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Nikon 180 F2.8, how good is it ?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Sandro Bravo, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Sandro Bravo

    Sandro Bravo

    Nov 18, 2005
    As a couple of you know, I had a 70-200 VR which liked but barely used it (too big, not very discrete) specially since I got the 85 F1.4, that gave me similar bokeh for portraits. I ended up selling to finance a 58 F1.2 NOCT AI, no regrets on this….but….having something in between the 85 and the 500 F4 is useful and I’ve been checking the options….(I don’t want another 70-200 VR)

    . 180 F2.8 - small, compact , similar FL to 70-200, not being a zoom doesn’t bother me, I don’t own any right now…

    . 80-200 F2.8 - too close to the 70-200….

    . 300 F4 - could be a nice option, but then again it would be another large lense, not for a daily use

    . Sigma 100-300 F4 - it’s winner on paper and for sports (which I do a lot) it would be handy…

    I’ve been considering the 180mm because of its size / reach ( my 70-200 was mostly used at 200mm F2.8…) but would like to hear it from some of you who actually have it. I’d be mostly using it wide-open (lifestyle, portraits) to F5.6 ( when doing scenic surf shots) mostly.

    P.S: if all goes well (and lots of times it doesn’t…), I should be visiting you country in late September to shoot an article for a surf magazine. We should go to LA , rent a couple of RV’s and head for Baja….this is where the 180 would come in handy…..fingers crossed…:wink:
  2. The shots I have seen from people on here are very impressive. The only downside of the lens is that it doesn't have AF-S, but I guess on a D2Hs or D300 that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    You could always look at the 200mm f/2VR :biggrin:
  3. Sandro Bravo

    Sandro Bravo

    Nov 18, 2005
    That would blow the budget and the idea of being discrete out of the water...:biggrin:
  4. Glaudus


    Aug 6, 2008
    Some purple fringing

    I have had the first AF version of the 180mm.
    I found sharpness very good at f2.8 and excellent as from f3.5-f4. Nice bokeh.
    The lens is really compact.

    I sold it because :

    - on my sample , I had a lot of purple fringing (more than on any other lens)
    - The AF was noisy and slow.

    I bought, to replace it, a Sigma 150 mm.

    It is also a nice focal length.
    The lens has about the same size as the 180mm
    Sharper in my opinion and without any CA.
    AF is also faster and silent (HSM)
    You have the macro.
    Reasonably cheap for its quality
  5. it is a superb lens
    i had one for over a year and only sold it because it didn't auto focus fast enough for sports
    Now that I have a D3 the focal length would be great
  6. I have come close to selling my 180/2.8 a few times- especially with the focal length repeated on the 70-200vr and nearly repeated with the Sigma 150 macro- but I just can't bring myself to do it. Every time I put it on the camera it always impresses me. Size is very discrete and non-threatening- a superb lens for the cost especially.
  7. Sandro Bravo

    Sandro Bravo

    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks for the inputs guys. It seems like a no-brainer for most of you…I’m particularly fond of the concept of having almost the same FL at F2.8 as I had with the 70-200, on a much smaller package.

    As far as using to shoot sports, the kind of framing I’ll be doing will be similar to those below, shot with the 70-200, so the AF being slower shouldn’t be an issue.

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

    View attachment 235556

    View attachment 235557

    If any of you have some nice, creamy bokeh shots at F2.8, please do show them.
  8. Sandro -
    I had a similar issue where, with my 70-200/2.8 I tended to stay on the extremes and not use the middle focal lengths. I sold it and bought the AF Nikkor 180/2.8D ED IF version on the strength of its reputation. It has few flaws. It's handling and optical performance are first rate but the AF is slow. Still, on a pro body (I used D1X and D2H at the time) the AF was acceptable for my subject matter. As a general telephoto, this lens will not disappoint if the AF speed is acceptable to you. It did not perform well for me with a Kenko 1.4 tC but I did like it with a Canon 500D diopter.

    That said, I already had the Sigma 150/2.8 at the time I acquired the Nikkor 180. The Sigma is superior in every way possible and it has a tripod collar. It made a shelf queen out of my 180. If the 30mm difference is important then the 180 might be what you want. The Sigma 150 with the Sigma APO 1.4 TC attached still performs similarly to the 180 but at 210mm.
  9. ultimind


    May 13, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    I have a later 180mm F2.8 (metal body) and it is a beautiful lens. Sharp wide open, very compact, fairly inexpensive, and decent AF speed (on a D1X) and ok AF speed on a D70.
  10. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    there are many versions of this lens. the 180/2.8 AIS EDIF has entirely different optics and rendition from the AF version.
  11. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Sandro: The Nikkor 180 2.8 ED AIS is a honey of a lens. Light, fast and sharp. Like you said it's a no brainer.

  12. Sandro Bravo

    Sandro Bravo

    Nov 18, 2005
    Huum…after seeing some Sigma 150 Macro samples it got me wondering….faster AF (is it HSM ?), should be sharper and 30mm isn’t a big difference from the 180…and even though I don’t do macro, it’s there if I want to…

    The bokeh seems to be as good as the best of them and might be also a good choice. Anyone using it as a portrait / candid lense ?

    You guys always make my choices harder... why do i keep asking...:biggrin:
  13. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    I had the latest version and it definitely was not the fastest at focusing. It also did display CA fairly easily when shooting outdoors. It is a nice, compact size and produces very sharp images, but unfortunately it is just outdated. Bokeh is not that bad at all, though.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  14. bill-e


    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I just received mine (150) yesterday so I cant really comment from experience yet but there is also the Sigma 180mm macro which is reportedly of the same IQ as the 150.
  15. If you can do without F2.8 and AF, the CV 180/4 APO is an exceptional lens worth considering. Very small, well made and APO corrected (a rarity in Nikon mount) with nice bokeh. The Nikkor 180 is a very nice lens and a bargain, but despite ED glass it is not APO and will, like most lenses, show CA under the right circumstances. I owned the 180 AiS some years ago and loved it.
  16. My splendid 80-200/2.8 fell into disuse after I bought the 85/1.4 and 180/2.8. You already understand the lure of the 85/1.4, so all I need to say is that the 180/2.8 matches its image quality and imho has a very similiar signature. And while it's only f/2.8, it delivers sharp images wide open. Here's some samples.

    @ f/2.8
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    @ f/3.5
    View attachment 235560

    @ f/4.5
    View attachment 235561

    @ f/2.8
    View attachment 235562

    @ f/2.8
    View attachment 235563

    @ f/3.2
    View attachment 235564
  17. Nice shots - especially the last one.

  18. there have been some posts recently about using the sig 150 for portraits and the pics were great

    i would only consider the nikon if i didn't do macro (i used to own a 180)
    the nikon 180 2.8 D is an amazing lens, a true legend in every way. with startling IQ, maybe even better than the sig, but def slower AF and you can't get 15" close and focus
  19. superb !

    I suspect the sigma 150 is not this good and seeing these makes me sick I sold mine, especially now that 180 is 180 on the D3
    (damn u for showing these):smile:
  20. I was waiting for you to pop in with your samples Frank. :p  Here are a couple I took with yours. (and I will be getting at least one longer lens whether it's this one or the 80-200 I don't know yet)

    all of these were wide open. :biggrin:

    I don't think she wanted anything to do with you OR Kurt at first, LOL!
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Then she warmed up a little. :) 

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

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