Do you feel that the 180 2.8 ED has the potential to have sharper images than the 70 or 80-200 because of it's size and weight?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dan_k|6, May 23, 2008.

  1. My 70-200 went on eBay last week and sold for $1700. I didn't use it as much as
    some of you guys would and when I did...it was too large to take it out in the
    streets and it was a pain to carry around.

    I decided to drop down to the 180 2.8 for size and I hear that it is actually a
    better performing lens.

    Do you think you would get sharper images because the 180 2.8 is lighter and
    easy to hold? I always wondered if my 70-200 images indoors could have been
    better if the lens wasn't as large as it was. VR helps but a blurry photo is
    always a blurry photo.
     
  2. The 180/2.8 produces sharper photos because it's a sharper lens.

    Ergonomics is an entirely separate issue. Some folks prefer extra weight for steadiness. Some prefer less weight. Distribution of weight and balance are key elements. So is good body alignment.
     
  3. No quesstion about, the 180 is a superior optic.
     
  4. BTW, you should take a look at the Sigma 50-150/2.8 HSM.
     
  5. Yup, Way to go!!
     
  6. What I meant to say was to you think the size of the 180 2.8 aids in getting sharper pictures. The 70-200 @ 200mm felt wobbly in my hands. @ 200mm I needed to be at at least 1/250th for sharp pictures.

    Do you think with the 180 2.8, I can get away with 1/60th at 180mm since it is lighter weight?
     
  7. What shutter speeds were you using when you got blur with the 70-200mm VR?
     
  8. You are worried about extracting maximum sharpness and you want to hand hold at 1/60th of a second. You are kidding right? Nobody hands are that steady, unless maybe the person is dead.
     
  9. No, it won't help with this. The VR is what gives the best odds for sharp results
    handheld at these speeds, but it's not perfect. You need to give the VR system some
    time to stabilize before squeezing an exposure.

    With the 180 I would use at least 1/500s if I want critical sharpness on the D3 and
    1/800 s with the D200 (with its smaller pixels). Good results can occasionally still be
    had at 1/250s but only some of the pics will be sharp. For slower speeds, use a tripod.
     
  10. I find it easier to hold a heavier lens steady. It's all about physics and motion. It's very easy to "jitter" a light object - a lot harder with a heavy one.
     
  11. <What I meant to say was do you think the size of the 180 2.8 aids in getting sharper pictures?> A very general question with the short answer being: it depends. There are many variables that determine whether you can obtain a sharp image with a given lens.

    Physiology - in terms of both strength (stamina in particular) and being blessed with a 'shake-free' body. Setting a lens/camera down for a rest between shots is one thing. Hand-holding and shooting for a prolonged period is another, requiring stamina. Bulging muscles do not equate to stamina. And for those with a mild shake, more heft translates to stability. Yet for prolonged sessions, less weight would be beneficial.

    Technique - a bit of a catch-all that would include posture (e.g. 'planting elbows' among other things), proper breathing and the progressive press of the release button (vs. punch or stab of the button). I would wager that refining your technique will pay big dividends. Among the most skilled and knowledgeable shooters re: technique are marksmen and biathletes. Imagine skiing uphill, heart pounding away and then having to turn to stone to hit a target. Do a google search for technique.

    All things being equal, I'll take the mass of an 80-200/2.8.
     
  12. I bought my 180 2.8 ED when still in high school (1982 or 1983) and it's paid for itself many many times over. Shooting film in FF I found I could get sharp images at 1/125, although every third frame would be soft.
     
  13. I can sometimes hold my 180mm still enough at a low shutter speed for a sharp image but not often. It goes with me more often because its small and light. On a tripod its very sharp but its a bit slow to focus, I guess a far amount slower than the 70-200mm. I think Lilly W really nailed it as far as holding is concerned. I use the 180mm f2.8 while panning large flying model aircraft and am very pleased with it.
     
  14. Daniel as Lex said thee 180mm got better optics. Better in the sense that a prime need fewer optical elements than the zoom and VR adds even more elements so since the 180mm does not need those it is more resistant to stray light and design is easier for just the one focal length. But net us not talk about theory it is just a very good lens^^.

    Now you loose a lot of the image quality if your camera and lens shake. I do not know where you got the idea from that such a long exposure time would give you un-blurred images but shooting free hand this will not work. Yes you could get accidentally one or few good shots out of 100. But nothing really up to the potential of the lens.

    VR can counteract some of the blur and so you should get your lens back - perhaps you can offer 100$ of compensation? Or you get a nice tripod.
     
  15. Carl not sailplanes by any chance? Where?

    http://whschroeder.com/html/planes.html
     
  16. Sharpness is relative to many factors.

    The 80-400 VR is not as "sharp" optically as the 180/2.8. But the VR will enhance the ability to take blur-free handheld photos by minimizing the effects of camera shake. All the optical sharpness in the world won't help without a stable platform.

    Ditto Lilly's advice to study the techniques of target shooters. I was a rifle and handgun target shooter for many years, starting with good training in the military when steady, offhand long range shooting was emphasized. While I was never a particularly good silhouette shooter, the technique has helped my photography, especially now that my back and neck aren't as strong as they used to be. It's all about ergonomics and breath control, not brute strength.
     
  17. I have both and they are both fantastic lenses. In pure test-chart sharpness I think the 180 wins, especially wide-open. It also has better contrast and fewer internal reflections, for obvious reasons.

    As a low-light walking around lens the issue is way more complicated. VR buys you at least a couple of stops. I've got pretty steady hands but even I would not want to rely on the 180 for sharp work at less than 1/200th of second, unless I could brace it on something. Last night I was testing my 70-200 at /100th and 1/50th - it was great at 1/100th and about half the shots at 1/50th were also real sharp (at 200 mm) . On the other hand that lens is one heavy monster.
     
  18. Here's the old 180/2.8 AIS, on a tripod, with a TC-200 doubler. Hard to imagine an improvement. Comments welcome.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/74312783@N00/1877415943/
     
  19. For max sharpness you use a tripod. Everyone knows that. If it has to be handheld, I'll pick a VR lens every time.


    Kent in SD
     
  20. I sold my 80-200 to my friend after getting the 180. I used to use the 80-200 to shoot my son's basketball games in Jr. H/S but now in H/S he quited. Since then I didn't use it. In January I bought the 180 coz I found a used one in mint condition at a ridiculous price. I felt bad not to buy it! I love it! It's very sharp and has great bokeh. Very light and small. At first I thought it was a bit too slow when focusing but now with a D300 I thinks is faster than my ex 80-200. Rene'
     
  21. Lex; whats a few serial numbers off your 180mm F2.8? I wanted to see where it is on Roland Vinks serail number site. It think you own a non Ed version; and maybe an ED one too.
     

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