The most affordable 200mm f/2.8 lens ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuo_zhao, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. Hi everyone, I need some suggestions/advises from you.

    I've been doing some street photography recently, and I found the FL of 200mm (on DX) to be most useful due to its
    perspective and the fact that I don't need to confront my subjects at point blank range (thus ruining the "natural" look). As of
    now, the only "200mm lens" I have is the 55-200 VR. I found the lens to be too slow to allow a fast enough shutter speed to
    freeze the subject's motion under most conditons. So now I need to invest in a f/2.8 (at least) 200mm lens, or a zoom that
    covers 200mm at f/2.8.

    The best choice for me is obviously the 70-200 f/2.8 VR (assume we exclude the exotic 200 f/2 VR that I'll never get), but it's
    over my budget. Even the 80-200 f/2.8 is almost too expensive for me; while the 180 f/2.8 is almost just as expensive as the
    80-200, which really doesn't make it a better alternative.

    Is biting the bullet on the 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D the best idea or there are more cost efficient alternative out there?

  2. hmm, You could look at a manual focus 180 2.8.
    I'd probably recommend an old push pull style 80-200 though. I got mine that is slightly defective in that you have to stop down to 5.6 to get f4, but it only cost $300. I think you can get these old style ones in excellent condition for around $500 ish.
  3. 180mm f/2.8 Nikkor
  4. >> "180mm f/2.8 Nikkor'

    That lens brand new cost $700+... How can I get that lens at a cheaper price? or better yet, how can I get a version of the 80-200 at a cheaper price?
  5. hmmm... check e-bay. but let the buyer beware. you might also want to look at a Sigma or Tamron.

  6. "That lens brand new cost $700+"

    So? Don't buy a new one. Try
  7. I just picked up a $275 beater.

    It has a few light scratches on the front element and is the first AF version with the smooth barrel.

    Doesn't hurt the magnificent image quality one bit.:)
  8. I just sold a second backup 180mm f/2.8 AF for $575 in mint condition. There are suckers like me out there<G>. It is a remarkable prime lens that easily out performs the 80-200mm. I'm edging my way for popping for the 70-200mm though.
  9. 180/2.8 lens "It is a remarkable prime lens that easily out performs the 80-200"... and as easily out performs the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR.
  10. "Don't buy a new one. Try" -- Ellis

  11. Street with a telephoto zoom? Sounds like surveillance to me...

    FWIW, I picked my push-pull AF 80-200 for $325 on eBay. You can too, but it takes a little time.
  12. 180mm f/2.8 Nikkor

    Built like a tank. On ebay regularly $250 - $350. KEH and B&H as well. Mine was "purchased and used once by a
    pro to photograph an NBA player." It arrived showroom fresh. I love it. I paid $250 on ebay. I really like the price too.

    Tack sharp, easy to handle, built well, can't go wrong.

    Best of luck in your descision, D
  13. Another vote for the 180/2.8 Nikkor. It was the third lens I got when I switched to Nikon several years ago. A best buy in a fast medium telephoto. It's one of those lenses that's good enough that, if you happen to need that particular focal length and speed, it's worth buying a body to go with the lens just to have access to it.
  14. Is it worth spending a little more for the 'ED' version of the Nikkor 180mm f2.8? I would imagine that the answer is yes, but the older one can't be that much worse, right?
  15. Both are great optics for film but for digital cameras, chromatic aberration is more noticable so I'd go for the ED version.
  16. Mine is the older pre-ED version, and I never saw any problems with CA on film even in bright sunlight. But I haven't tested it extensively on my D2H. I'll try to remember to do that soon.
  17. Yes to the 80-200mm/2.8. Having shot with all three mentioned lenses. The IQ is great and you can find a good deal at KEH and other reputable used sources if your budget is slim. I did own for a long time the 180mm but sold it due to the fact that after post, there was no diff between the 80-200mm/2.8 in all respects. But, I love post.

    Most likely that is they the 80-200mm is still in the Nikon lineup. It's a great lens and a tank.

    I do have the the 55-200mm VRII and use it for snapshots on a D40x.

    Good hunting.
  18. The 180/2.8 is great.
  19. I recently picked up a mint 180 2.8 ED model. Fantastic!

    But I also have the Canon FD 200 2.8 IF for my manual Canons, and it's every bit as good. I still shoot with film most often.

    There might be adapters for the FD lenses on other cameras. They can be picked up very reasonably. I got that mint 200 2.8 for about $135 on the Bay.

