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Anyone ever downgrade?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by BourbonCowboy, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. I've been doing some thinking about my lens kit. I've got some top-notch wide-angle zooms, and a 300 2.8 AF that gets the job done. Between these, I've got the 70-200. It's a great lens - tack sharp - and it produces wonderful colors. The thing is...I just don't use it very much. The idea of selling it outright has crossed my mind, but I'm sure there will be times when I need a lens with a focal length between 70 and 300mm. I'm not interested in slower lenses, as I usually shoot in lower light. I'm thinking about going back to an 80-200 2.8. I'm sure I'd miss the VR, but I can always use a tripod or monopod. By doing this, I could put a substantial chunk o' change in my pocket for other fun stuff - or tuition.

    So, my question is...Have you ever "downgraded" lenses? If so, from which lens to which? Did you miss the original lens, or have seller's remorse?
  2. You're not the first to consider selling great glass that's not paying its way.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  3. Thanks for the link, Frank. I've been seriously considering the new Vagabond II and some additional lighting toys. Problem is, with grad school eating my bank account, I'm afraid to go on a spending spree.
  4. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    I let my 70-200vr go, not so much because I didn't use it, which I only used it lightly, but I let it go as part of a plan to get a 200-400VR back. Well, it was REALLY more of a spur of the moment thing to trade. I made the quick decision to trade it, yeah, some regrets. However, that said, once it's gone, I entertained the idea of primes in between. I can't say it saves a lot of money over the 70-200, but if you only use the long end, a 180 2.8 can save money, especially a older AF model. So, I bought Nute's 180 2.8, I got a 135 2.0 DC, already had 105 and 85 and a beast that went to 70, so I loose little. Granted, as far as compact, it's not to compact to have all those lenses... and if I shot sports, none of the above are fantastic options, except for gaining some speed on the 85 and the 135. But I don't typically do sports, at least not for money. Hiking, I'd probably take the 180 maybe 105, and beast 28-70 maybe. Just depends how light I want to travel.

    Next, do you really use the speed of the 300 2.8? As great a lens as it is, if you don't use the speed a lot (check number of shots below 4.0) if you typically shoot not stopped down, then you might consider dropping the 300 2.8 and getting a 300 f4, as many before I have done. Loose really nothing in sharpness, just speed... I made the tough decision to let my 200VR 2.0 go, HARD to do, as great a glass as it is, but fact is, it was a luxury piece, I didn't use the 2.0 speed to much. I'd rather have the 28 1.4D for wider use, and use it a lot more. So, the 180 got me close to the 200 quality, only give up 2 stops of light, so it's really not all "that bad" a compromise. I won't so much call it compromise, as I will just call it reconfiguring my kit.

    That said, I still miss the 70-200vr and I will always miss that 200VR, both great glass.

    I guess my point is, think about how much you really use some of your most expensive glass, and do you use what makes it so expensive? (300 is speed of course) Compare with what else is out there, how much cash it will save you now, while your going to grad school, then later, perhaps you can rebuild the kit once this albatross is off your neck. (burden of school expense)

    I thought about it, I made some decisions I thought may be better today, and that "could" make me a better photographer. It wasn't rocket science, and if it don't work? Hey, I can always go back the other way... But having the 200-400 and the 200vr, was just to much investment in to few of tools, so I made my mind up which would do more for me.
  5. Well, I"ve not downgraded, but I'll put in a plug for the 80-200 AFS. :biggrin: I went to a Nikon photo safari last weekend and played with the 70-200. Was worried that I'd leave there ready to dump the 80-200. Guess what? Not so! I love the images I get off the 80-200, and don't often find myself shooting in light where a tripod is necessary with it. Or, if I am, I already know that in advance and have it with me. What I mean is, I don't often find myself out thinking "oh bummer, no tripod, wish I had VR." :smile:
  6. The 80-200 AFS is still my pride and joy! Use it with a tripod a lot, occasionally with a monopod. Yeah, sure, I lust after a 200-400, or some such beast, but have yet to be caught lusting for ma 70-200 VR.

