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70-200vr vs. 180/2.8

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by cwilt, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I am curious if anyone has set the 70-200 at 180 and shot the same scene with the 180 both at f2.8 to compare these two lenses wide open?
  2. Me too.
    I want a 180 as a workaround candids lens.
    The 70-200 is heavy and conspicuous...as muck as i love it, it's big.
    Anecdotally I've always read that it's as good or better that the VR.
  3. I have not made a side by side comparison because I sold my 180mm but have shot many images with both lenses and will say that I dearly love them both. Of course the VR is one of the features that sold me on the 70-200.
  4. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO

    VR does come in handy. :)  I have seen posts saying that the 70-200 may be soft at the long end wide open. I would assume they compared it to something sharper. There seem to be a lot of posts claiming how good some zooms are, even saying they are as good as primes. I would like to see proof. :)  The primes that come to mind are the 45p, 50/1.4, 85/1.4, 180/2.8. I don't want to start a zoom vs prime war, just curious if anyone had both and had done serious testing.

    If I purchase a 70-200 I will keep my 180. :) 
  5. I too am very curious.

    Actually a healthy discussion rather than a war would result. War and diatribe isn't our style around here. Healthy constructive debate is, historically.
    I think I'm better with primes because I use my head and feet rather than my wrist. :?

    I am migrating toward primes. I think I'll start a, hopefully, friendly prime vs. zoom thread.
  6. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    180 VS 70-200

    I've shot both and wide open, I personally think that the 180 is ever so slightly better.

    Neither are at their best until f4 or even 5.6.

    Personally, I think that the 180 is just as good if not slightly sharper than the 70-200, HOWEVER, if you simply use the little built in hood, it can't stand up to the 70-200 in really bright, contrasty situations...much like the same issue with the 85 1.4.
  7. Well. I have used both side by side...and used both lenses on the focus charts for resolution.

    I would disagree with really bright light. Here are some 180mm shots from this weekend.



    The 70-200 is for in the same situation so close in focus that it wouldn't really matter. But in bright sun, shooting at f/2.8 or f/4 the shutter speeds render the need for VR useless. So I much rather have the lighter shorter lens for a fraction of the price.
  8. Aw rats, I was all set to sell my 180 f/2.8. Now I will have to compare it to the 70-200 at 180. I thought I had finally reduced my kit down to the 17-55, 70-180, and 70-200...Back to the drawing board!
  9. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Now there is an odd concept!
  10. Crystal,

    I was in the same boat and although I was a little worried at first, I have no regrets selling my 70-200 VR.

    The problem with putting together a camera kit, is that you want to do everything. What we really need to do is look at the photos we take and not the photos we would like to be able to take.

    The 70-200 was a fun lens for me. I could take pics of NFL games on the sidelines, or NASCAR.. but I get those press passes without any possibility for pay. I make my living from event photography, portraits, and commercial work.

    The 180mm is sharper, lighter, and cheaper. Vibration reduction is absolutely useless for my type of work. I am either shooting at f/2.8 with shutter speeds of 1/3200 or I am shooting at 1/60 of a second (or slower) with subject that are moving (which VR doesn't help). So VR ended up just being a really nice expensive toy instead of a needed tool. But that is only because of the way I shoot.

    I also find that if I am on the 70mm range, I am not using my 70-200 but either my 28-75 f/2.8 or the 85mm f/1.8. So again...why keep a $1500 lens in the bag?
  11. Hmm, good question. No answer, I have a bad case of LLD, I like good glass and it comes in handy. I occasionally use the 70-200VR with the Canon 500D close up lens. (See various macro posts including my infamous 'Yellow Jacket' post).

    Last week I used the 70-200VR to capture floral imagery at Longwood Gardens. Unfortunately, the 180mm and 60mm micro f/2.8 ED lenses, sit inside of their cases or bags on a lonely shelf. They haven't seen the light of day in months. Athough I like fixed focal length lenses, I haven't found them to be practical in my obsessive macro and floral hobby. The 60 and 180 would make great portrait lenses though, if I were into portraits...I like flowers, they don't talk back or complain. :D 
  12. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest


    That says it all for me......I won't say "never" but I can't imagine going back to a non-VR lens.

