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Nikon 80-200 2-ring vs Sigma 70-200 HSM II??

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Dave67, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Nikon 80-200 2-ring vs Sigma 70-200 HSM II

    Ok now I think I’ve made my decision but if anyone has other ideas I would be very happy to hear them.

    I will be buying one of these lenses new in the next couple of weeks. Will be using for
    occasional shots of my kids soccer etc also portrait use. Am currently using a D200 but will be going to a D700 next so no DX lens for me.

    The 2 factors in my choice are:

    1. image quality (think the Nikon has the edge?)

    2. durability ( Nikon again I think – no HSM motor to break down, possibly better quality control etc..)

    So for the past few months I’ve been thinking of getting the Nikon – but if anyone who has experience with either lens can help that would be great!

    In summary :


    1. slightly better image quality?

    2. better durability ( want to keep this lens for a few years)

    3. Better re-sale value eventually

    4. negative – possible focus issues on a D200 body?


    1. $200 bucks cheaper

    2. equal image quality?

    3. faster focusing

    4. Newer design / coatings

    5. No focus issues with D200

    6. Possible not as consistent quality control as the Nikon?

    So I’m still considering the Sigma – your experiences?? :confused: 
  2. I originally purchased a Sigma 70-200 but after excessive lens lust for the nikon equivalent, I bit the bullet.

    I prefer the 70-200 because of VR, HOWEVER in regards to image quality and focus speed I did not notice a difference. The Sigma seemed to be a bit "warm", however it was very sharp, even wide open.

    Between the 80-200 and 70-200 Sigma, if you are on a budget get the Sigma. If the 200$ is not a significant drawback, go for the Nikon.
  3. Thanks Milan – the $200 is not a problem, mainly concerned which lens people prefer IQ wise ( a pretty close call I expect ). The 70-200 VR Nikon is not an option as its only a hobby to me & they are rather expensive here in Aussie! :eek: 
  4. It is not just expensive there haha I'm going to pick up a Sigma here is a few months and hopefully pick up a nikon VR version sometime next year.
  5. There is a 70-200 sigma in the For Sale section
  6. Of which the OP can't see because he doesn't have enough posts. Maybe the seller of the Sigma 70-200 will happen upon this thread.
  7. I am getting closer to the posts I'm getting excited haha.
  8. I cannot figure out why Sigma and Tamron, who have both developed good VR equivalents cannot get them into their higher end lenses! If Sigma could do that on their 70-200, whoa... They would sell a lot of them!
  9. Price. I would bet for them to do that the price wouldn't be cheap enough for people to choose it over the Nikon version.
  10. Thanks guys, probably not in the market for used at this time. For the prices used lens are going on the auction sites (+adding postage to Australia), I would rather pay not much more & get it brand new. :biggrin:
  11. Think if they could deliver the current optical performance at 1000-1100... with a great OS/VC. Maybe adding the VR to such heavy lenses is not as pricey as doing it in something lighter???
  12. pure jazz

    pure jazz

    Feb 5, 2009
  13. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    I'd go with the 80-200.

    From what I've read the Sigma 70-200 isn't the sharpest at 2.8 and you might want to stop it down to at least f/4 most of the time, which imho kinda defeats the purpose of buying an f/2.8 lens. It might be a little slower focusing, but the Nikon 80-200 should overall give better "no excuses" IQ. Might be tough to find used, but the discontinued Nikon 80-200 AF-S is still a favorite among many because it's quicker focusing. If you can find a used copy definitely consider it.
  14. Thanks pure jazz – I have seen that page before – very interesting..

    Also thanks Steve, what you’re saying is sort of my gut feeling. Hadn’t really heard about the Sigma not being its best at 2.8 – that’s where Id like to be shooting at – that’s what you spend the $$ for!

    Also another question I asked myself is what’s the reliability of the Sigma HSM motor like over extended period? I would like this purchase to last me a number of years & the Nikon (2ring) might have less to go wrong with it than the Sigma...
  15. pure jazz

    pure jazz

    Feb 5, 2009
    hsm motor works fine. Sigma allows manual over ride of the auto focus

    The link shows softness is not an issue at 2.8
  16. I have a Sigma 70 - 200mm 2.8 which is now over 5 years old and is still going strong. It is the older HSM version and is sharp at f2.8 and by f4 razor sharp, it work fine with a Sigma 1.4 tc even wide open. Focus is fast and quite and apart from rub marks and wear and tear it has suffered no paint loss :smile:

    I have considered several times changing to the Nikon 70-200 VR but have no need of VR and so have never bothered.

    Shot with D70 f3.5

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  17. Please note that this applies not only to Sigma 70-200, but also to Nikon 80-200 2-ring.
    My copy was fairly soft wide open, especially at 200mm, especially at close focus distances (less then 10m).

    Very many people have confirmed the same thing for their 80-200s, though some people claim their copies of 80-200 2-ring are very sharp wide open.

    In any case, you should know about this "feature" of the 80-200 before you buy it, and be prepared that you may have to stop down to f4 or f5.6 with either Sigma or Nikkor 80-200.

    Nikkor 70-200 VR (that I eventually purchased) has significantly better wide open performance than the 80-200 that I used to own.

    If wide open shooting is your thing, than the Tamron 70-200 should be considered.... seems to have same IQ as the Nikkor 70-200 VR for a lot less money..... but then, it has a very unreliable AF performance.

    Unfortunatelly, it is not without reason that the Nikkor 70-200 VR is so much more expensive than those alternatives.... and the reason is not only VR.
  18. pure jazz

    pure jazz

    Feb 5, 2009
    The 80-200 has slightly better resolution at 2.8 than the sigma, up to 135mm where they seem to pull even, from there sigma has the advantage. The 80-200 has a bit of center focusing issue there.

    As a comparison the sigma has better resolution at 2.8 than the nikon 70-300 vr at 300mm wide open.

    As Sir oliver said, go Tamron unless you shoot sports or in low light. Then either the 80-200 nikon or sigma 70-200 is a compromise.

    I shoot a lot of nightime shots with the sigma at 2.8 and it does a good job. Better fully extended (200mm) wide open than the 70-300 vr nikon extended (300mm) wide open.
  19. wgilles


    Apr 25, 2008
    Just get the Sigma. I had the 80-200 2.8 and tried out the Sigma and if I had to buy all over again, I couldn't justify spending the extra 200-300 bucks for the Nikon.
  20. I went through this same process a few years back, and must have read hundreds of reports and users comments, in the end I really believe if you got a good copy of either lens that they do perform well.

    Sigma's main negative comments were focused mainly on the companies lower QC than Nikon and that there was one model of the Sigma 70-200, think it was one that had macro, but don't quote me on that had a huge amount of negative comments on how soft it was at f/2.8, but this was just one model...

    In the end it come down to a couple of choices, Sigma does produce a warmer photo than Nikon, but it also focused slightly faster than the 80-200. Choice here, colour rendition or speed....

    As for the focus speed, all the figures I could find showed it was approx 15% slower than the Nikon 70-200VR and when you think of it, 15% of a fraction of a second increase to focus doesn't make it a slow focusing lens.
    I think where it got this bad rap from was people that used it on D50 to D80, as I originally did, but when I put it on the D300 with its stronger motor and far superior AF system, it felt as it had instant focus compared to when it was attached the D50-D80...

    As you guessed, my choice was the 80-200 and it is my favorite out of all my lenses...:smile:
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