80-200 handheld? Your experience?

Joined
Feb 16, 2011
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Lisbon / Portugal
Hello,
How are you?
I was wondering what is your experience with shooting an 80-200 handheld.
I wonder because an 80-200 AF-D ED is the same price used as a Sigma 70-200 OS new. Also, an 80-200 AF-S used is the same price as a Tamron 70-200 VC new.
So I was wondering how much difference would an optical stabilisation system make in the handling.

Thank you.
Regards.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
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Great Falls, MT
I think it depends on what you are shooting with it.

I use my 80-200 f/2.8 2-ring almost exclusively for daylight outdoor sports. Outdoors, in daylight I can usually get a shutter speed fast enough that I don't have to worry about camera or lens movement. I handhold mine without a monopod. The photos I miss are generally because I missed focus, not because of camera or lens blur. As it starts to get dark and the shutter speeds get slower (longer) I start to have motion blur because I can no longer stop the action. But this is motion blur, not camera or lens blur. Stabilization won't help me at all for the action photos I am trying to make because if the light is too poor to permit a fast shutter speed, I am going to have a motion-blurred image with or without stabilization.

I have had this discussion before on other forums and have learned there are quite a few photographers who DO need a telephoto indoors, in poor light, to photograph still (unmoving) subjects where it would be inconvenient or impermissible to set up a tripod. If you are going to be in that situation, stabilization will be well worth the extra money you will have to spend to get it.
 
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It depends on the shutter speeds you use, and the speed of what you're shooting. If you shoot above 1/500th or so (maybe 1/250) VR/OS/VC probably wouldn't make much difference, depending on how steady your hands are. If you shoot stuff that moves, being able to hand hold a 1/30 isn't going to help because your subject is going to blur, even if your background is sharp. So if you like to shoot shoot telephoto landscapes at slow shutter speeds (like I do) then VR/OS/VC can be a big help. Otherwise, not so much.
 

Rob Zijlstra

A Koffie Drinker
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I used a 80-200 for more than 30 years and almost always without a tripod. Of course it all depends on ss, but also on how you hold your body etc etc.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2011
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Lisbon / Portugal
Hello,
Thank you for your feedback.
The usage would be mainly event photography, portraits and some street.
Besides shutter speed, does VR, VC or OS make a big difference while framing, due to the stabilised viewfinder?

Cheers!
 
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Miami, Florida
The usage would be mainly event photography, portraits and some street.
Besides shutter speed, does VR, VC or OS make a big difference while framing, due to the stabilised viewfinder?

Unless you're shooting slower shutter speeds with subjects that aren't moving, VR is not going to help. Some even suggest that it should be kept off unless actually needed (e.g., at slow shutter speeds): http://www.bythom.com/nikon-vr.htm

VR can make a difference when shooting at slow speeds, but it really has nothing to do with the viewfinder.
 
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I shoot a 70-200vr2 HH w/ VR off all the time......if you keep your shutter speed fast enough there shouldn't be a problem.
 
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Randy
Hello,
Thank you for your feedback.
The usage would be mainly event photography, portraits and some street.
Besides shutter speed, does VR, VC or OS make a big difference while framing, due to the stabilised viewfinder?

Cheers!

only to the extent that the image seen thru the VF will shift ever so slightly when VR engages but this is normal and no big deal
 
Joined
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Thornhill, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto
I've been shooting handheld with two manual focus 80~200 2.8 lenses (zoom-Nikkor 80~200 2.8 ED AIS, and Tokina ATX 80~200 2.8 AIS) for about ten or fifteen years, and haven't had any problems getting sharp images.
Using good technique and reasonably fast enough shutter speeds should enable you to do the same without the need for VR or IS OC or OS or whatever they call it.

Tokina/ motorized Nikon F2AS

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zoom-Nikkor/motorized Nikon F2AS

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Joined
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canada
I've read somewhere that if your shutter speed goes below the highest focal length of the lens, that it is time to stabilize it. Or if the lens has VR, that it should be turned on.
 
Joined
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I used a 80-200 for more than 30 years and almost always without a tripod. Of course it all depends on ss, but also on how you hold your body etc etc.

That, of course, is a consideration too. Sigma and Tamron have made great progress lately in improving the build quality of their lenses but the 80-200 is built like a tank. And weighs like one too, by the way.