    I may even have to bite the bullet and get a 70-200VR!

    It's not just the lower shutter speeds with a VR, it's the ease with which I can avoid camera shake that makes them so wonderful to me.

    On the D70 the 80-400 is a virtual 600mm and I can get such good hand held shots at 600mm it never fails to amaze me!

    This shot is hand-held at 400mm (600mm equivalent).......

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    NIKON D70
    Nikon Capture Editor 4.3.0 W
    2005-07-11 21:54:07
    Normal program
    Focal Length 400mm
    ISO 200
  13. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    VR has it uses, like shooting handheld with a slower shutter. That slow shutter may not stop the action though. Shooting at or close to wide open with fast glass may give you the shutter speed needed to do that. With that criteria which one will have the best image?
  14. Well I'm in the process of testing out the 180mm, I sold of my 70-200VR about 6 months ago, never used it. So far I think they are pretty equal in sharpness, the 180mm needs at least F4 to be sharp.

    But that is not the only criterias to be used for comparision I think.

    Someone mentioned VR.

    But what about AF-S? Had I know that the 180mm was so slow in AF I'm not sure i would have bought it. Ron Reznick swears that the 200 micro (F4) is the lens to go in this range category. The 200 Micro is hard to find used, always a good sign ( :)  I have one on the way to me in mail....)

    I guess it is all about the situation that one uses them in. The 70-200VR does really well with moving things like sports, kids running around etc.

    My lens strategy was to have "prime" zooms and a few primes, then with the D2x I have been searching for lenses that work well with that body and went to more of a strategy with a few good zooms (17-55 and 80-400VR if and only if it is light enough outside) and good primes often using older MF lenses, figuring that If I have time to put a prime on I can probably manually focus as well. Many of the older lenses perform very well with the D2X (28mm F2 AIS, 50mm 1.8 AIS, 55mm 3.5 Micro AI etc) and they are a lot cheaper then the new AF Primes even used...
  15. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    The 180 is no speed demon at focusing but it is much better on the D2x than the D70. My one complaint with Nikon is that they have not put AF-S in some of the primes that could use it.

    You are correct about there being more than just sharpness. Color, constrast, and bokeh should be compared as well. All elements add up to image quality.

    Which 180 do you have? I have the newer one, AF-D ED-IF.
  16. patrickh


    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    Once again "personal style" leads the way in determining what is the best equipment to carry. Looking at comparable shots from the 70-200 and the 180 (check out pbase by camera), it seems to my inexpert eye that choosing for quality between the two lenses is splitting hairs. Both are capable of the very best quality we are likely to need short of going to medium or large format. This is even outside the prime vs zoom debate in many ways - does your style call for rapid changes of perspective or can you do what you want with your feet? Light vs heavy? etc. The choice is unlikely to be determined by a shortfall in relative quality. My 2c worth. BTW I too love those old lenses, even on a poky D70.
  17. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    Yes. Unless my VR's have suficient light they are limited especially for action shots. Those would be the least likely type I would shoot these days (the exception being my upcoming Alaska trip) so I don't mind the trade-off.

    But that's another good reason for me to consider the 70-200VR which is a combination of all the bests: great glass, VR, f2.8, zoom - I better reign in my burgeoning lens lust for the 70-200VR until my wife gets over the 80-400VR...... :roll:
  18. I have the newest version of the 180.. and although it may not be a speed demon... it is fast.

    I think people are making judgements based on comparison and not based on useability. Four years ago, there wasn't VR or AFS and pro sports people were getting every image with the 180mm and the old push-pull 80-200.

    There is nothing bad that could be said about the 70-200 other than cost. But I am shooting as well if not better than before with my 180mm.

    I attribute it to added sharpness somewhat, but most the smaller lens and weight goes just as far reducing camera shake as VR does IMO on the D1X.
  19. I have the newer one as well. Mine is especially slow when it comes to close focus. Is your's the same?
  20. I don't think that I have missed any shots using the 180mm. I find the focus plenty fast. Is it as fast as AFS? Of course not... but does it have to be?

    I think I still "get the shot"

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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