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80-200 AF-D vs. 70-200 VR for the budget minded

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Nchesher, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    I've finally started my own photography business and it's going really well but I need to upgrade my glass. Right now I'm on the cheap with 18-70 kit kens, 50mm 1.8 and 24mm 2.8 all on a D70's body. I'm making some decent money now and need a good telephoto. I have about $1600 and I'm torn between the 80-200 AF-D and the 70-200 VR. I know what both of these lenses are capable of. The 70-200 would eat up everything I have. The 80-200 it about half the price. I know it's probably been asked 1000 times but is the 70-200 THAT much better? Will the 80-200 give me the same sharpness? I know focusing is slower but how slow? To put it simply is the 80-200 a good lens? The extra $800 would be real nice when I get a 17-55 later this summer. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  2. I'd suggest you look up photo samples of the AF-D 80-200 and 70-200 VR for comparison. The AF-D 80-200 is a good lens but it's no way in the sharpness region of the 70-200 VR (and the AF-S 80-200). Congrats on your business btw :smile:
  3. brettinjapan

    brettinjapan Guest

    If you've got the money get the 70-200. i had a new 80-200 a few months back and it really wasn't impressive at the long end on a d80. I couldn't afford / justify the 70-200vr so went with the sigma 70-200. Since you're using it professionally i say get the best you can afford and in this case it's the nikon 70-200.

    really nice website btw.

  4. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    I had a 80-200 AFD when I bought my D100 (when they first came out). AF speed was ok, but nothing like I was used to on my F5. After about a year, I bought the 80-200 AFS. What a difference on the D100, AF was faster, and the lens seemed sharper. I bought the 70-200 VR about a year later, after selling the AFD. The VR is good, works well when needed. The sharpness is equal to the AFS, though the AFS handles flare a little better. Given the current choices, I'd go for the VR version, just for the AFS, VR would be a bonus. While you might not see much of a difference right now in optical quality, when you buy up to a 10+ mp sensor, you'll want ever bit that the VR lens can give you.
    Like Thom Hogan's tripod advice, always get the best you can afford. You might visit Thom's site and read what he says about all the different versions of the 80-200s (and 70-200vr).
    If it were my decision, I'd get the VR and save up for the next lens. If you buy the AFD, I think you'll only be looking to trade up within a year or two, might as well bite the bullet now.
  5. Zachs


    Feb 25, 2006
    hoanginc....wrong buddy

    the sharpness is the same between all 80-200 and 70-200. The big difference you will find is in the focusing and VR. The 70-200 will be SILENT and much quicker. You can also go the 80-200 AFS route for about 900$ used and then you'll get the quick focusing.

    The other option is the Sigma 70-200 HSM Macro. Very quick silent focusing and just as sharp as the Nikons for about 900$ new.
  6. gugs


    Feb 24, 2006
    I agree
  7. The real question is, what are your plans for the lens? Sports? Candid portraits? Your site has a lot of great portraits, but no action. Given what you already have for equipment I would suggest:

    Nikon 80-200 AF-D / Sigma 70-200 / Sigma 50-150
    The 50-150 might actually be my first choice based on what I see on your site.

    Add to that D80 and your total is around $1600.00.
  8. I am also in the same boat regarding the 80-200 AF-D versus the 70-200 AFS-VR.

    Right now I am a beginner and have only the D50 and hence the AFS in the 70-200 might help in the speed of focusing. But I feel that once I upgrade in the future to a D200 or D2 this might not be all that important. I think that a VR might be nice but is it really worth the doubling of the price.

    What struck me more while going through the threads is how so many people love the 70-200 but at the same time comment on how “it is too big”, “not easily carried everywhere” , “very intrusive” etc. I feel that if I buy this lens I might end up having a great lens that I do not lug it out much and use it as often as I should. Will the 80-200 be more handy to carry around than the 70-200?
  9. The 80-200 AF-D is a few inches shorter than the 80-200 or 70-200 AF-S. Also the hoods is much shorter as well. The lens that I mentioned the Sigma 50-150 2.8 is a few inches shorter still.

    One thing to note, I had the 80-200 AF-D, upgraded to the 70-200 AF-S VR; you'll notice I now have the 80-200 AF-D again. For what I use it for the I like the AF-D better, and I used both on my D200 and the D70 I use to have. My next lens will probably the 50-150 unless Nikon comes out with something in that range first. I may even sell my 80-200 to get it.
  10. Umm -- no, YOU are wrong. There's subjective sharpness colored by all sorts of things then there's hard data.

