Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF vs. Nikon 70-200 f4.0 VR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by arch_stanton|1, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Hi guys

    I think I've made a howling mistake!

    I paid for a new Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF lens to use with my D800 less than a week ago because I couldn't afford the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II. The lens still in transit from Hong Kong to the UK and will arrive any day.

    I've just found out that Nikon have recently discontinued the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF and released the Nikon 70-200 f4.0 VR which I could have bought instead.

    Have I made a bad mistake or not?
     
  2. Hi Arch. Others may disagree, but I fear you may have. My experience with a (used) 80-200 is that it held up OK on the
    D700, but it really doesn't do the D800 justice (if you want 36mp of detail, of course); I regret not paying for the vr2. The 80-
    is okay below f/5.6, but very soft wide open. I don't know how the f/4 holds up, but I hope at least as well. If you value the
    ability to lose the background over sharpness, no big deal; otherwise the f/2.8 is very big for an f/5.6 lens.

    But I only have one sample to go off, and I may have had bad luck.
     
  3. Well, an f/2.8 telezoom has many applications where an f/4 lens doesn't work. On the other hand the f/4 has VR, AF-S and newer optics. What kind of applications do you have for the lens (this is where every purchase consideration starts)?
     
  4. How much did you spend for it? The 80-200 should be substantially cheaper than a new 70-200f/4.
    I bought the 80-200 f/2.8 in 1999 and have been using it ever since, including with my D800. It's a great lens. While you might have had other options in that focal range, you should use it a bunch and see how you feel about it.
    There will always be newer lenses, but this one has held up well since its introduction, and at these telephoto focal lengths there aren't huge advances to be made with new technologies like aspherical elements. VR is really the only big new thing, but whether that makes a difference depends a lot on what you're planning to shoot with it. The older, faster lens will be better for fast-moving subjects like, say, birds.
    My personal view is, don't stress. The lens you're getting has incredible potential and there's no shame in using it until it falls apart.
     
  5. I have the 80-200 f/2.8 D two ring I also have the 80-200 AFS and I have used the 70-200 AFS MK I. On my D2h D300's and now on my D4 I have seen very little difference in focus speed between any of these lenses. This is from real world shooting sports experience. Of the 3 of them my least favorite is the 70-200. I have no use for VR and the copy I tried had been back to Nikon 3 times because of a sticky aperture.
    Wait for the lens to be in your hands and shoot it for a while I don't really think you are going to be missing out on anything.
    Andrew have you had your lens in to be checked? Mine is good wide open and hits excellent around f/4.5. Your lens may be suffering from some slight decentering. I ask this because I have used mine on my F5 with Kodak Tech Pan which is arguably one of the highest resolving films ever produced and my 80-200 D was able to saturate the film with detail.
     
  6. While I know you really enjoy the lens, very time you need or want to shoot at f2.8, you will really appreciate the lens and your decision even more!
     
  7. Thanks for all your replies guys.

    Here's the full story...

    I've been enjoying my photography more and more since I bought my Nikon D300 nearly 5 years ago, I was very happy with my Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 DX and my Tamron 90mm on the D300 but then I started to feel as though I was selling myself short using a Nikon 18-200mm DX VR1 and a Sigma 120-400mm because both those lenses are quite soft in comparison to the pro lenses, especially at wider apertures.

    Then about a month back I figured, hey, there's a lot of difficult stuff going on in my life unfortunately and 'long time dead', and I always feel happiest when I'm out looking for photos, so I'm going to just do it and buy a Nikon D800 and a set of pro lenses, never mind whether I need it, I enjoy it!

    So I went off like a man possessed with excitement without any fresh research and I ordered a Nikon D800 and a used Nikon 35-70mm f2.8 AF D and a Nikon 16-35mm VR and a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF. I bought the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF because I wanted a sharp pro lens, couldn't afford the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II and I'd already read the glowing review here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80200.htm, and because I'd been out with buddies in the past and been frustrated to see the results of how they'd been able to isolate detail at f2.8 when all I had was f5.6 and couldn't create the same effect.

    It's hard to answer, what will I need it for, I'm not a pro, I don't specialise, I shoot everything that interests me. I examined my LR catalogue metadata details and something like 1 in 5 shots are at max zoom between 200-300mm FX equivalent, and I'm guessing something like 1 in 10 are maybe suited to being wide open at max zoom. Maybe only 1 in 20 have fast moving subjects, and so I'm not worried about the focusing speed, it's the sharpness in comparison to the Nikon 70-200mm f4.0 VR lens that concerns me, plus the weight and lack of VR.

