80-200 variants and the D800

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by fluppeteer, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Hi all. Briefly, because I know we've discussed these lenses before...

    I have an 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D, two-ring. (I also have a mk1 one-ring, but since it has something that might be a sticky aperture blade, it's not currently ruling them all.)

    It's acceptably sharp at longer distances, but gives me trouble at closer ranges. How much of that is the lens sharpness and how much of it is the (alleged) variation in telecentricity throwing the AF off - I can't fit it in the fine tune range when at close focus - I don't know.

    When I bought it, I tried it alongside a 70-200 VR 2. The newer lens was clearly a bit sharper, but not enough to be worth the extra money to me at the time. However, that was on a D700. Since I got a D800, I've been pixel peeping more, especially since my 28-200 is no longer a viable substitute.

    By all accounts, the AF-S version is "better". Could I please get a few opinions from anyone who's tried both on whether it's specifically improved at shortish range, whether the AF is any more reliable, and whether the difference is more visible at D800 pixel densities?

    I bought this lens originally because I wanted some depth of field control (not really provided by my 28-200) and some flexibility in focal length (not provided by my fast primes). It was deliberately a compromise, but I'm currently shooting it almost exclusively at f/5.6 and below to improve the sharpness, at least at shortish range. It would be nice to be able to open up a bit without losing too much performance, though I'm not expecting perfection.

    I'm off to check some more reviews, but they're harder to find for older lenses like this. Thanks in advance.
  2. Andrew, I have a 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D, two-ring. My experiences with that lens only are: close focus at 200mm gives some haziness. Quality is ok at or longer than 3 meters @ 200mm. The IQ gets better at close if you stop down a bit or zoom out a bit. Even 180mm is better at close.
    With D700 (just now available to me) and with F100 I could see that the lens is not a real zoom in the sense that zooming does not affect on focusing distance. So first zoom and then focus, that way it is better.
    Does your copy have similar issues with both of your cameras @ at close distances.
    Lenses are not all alike. I had a clear manufacturing fault with my 20mm lens. The image was focused at different distances left/right. Nikon did not want to do anything. Eventually I had to mechanically tune that lens. Now it is in a very acceptable condition IQ wise - but do not look inside.
    I am not suggesting you to do something like I did, rather telling that your copy of 80-200 may have more than usual amount of CA at close distances. Also by not using 200mm at close may ease the situation.
    To me 80-200 is ok in sharpness, but the quality of "bokeh" is definively not the best.
    And a quick cure: do a bit less pixel peeping.
  3. Thanks for the feedback, Kari. I could well believe my tests were within 3m, and I was probably using the 200mm end. At long distances it's fine, but my understanding is that the optics of the AF-D get a bit inconvenient for DSLRs when up close. Which is unfortunate, because one way in which it'd be useful is getting closer than my 200 f/2 can (though I have a 150mm macro now, so I'm less worried than I was). I also have a loathing for LoCA, with which a switch to an AF-S might help somewhat.

    I hope Nikon are going to do something about my 14-24 (which I believe is showing more than an average amount of field curvature, making it look soft at the corners - it's only because I saw a sharp-looking rock near my feet that I spotted what might be going on). They've claimed my DC lens is okay in the past, but it clearly behaves differently from that of some other group members.

    Thanks for the information about how yours behaves. As for pixel peeping... well, I care about (macro-scale) bokeh too, but it's a bit of a waste of my D800 if I'm not going to try to get the best out of it! (Mostly, I'm not going to care, but sometimes I'll be wanting a shot that matters. A family member is getting married in a month, and I might - as a guest - want to get some shots that they'd like a decent copy of.)
  4. Re: two-ring 80-200. A friend had a severe problem with that lens on a D80 - close-up and from about 140mm onward, AF was way off (manual focus was OK); sending camera and lens to Nikon cured the problem.

