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Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Nikkor

 
Lens Reviews / Nikon Lenses i Lab tested

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion
80-200mm $1,201
average price
image of Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Nikkor

(From Nikon lens literature) Superb telephoto-zoom lens for sports and nature photography. 3 ED glass elements for high resolution and high contrast even at maximum apertures. Maintains fast f/2.8 aperture throughout zoom range.

Test Notes

This 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF is just the latest in a long line of Nikkor lenses covering this focal length range, stretching back to 1982. This latest version was first sold in 1997, and continues unchanged to this day. It has to some extent been supplanted by the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, which we have also tested. Fast-focusing and able to really drop out the background with its wide f/2.8 maximum aperture, the 80-200 f/2.8 has long been a favorite of sports and nature shooters, but is a great choice for any Nikon shooter interested in a high-quality, wide-aperture telephoto zoom lens.

Sharpness
Given this lens' long-standing reputation for performance, we were a bit surprised that it wasn't a bit sharper wide open across its focal length range. Wide open, it was quite sharp from 80-135mm, but softened markedly at 200mm. Stopping down to f/4 improved sharpness across the board, but the blur profile at 200mm was still somewhat lopsided. (This was a little reminiscent of what we saw in our initial sample of the Nikkor 12-24mm ultra-wide zoom, apparently an issue with earlier production of that lens. - We'll ask Nikon for another sample of the 80-200mm f/2.8, so we can see if the softness at 200mm is universal or an issue with the particular (brand new) sample we tested here.) Diffraction limiting set in on our D200 test body at about f/16, but wasn't too bad even at the f/22 minimum aperture.

Chromatic Aberration
If we were slightly under-impressed with this lens' sharpness at 200mm, we were very impressed with its chromatic aberration, particularly at middle focal lengths. At the two ends of its focal length range, the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D shows fairly typical amounts of CA, with maximum values on the order of 3/100 frame height, and average values about half that. At the in-between focal lengths of 105mm and 135mm though, its chromatic aberration was about the lowest of any lens we've measured to date, a really impressive performance.

Shading ("Vignetting")
Due in part to our testing it on a sub-frame DSLR (At least as of this writing, Nikon makes no full-frame DSLR cameras), shading was very low, reaching a maximum of 0.33 EV wide open at 200mm. At all other focal lengths and apertures, the light falloff was less than 0.2 EV, and at f/4, never rose above 0.14.

Distortion
Again due in part to the sub-frame sensor of the D200, the 80-200mm f/2.8 showed relatively little geometric distortion, ranging from a miniscule amount of barrel distortion at 80mm to a noticeable 0.3% pincushion at 200mm. It's important to note though, that the average distortion remains quite low, even at 200mm. This indicates that the distortion is limited to the outer edges and corners of the frame, not extending very far into the image area itself.

Focus Operation
The 80-200mm f/2.8 focus quickly and precisely. The focus motor makes a quiet whirring noise (sort of a soft "zeep" sound). It's not as quiet as lenses with ultrasonic motors, but isn't bad, and shouldn't be an issue in any but the most hushed environments. You can switch to manual focusing via a ring on the lens' body, and in fact must do so: Switching the camera body's AF switch to manual just disables the camera's AF drive, it doesn't free up the lens elements to permit manual adjustment. The manual focus ring operates smoothly, and has enough travel to permit accurate focus setting by hand, unlike some lenses designed more exclusively for AF operation. In either auto or manual focusing modes, a switch at the front of the lens barrel can be used to limit close-focusing to about 3 meters (a bit more than 10 feet), to reduce the range the camera (or you) will have to hunt over to find the subject. Because it's an Internal Focusing lens, the front element of the lens doesn't rotate as you focus, nor does the lens change in length.

Image Stabilization This is not an image-stabilized lens. See the aforementioned Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR for a similar optic with image stabilization capability.

Build Quality and Handling This is a very solid lens. Picking it up, the first words that came to mind were "built like a tank." The lens barrel is coated with a very fine black wrinkle finish, and the zoom and focus rings are ribbed rubber. (A subtle point is that the focus ring has only 3 longitudinal segments in each rib, while the zoom ring has 7. I wonder if that was a deliberate choice, to give some tactile feedback as to which ring you were gripping, or whether it was simply a cosmetic decision?)

The lens has a tripod mount attached to a rotating ring near the base of the lens. The ring can be rotated through 270 degrees, and can be locked in any position with a small knob. With a lightweight DSLR mounted on the lens, the combination is slightly front-heavy, while a heavy body like the D2Xs produces a slightly back-heavy assembly. In either case, the tripod mount is a great feature, taking a lot of load off the cameras lens mount.