    The Nikon 180 2.8 is as good as its reputation. I got it for $250 right here on
  20. SCL


    A slightly different tack on the problem. Since you're a distance from your subject, you could try to learn to pan your shots to keep your subject in focus instead of plunking down cash for another lens. Just a thought
  21. Or you could consider getting a Nikon D700 (or a D3) body. The higher ISO speeds (like 6400) will make your 55-200 lens work a bit better. Or you may be able to find a earlier non-D version of the *already mentioned* AF 180mm f2.8 Nikkor lens.
  22. The problem with is that they only sell the 80-200 about $100 cheaper than brand new, not to mention the lens is only in "good" condition.

    >> "Or you could consider getting a Nikon D700 (or a D3) body. The higher ISO speeds (like 6400) will make your 55-200 lens work a bit better."

    A few weeks ago, I actually thought about doing that. But it's probably not worth it in my case.

    Bytheway, the 55-200 is a DX glass and it seems to only "work" on FX from 135mm to 200mm.

    I'm actually utilizing the DX advantage of "the reach" in my case. With FX, I will need a 300mm lens to regain the same field of vision.
  23. I have the Sigma 70-200, which has a great built in motor. It focuses really fast, and accurately. I had the 55-200, and loved it as a walk around zoom, but having 2.8 makes everything so much nicer. I'm sure the IQ isn't as good as the Nikon, but for half the price... I don't know how it compares to the 80-200, I have also heard good things about that lens, and if you want to stick to Nikon lenses, it might be your best bet.
  24. I suggest casting about for a Vivitar Series 1 200/3.....
  25. "I'm actually utilizing the DX advantage of "the reach" in my case. With FX, I will need a 300mm lens to regain the same field of vision."

    If case you did not know, the D3 (and the D700) have three modes:




    So if you wish to use a DX lens on one of the newer FX bodies, you may get a smaller file, but the DX crop is yours to use.
  26. I have the late non-D version of the 180/2.8 IF lens. It's tack sharp, even wide open.
  27. The pixel density is nice to have in my application.

    >> "If case you did not know, the D3 (and the D700) have three modes:"

    5MP is not as ideal as 12MP on a DX sized sensor. Bytheway, I do know that the FX bodies feature those crop modes.

    Getting a FX body would be more of a investment than buying something like the 70-200 VR. Obviously I been trying to spend a little less to get the job done.

    >> "I have the Sigma 70-200, which has a great built in motor."

    The 80-200's AF is fast on the D300, and it's only a little more expensive than the Sigma.
  28. "Mine is the older pre-ED version, and I never saw any problems with CA on film even in bright sunlight. But I haven't tested it extensively on my D2H."

    With the exact same lens CA, if it is there, will show up to differing degrees with different d-SLR models due to differing sensor designs, anti-aliasing filters , etc.
  29. You may wish to read Bjorn Rorslett's review for both the AF and AIS versions of the 180 f/2.8 ED here:
  30. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Jerry, the D700 does not have the 5:4 format option. Only the D3 has all three options.
  31. Have the Nikon 70-200 VR my self. A great piece of equipment. If I was restricted on budget I would have gone for the Sigma equivalent. Its half the price. Also the Sigma 100-300 F4 might be a good candidate. Tokina 80-200 2.8 is also a good piece of glass. Sigma 150mm 2.8 Macro might also be an alternative, at least compared with the Nikon 180mm.
  32. I just got back from B&H, didn't make a decision on what to get. I tried out the 80-200 2.8 AF-D, 180 2.8 AF-D, Sigma 70-200, Tamron 70-200, and the 70-200 2.8 VR. The 70-200 VR and the 80-200 AF-D seem to be the best of the five, but the 70-200 VR "feels far better" than the 80-200 in practice: faster AF, best built quality, excellent egronomics, VR makes images made at 200mm more usable... It's really not a good thing to find out as far as my wallet is concerned, not to mention this could be a "bad FX lens" lens that "would soon be replaced".
  33. Trust me on this. I have a lot of experience w/ the 80 200 2.8 Nikon. It is a GREAT lens, and having the zoom feature is a nice plus. I haven't used the 180 but have heard it also is great. Sharper than the 80 200 you do not need. Fantastic for portraits too because if used on a camera w/ a 1/8000 top shutter speed you can blur the background nicely even in bright sun. If you watch KEH's website you can certainly buy one for $450 to $500. All you need is the older one that is a push pull zoom. No need for the newer models. If you are lucky on eBay you can come up w/ one for $375 or less w/ maybe w/ a few blemishes. As Hiro said, don't worry about a few small scratches on the front glass. You will never see their effects. Probably won't be an issue though as most everyone takes care of the glass on these, including the beaters. Keep in mind it is a big, heavy lens, which actually contributes to it's sharpness as it is very steady when you shoot. One of Nikon's best lenses.
  34. I just bought an 80-200mm 2.8 ED - push/pull type off ebay last week and I paid $250 for it. The glass is perfect, there are signs of use cosmetically (name plate is missing) but otherwise it's perfect.