    I feel foolish because I can spend hours researching which filter to buy, so how did I miss the fact that the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF had been discontinued in favour of the Nikon 70-200mm f4.0 VR! If I'd done the research properly I think I would have waited a few months for the price to fall a bit and bought the new lens instead. Also now, I've found a number of posts by people who say the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF is hard to get sharp on a Nikon D800. It might sound daft now I own a D800 but I'm tempted in view of that to use the lens on my D300 as a 120-300 equivalent and put another focal range on the D800 and carry both camera bodies!

    If I'd bought it from a UK seller I could have just returned it at little expense, but I bought it on the cheap from Hong Kong for £620GBP. Buying from Hong Kong often saves a packet if you live in the UK, but if you need to send it back, you have a problem. If I don't open the box I reckon I could sell it used for £400GBP clear or get £470GBP after shipping and admin fees by returning it to Hong Kong straight off, it stings!! I could get a new Nikon 70-200mm f4.0 VR from the UK now for £930ish as I don't have to pay the VAT.

    Part of me wants to try the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF out for myself, part of me would really like to see like-for-like test shots comparing these two lenses before I open the box and maybe just take the hit, but I can't find any like for like test shots anywhere to work with.

    Given this additional info, your further advice would be welcome... thanks...
     
  8. Arch
    I do not believe that the 80-200 f/2.8 D has been discontinued. It is still listed as current on Nikon USA and on Nikon Global.
    Sharp images have a lot more to do with technique then they do with the lens. Stop stressing relax and wait till you get the lens in your hands.
    Despite the internet buzz about any of the lenses they are not at their sharpest at f/2.8
     
  9. Arch,
    You mentioned ...


    been frustrated to see the results of how they'd been able to isolate detail at f2.8 when all I had was f5.6 and couldn't create the same effect.​
    Getting the f4 lens won't help with your frustration ,much at all. That f2.8 lens will help a LOT ! The 80-200mm f2.8 is a Pro caliber lens and I'm sure it will work just fine.
     
  10. OK guys, you're right, it's bought and paid for now, I'm gonna use it, I may love it, it's no heavier than it was when I ordered it and for all the posts I've found by people who say the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF is hard to get sharp on a Nikon D800 I've found others who refute that so I guess I need to find out for myself else I'll never be sure.

    Interesting that the lens is no longer listed on Nikon Europe but is on Nikon USA and on Nikon Global. I sometimes think I should read the occasional website or magazine on photography, but I've always found it more fun working out technique and subjects for myself if that makes sense? This is the only forum I use and I also look at the phots here occasionally: http://500px.com/editors if only to appreciate them and not aspire to them!
     
  11. If you need a 2.8 lens then 70-200 f4.0 wont do it. Earlier this year my 80-200 f2.8 broke (well, I broke it by dropping on concrete). Nikon's 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II was too expensive, could not find used VR I in good condition so I ended up buying 70-200 2.8 stabilized sigma. Sigma turned out to be a very nice lens with faster and more accurate autofocus on my D300 and additional benefit of good image stabilization.
     
  12. I recently shot some JPEGs on a tripod using the AF 80-200 f/2.8D ED with the D800E at f/8, with no remote or timer or mirror lockup, and I was not displeased:
    [LINK]
    That one was posted as a 100% crop. Click on the left arrow a few times to see a few more, most (not all) of which were 100% crops.
    I will not make extravagant claims for the AF 80-200 f/2.8D ED (two ring version), but I am pretty happy with the results myself, especially since I already had the lens and did not have to buy it after I bought the D800E.
    I do need to test it at, say, f/5.6, with NEF and with a remote release or a timer. I would not expect it to be at its sharpest at f/2.8 anyway. On a tripod, the VR of the 70-200 is not going to help, is it?
    --Lannie
     
  13. edit sorry
     
  14. Michael: The curse of only having one sample... I'll try to get mine looked at, though I'm nervous that Nikon UK won't know what to do with it
    since it's not been available here for years (if ever) - I bought mine in Australia. That may be the cause of Arch not finding it on Nikon Europe.
     
  15. Andrew Any good repair tech should be able to put it on an optical bench and see if it is working properly.
     
  16. I have had an 80-200 f2.8 two ring since film days.. My copy is dead sharp. It is even very good at F2.8. By F4 it is sharp as a tack. This was the goto lense for all Nikon shooter photojournalists and a staple for editorial photogs for a very long time. You have seen thousands of stunning images shot with this lens.

    In my opinion I would much rather have this lens than the F4. If you need the F2.8 you will miss it if you don't have it. Thousands of professional photographers can't be wrong.

    I think you will be very happy with your new lens. You did not make a mistake. Enjoy it!
     
