f2.8 and couldn't be happier. Fast focusing and sharp even wide open at all focal lengths. I've compared it to my brothers Canon 70-200f2.8 non IS lens and we could not see a visible difference from f3.5 onwards. The Canon was just a teeny bit shaper wide open and stopped down just a bit. That says a lot to me because my brother is a EOS snob and I'm a "most bang for the buck" person and the Sigma is a great lens. I also prefer to buy new and purchased a USA warranteed lens for less than $675 just a few months ago. So, if it doesn't have to be a Nikon why not consider either the Sigma or the Tamron, you get a great lens either way and save a considerable amount of money. I use the lens on both a D2H and a D700 so it should work quite well on a D300.
  22. IMO It's that extra 10mm that makes it worth the money.
  23. Every photographer has their own style of shooting, and with it their own set of needs. The 70-200mm offers a few extra features, that depending on your own needs, may or may not be worth the extra money. There's four features that set the 70-200mm apart from the older 80-200mm AF-D in my mind: VR stabilization; the extra 10mm on the short end; focus lock buttons; and the manual focus override in auto focus mode
    I won't pretend to know your personal needs, so in place of that I can only offer my own view point on the worth of these features. When shooting sports you're pumping the shutter speed quite high to freeze the action, minimizing the effect of, and need for, VR. In this case, a camera body with higher ISO abilities will far outweigh a lens with VR. The extra 10mm on the short end is a personal thing, if you're shooting style calls for it, you'll be irked by it. If it doesn't, you'll never notice the difference on the short end. The focus lock buttons certainly are handy, but nothing that can't be done almost as well with a little practice using the AE-L/AF-L button on the camera body. There's no doubt the manual override will get you a few shots you wouldn't be able to get on the 80-200mm. But with a little practice you'll be able to switch back and forth between manual focus and auto focus very quickly.
    Personally, I didn't find any of these features worth the extra money. I recently purchased a 80-200mm from KEH, and have been incredibly happy with the decision. But again, it's a personal decision. For some photographers, it's worth the extra money. I'd take some time and think hard about what kind of sports photos you'd like to accomplish, then decide if the need justifies the extra cost.
  24. I may have missed Eli whether you mentioned you were shooting indoor or outdoor high school sports. I have shot for 3 yrs both indoor and outdoor, in good light and bad, and there is a totally different thing inside or out. Indoor shooting, for say basketball, you need high ISO 1600 and beyond and I think a 70-200 VR is not the tool of choice. I used a D300 and fast primes f2 or better, but usually shoot at f2 anyway. A D700 would be ideal, but lots of bucks, but would give you faster shutterspeeds, esp with a MB-D10 grip. The 70-200VR on the FF is also not recommended, due to many issues with sharpness. I sold mine and went back to a 2 ring 80-200/2.8. Still like primes for indoor sports, but that maybe just me...
    For outdoor daytime, good light, even a 70-300mmVR will be fine. The Dx crop is helpful, and either zoom 80-200 or 70-300VR will do. For night see, above indoor advice. In the end I like my D300 more and more, and will be the one I go to most. If I did just night or indoor stuff the reverse would be the case...jmho...
  25. I'd take the 80-200 AF-S over the 70-200 VR, even at the same price. The 80-200 is just awesome.
  26. The seagull is a beautiful picture.
  27. Hi I'm a newbie photographer and wanted to shoot weddings, portraits and models. I'm on a tight budget right now, I'm reading about getting a 70-200 2.8 vr2 and stumbled upon 80-200 2.8 af-d and af-s. Will the 80-200 do the job? I'm thinking the photo quality should be great since they are both pro lenses. They also said that the 80-200 af-d is better built than the plastic af-s. Shuold I just get the 80-200 af-d? I'm just wondering if I will be able to focus on manual mode. Thanks!

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