The lens comes standard with a very nice leather carrying case and a strap for carrying it, but (somewhat surprisingly) doesn't include a lens hood. The matching hood is Nikon part number HB-7, and can be found online for about $30.

Summary
We were a little surprised to see the 80-200mm to be as soft as it was wide open at 200mm (a characteristic it shares with the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR optic), but at shorter focal lengths is quite sharp, and gets extremely sharp when you stop it down to f/4. Build quality and handling are excellent, making it easily worth it's roughly $900 online price. (Keep your eyes peeled around holiday times too, this lens is one that Nikon seems to offer a rebate on almost annually.) All in all, a fine lens for anyone wanting a fast mid-range telephoto zoom for their Nikon-mount DSLR.

Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Nikkor User Reviews

9.3/10 average of 38 reviews Build Quality 9.7/10 Image Quality 9.3/10
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Great lens! Sharp and nice!
    A back focusing problem with some old bodies

    Overall this is a great lens! I like very much the sharpness and the picture it creates!

    The only problem is the back focusing with some old bodies - when shooting on 200mm and closest focusing - here you can see the problem - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B3akmexHeHI_Uy1qZDMxWEpHaDg&usp=sharing

    reviewed February 14th, 2016
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Build, Image quality,
    Nothing for me, VR for others

    I wanted an F2.8 at the 200 mm range and tested the AFS version of the 80-200. The AFS was a bit heavier and about 300.00 more expensive than the used AF-D copy I purchased.

    This a great lens. I don't make a living taking photos so a new 80-200 F2.8 or 70-200 F2.8 wasn't in the cards for me. Plus the copy I purchased was in excellent condition and after renting it for a weekend I had to buy it. I am very happy with the purchase. Sorry I can't be more technical about the lens than this, but if you find a used copy at an affordable price and your in the market, you should get one.

    The image quality is impressive all around and I love the background blur at F2.8.

    I'm sure I'll be using it for a very long time.

    reviewed August 28th, 2014 (purchased for $675)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (52 reviews)
    built like a tank, IQ, ergonomics
    none

    this is the "budget" pro-telezoom. one of the best indeed. The first thing that crossed your mind will be the build quality of the lens. The lens is a solid metal, that looks like a real pro lens. The design is so simple and very comfortable to use.

    Image quality, as expected from a pro lens, is great. It's sharp wide open, and even do better if you stoppedi it down a bit. Bokeh produced are nice & smooth.

    This lens is a must have if you shoot actions and on a budget.

    reviewed October 12th, 2012 (purchased for $899)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (15 reviews)
    Inexpensive Pro Quality Zoom, Strong Exterior Build
    No VR, Manual Focus may require small easy repair

    The barrel of this lens is like a tank, overall. What I say below does not impact my overall confidence in the build quality of this lens.

    The 80-200 is smaller and lighter and much less $ than the 70-200 VR2.

    The images it takes are almost as good at the 70-200, if you shoot in ways that can't use VR... and the 80-200 lacks VR. Me, I like VR...

    While built strong with lots of metal, my copy, like several copies out there, had a worn plastic pin under the focus band, which caused manual focusing issues. Easily repaired thanks to an internet tip, but a design defect non the less. My repair used tape, and a small piece of wood to keep the retaining clip down and engaged properly instead of epoxy - which I found more dodgy to apply and less reversible. It works good as new with my quick repair.

    If you don't need VR, it's hard to make a case against buying this lens for this focal range.

    If you need VR, buy something else.

    To see more details check a side by side practical feature comparison: http://glamourphotography.co/?p=6798

    reviewed August 28th, 2012
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    Very sharp all the way out and a pretty much wide open.
    Rubber ring on the front element keeps popping out.

    This is just a superb old fashion professional grade lens with that Nikon crinkle black finish on a metal construction. The onlder push pulls were fairly slow but the new two rings really spin with a pro body. You can feel the torque.

    Most lenses by Nikon look good and will do a good job if you do your part. A very few are just special. They have that crystal clear razor sharp 3D pup look about the images. That would describe this beauty. You do your part and you get those oooos and ahhhhs from viewers.

    There is one downside. The lens has a non-fixable focus issue with some bodies. It was designed a long time ago and the rotation ratios don't match some of the bodies well, from what the Nikon people tell me. When this happens, it's hard to fine tune and when you do, it changes at different distances. On my D300, mine works unbelievably well but on my D700, it seemed soft at 200. When I fine tuned that, it was soft at shorter lengths. Nikon worked on it but finally admited the issue.

