9 out of 10 points and recommendedIQ, build, f/2.8,bokehheavy, draws attention
This review is for the two-rings version of the 80-200/2.8 D.reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $800)
Bought it almost two years ago to use with my Nikon D70.
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).
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
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).
I LOVE THE LENS and unless you can't carry its weight there's NO REASON NOT TO BUY IT.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedIQ, buildshort zoom range, expensive
Bought it several months ago to use with my Nikon D70 after getting frustrated with the performance 18-70 (D70's kit lens).reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $1,300)
Built to last ages
Image quality is superb and it's the most important thing when wide angle is concerned. There are so many details to keep that anything lower just won't do. Even this lens performs only acceptably compared to MF results.
The distortions, though present, are negligible (unlike with my 18-70/3.5-4.5 lens).
This lens doesn't vignette on x1.5 crop factor DSLRs even wide open (but then who shoots landscapes at f/2.8 ?)
F/2.8 (though not too useful for a landscape lens like this one is nice to have).
Focus is very fast and sure due to AF-S technology (less important for landscapes).
CA is visible on high-contrast scenes like bright sky seen through dark tree branches
The lens isn't too sharp at f/2.8, though it's not a serious issue with a landscape lens such a this one
Zoom range is too short for general use, but then again it's not your usual walkaround lens
very expensive - bought it used for about 1300$ - living in Israel has *some* disadvantages ;-)
A great lens for landscapes, so-so as a walkaround lens.
Of course 17mm isn't too wide on a DX camera, so you might want to consider a (cheaper) Nikkor 12-24 or its 3rd party rivals.
9 out of 10 points and not recommendedf/1.8, wight, pricebuild, 50mm on a DX-format camera isn't the most useful focal length
Pros:reviewed November 17th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
Sharpness - it's great, especially at f/2.8 and above
Wide aperture - gives great results at f/2.8 and can be very useful for available light shooting
Small, light and inconspicuos, unlike zooms a-la Nikkor 17-55/2.8
Front element is very much recessed, thus making it less likely to be scratched and minimizing the need for a lens hood
Very plasticky (including threads), but then what can you expect for the price
Pretty harsh bokeh, making it less desirable for portraits thus limiting its use significantly
Despite being a great performer, this lens seldom leaves my bag as 50mm on a DX DSLRs is not too useful
9 out of 10 points and recommendedIQ, f/2.8, weightprime
Pros:reviewed November 17th, 2006
Image quality is outstanding:
Sharpness, color and contrast are great.
CA, ghosting, and flare are well controlled.
Very useful with TCs (Kenko 300 Pro x1.4 works great) - works better than with the f/2.8 zooms
Fast glass is nice for wildlife portraits
Much lighter than the zooms like Nikkor 70(80)-200/2.8
Not being a zoom lens limits its usefulness at fast-paced action environment
Great image quality for an acceptable price in a light package
7 out of 10 points and recommendedinexpensive, useful zoom range, AF-Smediocre image quality
Pros:reviewed November 17th, 2006 (purchased for $300)
Useful zoom range
AF-S (the A/F on my D70 is fast and sure)
Price - can be found really cheap now
Very light for an AF-S zoom (Nikon's moder trend)
Distortions are visible at zoom extremes
Image quality is mediocre (maybe it's only my samle as common belief is that it's a nice lens)
Sharpness and contrast aren't great
It's a nice inexpensive lens if you don't demand fast apertures and critical sharpness.
Much better (convenient) alternative would be Nikkor 18-200 VR, but it's more expensive and doesn't offer a significant boost in image quality.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedIQ, 1:1 life size, f/2.8Hate to switch the A/F on/off
Pros:reviewed November 17th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
Image quality is exceptional - sharpness, color and contrast are great
In my opinion 105mm is a sweet spot of the macro lenses - gives you *some* working distance, but is still handholdable unlike 200mm lenses
Much cheaper than the Nikkor version (well, it's not AF-S VR either)
Being a dedicated macro lens it goes down to 1:1 life size (or even greater on the DX-format sensors)
A/F is very slow with my D70, but then who needs A/F in a macro lens
Changing focus from A/F to M/F and vice versa requires you to changes it on the camera body *and* on the lens
It's easy to switch the lens's AF mode when taking it out of the bag
The build quality isn't great - the plastic gets scratched easily
Great lens for the money. Its only alternative (price wise) is the great Tamron 90mm SP Di.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedx11 zoom, sharp, VR IIcreep, distortions
Pros:reviewed November 18th, 2006 (purchased for $700)
Very useful x11 zomm range
VR II - very useful
Sharp beyond all expectations (we're talking about x11 zoom)
Focuses pretty close
Build quality is good for a consumer lens
Best of the bunch - means there's no other supoerzoom that can rival the performance of this baby
Pricey for a consumer zoom
Distortions, especially at wide end
My sample creeps at all but 18mm zoom settings
Battery life is a little underwhelming
Lens hood isn't great
A 'do it all' lens that's best suited for those who upgrade from a compact digicam, but can be useful for a more advanced photographer on those long hikes.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedultra-wide angleCA
Since DSRLs were introduced at acceptable price point wildlife shooters were overjoyed due to x1.5 crop factor, but many lanscape shooters were felt the lack of wide ange options due to the same reason that benefitted the wildlifers.reviewed November 18th, 2006
For a while Nikkor 17-35/2.8 was the widest one could use (I don't cound the fisheyes) and at equivalent of 28mm (as beautiful a lens it is) it wasn't nearly wide enough.
With the introduction of Nikkor 12-24/4 the landscapers' prayers were answered.
The lens gives 18mm equivalent on the DX cameras and gives very good color and contrast.
The distortion is well controlled, but sharpness varies from 12mm to 24mm significantly, my sample being worse at 12mm.
There's also an issue with CA and ghosting, but both are to be expected from such a wide lens - at least to some degree.
As some previous reviewers noticed, the CA can be dealt with by converting NEFs via Nikon-supplied software (though I've never used one).
The lens takes 77mm filters, but it's better not to use any as CA, flare and ghosting increases dramatically with any filter I tried, including a B+W UV one.
All in all, a great lens for its focal range.
You may consider Tokina 12-24 that's signiicantly cheaper and probably fares as well.