80-200/2.8 manual focus Nikkor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Rick Helmke, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Evening everyone,

    I've been pondering adding another 80-200 zoom to my toolbox. I have three already, the f/4 and 4.5 and they are excellent. If I get another in this range I'd like it to be a 2.8 and manual focus for use on older film bodies, F2 and FE primarily. I found one on the KEH web site and was quite surprised at the cost, $619 in BGN condition. There were several AF versions at just over 1/3 of that. The MF lens has ED glass and internal focus but what could make it so high? At that price I'll probably skip it, already have an AF version of this lens and that would work but for these older bodies I'd prefer a manual focus lens. Ideas? Thanks.

    Rick H.
  2. I SUSPECT that the rarity is driving the price.

    I don't think Nikon sold many of these in MF-remember that this was priced/targeted to a professional photographers and in the 80s zooms largely didn't get a lot of respect(and deservedly so for many of them). I'd guess that your average pro would have preferred carrying a 105 2.5 and 180 2.8 ED in preference to one of these beasts.

    Of course, the landscape has changed a lot, and the optical companies have been dumping a LOT of time and money into zoom lenses since the 90s. An 80-200 2.8(or something in that general range) is now something of a staple lens for many photographers and even older ones like my push-pull no tripod collar D are decent even on something as unforgiving as my D800.

    BTW, my AF lens does work surprisingly well as a manual focus lens, and I've used it on my F2AS. I keep meaning to "fork" it to work on older cameras. Like most AF lenses, it does make some noise in manual focus and does have a very "dry" feeling. It's not as silky smooth as a proper MF lens, but can be manually focused a LOT easier than most others. At least on the push pull version I have, with manual focus engaged the entire zoom ring also serves as a zoom ring(making it what would have been called a one-touch zoom back in the MF days) so you have a lot to grab for focus and composition.
  3. A classic, only 1600 produced - which explains the price. And a behemoth: 1.9kg, 95mm filter. Taller and heavier than any 70/80-200 f/2.8 that came after it.
  4. Silly question... my understanding is that the 80-200 AF-S had the best optics of any 80-200 before the 70-200 options became available, but that they're prone to AF failure, and parts for the AF-S module are no longer available.

    If you want one for manual use, is there any chance you can find one with broken AF on the cheap? You'd still have to give it "ears", but if you can find one, it ought to be good optically.
  5. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

  6. You'd need to add a prong on the AF/AF-D 80-200 f/2.8 lenses to make it work with a F2, with a FE they should work already. Seems a more viable option than going specifically for the MF version of the f/2.8 zoom.
    I'd much prefer a 105 and 180 though - terrific lenses and both not overly large nor overly heavy. In fact, I've sold my 80-200 f/2.8D because I always ended up this pair of primes anyway.
  7. Depends on the F2.

    It doesn't need to be modified to work with an F2A or F2AS. You need the ears for it to meter on an F2 Photomic, F2s, or F2sb. Of course, it doesn't matter on a plain prism.
  8. I can second them. Used Photo Pro is Robert's Camera in Indianapolis. I've had exellent results with them -- bought a few pieces from them for my Pentax 67 outfit. Great prices and excellent quality.

    Also, I've never handled a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8. However, I do have the manual focus Tamron 30A SP 80-200mm f/2.8 LD. It is a big, heavy lens and fortunately has a tripod mount. But with the Nikon AF lenses, I do have some experience. I have three AF-D Nikkors, the largest of which is the 70-300/4-5.6 ED and all of them have a focusing ring that, while narrower than those on the MF Nikons, they are big enough such that using them as a manual focus lens does not feel awkward. My 70-300's is not noisy and is well damped, in fact. I note that most of the lenses available in that above link are AF-Ds, so they should work well as MF lenses, should one so desire to use them that way.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I have a couple of the D lenses and like them quite a bit. Have been watching prices on these. I have an ancient 80-200 f4.5 that John White converted for me. I haven't used it much recently, but it was a very useful lens with my film Nikons. Having it AF or manual, 2.8 and the sturdier build might compensate for big & heavy. Who knows, aftger the Holidays...
  10. I've got the F2 in standard DP-1, F2A and F2AS versions so an AI lens would be preferred. I've also got the FE and a couple of Nikkormats, N90S and F4S. I'd like to get the faster lens that will work on all of my film bodies and thought the mf 2.8 would be a nice addition. I've always been a big fan of the AF version. I also like the 180/2.8 and the 105/2.5. I may well get the 180 as there are several available and already have the 105. The idea here is to complete several bags that basically stay ready at all times and I can just grab and go. I'll check that site and see what they have. Thanks!

    Rick H.
  11. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    A remarkable lens! It usually beats my newer lenses in all respects in low light. I admit I don't have the incredibly expensive Nikon Pro lenses. The 180 / 2.8 can be had cheaply and at worst, updated by John White at AI Conversions. My advice is move this one to the head of the list.
  12. +1 on the 180. Currently I have the P-C version, have had the ED in the past. The ED is possibly a little better, but I would not pay a lot more for ED vs pre. I like the AF-D version, also.
  13. I have the Nikkor 180/2.8 (e.g. link) also and it is a dandy by any measure.