    I was going to sell it, but it worked just too well on the D300 and if I manually adjusted on the D700. When I bought my D3S, problem solved. It's perfect and my new D800 wears this lens wonderfully, so I'm happy.

    As a full time corporate photographer, I appreciate the price tag over the more expensive 70-200 and VR I'd never use when I get this high level of performance in a product that just plain feels good to use.

    reviewed August 7th, 2012 (purchased for $980)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    It's a Nikkor pro lens!
    It does give my arm a workout for sure.

    I use this lens along with the Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8. Both cover a lot of picture possibilities. Also have a Nikkor 50mm F1.4 AIS in the bag. This 80-200 lens, as many have said is brilliant in color. I love ED glass in my lenses. I shoot manual cameras only so I had to only move that M-A switch once. Even then I was worrried about it cracking. The lens is built well. We all know that. Used on manual only, I'm thinking I'll be shootng with it for 20+ years. The 80-200 & the 17-35 are shot on either an FM2N or FE2 (Trying to keep the weight of the duo down as much as possible) and sometimes the F3. Anyway it's a stellar lens IMHO.

    reviewed October 11th, 2011 (purchased for $799)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Image quality, low distortion, build quality
    Heavy, not dustproof

    Super great lens. Excellent bokeh

    reviewed June 24th, 2011 (purchased for $1,700)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Optical sharpness, built like a tank,
    Price given no VR, not hood included hood screws on, screw thread on the lens is plastic, focus noisy

    I acquired a new twin ring in 2010. I have not found any issues with CA on my D300S or D7000. I do not find my copy as soft wide open at 200mm as some have reported. Certainly it sings at f4. For wild life though the focusing mechanism sort of makes the the quiet release modes on my bodies academic, as it is so noisy as it snaps into focus.

    On a DX sensor giving 300mm equiv field of view I often use a monopod, significantly more often than I do with my 150-500 OS !

    Having to order the hood post sale (like the 18-55 DX lens is hard to fathom. The issue is that the hood screws on and the thread on the lens is plastic, so I purchases a cheao 72mm UV filter and removed the glass, this is fitted to the lens full time and now when I fit the hood it is metal thread on metal thread.

    I have used it for wild life, particularly if walking through wood land with variable lighting, which at times is quite low. I have also used it at birthday parties at "disco lighting levels" both with and without flash (externally mounted flash not pop-up)

    reviewed June 16th, 2011 (purchased for $1,300)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Sharp, fast, built like a tank.
    Heavy to haul around for very long. A-M switch broke, had to tape it in one pos.

    2-touch. Bought used about 10 years ago to shoot kids' high school stage shows and outdoor sports in low light; also have used it for portraits and about a dozen weddings. Perfect for all the above. Very sharp at any aperture and focal length. My choice was not this vs. spend $2000 more on the 70-200 VR, it was this or a 70-210 f/4. I have been very happy with this lens on both film & DX digital bodies.

    reviewed January 19th, 2011 (purchased for $400)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Fast, Constant aperature; Build Quality;
    a little soft on tele end at F/2.8

    I purchased a used copy of the older push-pull version of this lens. It was excellent.

    This lens is an awesome lens.
    The ONLY thing negative I can say about this lens is that it was a little soft on the tele end(200mm) at maximum aperature(f/2.8).
    At f/4 and beyond this lens is a dream lens.

    You can't say that the weight is a negative on this lens, because it is a pro-calibre lens that is built like a tank and you are paying for that kind of quality.

    The older push-pull style now sells used for about $500-$600. If you are in the market for one of these lenses....that price makes it a no-brainer.

    reviewed March 28th, 2010 (purchased for $650)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    very well build and good optics
    very good but not excellent optic

    It did not perform to my expectations.

    reviewed January 10th, 2010 (purchased for $1,200)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (21 reviews)
    fantasic OOF blur, built like a tank, great image quality at all F/L at F4
    slightly soft at 200mm F2.8. With a D700 + MB10 handholding it for 4 hours tests your stamina...

    The SLR gear review seems fairly accurate though I would love to see it tested on an FX too. if one always uses the lens at 200mm f2.8 its best to look at a prime but for everything else its fantastic. Its not the fastest focusing lens around (for example shooting flying birds) but its other strengths make up for it. I would be interested if SLR Gear did a FX review of the lens as I suspect its performance is better in FX mode and it seems to focus far better on a full frame.... I have used it with both a D300 and a D700 and my view is it performs best on the D700 both in IQ and focus performance. Who needs the 70-200 VR mk 1? I believe this lens performs better.

