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85 1.8 vs 180 2.8 vs Sigma 70-200 2.8

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

  1. ZBaum

    ZBaum Guest

    Alright, I absolutely promise this will be the last topic on this (at least until I get a lens and have shots to show :biggrin:) . Over the past few weeks, I've been seriously considering buying a used 180 f/2.8. From what I've seen, this lens is amazingly sharp, has great bokeh, and is also capable of producing very nice colors. The problem is, I've been having problems justifying the price (even at $450 used) for a lens that doesn't have a warranty, and that I'm not positive I'd use as much as I think I would.

    Another lens I've been lusting after is the 85 f/1.8, which is something that I've been wanting to get for a while. Again, I've seen great results from this, plus it's faster than the 180, which could be useful for indoor sports and other low-light events. I could buy this lens for $400, get a 5-year warranty, and save $50 over the 180.

    I'm really torn between these two, and the more I think about them, the more I'm starting to look at a used Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. It could give me the flexibility of a zoom, faster/quieter focusing than either of the other lenses (a problem I have with my current lenses is that they're quite noisy when they focus, which can be pretty annoying when taking photos of people giving speeches, or theatrical performances). The three things I worry about with the Sigma are again the lack of warranty when buying used, the higher price tag, and incompatibility between the older versions of this lens and the D70.

    I currently have:

    Tokina 28-70 f/2.8
    Sigma 50 f/2.8 Macro
    I also have access to a Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 push-pull, but I'm not particularly fond of it

    I shoot all of the following:

    Sports (both indoor and outdoor)
    Plays, musical performances, and other "on-stage" performances
    Misc. campus events (fairs, guest speakers, etc.)

    Please help. :smile:
  2. Happy with my 85 1.8

    I purchased the 85 1.8 a few weeks ago. I shoot primarily indoor boys/girls volleyball. I found my 80-200 2.8 afs-d was good, but sometimes not fast enough for some of the gyms in my area. While I am pleased with the 85...I am still working on getting my timing right for the action shots that everyone (including myself) likes. I get a lot of out of focus pictures, which are my fault. I tried manually prefocusing, but everything looks out of focus in the view finder. Those pictures I do get in focus are sharp.

    I had considered getting a 50 1.8 to use as a courtside lens...took a look at the 85 1.4 & 85 1.8 at a local camera shop. I was being frugal (cheap!) and went with the 85 1.8 over the 1.4 - I could have ordered it over the internet and saved some money, but I was impatient and "had to have it" for a game that night.

    Good luck!:wink:
  3. i used to have the sigma 70-200 DG, sold it, bought myself the 105 2.5 and 180 2.8 to replace it and couldn't be happier with it... just suits my style better and the sigma doesn't actually focus that quick at all, it might be silent but i think the 180 is actually just as quick. The focus accuracy was a bit iffy on my sigma too, whereas on the nikon i get 100% hit rate, as long as i do my part. A good copy of that lens is very good though, optically mine was superb, as long as i use manual focus.....

    i wouldn't worry too much about warranties with such a simple screw driver lens, there just isn't much to go wrong, unlike AF-S lenses.

    the choice between 180 and 85 is tough, i had exactly the same thing in mind a while back, then decided to get'em both:biggrin: well not quite, but my 105 2.5 is close enough, and very very nice too....
  4. Zach, I've been where your at. Do this, go through and look at some of the photos that you have shot and look at the distance that you have shot them. See what range you have shot at the most.

    Try the 80-200 push pull out just mainly for the range and see if you like that range and the versatility of the lens.

    If you are using your 28-70 on the long end, this may justify the 85mm your wanting.

    The lenses you are asking about really depend on your shooting style.

    I have the 180mm, very nice lens. I had the 80-200mm AF ED D two ring, very nice lens, it has its place to, sometimes I wish I had another one. I have the 28-70mm, The Beast, good focal length, which you have the Sigma, but I think you get the idea.

    I hope this helps out somewhat.

    Good Luck,

  5. ZBaum

    ZBaum Guest

    Thanks everyone.

    Malf - on a D70 body, I would expect the Sigma to be slightly faster in focusing than the 180. The D200 and D70 focus screw-driven lenses at noticeably different speeds. And again, quiet focusing is something that's quite attractive to me. Considering I've been shooting with the 80-200 push-pull, the focusing speed of a screw-driven lens (or an HSM lens if it really is equivalent in speed) should be fine.

