80-200 AF-S or 70-200 AF-S

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_hinkey, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Well I have an opportunity to buy either of these lenses:
    80-200/2.8 AF-S: Private individual, gray market import, excellent condition (will not get a chance to inspect before purchasing because they are in Canada and I'm in the States) for ~$900 and a verbal agreement to send it back if something is wrong with it upon delivery. Nikon USA will not service it due to being a grey market import.
    OR
    70-200/2.8 VR AF-S: Used once or twice, USA warranty (I know it's not transferable), mint condition for $1350 from a local seller that I can meet in person and inspect the lens before buying.
    I currently have a 80-200/2.8 AF-D that, although excellent on my film bodies, has not done so well on my D80 in terms of focus accuracy (sent it in to Nikon and they say it's to spec). Plan on getting a D300 in the next few months. Mainly use it for travel, hiking, landscape, and eventually for my girls sports and school activities when they get old enough in a few years. I plan on keeping this lens for at least 10 years or so.
    Which would you get? Which would be the lower risk purchase and/or the better long term investment? Which would be better on a full frame body sometime in the future?
    Thanks for any input!
    - John
     
  2. If money is not much an issue, I would say go for the 70-200mm. For such a big ticket item, I always feel that it is safer to inspect it before purchase. Yes, you can mail the 80-200mm back if there is any problem, but you can never be sure what can happen during transit.
    Since you have the intention to keep the lens for a long time, it definitely makes good economic sense to invest in a newer and slightly better lens. I find that the 70-200mm is a better lens for hiking as with the VR, it does save the hassle of bringing along a tripod.
    For sports, the original tripod mount for the 70-200mm is much better (unless you get the third party mounts for the 80-200).
    To specifically answer your questions
    Which would you get? 70-200mm
    Which would be the lower risk purchase and/or the better long term investment? 70-200mm
    Which would be better on a full frame body sometime in the future? 70-200mm (I have used it on a full frame body, albeit for a short time, and on film bodies and find that the 70-200mm works very well on both).
     
  3. What would I get?
    The 70-200.
    1- Coz I can check it in person before paying for it.
    2- It is a newer model.
    3- Has VR (I still prefer a tripod but when needed it can be handheld with better results)
    Good luck!
     
  4. Hmmm, yes definately 70-200mm, especially since you get to see it in person and try it [little risk], hopefully it is the way it's described.
    It's a $450 difference, which is justified if you plan on using the lens a lot, throughout the year.
    It's newer design, so faster to focus probably, possibly better coating on glass, and definately higher fun factor :)
    so....... 70-200mm..... 3 of 3 comments here recommend it :)
     
  5. You'll forget about the exttra $450 after a while. But you'll never forget even one or two shots that the VR made possible. It doesn't always play a role for me, but there are times when it has been the only reason a lower-light image was workable for me. Both will produce outstanding images... but you'll be sometimes glad for the extra 10mm wider and sometimes very, very glad for the VR.
     
  6. Since you have a DX body, my recommendation is the 70-200.
    If you had an FX body and you were doing landscapes, I would have recommended the 80-200. Despite its newer design, the 70-200 has pretty poor corner performance on FX systems. Not "nit-picking" poor. Really poor, at least on my copy, which I sold last week for that reason.
     
  7. I just want to add that my derogatory comments on the 70-200 apply only to FX and then only when corner sharpness is required. For any type of DX shooting, and for portraiture and sports on FX, it is an excellent lens. I used it on my D2x for years and was thrilled with it in every way.
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have had both lenses. For several years I had both and compared them quite a bit. Optically they provide similar quality, but I went to the 70-200 mainly for the VR capability.
    The 70-200 is skinner and longer, making it easier to hand hold, and VR is really helpful indoors. The 80-200 has a wider diameter and is harder to hold, at least for me. The 80-200's removable tripod collar is poorly designed and does not rotate at all smoothly.
    The 70-200's corner issue is well known, but that is only an issue if you use it on FX near 200mm and you must have corner to corner sharpness. For most people, it is a non issues, especially on a DX body.
    About a year and half ago, I sold my 80-200mm/f2.8 AF-S in Ex condition for about $850. If that is what you want, I would locate one locally, at least within the US. Shipping (potentially back and forth) from Canada is an unnecessary hassle for an item that should not be all that hard to find.
     
  9. If the only reason you are looking is because of 80-200AF-D's focusing issue on your D80, buying D300 as you say will most likely take care the issue. I have 80-200AF-D on D300 and with use of "fine tuning" feature, there are no issues with focusing any longer, as I used to have with D70.
    Maybe you can rent a D300 and put your 80-200 and see if you can get it to focus accurately using "fine tuning"...
     
  10. Hmm I have no issues at all with my 80-200AF-D on my D90. Should I be? I.e. is this some sort of known problem with this lens and Dx bodies??
    So far, I can't sing its praises enough. Even at 2.8 (and I use it almost always at 2.8) I am getting crisp sharp images.
     