    I enclose some links to my Flickr account - note that some of these were taken with a Tamron X 2 T/C installed which destroys the fringe performance but mostly leaves the sharpness intact. These Gannets can fly at around 140 KPH and then seemingly come up into the wind and just hover; these shots show both modes - top speed and hover.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightknight/2770137882/sizes/l/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightknight/2769292293/sizes/l/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightknight/3973336459/sizes/l/
    the last ling was a shot taken with the Tamron X2 on - you can see the difference it makes to the DOF.

    I enclose 2 portraits one shot at 125mmF4 @1/1600 which is tack sharp and another at 200mm/F4.5 @ 125th hand held and one can see the shallow DOF (the eyes are in sharp focus but the chin is not). Note the OF blur...this was in a busy street! It is a fact that this lens seems to make images really "pop" out of the surrounding blur.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightknight/3492151279/sizes/l/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightknight/3578500888/sizes/l/

    Or for action see this
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightknight/2810798286/sizes/l/

    What a lens! I cant imagine ever selling it.

    reviewed November 2nd, 2009 (purchased for $1,000)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Build quality, sharpness, bokeh
    None.

    Super great lens. This lens was given to me from a friend who switched to Canon. I've had this for about 2 years, and have used it often, mostly for sports and outdoor portrait. I was surprised at how well it works for portrait. It is really nice for portrait from 80mm to about 105mm. It does get soft as you approach 200mm. The 70-200VR gets soft at 200mm also though. If you want tack sharp at 200mm, you'll have to cough up the dough for a 200mm F2. I don't have that kind of income. This lens has been good enough to make me put off buying the 70-200VR.

    reviewed January 2nd, 2009
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    Handling, image quality
    Size/weight

    I bought a used two-ring version of this lens and it is the best lens purchase I've made to date. This lens really excels at action & sports photography, where I find it very easy to zoom in to get the shot I want. While not an AF-S lens, focusing even on my D70s is quite good - definitely better than the AF-S equipped 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR on account of the fixed aperture design.

    Image quality is very good to excellent. Yes it is a bit soft wide-open (particularly at 200mm), but I would have no issues printing 11x14's wide open with this lens, and find the bokeh to be excellent for portraits and candids.

    Drawbacks are few. Size and weight is an obvious issue with any lens of this type, and while reasonable quick, AF operation does product a bit of torque that can take some getting used to. Finally, if you are shooting low light shots of stationary objects, VR on the 70-300 is a better bet than f/2.8 - at least in my experience.

    reviewed September 29th, 2008 (purchased for $500)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Build, aperture, image quality (if you get a good one)
    Tripod collar, AF/MF switch, focus limitation on digital bodies

    I'm sure all that's been written about this lens is true, but my copy is flawed by mis-focus. It focuses behind the subject in most, but not all, situations. This issue is beyond the normal amount of mis-focus that Nikon says one can expect from this lens when mounted on a D200. According to Nikon:

    9. If AF 80-200mm f/2.8S, AF 35-70 f/2.8S, new-model AF 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5S, or AF 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5S is zoomed in while focusing at minimum range, image on matte screen in viewfinder may not be in focus when in-focus indicator is displayed. Focus manually using image in viewfinder as guide.

    This is an annoying limitation that a prospective purchaser should be aware of. My copy is much worse and has been confirmed by Nikon as being defective. I have given an overall good rating to this lens nonetheless because of its historical reputation.

    reviewed September 3rd, 2008 (purchased for $914)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Great image quality
    heavy & bulky weight/size.

    I have the push pull version not the newer 2 ring version. I purchased it used via craigslist for only $250. For that price, I have absolutely no complaints. If purchased at full price, I'd note the size/weight as a limitation especially w/out a tripod collar (push/pull model) as well as the way the zoom ring has a tendency to slip down when held facing up or down.

    Otherwise, I'm sure the 2 ring version is as nice if not nicer than my push/pull model

    reviewed July 21st, 2008 (purchased for $250)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    excellent build, easy to manually focus
    not AFS, no VR

    I've tested the Sigma 70-200mm HSM Macro II at a local store and liked it a lot. It focused fast and close up, and had a solid feel to it. However I decided on the Nikon because it was much more rugged ("built like a tank"), could also focus close up, and felt it was a better value since they both cost nearly the same. I'm sure you're well aware that Nikon lenses hold their value over time as well.

