Older Lenses ? holding up New Camera Decision

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by david_poole|1, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Just a simple question,
    I currently have a FM2n, F3HP, F5, D70 and a D1h. I am planning to purchase either a D300s or a D700. I shoot about a 50/50 mix between landscapes and wildlife. I am leaning towards the D700 due to the FX capability of the lens I now own and it's low light capabilities and with a converter I can reach out to achive that 1.5 factor of the D300s for wildlife. The lens I have are the older Af 24 2.8D, Zeiss Af 50 1.4, Af 85 1.4D, Af 35-70 2.8D, Af 80-200 2.8D and a 300 f2.8 ED-IF, olde 400 3.5 and a TC-14B, TC-300. I have heard these older Nikon lens might have some limitations when used with a D700 but they work great on the camera's I now own. So this lense hassle going my head and not knowing what camera changes are coming out sure makes a simple question not so simple.
  2. All fine lenses and compatible with either of your new camera choices. Don't worry about a thing. You might think about extending your wide angle range for landscapes. whether talking about the D300s or D700.
    Some will comment that focus is too slow with these lenses, but I do not agree. You don't need AF-S to take great pictures.
  3. David,
    None of these Nikkors you specify are ancient. I'm using 20+ year old MF AIS lenses such as the 15mm f/3.5, 28mm f/2.8 and the 180mm f/2.8 ED on both a D700 and D3 with excellent results. The 400mm f/3.5 I used on a D2Xs also with fine results a couple of years back. The wonderful appeal of the Nikon system (on specific bodies) is this backwards compatibility. The 85mm f/1.4D optically performs great on either the D700 or D3 although I wish Nikon would upgrade to AFS. The 80-200 f/2.8D although a wonderful lens would likely be disappointing on the D700/D3. I say that after comparing to the 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS/VR which is stellar. The 80-200mm was one of my favorites on the F100/F5/F3. The others you mention I can't comment on - no experience. Don't sweat it. Make images you like - I doubt anyone but a equipment geek would ask what you made it with.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It all depends on how demanding your are. On the 12MP D700, some of those older lenses will work ok. For example, the 24mm/f2.8 AF-D has the same optical design as the AI version from the 1970's. I wouldn't hesitate to use it on the D3/D700 but the corners are a little soft compared to the 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S and the 14-24mm/f2.8 AF-S.
    Bjorn Rorslett has pointed out that the 400mm/f3.5 and 600mm/f5.6's optical designs don't work well on digital, but I don't own those lenses.
  5. Thanks for the comments.. I had my doubts on the 80-200 2.8..as I have heard the same comments from a few others. If I go the route of the D700 or it's upgrade or it's replacement I would most likely add the 14-24 2.8 to extend that wide angle range Robert noted and sell off the 24 2.8. I will most likely sell off my 80-200 and then replace that mid range zoom with the 70-200 2.8. or just add the new model 70-300 Afs-VR.
  6. Age doesn't mean everything. I have been using a pre-AI 55mm f3.5 for a few years (mind you, on a D200) and the results have been excellent. Bjorn even reccomends this lens on current cameras (although not sure on the D3x). Honestly, 12mp to 10mp isn't that much of a jump on the lpmm (I think that is the right abbreviation, maybe lppm?). And going up to full frame should be even more forgiving. Really, I would say get the new camera, and if you find a particular lens lacking after you have tested it, then worry about it.
  7. David,
    The D700 is full frame. You don't need a 14-xxx lens for that. Your 24mm is will have a 24mm field of view. It's only on the DX sensor cameras that you need a extra wide, most often DX type, lens.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The merits for the 14-24mm/f2.8 AF-S has been discussed quite a few times in this forum. While I have one, to me, that is not a landscape lens. In fact, I usually don't even take it on trips. The 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S is a much better landscape lens and I also have the 24mm/f2.8 AF-D when I only want a small lens.
    The D700 is not that demanding on lenses yet. When 20, 30MP DSLR become popular in the next year or two, Nikon will likely have to upgrade a lot of their fixed-focal-length lenses below 100mm. Whether you need 20MP or not is a separate issue.
  9. opinions vary on just about everything. the 80-200/2.8 D lens, for example -- i use it frequently on a D700 and the performance on FX is great. no hesitation using it for paid work, like weddings. the 70-200 VR II may surpass the performance of the older lens, but i don't feel that replacing it should be given a high priority.
  10. Shun and John thanks for the advise on the 14-24. No sense me spending hard earned money when I don't need to.
  11. The older lenses can cause problems, depending on which and depending on what you shoot. The main problem is they don't have modern coatings to cope with the shiney surface of the digital sensor. The list of lenses you came up with to support the new camera sounds reasonable.