    I was thinking about sending it to Nikon to have cleaned and checked out tuned up, but I'm not sure I really need to since the picture quality is perfect.
  35. Chad, did you get the AF-D version?
  36. The 70-200 VR and the 80-200 AF-D seem to be the best of the five
    I have the 180 AF-D & the 80-200 AF-D and have used the 70-200 VR (which I no longer own) extensively. The 180 is in my experience way better than either of the zooms (set to 180mm FL) in terms of optical quality; cleaner images, higher contrast, much lower tendency to flare and ghost in backlight, and much sharper in the (FX) corners. Convenience factors are divided: the zooms (particularly the AF-S 80-200 and 70-200) are long and heavy, which can be a problem if you shoot a lot. The 180 is much smaller and lighter. On the other hand, the ability to zoom is an asset which some photographers value greatly (I am used to primes and have no issue with them). Also, the zooms focus a bit faster and the AF-S has, well, AF-S. The 70-200 is (considerably) better than the 80-200 AF-D on DX format, and the VR is also more useful on DX than FX (since FX can go higher in ISO and the angle of view is greater, hence the minimum required shutter speeds for hand-holding are 1.5 times lower). If you intend to stay with DX for the foreseeable future, the 70-200 is a worthy lens. The 80-200 is a bit more FX-friendly in that the corners are brighter and sharper. If you care about corner sharpness and flare resistance, and good deep blacks (instead of foggy gray blacks), I would seriously take a look at the 180. If you need zoom, and intend to go FX in the future, I would wait for the next generation of the fast telezoom, or choose any of the current models as an intermediate step (which you may keep anyway).
  37. To add: the 80-200 AF-D is more affordable than the 70-200 or a set of telephoto primes so in that say it's the most
    economical of these options (assuming a Nikon lens). However, it's not by any means the best 200mm f/2.8, it has a weak spot at this
    FL/aperture if focused close (this doesn't mean it's bad at these settings, just not the best). I think the 180 can be had for less than the
    zoom (second hand), if
    you can deal with the focal length gap. Gaps in FLs may be filled gradually - though many people can leave them in
    indefinitely. My gaps range from 1mm to 120mm. :)
  38. Shuo - No it's not the D version. Even so I got a great deal on it. Expect to pay around $400-500 for a non D version of the 80-200 f/2.8 ED. Though you might get lucky and find one less then that.

    I was told the only difference is the distance chip which comes in handy when using a flash. My D300 meters just fine with it. AF is slow compared to the new lenses but it is usable and accurate on my D300. For street photography it's great. As with all 200mm lenses you really have to be conscious of your shutter speed and shooting technique as it's tough to prevent camera shake when hand held. It's heavy to make sure you've got a good comfortable strap. I plan on getting a tripod mount so I can get the most out of the lens. I've only had it for a couple weeks now so I'm still learning how to shoot with it, but so far I love it.
  39. Shuo - here are some of the first pictures I took w/ the 80-200mm
  40. Just a comment about the shutter speeds since it came up. With a 200mm lens without VR, I would shoot at least at 1/400s on FX/135, and 1/640s minimum on DX. This is to get a truly crisp image with any kind of certainty. With the 70-200 I would often shoot at 1/200s - and gain 1-2 extra f-stops for stopping down to f/4.5 or so, instead of f/2.8, resulting in a bit better sharpness and less sensitivity to slight focusing errors. I thought this worked very well for me. If I went down to 1/160s I would start to see motion blur in standing people. If the people are e.g. performing something, then we're back at the higher shutter speeds of 1/400s or so. This is my experience. 1/FL is just a guideline for borderline acceptable sharpness on 35mm film; things are different with DX and in situations where you want better than borderline sharpness.
  41. To clarify: the 1/200s with the 70-200 is due to its VR.

    A lot of people talk about shooting 1/30s or 1/15s or whatever, using the 70-200 ... don't believe them! It requires multiple attempts and there is no guarantee of perfect sharpness if you go that low.
  42. Ilkka - If they are shooting at those speeds w/ a 200mm lens then they are using a tripod or something else to stabilize the camera. With proper holding technique though you can get an acceptable picture even hand held. 80-200mm 2.8 @ 1/30 - F2.8

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