    I've owned the nikon 70-300mm VR once before and it was perfect for a compact telephoto travel lens. However it's no where near the 80-200mm in terms of build quality. The VR feature was really nice to have, but it did not help me when I was photographing anything that moved, like my two-year old son. And the small aperture (4.5-5.6) was its biggest hinderance.

    I've used this lens for one wedding reception and it was my primary lens. I'd say 65% of the shots I took were with this lens, 25% with the Sigma 30mm 1.4, and 10% with my Sigma 10-20mm. The long focal distance was perfect for capturing candid moments without being a distraction to the guests. It allowed me to be a "fly on the wall" so to speak. When there is lots of space to work with, this lens shines. And the bokeh is nice and smooth. You can check out the photo gallery here: http://elijahdesign.com/dannajim/

    It is my favorite lens and I feel it could last me for the next 20 years or more. However I do wish it had VR, AFS and most importantly... f/1.4. There is big difference between 2.8 and 1.4. Obviously the addition of any or all of those features would double its price. I've asked the same questions you're asking to other photographers, and they've all seem to say to get the the Nikon 70-200mm VR if you can afford it. If you're on a budget, then the 80-200mm is the best option. I'd say that its biggest fault is that its AF is not silent and a step slow from AFS. But the focus ring is smooth and large, and it excels in manual focusing.

    reviewed July 17th, 2008 (purchased for $750)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    f/2.8 @200mm sharp, great color, contrast
    ?

    I use this lens for baseball and birding, occasional portraits and pet pics. I can freeze the action at 1/3200s without cranking the ISO much to my client's (minor league team) pleasure, can stip BIF and make pleasing blurred BG.
    If you plan on shooting faster than 1/500s, you won't need the VR.
    I love this lens!

    reviewed July 4th, 2008 (purchased for $950)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    everything
    no

    After using Nikon 18-200mm VR2 decided to change the lens for something really better. For sure it is far far away from anything else. To be frank I never used 70-200mm VR, but I can't find the point to pay double price for the stabilization.

    This lens got excellent shaprness, bokeh and make me feel like a real professional (though I am not) holding the camera.
    I have read too many reviews before buying it and expected the lens to be even heavier than it's weight;))

    reviewed January 26th, 2008 (purchased for $1,200)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Great zoom lens fast sharp
    none

    excellent zoom lens great for action

    reviewed September 20th, 2007 (purchased for $842)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    f2.8, build quality, creamy bokeh
    no supplied lens hood, short tripod collar, very soft at 200mm f2.8 min focus distance

    First of all, let me echo what some have said.
    -The lens is very soft at 200mm f2.8, min focus distance (macro). So don't bother using it wide open for macro, the DOF is too shallow for any good. You've got to stop it down to f8 or more for better sharpness.

    -However, the lens is very sharp at 200mm f2.8 at most other focusing distance, just not at its minimum distance.

    -Tripod collar is too short, will have to flip it up to hold the zoom barrel. I hold my hood most of the time so it's not too much of a concern for me.

    -No supplied hood, but comes with a nice, though useless case. It's a nice touch that the older lenses come with the leather case, but it'd be more practical if it came with a hood instead. Buy a HN-28 OEM metal hood from ebay, it's better than the HB-7 if you plan to use a CPL. However, you will need a hood cap of some sort to cover the hood with the HN-28.

    -Pretty heavy, but that's what you'd expect froma 2.8 pro lens.

    reviewed June 27th, 2007 (purchased for $900)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    2.8 costant, colors, sharp
    expensive

    Very good lens.

    Built like a thank, heavy(maybe too much)

    Sharp at all apertures, increasing stopping down untill f8.

    Little amount of vignetting wide open(still usable).

    CA very well controlled.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $600)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    Inexpensive f/2.8 Pro lens, Good Optical Performace
    Noisy & bit slow AF Operation, AF/MF Ring easy to crack

    Get rid off third party telephoto lens with this Pro lens. Optical performace is good, with some visible CA and bit low Contrast at wide open.

    If you want inexpensive f/2.8 pro lens for most of Nikon body, buy this lens other than third party lens, it will never let you down.
    A better optics can be found in discontinue AF-S version. Or you move up to the top grade optics quality with expensive AF-S 70-200 VR version.

    One major flaw you might found on 80-200/2.8 is that the AF/MF switch ring is prone to crack.

