Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G ED VR II vs the 80-200 f2.8D ED

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by greg_west, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Is the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G ED VR II lens worth the extra $1300 over the 80-200 f2.8D ED?
    I am looking at upgrading.
    A professional photographer friend, whose business is photography training and photo excursions, advised me to purchase the 70-200 and add a Nikon Teleconvertor. He says the VR will pay for itself when shooting low light.
    I am a generalist shooting primary landscapes, old architecture and the occasional critter/bird it they agree smile and pose.
    However, I am increasing being asked to shoot high school graduation photos where I can see the value of the lens.
    Currently I am using a Nikon 18-70 3.5-4.5G as my main lens.
    Any experience with a teleconvertor on these lenses?
    My long lens a 70-300 Tokina which is rarely used as it is better served as a paper weight than a lens. (I purchased with a kit a long time ago.)
    I am currently using a D200 which is starting to show its age. So replacing the body in the future is in the back of my mind. As with everything, money is an issue.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. My 2c. YMMV. I had the 80-200mm granted few people had my issue that unless I was 5m away it wasn't really focused. Mine was a new overseas import but I don't live in the USA with the privilege of low prices. When I was 5m away the 80-200mm was very sharp, I had no issues about its quality over my 85mm. I recently read Thom Hogan's article on VR and he mentioned that many sport photographers don't use VR much as the shutter speed is high to freeze the motion. So i think maybe it's good for portraits/pose in lower light and indoor ceremony for the graduation for eg .. Landscapes/buildings should/can be done on a tripod. Compared to my Nikon 80-200 vari apeture it was sharp too but the 2.8 lens is more sharp and better contrast. I assume the 70-300mm would be even more of a multi purpose tool. Any reason you not using the 70-300? Quality issues?
  3. There isn't a difference in image quality. I've owned both and never had a complaint about either of them. 70-200 is a bit quieter with the autofocus, but that's about it in the quality differences. I prefer the ergonomics of the 80-200, it's more natural, I think. The thing you will run into though is spotty compatibility with the 80-200 and teleconverters. I found that all the TCs worked with the 70-200 but not with the 80-200. I disagree with your friend, the VR is pointless these days with the high ISO quality of DSLRs. You can easily get your shutter speed to a hand-hold-able place and not really pay for it in quality. Not to mention, the usability of VR diminishes with a TC. I got caught up in the hype and bought the 70-200 and then downgraded to the 80 after a while and bought a 17-35 2.8 with the excess funds.
  4. I`ll play "devil`s advocate":
    If you are at the limit of the "reasonable" noise, a two stops ISO increase will be highly noticed on the images. This is where the VR system helps. Or you simply want to have no noise in your images at base ISO, and that two stops will let you to shoot inside a cathedral, or that dimmer streets at dusk, or a bird hand held when you`re a bit lazy with the tripod. For "casual" portrait shots, the VR is obviusly a very nice help.
    Also, think that the 80-200D-ED has not built-in motor (I assume it`s the plain "ED", not the "IF-ED"). If you plan to upgrade your camera, you`ll need to have a camera capable of driving this lens. If you prefer a cheaper, "consumer" type camera, you´ll need an AFS type lens.
    Now in the real world; $1300 is a big difference. If your current 70-300 is unused, given the huge size&weight of this pro zooms, I wonder if you`ll use it even fewer times. Maybe you`ll be better with the cheaper one, as mentioned above.
  5. I assume you are talking about the latest iteration of the 80-200, the AF-S version. I have owned all the AF 80-200 (first had a pump zoom) and 70-200 lenses.
    The 70-200s work better with TCs, no doubt, but the AF-S 80-200 was ok with the TC-14E. So, yes, the 70-200s are sharper and the VR feature is a plus... a real plus. With a D200 you do not have too much options as ISO is concerned, 400 ISO is the max you can go for decent image quality. So, yes, VR is relevant.
    The second version of the 70-200 is the best.
    Not a perfect world though. I experienced much worse flare issues when I switched from the 80-200 to the first 70-200. I think the AF-S 80-200 was the best of the bunch at controlling flare (light source in the picture or close to the edge).
  6. I think the poster is considering the 80-200/2.8 D ED, so I do highly recommend a used 80-200/2.8 AF-S ED. Extremely sharp, no chromatic aberation, and very fast AF. At around $1000 USD you're saving even more to put into another lens. Oh, and that other lens could be a used 85/1.4 for portraits.
  7. I used the 70-200 2.8vrII Nikon to shoot 24 football games last month at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas. One of the Other photographers was using the 80-200 Nikon and One was using the Sigma 70-200 2.8. I had less problems with back focusing speed of focusing and it was tack sharp. It was a new lens right out of the box I used it on a Nikon D300 and the Picks well stellar. Don't mess with the rest get the best. And if you can't afford it rent it. If the shoot does not pay enough to rent the lens then it does not pay enough to dig out the D300.
  8. I have the AF 80-200 D ED (two-ring version), and it is very useful and very sharp. (I have gotten excellent results with it on the D800E.)
    Yet, yet, let's not rationalize too much: sooner or later you are going to want to shoot hand-held in low light, and nothing else will quite compare to a VR version. Is it worth the price differential? No one can answer that question for anyone else.
  9. "Is the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G ED VR II lens worth the extra $1300 over the 80-200 f2.8D ED?"