    Kent in SD
  12. The Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 AF D is a great optical performer in my opinion. Maybe I just have an exceptional sample, but I doubt it. Every one I've ever owned or used has been superb. I'm using one now on a Nikon D90 and the images look sharp to me. I would make sure you notice a significant difference between image quality between the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 D and the 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S before spending all that money on a Nikon 70-200mm. Rather, think wide angle. On a hand full of levels, I don't believe the Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR will compete with either of the other two lenses.
    All this hype regarding the slow Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR has inspired me to buy one. If I'm going to pan the lens, I should probably actually own one. Who knows, maybe I'll become a convert. B&H was having a sale on them.
  13. David, which are your older lenses exactly? ;-)
    Some of the ones you have I use on a D300, so just a confirmation:
    - 24 f/2.8 (I have an Ai from the early 80s): I love it on my D300. But it's your classical 35mm, not very wide.
    - 80-200 AF-D. Despite some claims here and there that the AF would be slow, I do not find it to be the case with the 2-ring version I have. Apart from that, it's a very very fine lens. Gorgeous as the 70-200's may be, I see no reason to upgrade this one, it never really disappoints me (but it does show quite some CA, which D300/Nikon software will cure).
    I do not have the f/1.4 85mm, but the f/1.8. For me, this length is still great for portraits (heads/head shoulders), and as such to me it would remain a highly useful lens.
    That said, if you would go for a D300, you'd probably need something wider, and the 35-70 may not be the ideal walkaround lens anymore. So add a decent replacement for those focal lenghts to the price, and the D700 may suddenly be all the more interesting.
  14. Wouter the Af 80-200 2.8, push pull, no tripod collar.
  15. I kind of miss my push/pull. Beautiful lens. Yes, it is slow to focus, but it also has a very different visual feel from the 70-200. I would say that you could continue to use the 80-200 as a portrait lens even when you upgrade to the 70-200.
  16. Of your list, the 85/1.4D is a delight to use on the D700; excellent image quality. I have also used the 80-200/2.8D AF N (I doubt your earlier version is any worse optically though the tripod collar is very helpful to have for landscape work) and it was very nice on the same camera. I was less impressed with the 24/2.8D though; I would get something like the 24 PC-E to replace it if you can afford it. The 300/2.8 AFAIK all versions are among the best lenses Nikon has made. I think you are well set for FX use though as I mentioned you might want a newer wide angle.
  17. I had a D70, D200 and now a D700. Currently my glass goes from 20mm to 500mm mostly older AIS type plus a new 1.4TC. I shoot a bit of everything. IMHO I would have been better off using a DX body with the 500mm for birding instead of the D700 plus TC and the 500mm. From 180mm down I find FX great. My older wide AIS lenses are soft in the corners but printing 11x14 crops the softness out. I am very happy with the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 and am always concidering matching a 17-35mm or 24mm PC-E to it. Pick the format that is best suited for most of your work.
  18. I don't have a full-frame sensor (ah, someday...). I have a D200. I also have that Zeiss lens and other older lenses from Nikon, and I love how those lenses perform on my D200. To me, it's made the film transition easier because I know what I can expect from those lenses - the same great "feel" they gave me on film.
    Mostly, I use the Nikkor Micro 55mm 2.8, a Nikon 20mm 2.8, the Zeiss 50 1.4, and my Nikkor Micro 105mm f4. I believe all of those were originally meant for my film camera. I am very happy with the performance in digital. I have also used these lenses with a rented D3 body. I didn't see any problems at all - mostly I noticed that my lenses still gave their usual "look" to my images.
  19. I have yet to come across a good "old" Nikkor that fails to deliver on my D700. Basically, if the lens was good enough on film, it'll be even better on full-frame digital. IMHO all this "designed for digital" hype is just that, hype, puff and nonsense. Besides, shooting in RAW and using NX2 or ACR can improve a lot of minor lens imperfections, but most of my old primes and better quality zooms don't need that help anyway.
    My choice of a D700 was swayed simply by the fact that I had an extensive collection of excellent AF and MF glassware for my film Nikons, and rekitting with lenses for a piddling DX sensor would have far outweighed the difference in cost between a DX and full-frame body. So far I think I made the right decision. The one exception to this "rule" was to splash out on the 14-24mm f/2.8 AF Zoom Nikkor. I can't praise this lens highly enough, and since it replaces at least 4 primes with better edge definition than any of them, it's a bit of a bargain, even at the current inflated price.