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

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

    Of course, these charts represent the sharpness at F2.8 but the same holds true through the usable aperture range. If you print small this difference is insignificant but would start to show at 8X10 depending on subject matter and certainly in larger prints.

  11. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    I could have bought the 70-200, but I have the 80-200 now. For my use its a great lens and from what I've seen here, FM, Nikonians, and DpR over the last 4 years it is every bit as good but it does not have VR.

    In your situation I think I would go for the 80-200 and a used 300 AFS - to extremely good optics to give you great images.
  12. Zachs


    Feb 25, 2006
    EVERYTHING and everywhere that I have seen prior to those MTF charts report that the AFS 80-200 as being a touch sharper than the 70-200 VR.
    Maybe the one in that MTF chart was a bad copy, but I never seen where the 70-200 out-performed the 80 in sharpness. The color may be improved, + the usability of VR is a plus, but sharpness has always been shown to be worse.
  13. Those are Nikon's MTF charts taken directly from the Nikon web site. Do you really think they would use a "bad sample" for their published numbers?

    This thread has been about the 80-200AFD 2-ring, not the discontinued 80-200AFS. The AFS version is very close to the VR version in sharpness -- the Nikon MTF charts showing one a little sharper on the long end and the other on the short end. In practice, sample variation probably accounts for which would prove better than the other. Regardless, you claimed *all* versions of the 80-200 have the same sharpness as the 70-200VR and that's simply not the case, especially re4gards the version discussed in this thread. It is a very good lens capable of professional results but certain claims about it are misrepresentations of fact.

  14. Nchesher


    Jul 7, 2006
    Thanks for all the replies. I just don't know if I could ever spend that much money for the 70-200VR. I would buy an AF-S version if I could find one. I do almost primarily candid portraits. I need some reach so I can separate myself from the kids a little more. They can get a bit intimidated when I'm real close. I'd also love to have the nice DOF that these lenses would give. I'm planning down the road a bit for something in the 70-200 range, the 17-55 2.8, a D200, and then an 85 1.8, in that order. I don't want to regret not getting the 70-200VR but man it sure is alot of money for me.
  15. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Yes, it is. I'm getting ready to order it tonight when B&H opens up again. I could take a decent vacation for that price.
  16. there is a used one in the for sale area, now that you have 25 posts.
  17. lowlight_junkie


    Nov 28, 2005
    As someone who has owned the 70-200 VR and the 80-200 AFS I can honestly say 100% that my 80-200 is easily as sharp as the 70-200.
    I don't really understand MTF charts it tend to use WIS charts (what I see)
    Unlike many I don't really have anything to prove here, if I wanted the 70-200 I could buy one again without having to sell a lung, I didn't need VR so it was an easy choice for me. IQ IMO is as good with both lenses.
  18. I have had all 3 of the lenses mentioned, and have tested and used several of the Sigma HSM lenses. I do think that for what you shoot, this is a great range, puts you far enough away to not be obtrusive, allows the kids to "be themselves" so to speak. Here is how I would rank them in order of purchase.

    1. 70-200 f2.8 AFS VR - If you do any dusk/dawn/shaded in trees natural light, both the 2.8 and the VR can certainly help. Just learn to use the VR, it can surprise you once in a while due to the "settle time".

    2. 80-200 f2.8 AFS - You can still find them used, AF just as quick as the 70-200, you lose 10mm at the short end and VR - If money is most important, I'm not sure the 70-200 is worth the "extra" $700. When I bought my 70-200, I got it used, the difference between it and selling my 80-200 was $350, that was worth it to me.

    3. Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM - Quick to focus, they are sharp, only downside it is not a Nikon, which at this level of Sigma lens is not as bad as it seems.

    4. 80-200 f2.8 AF-D - the ONLY problem I see with going this route is AF speed. It appears from your site, very nice BTW, that your focus is children and families, and if you are shooting location shots, you need to be quick, doesn't take much to "miss" does it? Remember that the in-body motor to drive a non-AFS lens is not as strong in the D70/80 bodies as in the D2 series, which affects this also. My strong recommendation for what you do is to look for one of the 3 options above.
  19. lowlight_junkie


    Nov 28, 2005
    Ok so just out of interest and on the off chance I may have had a bad 70-200 (did have my doubts) would you consider this sharp at 100% 200mm 2.8 1/160
    My 70-200 was no sharper than this as I am pretty pleased with it.
  20. topher04r1

    topher04r1 Guest

    so we have established that the 80-200 AFS is just as fast (focus wise) as the 70-200 VR and optics wise its on par ?

    right ??
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