Thoughts on the 180mm f/2.8 Nikon prime

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bmm, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. bmm


    I've heard a lot of good passing comments in various threads about the Nikon 180mm/2.8 prime. I want to make it
    the subject of this thread as I am seriously considering it as my next lens purchase.

    My rationale is that:

    1. I am prepping for FX with a potential D700 purchase in 2009

    2. Especially for it's listed price of just under $700, it seems to attract very good opinions

    3. I prefer it's size and weight compared to the zoom options in this range (I had the 80-200 and liked its images but
    didn't use often due to size and weight, so just this weekend I sold it to a friend who adores it)

    Should I proceed it would complement the 35, 50 and 85 primes as my 'starting' FX lineup.

    So anyway, would be eager to hear views on this lens especially from those who have used it extensively. Many
  2. The images produced by my 180/2.8 are absolutely stunning, the best of my seven Nikkors. The lens is compromised only by the incredibly slow focusing (my experience is with the F100 and D200), especially once you've gotten used to modern AF-S lenses. Other than that, it is highly recommended.
  3. BTW, my starting setup was the 35/2, 50/1.8, and 85/1.8 as well. The 180/2.8 and 20/2.8 came later. So you have a pretty good idea what I'm comparing to...
  4. bmm


    Mark - thanks for the quick response especially given the overall similarities between our overall bags of lenses (albeit I have the 1.4 versions of the 50 and 85, so a touch more speed than yours but also a touch less image quality).

    Not taking away from my desire to hear from other readers on the 180mm, but while we're talking how have you found your 20 compared to these other primes?
  5. You might want to consider Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro.
  6. Among 50/1.4, 85/1.4, the 180/2.8 is equally great lens.

    Much better picture quality than the 70-200/2.8 VR lens. On 6MP D70 it provides beter pictures than the 70-200 on
    D200... against all rational reasons behing the pixel peeping. I was able to provide larger and sharper pictures with
    D70 and 180/2.8 then with the D200 and the 70-200 VR lens.

    The 180 will certainly shine on FX format and 12 MP. Perhaps will work well for a 24+ MP camera...? D3X or
    D700X ? next year ?
  7. My 180 2.8 ED AIS, bought new in 1982, has paid for itself more times over than any lens in my arsenal. Lovely lens. Developed a bit of a fungus problem which required disassembly and removal of the coating on one of the interior elements. Still a superb lens.
  8. I've always had the 200mm and upgraded a bunch of lenses for digital (many older lenses show coma on a D200). I bought the 180mm about 2 years ago and have been thoroughly impressed. It is extremely sharp, phenomenal bokeh, and a wonderfully built and holdable lens.
  9. The 180/2.8 AF-D yields stunning images and is in the same echelon as the 105/2 DC. We have one AF-D and two MF ED AIS copies...would hate to be without! Some lenses require more deliberation than others before purchasing; not the case with this one. (Minor detail: the manual focusing feel (dampening, or lack of) on the AF-D leaves room for improvement.)
  10. I have the 180/2.8 AIS manual focus. I understand the optics are identical to the AF lens. Image quality is superb. Highly recommended. I doubt if you could find a lens in the 150-200mm range that will produce better results, and few that will be equal.
  11. when i was a pro-sportshooter, the 2,8/180 AI was my normal lens - a friend who used canon at the time was shocked, when
    we compared the negatives - even on 24x36 mm, the difference was obvious. go for it, you wont find a better nikkor lens
  12. Bernard... you would love that lens. After I bought mine I got rid of my 80-200. It is so light and compact plus really good
    IQ. As most of the older lenses it seems to have a bit of flare problem. It has a built in hood which is really good. As you
    were told already, when I used it on my D80 it was a bit slow to focus but with my D300 is faster. I assume it would be the
    same with a D700. Just to tease you, I bought mine used, mint condition. No case but 6 moths warranty on it. I only paid
    250 USD for it! :) and the only reason I bought it was because I thought it was a good deal and I really felt bad to leave it in
    the store for someone else to buy it. :) Rene'
  13. bmm


    Rene - I guess I'm going about it the other way then having just off-loaded my 80-200 to a friend (who'd had it for a couple of months on loan anyway). I'm just stumped as to why a lens that people say is so good is so relatively affordable. Perhaps its just reflective of the prevalence of zoom options for telephoto and the preference of people for these.