    George - I recently shot two performances, and a few LAX games, and found that I used the 80-200 the most. I did use my 28-70 also, but was limited by its range. I guess I sort of answered my own question, except I'm still not positive if I'll have enough money for the Sigma. I really love primes, especially the image quality that they can deliver. My 50mm macro blows my 28-70 out of the water around f/2.8-4. But I feel like if I had both the 70-200 and the 180, I'd grab the 70-200 almost every time. The main reason I'd buy the 85 is for aperture speed, but seeing as how I've used a f/2.8 lens in our gym, and that I can use flash for most performances and indoor events, that might not be too important.

    Any Sigma 70-200 owners who have good/bad experiences with the older "D APO HSM" version of this lens, as far as compatibility is concerned?

  6. If your main priority is civering events then i think the zoom is definitely easier, i really do miss the flexibility that my sigma had when covering events around campus now, but then when shooting personal stuff i like my new primes so much more, so i guess they balance each other out.... just make sure that you get a good copy of the sigma if you're going that route because sample variations abound with this lens, i went through 2 other horrible ones before i found this one, which is probrably as sharp at f3.5 onwads as my 180. Good that i bought mine new!!

    then again, may i tempt you with the 180 for the last time here?:biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. FWIW, I haven't owned the Sigma but I did have a 2 ring Nikon 80-200AFD before getting the 70-200VR. The 2 ring is definitely an option you should consider. It's built like a tank, more compact than the 70-200, very sharp and has nice bokeh. It's also a good value used at around $650 (about the same as a used Sigma). It seems to hold its value well so if you decide it's not for you or want to try something else, you can re-sell at not much of a loss. Focus speed was pretty good on my D200. While the 180 is great, it would be more limiting as your only lens for sports. You can also keep an eye out for a less expensive copy that has the black plastic finish. Here are a couple with the 80-200:

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  8. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    regardless looks like u need that 85 1.8
  9. MurphyD


    Jan 17, 2007
    South Texas
    2 of the 3 things on your shooting list would seem to fit the shorter range more often. This leads to the 85. Sports would be better served by the longer lens.
    Past that there are two rules
    1. You can never buy enough speed
    2. You always pay in unhappiness if you know quality and then don't strive for it.

    Buy the 85 1.8. You don't know how much you will love the speed. But, don't get in a HURRY to buy. Keep shopping and say no a bunch of times. I recently got a very good copy on Ebay for $275. Took more than a month of looking and bidding low. Great lens Great price. If it takes you a month to find one for $300 you have a big leg up on getting the 180.
  10. I have the Sigma 70-200 D APO HSM, and I use it when I need speed. I love it. I also used it for an indoor, no flash allowed, choral concert. Got some great shots with very nice bokeh. Needed my monopod really, as it is heavy.

    Great lens. Bought it used for around $500. Would not sell it for anything!
  11. gugs


    Feb 24, 2006
    I am using the 85 1.8 a lot for indoor sports and events. Highly recommended and the best quality/price ratio in the category.
    When you need more reach, a 70-200 2.8 will be the best choice but sometimes 2.8 is not even fast enough. I have owned the 70-200 2.8 Sigma APO HSM and it was a great lens; I upgraded to the 70-200VR because I wanted VR but optically speaking both lenses are excellent performers.
  12. hensil


    Jan 19, 2007
    Abu Dhabi - UAE
    I have 180 f/2.8, 105 f/2 and Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. All the 3 lenses are good. I have used Nikon 80-200 and 70-200 VR. The Sigma lens is equal in picture quality compared to Nikon. I would choose Sigma compared to Nikon 80-200. But 70-200 VR is better because of VR. From the above 3 lenses, I use Sigma the most. The auto focus on D70 is very good, much better than 180 and 105.
  13. Zach,

    Yesterday I had the chance to use the 85/1.8, the 180/2.8 and the Sigma 70-200/2.8 while shooting a senior curling championship in town. First, here a 3 samples taken with each lens. Each was shot handheld. No tripod nor monopod.