    One note, not shooting below f4.0 is not reason enough to dump fast glass; those large opening do help with focusing and composition!
  7. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    Uh Nick, the point about 4.0 is the 300mm 4.0 max aperture is 4.0, if he does not typically shoot below 4.0, then speed wise he is no better off. Granted, depth of field issues exist, but we can't have everything now, can we when we are on a budget, keeping glass that sells for 3700 used when on a tight budget? just probably not a smart idea unless you really really use it! I think your owning the 80-200, and dreaming of longer says you know about a budget too. But on that subject and the point you brought up, selling the 70-200vr and buying a 80-200 would save some, loosing vr of course. Would probably be a nice solution for me to consider too later, but... I've never been one to give up to much I dream for. to a fault. But? What can I say, I make my bills every month.

    But the savings of a 80-200, over the 70-200vr, isn't like dropping that 300 2.8, that's his big gun that has his bankroll.
  8. Oh but it is fun to try! :biggrin:

    I agree Doug, that we all do, and must,make compromises, I was just making a point that the value of a fast lens is greater than dof/bokeh gained by shooting at f2.8. Wide open fast glass helps focusing.

    Like I said somewhere else in the Cafe "so many lenses, so little money!"
  9. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Mark :

    Really hard call on this one. The switch from the 70-200mm to the 80-200mm isn't like jumping over to the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 (non-VR) lens, at least in terms of money in hand.

    And, FWIW, the VR function on the 70-200mm yields about a stop-plus for many conditions, which makes this less of a "head-to-head" comparison on fast glass lenses. The 70-200mm is truly one of the best lenses that Nikon's made, and for mid-range zoom work, is just in a class by itself for certain situations.

    The question that might pose to yourself is if this has been "the lens" that let you capture some special or critical shots along the way, or if it's "just" been a workaday lens that you've liked. For me, it's been "the lens" on a few occasions, not to mention giving me an important part of an impressive travel kit for flexibility (12-24mm, 28-70mm, 70-200mm, 200-400mm, all AFS, the latter two AFS/VR).

    John P.
  10. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005

    Let me preface this by saying that I never have and never will downgrade glass. Not only that, but even when I upgrade, I still hold on to my old stuff...

    Looking at your situation, you've got quite a nice selection of lenses and if I were in your shoes, I'd definitely hold on to the 70-200 for several reasons. First and foremost, it's great glass. Period.

    Secondly, if you get a new 80-200, it's gonna run about $900, ($1100+ for a used AF-S 80-200) You'll fetch maybe about $1300-1350 for your 70-200mm. So, in the big scheme of things, is a measly couple of hundred worth it?? Certainly not to me...

    I think you'd regret it...for sure. Maybe not SO much if you go with an AF-S 80-200, but that would kind of be defeating the purpose also.
  11. Another solution would be to sell both the 70-200 and 300/2.8 and replace them with the 180/2.8 and 300/4. That would leave a ton of money for lighting gear. But let me understand this. You're going to sell great glass so you can buy a battery???
  12. Actually, I've got a chance to pick up an 80-200 AF-D at a reasonable rate. The deal seams reasonable, since I rarely use the 70-200. I definitely need 2.8 glass, so I wouldn't be losing anything in that respect. I'd only be losing AF-S and VR. I'm still debating the sale - since the idea of losing the 70-200 kinda gives me chest pains.:biggrin:

  13. Something like that. I've been considering some mobile shoots...possibly some weddings. The extra flexibility of a mobile studio has a particular appeal to me.

    As for the 300 f/4, I don't think it would be of any use to me. I usually need the extra speed for low-light shooting.
  14. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Mark :

    I guess that I'm confused. You need the low light capability, but you'd then trade out the VR function that's an asset for that ? Why not get an 85mm f/1.4 or maybe a 105mm f/2 in that case, instead of the the 80-200mm ?

    If it's a cash thing, well, hey, that's a decision of a different kind, and I'm wholly unqualified to give more advice...