    If you find another $250 one just buy it for me buddy and I'll pay you back! You know where to find me...
  14. Bernard... I think you are right. look at the price of the AF-S 300 f4

    It's a beautiful lens, high quality, fast. I can't think of anything wrong about it! Oh! I just did, the lens collar! :9 Anyway, look
    at the price, I paid somewhere like 1,000 USD for it! I think it is really cheap. I'm sure 90% of the users go for a zoom
    instead of a prime. I really rather changing lenses than having a zoom. Rene'
  15. I`m afraid the Ai-S version has nothing in common with the AF versions... the AF version has more glass, and surely better performance.
  16. "You might want to consider Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro."

    Bahram's point is well taken. I had the Nikon 180, loved it, but sold it to acquire the Sigma. The Sigma is every bit as sharp and excellent on portraits as the Nikkor was, and it is a 1:1 HSM Macro with internal focussing.

    HOWEVER, it is VERY heavy, and would feel almost like the 80-200.

    The 180 is a great and light lens. It balanced beautifully on my D200. You could always get a second-hand copy and save some cash. Just get the 180 new or used. You'll be glad you did.
  17. If Nikon where to release an AF-S version the 180mm f2.8 would be perfect. As is its small, light and sharp. I just could never consider the larger heavier zooms. I use the 20mm f2.8, 24mm f2.8, 28mm f2 AIS, 50mm f1.4 AIS, 85mm f1.8 and 500mm f4.
  18. What is your primarily use of 180mm?

    I have both 180 and 80-200mm f2.8. The zoom lens still has its advantages despite its size and weight. Last month I was in Beijing for Olympic games. The zoom lens provided sharp pictures as well as convenience as you would imagine that I could have hard time to mobilize myself as a zoom in the venues if my camera was attached to a prime lens.

    To the prime, the praises that I have found are already addressed by other's responeses. To my wish, I hope that Nikon can update the lens with VR.

  19. Bernard, the 20/2.8 AF-D is my least favorite of my lenses. It just lacks magic, the sort of magic that the 180/2.8 AF-D has in spades. It's fine, but it's only fine. Nothing special.

    My ranking of the lenses I own is: 180/2.8 AF-D, 60/2.8 AF-S Micro, 85/1.8 AF-D, 50/1.8 AF-D, 35/2 AF-D, 18-200 DX AF-S VR, 20/2.8 AF-D.
  20. I am an enthusiastic user of the 180mm AF-D. I find its image quality to be excellent and it is so much easier to handle and carry around than the f/2.8 telezooms. Particularly its contrast, clean and pure colors, sharpness, and resistance to flare are very good. I use it on FX and 35mm film but it works very well on DX also, though focusing is a bit tricky on DX.
  21. My 180/2.8 Nikkor is a non-AI'd, pre-ED version and one of the best lenses I've ever used. Despite the long focus throw I've still used it successfully for indoor school sports such as volleyball on my F3HP, since the aperture indexing tab can be flipped out of harm's way.

    While I hear many reports of slow autofocusing with the AF versions, I suspect it's still useful for action oriented photography when the photographer can anticipate the action and use either zone focusing, pre-focusing or similar old school techniques. Even with my D2H, AF and AF-S lenses I don't always rely on autofocus for sports and action oriented photography.

    Over the decades I've owned several tele-zooms and found that I virtually always used them at the longest focal length. So a 70-200/2.8 or 80-200/2.8 would be inefficient for me. I'd always be using 'em at 200mm anyway. Might as well save money and weight and get a comparable prime. I wouldn't want to do that with a midrange zoom, tho' - EXIF data shows I use those fully, throughout their entire focal range.
  22. I now have the D200 and 80-200 f/2.8 which has largely replaced my D50 and 180 f/2.8, but like other posters I have found that the images
    from the D50 / 180 combination will almost always outshine the D200 / 80-200 combo. My main reason for 'upgrading' was that I take a lot
    of pictures at my son's, soccer, basketball and the zoom can be very helpful. But, in terms of image quality, it is
    amazing. My other lenses include the 35-70 f/2.8 and the 50 f/1.8 and the 180 is at the top of the heap.

    good luck
  23. Ups! :)
  24. When you use the 180 for action, I've found it works very well if you set the AF to "release+focus" priority mode. In full uninhibited release priority, some shots of moving subjects will be out of focus at 9fps.

    An AF-S lens would, of course, be better in this respect but there is no equivalent available at the time.

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