New 70-300VR or used 80-200 f2.8?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by simon_hickie|1, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. I'm steadily getting to grips with the D300 and currently tend to favour using the Tamron 17-50mm over my 18-200VR, although at a wedding last weekend I used the 18-70 mainly due to better low light focusing. At the wedding I also borrowed a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for candids etc. The Sigma showed good image quality and enabled some nice depth of field control, but the focusing was twitchy and lack of VR was a pain for hand-held shooting (using a tripod was impractical at the venues). My budget means that I can afford either f2.8 max aperture or VR but not both. My 18-200VR does not cut it at longer focal lengths. Therefore, there are two possible candidates: either a new 70-300VR or a used 80-200 (two ring version due to faster focusing). The lens would be used for candids, some landscape / architecture / portraits etc. The attached image shows what I'd like to be able to achieve on a more consistent basis. Any advice from present / former users of both lenses would be welcome. Image below taken on D80, Sigma 70-200 @ 200mm, 1/60th hand held, F4, SB-600, ISO 1250.
  2. Have you ever tried working with a 4-section monopod? They can collapse down to something that's well out of your way, but can easily make up for most of no-VR situations at 200mm. I ask, because I think the 80-200 is a far, far more versatile lens if you're after portrait-type quality. The long, slow end of the 70-300 just doesn't cut it for interior work I don't think. It's a very subjective issue, of course. But so many of these types of scenes are cursed with a cluttered/busy background. Having to be at f/5.6 or so is a major handicap, from a creative point of view (never mind the exposure issue). I don't think anyone every regretted buying faster glass and a monopod.
  3. Hi Matt. I have a three section Manfrotto that gets reasonably low, but I can see the benefit of a 4 section model. I'd have to be able to mount the camera whilst still using a flash bracket - my current bracket allows this, but I'm looking at a more compact model. I find a monopod gives be about 1.5 to 2 stops slower shutter speed, so 200mm (300mm equiv.) means I should be OK at around 1/80th.
  4. Simon unless you really need the 300mm you will be better off with the 80-200 f2,8 lens.
  5. Another vote for the 80-200... focuses faster, f2.8 will allow you to capture shots and blur backgrounds the 70-300 won't. The only downside to the 80-200 is if you need 300mm.

    The 70-300 isn't a bad lens at all, but the 80-200 is just so much better.
  6. Hi Simon. Got to agree with the others. Seems to me if you are looking at the 70-300, you might as well stay with the 18-200. Having tried it out as a guest at a wedding, I know what you mean when you say it just won't cut it.

    You seem to be very comfortable with a monopod so the 80-200 seems the best choice for speed and optics but of course, there is a very noticable difference in weight.
  7. Another vote for the ANY version of the 80-200. Mine is old: no tripod ring and just the push-pull zoom with rotating front
    element, but it is FAST to focus, locks on well, and the results are gorgeous. With a lens this fast you need no VR.
    Shope carefully and you'll find them very reasonably priced.
  8. Simon, VR will only compensate for the movements of your camera, it won't be able to "freeze" the motion of your subjects. A large aparture lens such as the 80-200 2.8 will allow more light to get through, allowing more efficient AF, better DOF control (shallow), and help achieve faster shutter speeds required to freeze motion.

    Getting the 80-200 is definitely a good idea.
  9. Definitely get a 80-200 2.8....... i have a 70-200 F2.8 VR it's my favorite lens.
  10. Yep I have the 2.8 and had the VR which I sold after getting the 2.8, don't really miss it, but would still love to have for the Zoo shoot which are outside, I may pick a used one up if I get a decent price on it..but for wedding this Lens would never need all the lenses to be 2.8 or lower, plus if you shooting Pro, I think you should dump the 3rd party lenses and get all Nikkor, I personally find the difference to be massive, I had a bad experiance the the Tamron 18-50mm 2.8 (the lens would lock after using it a few hours) I dumped it and picked up the 18-55 2.8 Nikkor, and awesome lens man...all my lenses are now Nikkor. I believe to haveing less lenses but to lenses than having many 3rd party...
  11. Thanks all. Looks like the 80-200 Nikkor is the one to go for! I guess I knew it really......In an ideal world I'd also have the 17-55 Nikkor too. As Veej suggests, fewer lenses of higher quality is a sound move. I fancied VR after positive experiences with the 18-200. I know it doesn't help with subject movement, but helps with the shakes. I'll experiment with the monopod and my 70-210 f4-5.6 to see how low I can go reliably before camera shake sets in. I'm shooting some informal reception shots at my nephew's forthcoming wedding, so need to decide quite what to use!

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