    Only if the best IQ possibly, and the fastest, most accurate AF available are important to you.
  10. I've had very mixed results with my AF 80-200 D. At short range, autofocus is so far off that I can't adjust it to match - apparently there's a known issue with the design which makes this the case (I suspect a function of the telecentricity of the output at short range - my understanding is that people have analysed it in the dpreview fora, though I've not looked for a thread). Again at short range, it's visibly softer than a 70-200, even on a D700.

    At longer range, it's pretty sharp even on a D800, and the autofocus works (as I eventually worked out). The 70-200 is probably better still, but the 80-200 is no longer quite such a liability. I can only speak for my own sample, but I've heard similar reports from others.

    I've heard nothing but good things about the AF-S 80-200, if you can find one. If you're trying to save money and plan to stick to DX cameras, I'd look out for a 70-200 VR 1, since I see the biggest failing of that lens as being the corner performance on FX at 200mm. If you want to buy new, no such luxury (though the latest Sigma has been testing well, I believe).

    I was never convinced I needed a zoom in this range - I have faster primes covering it already. I decided to get one so that I could vary the framing on a shot-by-shot basis while still having enough aperture for background isolation. I got it when my D700 was my main camera, and the benefit of a 70-200 seemed small enough not to be worth the price gap; having got a D800, it may have been a false economy. For some uses, it's fine, and it clearly has a lot of happy customers - but it'll depend on your use cases.
  11. Not to mention, the usability of VR diminishes with a TC​
    Out of curiosity: how? With the Nikon TCs, the VR will continue to work, and since the lens is longer and slower (and hence more difficult to hand-hold), I'd say VR only becomes more useful? This statement makes no sense to me.
    While I have the AF-D 80-200 myself, and liking it well enough, for all I've seen from tests and photos, the current 70-200VRII is a step up and a clearly better lens. Whether it's $1300 better is hard to say - that depends on how big an issue money is, and how much money the lens will make you. For event photography where lighting conditions can be troublesome, I'd want the VR version (for the reasons Jose Angel has given - and on a D200, the noise kicks in fairly quick, so you'll hit that limit).
    As for using TCs, there are plenty threads discussing this; the general outcome is that the 70-200VRII takes TCs really well, including the TC20EIII. The older 70-200VR doesn't do quite as good; the AF-D 80-200 you'd need either Kenko TCs or modify the Nikon ones, no idea how well it takes them. A lot depends also on which TC you plan to use - a 2x TC will impact image quality a whole lot more than a 1.4x one. Given the description of your photography, though, I don't quite see why you'd want a TC?
  12. Allow me to play with the numbers.

    I have owned both lenses. Image quality is the same to all but the most inveterate pixel peeper and then it is a mere quibble. I have shot High School graduations with both lenses. The obvious winner is the 70-200 on the D200. As Georges points out you are going to see some issues with noise above 400-800 ISO with the D200. So.

    For your landscape and old buildings the clear price leader and equal image quality goes to the 80-200 F/2.8D (non AF-s).

    For the "occassional critter/bird" the advantage is to neither because as soon as you put the TC on them you are probably better off with the 70-300 AF-s VR for a whale of a lot less money. But I will still lean to the 80-200 because of price.


    You are telling us that the 70-200 VRII is in the budget or you would not ask. So there is only one clear solution. It is. You buy the 80-200 F/2.8D. That leaves you $1300.00 in your budget. You buy a new D7000 from B & H for $896.00 on sale. That leaves you 404.00 left over to spend. You borrow $20.00 from the neighbors to add to the $404 and for $424 you buy a Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 to go with your new body.