  17. I have the 80 200 2.8 AFD lens and the D800 the lens works very good you will be fine with it very sharp lens on the D800.You can not go wrong with it . Enjoy it be Happy Happy sent pics in for us to see
     
  18. Thanks for the advice, everyone. Arch: please disregard my complaints about sharpness until I have my lens checked. (But you might want
    to be wary about autofocus accuracy at short range, which I believe is a problem with the design rather than just my version.) I'll be very
    happy if mine can be made to behave, since I wanted it as a lens that can provide some ability to lose the background and some flexibility in
    composition, obviously with some compromises (I don't expect it to compete with my 200 f/2). Being stuck below f/5.6 doesn't offer me that,
    and nor would the f/4 lens.
     
  19. Thanks again for all your replies.
    I'm glad I posted as I did because I'm looking forward to getting the lens again and don't wish so much that I'd bought the other one. I've learnt a few things too.
    There are plenty of UK based photography forums / websites, so relying on USA based websites to advise product status in the UK was a bad idea.
    FYI, I've also read elsewhere now that this lens may benefit from being adjusted using the AF fine tune in the D800 menu at 200mm at f2.8, so I'll bear that in mind too.
     
  20. Arch, one more reason to like the 80-200 f/2.8 (mine is sharp too, from f/3.2 on for sure and f/2.8 is totally useable but on a D300 and D700) - it has 77mm filters, just like all the other big guns.
    The AF is a bit twitchy, at 200mm and close focus distances (well mine has that a bit). I never tried to correct it, since it's fine on medium distances to infinity (~3m and up), and that's where I am usually using this lens. So before starting to fiddle with the AF fine tuning, I'd make sure to shoot it a whole lot to understand if it's off, and how. Sometimes, it's just a thing you cannot really correct for.
    And just in case for future purchases: Ken Rockwell's reviews are tricky, he's often either very positive or very negative; balanced hardly ever. It's not a very serious site; there are much better sources of info, like this forum.
     
  21. the main advantages of the 70-200/4 VR are VR and compactness. but as others have pointed out, you lose a stop of aperture, which does affect subject isolation. at the very least, try out the 80-200 and see if it works for you.
     
  22. I haven't used the Nikon 70-200f/4 VR, but I found that the Canon version wanted to be stopped down a little more than the f/2.8 version for maximum sharpness. Makes sense, since it's closer to 'wide' at all apertures.
    If you every try and photograph sports, weddings, indoor candids, or anything with moving subjects, the lens you have will probably prove to be better. It may not focus as quickly, but VR does nothing to prevent a subject from moving.
     
  23. Some more feedback after another experiment... At a significant distance, my 80-200 seems pretty good (though lighting conditions at the time didn't let me do a thorough test) - passable at f/2.8, respectably sharp by f/4. Some of my issues may have come from trying to tune the focus at a shortish (~3m) distance, which I found to be essentially impossible - I guess there's some residual spherical aberration which is throwing the autofocus mechanism at short distances; reverting my changes and trying to focus about 50m away seemed much better. Be careful if tuning the short-range focus accordingly. I need to try again at the 5-10m range where I typically use this lens (at the 200mm) and see whether I can get more consistent focus; sadly I'm usually hand-held in lighting conditions that are not amenable to falling back to live view.
     
  24. I have the 80-200mm f/2.8 lens and used it on my D90, D700 and now the D800. It is a fabulous lens, I have shot lots of sports with it from motorsports, to equestrian, even 1000km/h fighter planes and then down to portraits or just every day peoples shots at events....sure I wish I had a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR2 but realistically the 80-200/2.8 does everything I need....so won't change it yet
     
  25. Having owned the 80-200/2.8 for many years as both the AFD and AFS, both had great sharpness even wide open with the possible exception of extreme edges wide open which was understanably a little soft by todays standards. I swiched to to the 70-200/4 because of the significant weight reduction, VR III and improved optical performance. Another advantage is that it focuses down to 1 meter and is fully compatable with all the AFS teleconverters on a D800, something useful to me as I own both the TC-14E II and TC-20E III.
     
  26. Having owned the 80-200/2.8 for many years as both the AFD and AFS, both had great sharpness even wide open with the possible exception of extreme edges wide open which was understanably a little soft by todays standards. I swiched to to the 70-200/4 because of the significant weight reduction, VR III and improved optical performance. Another advantage is that it focuses down to 1 meter and is fully compatable with all the AFS teleconverters on a D800, something useful to me as I own both the TC-14E II and TC-20E III.
     
  27. Having owned the 80-200/2.8 for many years as both the AFD and AFS, both had great sharpness even wide open with the possible exception of extreme edges wide open which was understanably a little soft by todays standards. F/2.8 is of main benefit in gaining extra speed in stopping marginal subject action. VR won't help here but does wonders for camera shake! I swiched to to the 70-200/4 because of the significant weight reduction, VR III and improved optical performance. Another advantage is that it focuses down to 1 meter and is fully compatable with all the AFS teleconverters on a D800, something useful to me as I own both the TC-14E II and TC-20E III.
     

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