    Of course, it isn't a zoom.

    I suggest that you might look a Nikon mount Vivitar Series 1 zoom lens in this class. the best versions are very good indeed.
  14. Rick (or others): for my education, am I right in understanding that the F2A doesn't couple with the bunny ears and just uses the AI ridge on the aperture ring like the higher-end DSLRs do? In other words, it should work with an AF lens that's not "G" (has an aperture ring) without modification?

    Most of the online resources about lens compatibility seem to sweep all F2 bodies into the same category, and my brief attempt to read up on the F2A(S) suggests they shouldn't - but it's not 100% clear, and I've never played with one.
  15. Correct. There's only one F2 body - the difference is all in the viewfinders. DE-1 makes it a plain, non-metering F2. DP-1: F2 Photomic, DP-2: F2S Photomic, DP-3: F2SB Photomic. DP-1, DP-2, and DP-3 all need coupling to the bunny ears. DP-11: F2A Photomic, DP-12: F2AS Photomic; these two are Nikon's entry in the Ai world (1977); they function the same way as the DP-1 and DP-3. There are three more non-metering viewfinders: DW-1 (waist-level finder), DA-1 (action finder), and DW-2 (waist-level with 6x magnifier).
  16. I would much rather carry the the 85 f/2.0, 135 f/2.8, and the 180 f/2.8 than one of those monster zoom.
  17. Thanks, Dieter (and useful to know if I ever pick up an F2 and don't want to have prongs put on my lenses). Someday I might try to improve on the compatibility tables I find online...

    BeBu: while I've found the zooms to be very useful (and used a 70-200 as a walk-around), they're certainly a bit bulky, especially on a smaller film camera. Having looked, I'm surprised how much lighter the 180mm is.
  18. Yup and Dieter has listed all the prisms for the F2. The plain prism is compatible to all Nikon F mount lenses. That's why it's very expensive now. Damn I bought the prism around 1979 for $42 and gave it away when my F2AS was stolen. Back then I used to remove the DP-12 prism and install the DE-1, load a roll of Kodachrome 64 in the camera and went out shooting. It was a lot of fun. The result would prove how well I can estimate exposure.
  19. To elaborate a bit on Dieter's excellent and concise summary of F2 prisms-

    The DP-1(F2 Photomic) and DP-11(F2A) are the most common in my experience and are effectively the same. They really only differ in how they determine the set aperture, and the DP-11 having the optical pipe for ADR. The meter read-out is the simple and familiar center-the-needle type seen on F meters and Nikkormats. They use a CdS cell(or I think actually two) for metering. They use a large carbon ring resistor that's often dirty and can lead to jumpy or erratic meter readings-I've resuscitated a few by drizzling some carbon tet(don't try this at home) onto the ring and working the contacts back and forth. Even then, they are often off by 1/2 to 1 stop.

    The DP-3(F2sb) and DP-12(F2AS) use a silicon metering cell that is both more sensitive and more responsive than a CdS. The read-out is via LEDs. Anyone who has ever used an FM-series camera will feel right at home using either as they use the familiar + o - system for indicating exposure. These will meter out to 10 seconds(EV -2 to 17 with ASA 100 film)-something that's handy when combined with the F2's timed shutter speeds to 10 seconds. There's a printed resistor ring in the metering head that can wear out with use-Sover Wong has made up what are effectively lifetime replacements for these. In my experience, the SB is the least common F2 metered prism, while demand keeps the DP-12 as the most expensive. I felt like I'd robbed the bank when I paid $500 for my F2AS+MD-2

    The DP-2(F2S) has the same metering range as the DP-3 and DP-12, but does it with CdS cells. I've never used one, but supposedly it has a healthy appetite for batteries. It was effectively replaced in I think 1975 by the F2SB. The meter read-out is via two LEDs, not three, arranged in a > < pattern. The exposure is correct when both are lit.

    For someone with a lot of AI glass, esp. non-"forked" glass-I think the F2AS is the one to have although the F2A is certainly a lot less expensive. I bought an F2A on the classifieds here for $130 not too long ago, and I think the seller has another at that price. The F2SB of course is great if you have "forked" glass(fortunately even new MF glass from Nikon is made that way) and a bit less expensive than the F2AS. The F2SB is less common, but there are usually a few on Ebay at any given time. The F2 Photomic is always a great classic choice, and I've paid under $100 for them. As much as people make a big deal about auto-indexing, I don't find the semi-auto indexing(twist the aperture ring to max and min after mounting) on all the F2 heads inconvenient. It only gets to be a pain, IMO, on the F T and F Tn where you have to manually set the max aperture.

    BTW, it's worth mentioning that the F2A and AS are easy enough to use with non-AI lenses. Push the AI indexing tab up into the head until it locks. When you want to meter, you just push the DOF preview button and then adjust until the needle is centered or o is lit. The non-AI heads work the same way if no indexing fork is present.
  20. Thanks, all. I live and learn about the Nikons before my time!

    Am I right in saying there's no body/meter which will both engage with the bunny ears for metering on pre-AI AND work with the AI ridge? (It's stop-down only, except for the Df's "set the aperture twice" solution?)

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