Nikon 80-200 2.8 vs 70-210 at F8

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by hugh_sakols, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Is there any difference in optical quality between the Nikon 80-200 ED 2.8 and the 70-210 4-5.6 AT F8 and above. As a landscape photographer I'm not really concerned with wide open quality. I've read Ken Rockwell's review but I'd like to hear from others who have made the comparison. I always use a sturdy tripod. I guess what I'm asking is whether I'm wasting money expecting an improvement using the more expensive lens if I don't need the extra speed. My 70-210 seems quite sharp but I find I have to be extremely careful focusing even at infinity.
  2. Hugh,
    I'm sure there are differences, but I'll say you've managed quite well with that 70-210.
    The weight difference could be a factor.
    Great gallery.
  3. Hiro
    Thanks for the kind words. Not that you can tell on the web, but most of those images were taken with medium format. However, I now have quite a few new images that someday I will add to my galleries.
  4. A few years ago Popular Photography's Herbert Keppler wrote about the difference between pro & consumer lenses. PopPhoto's test results for the 80-200 AF-S and plastic 80-200 f/4.5-5.6D were shown, and at f/8 they performed virtually the same.
    So, if you're into shooting on a tripod at smaller apertures there's likely no need to spend more on a lens.
  5. Hugh, you might find the review of these lenses at Photozone helpful:
    I have the 80-200mm 2.8 (two-ring) and absolutely love it. Even wide open at 2.8, it's a great lens.
  6. I can second the quality of the 80-200 f/2.8, it's a great lens. But at F/8, all lenses start to be equal indeed. My 80-200, it's not 10 times greater than the 10 times cheaper 70-300G I also have (at the same focal length - the 70-300 is quite bad above 200mm). So, it's better, but certainly not dramatically so. A bit of added contrast in an image editor, and it's very close again.
    And as far as I've heard, the 70-210 is better than the 70-300G. So, for your intended use, I doubt whether it would be worth your money.
    One thing does make the 80-200 better, though, and that's how it feels. It's big and rather heavy, but it feels rock solid and zooming and focussing feel exactly right to me.
  7. if you're going to shoot a 2.8 lens at f/8, why bother with 2.8 in the first place?
  8. That is, apparently, exactly the question.
    And the only reason I can think of might be contrast. The 80-200 two-ring is a very contrasty lens. I love the colors. Don't know about the 70-210. The inexpensive 55-200 is pretty close but there's definitely a difference, and of course it's only a DX lens. My experience with older lenses is that they tend to be less contrasty, more muted in color rendition.
  9. I went ahead and conducted a real world test comparing my 105 2.8 AFD micro and a 200 ais micro. The lenses/camera were attached to a sturdy tripod. I found that at 105 the prime lens was sharper but at 200 the zoom was maybe sharper. There is a big difference in contrast between the lenses. I think it may make a difference to go with the pro glass even when stopped down.
  10. This is a late addition to an old thread, but I hope it may provide a useful input for anyone considering the purchase of either an 80-200 f2.8D (pull push type) or the 70-210 f4-5.6 (none D).
    Having just bought both at extremely attractive prices for use on my D800 (the 70-210 was less than $100), I must report that I am very impressed by both, and that in terms of sharpness there is not a lot between them.
    The 80-200 needed a lot of AF tuning (-18 on my camera) whereas the 70-210 seems perfect unadjusted. Both lenses perform incredibly well wide open from centre to edge, the 80-200 becoming razor sharp at f4, and likewise the 70-210 at one stop down. Both are much better that I am able to get, for example, from my 24-85 f3.5-4.5 (non VR). And I have found that both focus at perfectly acceptable speeds for my use as a fashion, portrait and architectural photographer
    Will I keep both? I suspect so. The 80-200 is far too heavy, but its a joy to use - so solid - and the ability to work pretty well wide open will provide a real bonus for fashion work. I also prefer its bokeh and colour tone. In contrast the 70-210 is just so portable.
    For the record, I have also found Nikon's old 28-85 f3.5-4.5 to be an incredibly sharp performer when closed down a stop or two. I've had mine since 1987 and whilst it's lacking some sparkle when used for general purposes, and it's not great with flare, I often use it for studio work (where I am typically working at f8 or f11) and in this situation throughout its range it really is almost as sharp as my 50mm f1.8. Every eyelash astoundingly clear!
    Lesson: I may have been lucky, but some of Nikon's old lenses really do seem to come into their own on the D800.

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