    John P.
  15. I sold my 85mm F1.4 and replaced it with the 1.8. The 1.8 works fine for my use. I didn't need F1.4 and the IQ above F2.8 is the same (IMHO), the 1.8 is smaller and lighter too.............. easy decision for ME.

  16. It's not entirely a cash thing. More of a "bang for the buck" thing. I just feel that the 80-200 gives me the low-light capabilities of the 70-200 - but without AF-S and VR. About the only time I ever use the 70-200 is when I'm shooting HS basketball...and occasionally baseball. IF I choose to "downgrade," I don't think I'll really miss those features that much. I'm not really interested in primes for sports. I know their capabilities, but I'm not willing to give up the versatility of a zoom for these circumstances.
  17. bender73

    bender73 Guest

    i'm pretty much a pro-consumer glass kind of guy. but, that does not mean i don't miss my 80-200 f/2.8 at times. my rationale is that whenever i grabbed my camera and walked out the door, i took a light lens. the 2 pound brick and monopod stayed at home. good glass is great, but their price exceeds their IQ in a lot of cases. that, and they weigh too much to bring to a friend's cookout.

    look at what your needs are and go from there.
  18. YEP, I downgraded about a week ago
    from: Minolta 300/2.8 APO G (2.5kg, er, about 5+ of your lb thingys)
    to: Nikkor 180/2.8

    Big step down in size and wildlife photographer s3x appeal. But I did it to force myself to take a break from shooting wildlife. I've been shooting deer in the wild since 1987 and need a rest, I now need lots and lots of time in the field to get a better or closer or different behavoir shot. So, I'm stopping shooting to sort the images from the last few years.

    In replacement I got the Nikkor 180 f2.8 to see what its like to have a 'normal' telephoto lens and to use a tele for other things, not wildlife. Having had my head stuck in animal photography for so many years ... I am now learning what having a more portable telephoto lens is all about.

    (but I do have a plan to grab a manual focus 600/5.6 to upgrade from my 300/2.8 in a few years time, when I want to shoot wild again)
  19. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    To get that last 10% of performance or quality or refinement, you'll always end up paying huge premiums in a multitude of ways. At least with lenses, usually it's size (twice as big), price (double or more), and weight (double or more). Is it really worth it? Well at least resale is great on a lot of this stuff, so all you're really doing is tying up money via a "longer term rental".

    I'm probably more like bender73 in the "pro-consumer glass". For distance I'm planning on eventually getting a 70-300VR, and then I'll probably eventually pick up a telephoto prime (180/2.8, 135/2) all of which are reasonably sized and priced and weighted. If I really need an f/2.8 telephoto zoom for an occasion, I'd rather just rent one for $35 rather than have $900 or $1700 tied up and collecting dust somewhere the vast majority of the time. If I find that I "need" that type of lens all the time and end up renting one more than I care to then I suppose I'd just suck it up and buy one. At least then I'd know I'd get my money's worth.

    I tend to be pretty conservative in the things I buy, and end up beating myself up if I buy more than I need and don't actually use it. I also tend to push what I have to 110% before I'll finally upgrade, grudgingly. So don't look for any big fancy glass in my sig anytime soon. All of my lenses get a fair amount of use except the 55-200. But that's only $169 collecting dust so no big deal. :cool: 
  20. bender73

    bender73 Guest

    yea, i get bashed on other forums for saying you don't need pro glass. but, i aint a pro and i get some pretty darn good shots from my 24-120 VR, 70-300 VR, and 50mm f/1.8. for this reason, i sold my 80-200 f/2.8.

    people complain about the 24-120 VR being soft. well, i slap it on "A priority," set it between f/8 to f/11, and get real sharp images. if i need awesome creamy DOF then i use my $100 50mm f/1.8 and use my feet to zoom.

    the 50mm f/1.8 is prolly the cheapest pro lens out there...although its build quality is not pro. for $100, who cares, it's not like i am being chased by lions and baboons!
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