I've read somewhere that if your shutter speed goes below the highest focal length of the lens, that it is time to stabilize it. Or if the lens has VR, that it should be turned on.

That is a guideline. And to be a bit of a nitpicker: if the shutter speed (in seconds) is higher than the reciprocal value of the focal length in millimeters, then... etc, etc.

As long as you realize that a lot depends on your own ability to hold the camera steady as well (for some people it's too conservative, for others way too optimistic), and that it's not a cut-off but more an indication of a "danger zone" ("This rule indicates 1/250 so I can easily shoot handheld at 1/320 but not at 1/200" would not be the right way to interpret it). The further away you are from the danger zone the better handheld shots will come out; the closer (or in) you are the better it gets to use a tripod.

The best answer is: experiment and learn where your limits are. One can be shooting handheld for years and thinking the shots come out just fine, only to discover that with a tripod they come out even sharper.
 
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The 2 ring 80-200 f2.8 is very handholdable (is that a word?). It just takes practice.
It produces great images when you have the technique down.
 
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That, of course, is a consideration too. Sigma and Tamron have made great progress lately in improving the build quality of their lenses but the 80-200 is built like a tank. And weighs like one too, by the way.



That is a guideline. And to be a bit of a nitpicker: if the shutter speed (in seconds) is higher than the reciprocal value of the focal length in millimeters, then... etc, etc.

As long as you realize that a lot depends on your own ability to hold the camera steady as well (for some people it's too conservative, for others way too optimistic), and that it's not a cut-off but more an indication of a "danger zone" ("This rule indicates 1/250 so I can easily shoot handheld at 1/320 but not at 1/200" would not be the right way to interpret it). The further away you are from the danger zone the better handheld shots will come out; the closer (or in) you are the better it gets to use a tripod.

The best answer is: experiment and learn where your limits are. One can be shooting handheld for years and thinking the shots come out just fine, only to discover that with a tripod they come out even sharper.

Of course.
For the very sharpest images a tripod is required.
But depending on exactly what sort of photography one is doing, using a tripod isn't always feasible or even practical. And depending what the final use of the image is, the extra sharpness that a tripod would have given may not even be necessary or even particularly discernible.
I've no doubt that most of the images I taken over the years with either 80~200 would have been sharper had I used tripods, but the freedom to hand-hold and the results that I did get for me seem to be a good trade-off.
 
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I use my 70-200 for weddings, often times in dark churches. When my 85 f/1.4G isn't long enough, I absolutely need VR because of the low-light situations I often find myself in.

I did use an older 80-200 f/2.8 push-pull for a while while shootings weddings, and provided you have ample light, it's fantastic and I would suggest it.

My push-pull copy was exceptionally sharp wide open.
 
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Sorry, not a 80-200 but a 70-200 (Tamron) handheld - very light, near MFD
1/45s - 200mm

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Rob Zijlstra

A Koffie Drinker
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A real 80-200 from the 70's. Then you needed muscle!

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Singapore
My 80-200 AFD (1-touch) is always used handheld --> needs a proper foot for tripod use.
No issues, even with relatively low light (these days DSLR iso performance is really good).
 
Joined
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Holyoke, MA USA
Agree with those here who say the 80-200 IS handholdable with a satisfactorily high SS. It is a heavy lens, but paradoxically is steadiest with a heavy pro body, or a high end enthusiast camera with battery grip. I have shot below focal length many times with satisfactory results, but usually can keep the shutter speed within the 1.5x focal length guideline (DX). The newer cameras with superb high-iso make this easy to do.

For sports, VR is useless. For other uses it is a convenience and often replaces a tripod.

So yes, it really does depend on WHAT you are shooting. And getting your shooting technique down pat.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
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Kennewick, WA
I shoot handheld at weddings and on portrait sessions all the time with an 80-200 AFD (2-ring) and I can assure you that with proper technique its very capable. Mine is usually on a D2X body too so its a pretty weighty combo. Even with the limited ISO range of the D2X I seldom have issues with shutter speed. But you HAVE to watch it closely and use good technique! Here are some recent examples with this lens:

All handheld in ambient light.

ISO100, f2.8, 1/2000, 155mm
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ISO200, f2.8, 1/1250, 125mm
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ISO400, f2.8, 1/125, 200mm
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ISO200, f3.2, 1/60, 105mm
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