    So the vastly higher ISO performance of your new body pretty much makes up for the VR. You have fast glass from 17-200. On your DX sensor that gives you the 35mm equivalent of 27-300 at F/2.8. It gives you better dynamic range by far. It makes it possible to shoot your graduations quite nicely and,if you are going to do that, it gives you a backup body and lens in your D200 with the 18-70 in case of disaster. All for the price of one new lens.

    There is one variation on this theme. If you do not have an SB600 or higher flash then you will use your $404.00 to buy one. To try to shoot really good graduation picutres without one is criminal. (There are far more shots than walking across the stage.) And for your other work, if you have not mastered flash it will give you a whole new place to go.
  13. The 1st version of the 70-200/2.8 is a bit soft at 200mm, f/2.8 especially evident on DX cameras. The 2nd version of the lens is very sharp at 200mm wide open. I think this is the most important improvement in the newer lens as it allows one to crop with very high quality from the images taken wide open at 200mm. The vignetting and distortion are also reduced in the new lens, and the corner sharpness better. However I somehow felt the 1st version was a bit more portrait-friendly and had better bokeh and some reports say it is better at long distances in the center of the frame stopped down to f/4 or more. But for the most part the newer lens is better, I think. I thought the 1st version was really quite soft with the TC-14EII whereas the new version is quite sharp at 280mm, f/5.6. I do not use the 70-200 with the TC-20EIII though; that I find to be a stretch too far.
    Regarding the 80-200mm f/2.8D ED, there are three versions that fit that designation, the push-pull D, the two-ring D with tripod collar but no SWM, and the AF-S version. I assume you mean the second one (designated AF Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D N) since it was in production for a long time. I have used this lens and it is a good lens for the price, but CA is much reduced in the 70-200's, and in the 70-200/2.8 II, the sharpness at 200mm f/2.8 is especially better at close distances but overall as well. AF-S is more precise than the camera body motor AF and particularly good in the 70-200/2.8 II. VR II is effective when you need to shoot at marginal shutter speeds and must hand-hold e.g. at indoor events.
    I would go for the latest version if you can afford it; if not, consider the new 70-200/4. After that, the 70-200/2.8 Mk I and the 80-200/2.8D AF-S on the second hand market, and finally the 80-200/2.8D N.
  14. I wonder how many people actually read the OP's original post and truely thought about him?
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I wonder how many people actually read the OP's original post and truely thought about him? :)
    It is not exactly news that people like to use threads as opportunity to provide answers they would love to give. The OP is not their main concern.
    Since the OP is using a now "ancient" D200, I wouldn't pour $2400 on one lens. An older 80-200mm/f2.8 should be just fine. If one is shooting a lot of indoor events such as parties, weddings, etc. with a D600, D800, or D4, I think it is worthwhile to invest on a 70-200mm/f2.8 VR II. In particular, I would look for rebates that Nikon provides when you buy that lens and a body together.
  16. If I was the OP, depends if you are doing this for a living or if you are an amateur paid or not ... Assuming it's not paid or paid little - depends how much you wanna take this hobby of yours. D200 with 80-200mm is decent IMHO. The other options is someone suggested upgrading the camera to a newer one and picking up a mid zoom 2.8 and a 80-200mm 2.8 or one of the 3rd parties even ... like a Tamron or Sigma. But of course you could end up with a D800 and latest greatest 70-200mm VRII if you want. It depends IMHO .... You're probably not the only hobbyist that have that setup already.
    If it's just the odd high school graduation, and a bit of anything else that stirs your fancy --- maybe just what you want out of your hobby. Re: graduation over here, non-USA they have outdoor portraits with flash etc .. and they have indoor studio session with strobe lighting and the indoor ceremony for the graduation due to that the photographer probably won't be roaming the event hall like weddings maybe you don't need the fastest focussing lens, there is a contracted pro to the university here where he captured every graduate who crosses the platform, shakes hand and receive their degree, they might just setup a tripod above if possible focussing on the Professor and take the shot .....
  17. "D200 which is starting to show its age. So replacing the body in the future is in the back of my mind."

    Bodies come and go, but great glass is something you will hold onto...

    "advised me to purchase the 70-200 and add a Nikon Teleconvertor." If you would be investing in the 70-200mm VRII and Nikon's newest TC, yes, perhaps. Otherwise I would not consider a TC.

    FWIF, the D7000 and 70-200mm VRII make a great combo.

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