  20. Wow, a thankyou to all that responded. A D700 it is...
  21. Wait for the replacement of the D700. The current model is well overpriced for a 12 MP body.
  22. Oh! One more factor in favour of full-frame - Differential focus.
    If you ever want to use a shallow depth-of-field to isolate the subject, then the FX format makes the job a whole lot easier and gives you wider choices. Generally, given the same angle-of-view and subject reproduction ratio, the effective D-o-F between FX and DX is one stop shallower. In other words you'd need to shoot at f/1.4 on a DX lens to get the same limited D-o-F as at f/2 on full frame, with a consequent cost and quality premium. You also win out at the minimum aperture end too, since diffraction degradation kicks in about a stop earlier on the smaller DX format.
  23. Just a quick note. I want to agree that the 80-200 is a wonderful lens. No need to replace it right now. I also second what Zach said of the 80-200 "Yes, it is slow to focus, but it also has a very different visual feel from the 70-200." It is a not as fast as the 70-200 but it is fairly brisk on the D300 and D700. As for the "feel" I also agree with that. There are subtle optical differences between the two lenses. I very much enjoyed the 80-200 and still use it periodically but I am currently besotted with the 70-200. It has become my new everything lens. It would be interesting to shoot them side by side on the same camera and see what happens. I would be interested in Zach expanding on what he has seen comparing the two. I am not sure I can articulate what I am seeing.
  24. A comparision between the optics of the 80-200 and the 70-200 would be interesting and know doubt important to a lot of users or folks shopping..
    One problem I have at the moment is finding a replacement HN-28 lens hood for the 80-200. And since it's a screw on these things are hard to locate. Mine took a spil on a whale watching trip..yep it's on the bottom.
  25. Well, I jus tnoticed differences in the bokeh and color renditions. I don't have side by side comparisons, nor do I have the 70-200 files. (I ended up with the Sigma 70-200. Couldn't see paying over a grand for VR and maybe only slightly better optics.) I am horrible at describing bokeh, but it seems to me (once again, no side by side) that the bokeh on the 80-200 was a little more flattering for people. The biggest difference was color rendition. The older coatings by far change how colors are rendered and contrast. There is a slight color cast, can be removed easily with correcting color temp, slightly less saturation in the colors (more flattering to skin tones if you ask me) and a bit less contrast. If you ask me, using the 80-200 is like choosing a portrait film while the 70-200 is like choosing Velvia.
  26. “I have been using a pre-AI 55mm f3.5 for a few years (mind you, on a D200) and the results have been excellent. Bjorn even recommends this lens on current cameras

    I am still confused about the use of pre-AI lenses on Nikon DSLR’s, which bodies accept the pre-AI without damage to the camera?
    Would someone please give me the link to the Bjorn comments on these older lenses.
  27. I use a load of "old" lenses with my D3 and D700 - the oldest being a 500 mm f4P, a 1000 mm f11 Reflex and a 16 mm fisheye. There are others but good glass is good glass and Nikon backwards compatibility is legendary.
  28. I bought the D700 because I have older AI glass. Your lenses are much younger than mine and will have AF capability mine do not have. I am amazed at the performance of these older lens on this contemporary digital camera body. I have a range of fixed prime lenses from a 16mm fisheye to a fast 300. They all work well and the really fast glass like the 35 1.4 and 85 1.4 are stunning. The remarkable thing about the camera is that it is possible to program in 9 lenses. When you do this and select the lens when it is mounted the camera can meter with the color matrix metering and also will work with flash seamlessly. The other big unexpected thing for me is its ability to work as an aperture priority automatic with the old manual lenses. No kidding, it will even use an AI'd 105 2.5 in this way. I am an F2 user and never had a Nikon that had automatic features except for motordrives. I use this shooting my kids sports events and I am amazed. The advantage in the D700 is its low light capability and that means the ISO can be set very high for indoor volleyball for example and have shutter speeds that will stop action. Sharp images and very low noise. The automatic exposure setting with manual lenses works perfectly. I don't have any zooms so can't comment about the performance of those, but the primes shine on this body. I think if the technique is there this body will do what you want it to do. The latest lenses are seductive, both for the antivibration technology and super fast AF but great results can be had with Nikon's earlier lenses. And wide angles are wide. I waited for a full frame body and am glad I did. Fantastic camera body.
  29. Vahe, to use a pre-AI lens, you have to get the mount converted to AI. Not sure how many people out there still do this service.
  30. Love old lenses at my D300, e.g. 35-70/2.8 D, 100/2.8 E, 50/1.8 E, 55/2.8 and Vivitar 28/2.8 close focus, Kiron 105/2.8. I cant se disadvantages against DX lenses like: 16-85 VR or , 35/1.8 http://joergvetter.oyla.de/cgi-bin/hpm_homepage.cgi

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