    Because of it doesn't an silence wave motor inside, the AF operation quite slow when equipped with prosumer SLR. If you want faster AF speed you might need to use Pro body or move to 70-200/2.8VR version.

    reviewed January 8th, 2007 (purchased for $1,000)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Build quality, fast lens(f2.8), great contrast
    auto/manual focus switch should be redesign, bit heavy,doesn't include a lens hood

    Got mine two days ago - first words:wow! - best build lens I've ever had.I'm so glad I didn't wait for 70-300vr.this one is metal - not plastic, and I don't need a vr when I have f2,8:)
    Pictures quality is great - colors, contrast and sharpness - simply the best!
    only complain I have is that auto/manual focus switch could be a "real" switch - not "ring" type.I just have a feeling that it wont last as long as the lens itself.

    And I have one note to Nikon: I think that a lot of people would be more happy with a lens hood included instead of "fancy" leather like carrying case - lens that good stays on camera most of its time anyway...

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $839)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (21 reviews)
    Build quality, image quality, fast apeture
    Poor tripod collar, zoom ring loosens...

    Some argue that this lens is even sharper than the already legendary Nikon 70-200. All I know is that this lens has is resopnible some if the sharpest, highest quality images I've ever captured.

    If you're not going to need VR, (if for example you shoot fast moving things like sports players, who aren't going to be standing still for your VR to be of optimal use) or if you really prefer using a monopod, then hunt down one of these lenses on KEH or Ebay and enjoy.

    Be prepared however, certain vintages of 80-200 f/2.8 Nikon's are known to have the Zoom ring start loosening, and the tripod collar is not that useful. So this is therefore a great lens to use outdoors, hand-held, when image sharpness is paramount.

    -Matt-

    reviewed December 29th, 2006
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    Sharp, well built, nice boken
    soft in macro range at 200mm

    This lens is extremely sharp through out the range and built like a tank. It produces much better boken than the Nikor AF 105 micro which I own previously.

    My copy is soft at 200mm when set to the minimum focus distance.

    High recommended if the weight is not an issue.

    reviewed December 24th, 2006 (purchased for $1,000)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)

    A lens that is quite sharp at certain focal length and aperture combinations. At f2.8 you get an excellent depth of field but the image sharpness is not outstanding. It's a bit soft.
    Some excellent macro shot can be taken with it and you obtain a great level of detail despite the focus being a little soft.
    It's a lens that I think that I should be using more often, particularly with nature shots. An excellent buy! I hope that nikon can improve on the sharpness of this lens, will benefit everyone.

    reviewed December 12th, 2006 (purchased for $920)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    Astonishing color, contrast and sharpness
    heavy, no tripod collar (mine is push-pull version), focus hunting is common

    This is my all time favorite lens, although it is not appropriate for every situation. I use this primarily for performances where I am seated in the audience, and I'm flattered that many performers use my photos on their websites.

    The negatives for me: if I don't limit the focus range, it can get lost easily. It's also a total drag that I cannot put the thing on a monopod or tripod.

    Here are galleries mostly shot with this lens:
    http://www.pbase.com/deanzat/nordhoff_fall_dance_concert_2006
    http://www.pbase.com/deanzat/forever_plaid
    http://www.pbase.com/deanzat/nhs_oklahoma
    http://www.pbase.com/deanzat/2006_village_of_tales

    reviewed December 12th, 2006 (purchased for $850)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Focus and zoom speed
    Weight auto focus lock ring

    My best lens.
    I shoot equestrian events with this lens and it has never let me down.
    The images are always sharp and the focus seems to keep up fine with both my D70 and D1x.
    The weight of the lens is of course a bit arm tireing, but that is to be expected with any of the large fast lenses.

    I have found that my manual/auto focus ring is now not locking into place on auto after a short period of time.
    It however is not affecting the focus except to cause a bit of headache when it slips off auto at the least opportune time. :(

    Even with all the new VR lenses I still think this is the best value on the market if you need a fast lens.

    I paid way less than market value for mine early this year.

    reviewed December 9th, 2006 (purchased for $625)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Sharp everywhere..... Excellent IQ....
    Maybe a little heavy to carry all day....

    There is only one word to describe this lens... FANTASTIC... I had read so much about this lens and after getting it, it’s better than what everyone had described.

    Using this lens on both the D50 & D80 I find the AF is very quick for a non AF-S lens (being only about 10-15% slower than the AF-S), and it catches focus first time 99.9% of the time and usually that 0.01% it misses is because of very low light conditions. The limit switch is very handy.

    I have read that some suffer from softness at f/2.8 @ 200, but I have to say mine doesn’t. Its tack sharp wide open at 200 and haven’t noticed any softness at any focal range.

    IMHO the IQ from this lens is superb, with incredible “Bokeh”, only being bettered by some of the prime lenses. It’s not a lens to use if you don’t want to be noticed because of its size.