    My copy was unusable on a D70 at 180 and above and close-up; this didn't show up on three D200 and two D300 bodies. Traded the lens last year for a used 70-200/2.8 VR (not VR II) - am very happy with the trade. Certainly for AF-S and VR, but also because the heavier 70-200 handles a lot better than the front-heavy 80-200.
  5. I have the 80-200 AFD and the 80-200 AFS. I use them both on D300, and a D4.
    Now you have to remember that I am using them to shoot sports with and spend a lot of time with them on the long end. I find the AFS to be better all the way around. And it does not have that stupid M-F ring that breaks from sitting on a shelf.
    I find the AFS to focus better all all distances and to be better wide open.
    I will also use them both on a Kenko extension tube or a Nikon PN-11 extension tube.
    Not sure which 80-200 but this shot is at f/4
    This shot is at f/2.8
    The only issue I have had with the 80-200 AFS is at about 180mm it will lock focus and then loos it. I need to send it in to Nikon to have them check it out. It has seen some hard use. It did not do this until just recently and I think it will be worth sending in to have them look at it.
  6. The 80-200/2.8D AF N was always soft at close distances at 200mm, f/2.8 on 35mm film. It has nothing to do with telecentricity or digital capture.
    The current version i.e. VR 70-200/2.8 II is spectacularly sharp at 200mm, f/2.8 especially in the near to mid distance range. It easily makes jokes around the D800 sensor's limited ability to tell what a sharp lens is. Towards long distances the 200/2 shows better bokeh and is probably a hair sharper, too, in the center of the frame, but it's really a question of splitting hairs. The 70-200/2.8 II is perhaps the lens which has the most well behaved AF of all lenses I have on the Multi-CAM 3500 cameras and for that reason alone it is worth having. Keep the 200/2 for those bokeh shots - it has no peer in that respect.
  7. Thanks, everyone. This suggests that I'm not imagining my 80-200 problems!

    I've not been a great user of a zoom in this range on the basis that I've always leant towards the primes - 85 f/1.4, 135 f/2, 200 f/2 - so I've been trying not to spend too much on a lens like this. The 70-200 VR2 is horrendously expensive (given that I already have the 200 f/2) for how much I'd use it. Availability of the 80-200 range in the UK has been a bit odd for a while - Nikon UK didn't retain the AF-D for nearly as long as Nikon US, and I actually bought my two-ring in Australia as an impulse buy so that friends could take low-light photos of me (and my bride) at my wedding - but I've now noticed some AF-S versions turning up used at prices that aren't far from the two-ring AF-D price. I'd been thinking that I couldn't justify a third stab at getting a lens in this range, but it struck me that trading in my two existing 80-200s for an AF-S might make the price delta reasonable - so long as the image quality was actually going to improve, and it sounds as though it will.

    I'm highly sensitive to LoCA, for which the 70-200 VR2 isn't as good as the 200 f/2, and I mostly want these lenses for the bokeh anyway - so the 200 f/2 is still my preferred choice (until my wrists give out) and is going nowhere. I may decide that I need VR, but since I have the 150 OS Sigma and the 200 f/2 VR, I'll probably cope. Sadly, I do care about the corners at the long end, so the 70-200 VR1 is out for me (though I'd recommend it to a DX shooter in a heartbeat). So if I make lots of money I may be back for a VR2 (or VR3 if Nikon feel Canon's latest update needs a response), but I need to remind myself that I'm saving for a 400 f/2.8...

    So thanks very much for the feedback. I'll try to persuade a retailer to play swapsies. :)
  8. Bjorn Rorslett has what was a very comprehensive review: http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
    Look for the "lenses" link way at the bottom or on the left side.
  9. Thanks, Nick. It's been so long since I went shopping for a Nikkor (sniff) that I'd managed to blot out Bjørn's site, even though I used it a lot in the past! Good reminder - ta.
  10. Andrew, one possible? option: trade your 80-200's to a new 70-200/4.
    Then you would have a nice set of dof / bokeh prime lenses and a new versatile, light weight and good IQ+VR zoom?
  11. Hmm. Interesting thought, Kari. I'd been ignoring the f/4 on the basis that my original reason for getting an 80-200 was to combine some zoom ability with a reasonable amount of DoF control, and the 70-200 f/4 is a bit lacking in that - that and, when I originally looked, the f/4 had only just come out at quite a lot of money and there weren't any used ones. However, it is marginally sharper (especially centre frame), and it's obviously more portable, not that I'm known for travelling light. My immediate concern was replacing my other 80-200, but actually the f/4 might be a viable partial substitute for my 28-200. Horns of a dilemma... I'll have a look at both when I try to trade in my current lenses. Thanks for the prompt.

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