    Sigma 70-200/2.8
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    Nikon 80/1.8
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    Nikon 180/2.8
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    As you can see, they all are very sharp lenses. I must admit I am primarely a prime lens shooter but in this curling venue, the 70-200/2.8 was very helpful because of the limited space I had to work with. But darn, this 70-200/2.8 lens is big compared to the 85/1.8 and the 180/2.8 and I had a hard time adjusting to the size and feel of this lens.

    To be honest, it was the first time I used this zoom lens and the conditions were less than optimal. I will definitely give it another try in more decent conditions as I found myself wishing for for more flexibility during this event. Still I was lucky as only 2 of the 6 sheets were used yesterday so I could move quite a bit on the ice.

    This event was also a good occasion to reconcile myself with the 85/1.8. Prior to yesterday, I hadn't had a chance to shoot an event that let this superb little lens show me what it was capable of. Yesterday, it proved me it had it's place in my camera bag. That means that it will be even harder to switch from primes to a zoom when time comes because unless I win the lottery, I'll have to sell at least one to finance my next purchase. And since yesterday I was working in less than optimal conditions, I have seriously started to think about a VR lens :eek:  which means that I would definitely need to sell both of them to acquire such a lens... Life is tough these days...
  14. Zach, I own the 85 1.8 and it is a super lens. Tomorrow, I will be receiving in the mail from ebay, a 180 2.8. I had a 180 MF lens years ago but sold it when I went digital because I wanted to get the AF version. I used to shoot F3's and F2's.

    I am not a huge zoom fan. If I can get done what I need to do with a prime lens, I will pick the prime lens every time. I don't like the big, fast zooms weight and size.

    In your case, I would definately go with the 85 1.8, but I know that Sigma looks tempting, doesn't it.:biggrin:
  15. ZBaum

    ZBaum Guest

    Thanks a lot everyone. It seems like it's coming down to a choice between the 85 and the 70-200, as much as I have loved lusting after the 180 the past few weeks it just doesn't seem to fit what I need. I need either something really fast, or more flexibility.

    Jean-Pierre - Those are some great examples. All three lenses seem to perform very well. I'm not at all worried about the size and weight of the Sigma, as I've shot plenty of sporting events with both the 80-200 push-pull and the 80-200 AF-S. I kind if feel that if I get the 70-200, then I'll have the range of the 85 covered, plus I'll have the flexibility to zoom in to 200. I think I'm going to see if I have the funds for the 70-200 at the end of this week. If I do, I'll go for it. If not, I'll go for the 85.
  16. as for me...

    Ciao Zbaum
    I've just seen your latest reply. If you can afford both the prime and the zoom you should be better served, of course. In my long reply I was preparing before internet crashed (and without having seen it) I was advicing you to see if you can decide by yourself (more or less) which kind of distance could be used (for instance, if you are always at 50m - more or less from the action, rather than 5-10m) or if - like in ceremonies, you can't just have the time to swap lenses. I also suggested you, for the range (not for the optical quality since I don't have it) to evaluate the Sigma 50-150 F2.8 + 1.4 TC: lighter, cheaper and more versatile, with the 85.

    Keep in mind, however, that if you could shoot always at far distance wide open, of course the 180 would be the better for sure.

    All the best and good luck
  17. Zach;

    I own all three of the lenses you are considering. The Sigma gets used more than the others combined. That is not to say that I don't enjoy the others, I just tend to get lazy. One caveat though, it is a big lens to lug around all day. I also am never comfortable carrying the camera without supporting it by the lens.

    Don't fret too much about the compatibilty issue as the lens can be rechipped by Sigma for free if there is a problem. Mine hasn't been rechipped yet, but it isn't too much of a problem on my D100.

    If you're patient, there are deals to be had. I bought all three for less than $700.

    If you can live with the size and weight issue, I think the Sigma (or Nikkor 2 ring) 70/80-200 would give you the most flexibility.

    Good luck and be sure to keep us posted on your decision.
  18. ZBaum

    ZBaum Guest

    Thanks for the comments. I just picked up a 70-200 from the "For Sale" forum, so I think that my lust has been dispelled.
  19. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Dispelled lust? Bite your tongue. It's time to start lusting after something else you don't yet have.
  20. ZBaum

    ZBaum Guest

    Please don't tell me that. I haven't even gotten my 70-200 yet, and you're already making me think bad thoughts :biggrin:.
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