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Nikkor 80-200 2.8 - which one is sharp and bomb-proof?

annettep38 Plus
6 218 40 Costa Rica
19 Oct 2012 11:23PM
I have spent two evenings and half a sleepless night reading through lots of posts regarding the 80-200.
A lot of discussions compared apples and pears, such a s the 80-200 and the 80-400 etc.
Well I have sold my 70-300 vr because I got the hump with it (was great with the d2x but now I don't like it with the d3x) but I need a telezoom. And since I love selective focus , creamy bokeh and generally speaking I'm more of a tele person I thought a bright zoom is the right thing for me.
But which one? there are 4 versions, all available second hand at very different prices, I have read through all sorts of comparisons and K.R. rant, photozone and I'm totally confused.com
Here are the things I am NOT worried about:
-compatibility with exotic bodies
-extrafast autofocus ( no autofocus has made me happy so far, I am just to thick for it)
- focus limit buttons

And this is what I care about
-image quality
-Land Rover proof mechanics
-easy manual focus when I feel like it
-lovely bokeh
and maybe about
-relatively close focus
-possibility to use a 1.4 converter if I really have to.

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StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
20 Oct 2012 12:30AM
John Shaw used a Nikkor 80-200mm on a regular basis in the field. He swore by its IQ and didn't hesitate to use it for landscapes. It is featured in many photos in his book John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide.

Graysta 13 1.1k England
20 Oct 2012 7:13AM
I have the old 80-200 push - pull type zoom and it does all you ask it's robust - slow autofocus compared to newer lenses - manual when you want. and superb image quality.
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2012 2:54PM
I have the old version too. Heavy though, and you need a special cradle to mount it on a tripod, as its a bit too heavy for the mount on the camera. Though I have one, I never use it, preferring to handhold.... Otherwise, there's not much point in having an expensive f/2.8 when a f/3.5 or f/4 lens would do. It is very sharp (I used it for publicity pics at a local theatre group, low light, hand held) and I really like both the handling and the pictures.
I would expect the newest versions to be sharper and they have a built in tripod mount, but then they are much more expensive.

Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2012 3:06PM
Forgot to mention, built like a tank... You could beat off an assailant with it, but the weight also limits vibrations.
It has focus limit selections too, if you want them, which speeds AF up sometimes. The focus/zoom ring is large and easy to use with gloves on too.

User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
20 Oct 2012 5:06PM

Quote:I have the old 80-200 push - pull type zoom and it does all you ask it's robust - slow autofocus compared to newer lenses - manual when you want. and superb image quality.

Make that two of us then Graham. Won't part with mine for love-nor-money.

This was shot on mine Annette...

... and that was wide-open at 2.8.

User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
20 Oct 2012 5:37PM
That's a great kite, Mike. Great recommendation for Annette to follow up.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
20 Oct 2012 6:54PM
Thanks mate... Annette approves too so hopefully we (collectively) have given her some good 'food for thought'.

Railcam 11 672 2 Scotland
20 Oct 2012 7:06PM
I also have the old Push-Pull 80-200/f2.8 Nikkor. Heavy but very sharp,

The only thing that might not meet Annette's list are 1) the speed of A/F, as it is the old mechanical drive and 2) to change from Auto to manual focus requires a button to be pressed and a collar turned. To have the fastest A/F with manual over-ride would require the more expensive AFS model.
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2012 8:27PM
The AF isn't an issue for the OP...nor VR. The AF/MF switch is easier than it sounds.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
20 Oct 2012 9:42PM
I've had the AFS version of the 80-200 for something like 12 years now. It was chosen over the other versions because the auto-focus is instant and it'll go about a foot closer than the other versions. It is a little longer and heavier but I can put up with that. It certainly meets the toughness criterion!

The IQ is way ahead of the Nikon 70-200 that She-who-must-be-obeyed uses but it doesn't have the VR so it's best with a firm support like a monopod. I've never seen the point of VR because it doesn't help if the subject is moving and I've had decades of experience with non-VR optics. The VR was never switched on for the one lens that did have it: my old 105mm Micro.

The bokeh is fine because Nikon didn't skimp on aperture blades.
annettep38 Plus
6 218 40 Costa Rica
20 Oct 2012 10:01PM
You are fantastic!!
Mike Otley's shot says more than a 100 words. And Mike, I can understand your philosophy, the eye is best at focusing. I have read in other forums that the AFS is prone to motor failure and apart from the price that puts me off.
I actually owned and sold the original, tank like 80-200 MF. It was really rough looking and the closest focusing distance of 2.5 m not very practical at times..
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/images1/80-200mm-f28-ais/D3S_1779-1200.jpg that is the beastie.

Guess what I missed the thingy about 3 days later. And after looking at the 'bokeh' of my 70-300 VR I had had it.
I think I will follow the suggestions on Sooty and Mike and get the old one.
I have looked at the later AFD and I don't like where the focussing ring is placed. It is in the same spot as on my Micro Nikkor and I find that quite annoying... the only backdraw of that fantastic macro, it makes it sortof unbalanced.

Anyhow, whatever comes up for sale will be lighter that the old one I had, by at least a pound. And you can find 77 filters, unlike the 95 monster ... So thanks to your food for thought I'll have an easier decision, even less to spend Smile
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
21 Oct 2012 9:58AM
Whatever your decision Annette - just be sure to enjoy it.

annettep38 Plus
6 218 40 Costa Rica
22 Oct 2012 5:16PM
OK folks, thanks again, I have decided to buy this one here!
So let's hope it is as good as it looks in the picture
annettep38 Plus
6 218 40 Costa Rica
24 Oct 2012 1:53PM
Final conclusion!
I have received the new lens today, a 1st generation 80-200 2.8 and it is fantastic.
And basically, the AF is *NOT* slower than the 200 mm micro Nikkor but it is much easier to focus by hand. I think this lens has been underrated Smile

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