  11. John -
    I would probably buy the D300 now & see if that takes care of your focusing issues with the 80-200mm AF-D which you already have. Past that - - part of me misses the 80-200AF-S I had for less than a month. Mine back focused very fast at f/4 or 5.6 at like 150mm & even earlier at f/8. I went with the 70-200VR as the store did not have a second 80-200 & would not be able to get one for about 2 weeks +. But I liked how it was built. The 70-200VR is very skinny & long compared to the 80-200.
    Either way - - the 80-200 AF-S you should be able to pick up a US version for about $ 900.00 if not less within the US with warranty. I would not pay that price for a lens coming from Canada.
    JMHO
    Lil :)
     
  12. "Hmm I have no issues at all with my 80-200AF-D on my D90. Should I be? I.e. is this some sort of known problem with this lens and Dx bodies??
    So far, I can't sing its praises enough. Even at 2.8 (and I use it almost always at 2.8) I am getting crisp sharp images."
    The issues I had with the 80-200/2.8 D are that at 200mm and f/2.8 it back focuses by about 3 or 4 feet when the subject is about 30 or 40 ft. away. This happens with my D80 so I borrowed a friends D200 and it behaved exactly the same way. At higher f-stops it was not noticeable due to the increased DOF. Never had this problem with my N70.
    Another reason for getting an AFS version is that if I decide to get a smaller body, like a D60, that does not have a drive motor built in it will not autofocus. Plus I'd like to use the latest teleconverters to maintain AF.
    Thanks for the responses -John
     
  13. Anyone else have an opinions?
    Someone locally just approached me with a US (non-imported) 80-200/2.8 AFS and I'm waiting on the price and to see it in person. My one remaining question about the 80-200/2.8 AFS is would it be almost as good on DX, but better on FX should I choose to go that rout in a few years?
    - John
     
  14. I doubt that you can see a huge difference between the image quality of the 70-200mm and the 80-20mm AFS, whether on DX of FX. Both lenses are great.
     
  15. "I doubt that you can see a huge difference between the image quality of the 70-200mm and the 80-20mm AFS, whether on DX of FX. Both lenses are great."
    Corners on the 70-200/2.8 not so great on FX (see dpreview lens review of 70-200)
    Yes, well I have to make a choice - less expensive, larger (overall) and heavier 80-200/2.8 AFS w/o VR that performs well on DX or FX or the more expensive, smaller (overall) and lighter 70-200/2.8 VR AFS that's great on DX, but is really bad in the corners on FX, but has VR, better tripod collar and slightly greater range.
    Choices, choices. Probably have to sleep on it again tonight.
    - John
     
  16. The 70-200 is a heavy lens, but outstanding in image quality. The VR alone makes it worthwhile.
     
  17. "Hmm I have no issues at all with my 80-200AF-D on my D90. Should I be? I.e. is this some sort of known problem with this lens and Dx bodies??
    So far, I can't sing its praises enough. Even at 2.8 (and I use it almost always at 2.8) I am getting crisp sharp images."
    The issues I had with the 80-200/2.8 D are that at 200mm and f/2.8 it back focuses by about 3 or 4 feet when the subject is about 30 or 40 ft. away. This happens with my D80 so I borrowed a friends D200 and it behaved exactly the same way. At higher f-stops it was not noticeable due to the increased DOF. Never had this problem with my N70.
    Another reason for getting an AFS version is that if I decide to get a smaller body, like a D60, that does not have a drive motor built in it will not autofocus. Plus I'd like to use the latest teleconverters to maintain AF.
    Thanks for the responses -John
     
  18. 70-200VR
    • you get to inspect it
    • faster AF
    • VR, new etc. = higher resale value
    When you get an FX body, use the lens you currently own and leave the 70-200 on your DX backup. This way you will avoid the well known corner problems of the 70-200 (i would have got one, but i shoot all film)
     
  19. Can anyone who has a 80-200 AF-S on FX body comment on sharpness of this lens across the frame for telephoto landscape work (subjects like cityscape, bridges, towers etc.) I would appreciate to see some samples.
    Thanks
     
  20. Well, for those of you that listed "you get to inspect it" in the 70-200VR camp you were right!
    I met the guy today and took a bunch of test photos with it on my D80 and then took the same photos with my 80-200/2.8 AFD. When I got back home I threw them into NX and what did I find?
    I found that the 70-200VR consistently back-focused at 200mm at all apertures and even did it at 80mm as well. This can be fixed by Nikon, but it would cost me if I sent it in due to the warranty not being transferable. The owner, who says he only used it twice after taking it out of the brand new box was shocked. I told him to contact me after he sends it in to Nikon to have it fixed.
    Inspection before purchase is the way to go! I'm still in the market for an 80-200AFS or 70-200 VR.
    - John
     
  21. Arash, are you specifically interested in the AF-S version? I've ordered the still-available-new AF-D version (built-in tripod collar) from B&H and I'm expecting it on Friday. Assuming I determine the lens is in working order, I can post center and corner JPEG crops for you early next week. Again, this won't be the AF-S version.
     
  22. "Arash, are you specifically interested in the AF-S version? I've ordered the still-available-new AF-D version (built-in tripod collar) from B&H and I'm expecting it on Friday. Assuming I determine the lens is in working order, I can post center and corner JPEG crops for you early next week. Again, this won't be the AF-S version."
    Well the AFS version is very different optically than the AF-D. The AFS version is much closer to the 70-200VR.
    - John
     
  23. Interesting I didn't know that they are optically different. I will be very interested to see the samples. I thought between AF-D and AF-S I pick AF-S for faster focusing.
    John, does the AF-S version also suffer from corner issue the 70-200 does?
    Thanks,
     
  24. Interesting I didn't know that they are optically different. I will be very interested to see the samples. I thought between AF-D and AF-S I pick AF-S for faster focusing.
    John, does the AF-S version also suffer from corner issue the 70-200 does?

    Arash - see this thread over at dpreview that I started.
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&message=31304144
    I believe it does have corner issues, but not nearly as bad as the 70-200VR. On FX or DX it's sharper on the center than the 80-200/2.8 AF-D, but the sharpness seems to drop off faster in the extreme corners on FX. On DX it's suppose to be excellent (a step up from the AF-D version and nearly as good as the 70-200VR) - that's why I'm trying to get one.
    - John
     

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