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Would you trade your 70-300 vr for an 80-200 2.8?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Joseph, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. If you have the 70-300 vr, would you trade it for the 80-200 AF-D?

    I have the 70-300 now, but there's something about it that I'm not really satisfied with.. not really sure what it is. It does produce 'ok' photos, but I'm just not getting that same "pop" that I get with my 17-55 all the time.

    So the 70-300 has VR, has more range, AF-S, and lighter. The 80-200 is heavier, no AF-S, no VR, but it is faster and built better. Would you consider the switch from 70-300 to 80-200 a downgrade or an upgrade?

    thanks in advance
  2. Both lenses give very similar IQ in good light (According to my experience at least), so I wouldn't count on getting better IQ from the 70-300 in this condition.
    In low light that's a whole different story, this is where the 80-200 excells, keep in mind it's a pro glass and will deliver great shots especially for portraits and low light action sports. You have a D300 so expect a fast focus! It's fast even on my D90.
    The build quality is great and by far better than that of the 70-300.

    In short, going from 70-300 to 80-200 is definitely an upgrade except for the focal length of course, and the lack of VR (if you need it).

    I would recommend keeping both cos the 70-300 is more discrete and light for times when you're on the move or need more reach in good light.
  3. kingmeow


    Apr 8, 2008
    I wouldn't but my copy of the 70-300VR is tack sharp on my D300 all the way up to 300mm. Most agree that it's sharp to 200 but some luck of the draw, like my copy, performs up to 300mm. I would get both. :smile:
  4. I've gone back and forth several times over the years (three Sigma 70200's, three Nikkor 80200's (pp, two-ring ED's and AFS), and now one Tamron along with three 70300VR's. I am in the minority, but I never got the resolution and microcontrast that I was looking for with the 70300's over 220mm or so. I've decided that I prefer the extra speed and resolution (and tc performance) to the portability and VR. I may get another 70300VR because I like it for hiking, but it will only be as an addition. I wouldn't dump my 2.8 zoom to get one. My choice is only applicable for my use. I know this lens has a lot of fans, but so far it hasn't met my needs. That's my experience. As a side to those interested...the Tamron is the only one that just about matches the 80200AFS for IQ of the lenses in this class that I've had. It is not a focusing speed demon though...which probably isn't news to anyone.
  5. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    I surely wouldn't trade my 80-200 for a 70-300 that's for sure ! :biggrin:
  6. Dave


    Feb 7, 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    I did this exact same switch almost 2 years ago. Best decision I ever made as it took my telephoto shots to a whole new level. You just can't substitute anything for f/2.8...they don't call them pro lenses for nothing.
  7. I went from a 70-300 VR to 80-200 (AF-S though, not the regular AF) since I needed the extra speed for shooting sports and other fast moving action. In the end, it depends on what you will use it for, speed (80-200) or reach/VR (70-300). I would consider it an upgrade though, since the 80-200 is regarded as pro glass, whereas the 70-300 is more of a consumer lens (but indeed a bargain!).
  8. It really does depend on your use

    Couldn't agree more with this comment. I have and use both lenses and the serve different needs. For sports / action shooting the 80-200 blows the doors off the 70-300 VR even without AF-S (and that is shooting on my D70s). That being said, I just came back from a vacation in Maine and the 70-300 was ideal for shooting landscapes and wildlife where the extra reach and VR was a really helpful. Lugging the extra weight of the 80-200 around would have been kind of a bummer, too.

    In terms of sharpness, my two samples are close. In fact, at 200mm, I'd say the 70-300 is a bit sharper, even at f/5.6.


    Jun 4, 2008
    What are you shooting?

    This I gotta see. Really? Even without AF-S? I always thought the 70-300 locked onto focus pretty fast with AF-S. I would have never thought that the 80-200 AF-D would be faster to focus.

    Either way, 2.8 is 2.8 and your pictures will have that something extra with the nice DOF.
  10. Yes I would, if I had too...
    I have both and even though the 70-300vr is a great lens, the 80-200 is absolutely superb...
    You just can't beat f/2.8 with f/5.6 & VR...
    But really they have been designed for different purposes...

    The IQ & Bokeh, on the 80-200 is brilliant, also ideal to use for low light situations for moving subjects and also for those narrow DOF shots.
    Focus speed when fitted to a Dxxx bodied camera is extremely quick and possible faster to focus than the 70-300 because it allows more light (f/2.8) to make better use of the superior motors and AF systems in these higher end camera bodies.
    I noticed substantial increase in focus speed when I went from my D80 to the D300 with this lens...
    The only negative is that the 80-200 (1300g) mass is almost double that of the 70-300 (745g) so carrying it all day can be a stress for some people...

    The 70-300VR has a great FL, lightweight and can produce brilliant IQ and with VR will take crisp shots of stationary objects in low light.

    So I guess you will have to decide in which area do either of these lenses work for you and make your decision on that, as everyone wants something different from a lens in certain FL's...
    Fortunately I can have both and I love using both, but for different situations, but if it come down to picking one...
    For me.... The 80-200 wins hands down....:smile:...
  11. Mostly people and travel photography, and plenty of night photography.

    I almost never shoot birds or wildlife, so losing the reach is not that important to me.

    thanks for the responses- It looks like I'm going to sell it.
  12. I shoot wildlife and the 2.8 zooms work very well with 1.4 tc's, so you don't need to sacrifice your reach.
  13. Rob T

    Rob T

    Aug 27, 2008
  14. Moving from the 70-300VR to the 80-200 is a good idea for improved low-light performance. However, be sure to get the "two-ring" version instead of the older push-pull version. You'll be sacrificing too much AF speed moving to the older version - and this will show up when you're shooting sports.
  15. Rob T

    Rob T

    Aug 27, 2008
    Why do you say that? At 1/250 you shouldn't have much of an issue without VR even at 300mm.
  16. Adkid


    Jan 3, 2009
    Funny, I'm exactly thinking of going the opposite way as the OP. I have the 80-200 and love it, but it is definitely not a travel lens. I'm thinking of getting a 70-300 because it'll be lighter and I might use it more for travel. I would not part with my 80-200 though.
  17. One thing I should add that certainly is pertinent to my commentary is that I almost always shoot from a tripod. VR is an "extra" for me.
  18. Hi Joseph,
    The additional 100mm is very valuable, even with the 5.6 lens. I have and use both, though I use the 70-300 much less since I got a 300 F/4.
    If you need the 2.8 lens, get it, but don't trade the 70-300 till you replace most of it's focal length.
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