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D200 and screw-drive lenses

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Michael Mohrmann, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. Who around here shoots the D200 with screw-drive lenses? How fast and accurate is the autofocus with this combination in comparison to using AF-S lenses?

    Is there that much improvement focusing the screw-drive lenses with the D2Hs (any D2 series body)?

    Has anyone compared the speed of the D200 and D2Hs focusing screw-drive lenses compared to the Canon bodies (particularly the 5D, 30D, and 1DmkII) with their USM lenses?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2007
  2. All the talk about the 80-200 AF-D, and almost every prime are screw drive lenses. I said almost because the only AF-S prime that I can think of is the 105 macro.
  3. Guess it really depends what you're shooting. If it's portraits, macro, landscape .... screw-drive vs. AF-S shouldn't really come into play. If you're looking for sports/action, you can find the AF-S in the 28-70, the 80-200 and the 300/f4 (I don't know about the longer lenses) ... and that certainly gives you a broad range.
  4. Michael,

    When I first bought my D200, all my lenses were screw drive, and none of the were what most here would consider 'pro' or 'fast'. A 2.8 lens did not exist in my kit.

    Since that date, I've replaced every one of my lenses. But not all because of screw drive. If it helps, here is what I went through:

    1. 3.3 to 5.6 lenses provided a challenge for me with high action in low light.
    2. Although I've been taking pictures for years, all of a sudden I was learning with my D200 how to control exposure, rather than the camera. It is not an exact science, IMHO.
    3. I have one AFS lens, and the other two are screw drives (Tokina 12-24 and Nikon 35-50/2.8).


    With the D200, I can get the action shots, at high speed with screw drive, although AFS is always wonderful. Since I generally work on the assumption that anything moving I try to photograph will move faster than the AF system, I rely more on figgering out the shot than the technology.

    Now I'm not a great photog, so take this with a pound of salt. I've sorta come to the conclusion that if I need close in, fast action, AF, the AFS or HSM is needed (such as basketball/volleyball). If I have distance from the action, plus some reach, non-AFS/HSM will work well. But a ski racer in a snowstorm pushes me to a fast lens, which generally gives me the AFS/HSM.

    So, I would say, the D200 will give you good results with screw drive, and potentially better results with AFS/HSM. AFS is newer, so it is improved.

    Accuracy to me, is part of responsiveness. I have no issues with accuracy on my screw drive lenses, understanding that a person movin at 120KMH will move faster than any lens AF. AFS is definitely faster, but you can get the image with screw drive.

    Don't know about the Canon stuff.

    I'm biased, but to me, I think the D200 and its subsequent iterations, will likely prove to be a legendary camera, even more so than the D2X.
  5. Mark,

    Wow! Thanks for the detailed information. I think you helped explained when AF-S is needed and when it can be helpful. I can see why those individuals who shoot fast-action sports would want to use AF-S lenses.

    As I have stated many times (sorry!), I shoot mostly candids. While not as action packed as some sports, there are times when the candid "moment" can be fleeting. I suppose I could always start out with the screw-drive lenses I have, and if it doesn't work out, change some of them out for AF-S lenses.

    Problem is, one of the reasons I decided on the D200 (coming from the EOS-A2) was the DX sensor and the Nikkor 28-105 f/3.5-4.5. With an equivalent FOV of 42-157mm, this one lens would give me the 50-135mm coverage I used most shooting film SLRs. No other lens, and specifically, no AF-S lens gives me that coverage. Well, the Nikkor 35-135 f/3.5-4.5 would do, as would the Tamron 28-105 f/2.8, but the latter is awful wide open and at autofocusing.

    I would dearly love to see a 30-100 f/2.8 AF-S DX or 28-105 f/2.8 AF-S DX, but I am probably one of a very small group that wishes for it.

    Thanks again for your help.:smile:
  6. Not even close, I would buy it in a heart beat.
  7. paul rieker

    paul rieker Guest

    Sign me up yesterday for that 28-105 f/2.8 AF-S DX lens! Rumor has it that Nikon is working on a 24-120 AF-S VR DX lens.... I am keeping my fingers crossed.
  8. If true, I hope it isn't a f/3.5-5.6 lens. But that seems to be the wave of current Nikon lenses (mostly consumer oriented). While I doubt that Nikon would release a 24-120 f/2.8, I would be fine with a 24-120 f/4 (instead of a f/3.5-5.6).
  9. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    I would love a good zoom with VR in this range, better than the 24-120VR I had,

    I have shot a lot with screw drive lenses on my D200 cameras and they focus very well, much faster than my D70 bodies.

    I use the a lot of the wider angle primes, plus 85 1.4, and 180 f2.8 and all work well and very fast.

    also, Excellent post about your use Mark

  10. Jez


    Jun 22, 2005
    I shoot a few screw-drive lenses with a D200 and haven't hit any problems, although I don't shoot sport..... :wink:

    The biggest difference for me is that there's a little more noise.

    Accuracy is down to focus system of the body and speed is relative to the power of the motor and I'm pretty sure the D2 series will be a little quicker.

    Hope that helps....
  11. Commodorefirst and Jez,

    Thanks for the responses. I just want the AF speed to be reasonably quick and accurate. I am coming from an EOS-A2, which seemed quicker because it, along with a USM lens, was quiet. I forget the numerous times that the EOS-A2 hunted or misfocused over the 12 years I used it.

    I had the same experience with the Canon x0D bodies I demoed using f/3.5-4.5 USM zooms. I was told I needed to use f/2.8 zooms for better AF performance. But the D200 had no problem focusing the 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 in the same lighting situations. I guess I am just use to autofocusing being quieter (which I equated to being faster).
  12. Jez


    Jun 22, 2005
    I think you might be on to something there - if you can hear the motor turning then it just appears to be slower!
  13. Kerry Pierce

    Kerry Pierce

    Jan 7, 2006
    I'd buy either one of these lenses or the rumored 24-120 f/2.8vr.

    But, what I'd really like would be a 40-120 f/2 or 50-150 f/2, af-s vr dx. Either of those would be an dream for me, for indoor/low light sports and events. :biggrin: :Guns:
  14. I am shooting a screw driven Nikon 300 2.8 (the first auto focus version I believe), but I have only had it for a couple of months. I have been shooting some softball and I keep this lens on a D2H and the 70-200vr on a D200 because the focus is faster on the D2H. How much is probably relative to what you will be using it for. I would say that it is maybe a hair behind the 70-200 but not enough to concern me. At the Café get-together I used it with a TC to shoot birds and it hunted on my a few times but it has yet to so that shooting softball. Oh, when it hunts it feels pretty slow.

    I am going to shoot a spring football game this weekend I may give it another spin on the D200.
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