    It is a solid and very well built lens, and has the “Feel” of a PRO lens with smooth manual focusing and zooming. There is not tightness at all on either ring, also being very well placed. The tripod collar can easily be locked out of the way when not being used. What I do is mount a wrist strap onto the tripod collar and around my left hand and use this to support the camera/lens when shooting and just carrying it. As well as a safety support, it makes it easier to carry the camera/lens for long periods of time.

    I have found that if more reach is needed without lose in IQ, I use the Kenko 1.4x PRO300 DG TC and have had excellent results.

    The 70-200VR is considered the King in this focal range, but if you have no need for VR or AF-S, the 80-200 will do everything you want at nearly half the price.

    Yes I highly recommend it….

    reviewed December 9th, 2006 (purchased for $850)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Fast AF on D70 and D200, superb image quality (see cons)
    Heavy as a tank. Soft at 200mm, fully open aperture and minimal focus distance.

    I have only used the lens on a D70 and D200; AF is very fast, image quality is superb. The lens is very heavy and is not really fun to carry around for a couple of hours. I can confirm the softness at 200mm setting mentioned in the SLRGear review. AT fully open aperture and minimal focus distance, mine is really soft. I had compared shots to the 70-180 Micro and was blown away twice: first by how good the 70-180 is and second how soft the 80-200 is. Even stopping down to f/4 or even f/5.6 didn't get close to the results produced by the 80-200. Other than that, an excellent glass and a solid build quality.

    reviewed December 6th, 2006 (purchased for $660)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    image quality
    weight, size, price

    Unsurpassed image quality.
    Built like a tank – I witnessed one taking direct fall on concrete. Besides broken filter and outer collar – there was no damage to glass or the lens inner mechanisms = inexpensive repair.
    Not recommended if you don’t want to scare people with its bulk.

    reviewed November 21st, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    fast 2.8, very sharp from 80-150
    soft at 200, heavy

    I recently bought this lens. Its very fast, and well made. It feels more solid than the 70-200. The tripod mount tends to get in the way when im zooming though.

    af speed is great, even though its not AFS, on my d80 its absolutely fine. The limit switch is handy and reduces hunting. It lets you keep the lens on the infinity side or on the macro side.

    This is very very heavy, I cannot stress this enough. I knew it was heavy from the numbers, but really without a tripod or monopod you would be hard-pressed to comfortably shoot for a long time.

    Optically the lens is very good. I would probably try to avoid shooting wide open at 2.8 around 160-200mm, but stopped down its fine. Bottom line, this lens produces great images.

    This lens is a smart buy if like me you are waiting for nikon to update the VR lens to VRII.

    reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $900)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (15 reviews)
    IQ, build, f/2.8,bokeh
    heavy, draws attention

    This review is for the two-rings version of the 80-200/2.8 D.
    Bought it almost two years ago to use with my Nikon D70.

    Pros:
    The bokeh at f/2.8 is really nice, smooth and round - makes for really great portraits.
    The focus is fast and sure even on my D70. In good light it was as fast as myfriend's Canon 70-200/2.8 USM on his 20D. In dim places though it would take twice as long to focus as the USM one.
    This piece of optics is built to last ages - the body is thik metal, front element is recessed and ths protected by the same metal shell.
    There's something magical about the images this masterpiece produces - some quality I can't put my finger on.
    No vignetting (well, may be "almost"), but I have never notices anything like it - may on FF it'll be more significant.
    Distortion is minimal.
    The tripod collar is very useful - you don't want to shoot this lens mounted on a plastic camera like D70 when the camrea sits on a tripod. Note that the older Push-Pull version didn't have it (and had a really slow A/F).

    Cons:
    It's pretty large and this draws attention - which isn't always a bad thing - but can be intimidationg, especially for children.
    The lens isn't the lightest piece of glass ever produced - after carrying it for hours (even using a neoprene strap) your neck gets really happy to get rid of the burden.
    Lacks AF-S and VR but hey, it's 1/2 the price of the 70-200/2.8 VR

    Misc:
    I'd say a neoprene strap is a must for such a monster.
    I used it with Kenko 300 Pro x2 TC and was really disappointed with the soft results (used a heavy tripod and remote release) and awful A/F speed.
    Bought Kenko 300 Pro x1.4 TC to replace my x2, but haven't a chance to test it - if it's possible I'll update this review with the details later.
    The only issue on my sample is that it's *extremely* soft when used at its closest focusing distance at 200mm.
    Other than that the lens is perfect.
    I'm not a big fan of the D70's kit lens, the 18-70mm and before I bought the Nikkor 17-35/2.8 I virtually stopped using the wide angle as the images taken with the 80-200 were so much more beautiful that those produced by the 18-70.
    I live in Israel where prices are higher than in US, so I paid about 800$ for a used one (with two filters: B+W UV and Sigma PL).

    Bottom line:
    I LOVE THE LENS and unless you can't carry its weight there's NO REASON NOT TO BUY IT.

    reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $800)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    build quality, image quality
    weight, size, price

    it looks like a behemoth, build like a tank and weighs like both.

    Image quality is brilliant, as is built, sweet operation to both focus and zoom rings (apperture ring doesn't feel like it was ever meant to be twisted).

    slow autofocus (with f80 body), though manual focusing is smoth and easy (long through makes fine tuning easy).

    quite a heavy lens to lug around.


    You get what you pay for. old school optics, fast telephot means alot of glass.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    Light weight, "Fast" (f/2.8), Built very tough
    No AF-S

    This is one of my most used lenses. Hands down, this lens has performed beyond my expectations. I purchased this lens just over a year ago (in late 2005). I came from the use of the Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 G lens. I primary use this lens to shoot low or poor light subjects at a distance with my D200 or D70. I have used it for all different types of sports, models, and even macro under many different lighting conditions.

    The only downside after a year of solid usage of it is the lack of AF-S. Do not think that this lens is slow on the focus. It is leaps and bounds faster than the 70-300 on obtaining the focus. There is an AF-S version of the 80-200, but it is no longer a “current” model and was replaced by the 70-200 AF-S VR.

    Do not bother with the old “push-pull” version. This version is much better in handling. AF-D, AF-S, or 70-200 AF-S VR, they all are spectacular. Get whichever one you can get your hands on and afford and do not look back!

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $900)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    Very sharp, good contrast, low distortion, large apeture
    A bit bulky. Supplied case could be much smaller.

    I bought this lens because I was unable to get hold of an 18-200 VR in time for my forthcoming holiday. I began to think a little deeper about my proposed purchase and came up with a number of what I believe are valid points in favour of spending the extra cash. (Or maybe I just needed to convince my wife!)

    1. Although the VR is said to give 4 stops advantage over a similar lens, this advantage becomes minimal when you consider that the VR needs to be stopped down to f8 or f11 before it appears to deliver its best definition. On the other hand my 80-200 is very sharp from f4 so I reasoned that this took care of two or three stops advantage straight away.

    2. Then I considered distortion. This lens has very little distortion compared to what has been written about the 18-200 VR.

    3. Chromatic aberations (purple fringing) are not visible in my pictures (15x10). I have seen a number of samples on the internet taken with the 18-200 VR which had considerable CA.

    4. Breathing. I intend to use my lens in the tropics and that means a lot of moist air. All zooming is internal with the 80-200 so breathing will only occur in the focusing elements and this is a fairly small movement. On the 18-200 the zoom accounts for an extension of several inches, so I reasoned that this would mean the intake of a fair amount of moist air and the longer term risk of fungal growth.

    5. Build quality is fantastic. I have only owned Nikon consumer lenses before and the difference is staggering in every respect. All contols have a silky smoothness about them.

    I use this lens with my D50 and although it uses the mechanical linkage to achive focus, the speed is very good with virtually no hunting in most light conditions. One day when I upgrade this to a higher megapixel model, I am confident I will be in posession of a lens which will enable me to fully appreciate any improvement in definition.

    The 80-200 lens did cost me quite a bit extra and it was quite difficult to find a new one. I am thrilled with the performance and I believe that in the end it will prove to be worth the extra cost. In short the lens has become virtually invisible between what I see and what I want to print.

    reviewed April 24th, 2006 (purchased for $1,488)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    Great for film and a bargain compared to the 70-200
    Not quite the 70-200

    This is my second version of this lens. I had the original AF version (one-touch) and replaced it with newer a number of years ago.

    For film, this is an excellent lens. With digital, not quite as nice but more than adequate. If you can't afford the 70-200 VR, this is a nice lens to have for telephoto shooting.

    It is rugged and well constructed and fairly sharp throughout its range. On film, there is a slight vignetting on the corners. Digital doesn't seem to be affected by the vignetting and is pretty well minimized.

    I still have this lens as a back-up and still use it occasionally. I prefer the 70-200 for its slightly wider range on digital, but this lens does not disappoint.

    reviewed November 4th, 2005 (purchased for $700)