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4.8 out of 5 stars
22
4.8 out of 5 stars
Price:£989.00+ Free shipping
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The 80-200 f2.8 ED is quite simply the best lens I've ever owned. The price might seem high, but it's worth every penny and then some.
I started taking photographs seriously in 1984, and I bought my first zoom lens in 1986. From then on, until I acquired this lens in 2004, I've always known that I had to choose between optimal quality with a prime lens, or flexibility with a zoom. Not any longer. With this lens, things suddenly jump closer. There's no extra haze, no discernible halo, no loss of contrast. If it wasn't for the fact that I often need to shoot wide, I probably would never take this off the camera.
How is this possible?
Basically, because Nikon chose to reject the received wisdom that a zoom lens is always a compromise. They reasoned that there was a market for ultimate quality, and the people who needed it were willing to pay almost any price and put up with any other difficulties in order to get their hands on it.
The result was this lens. To be fair, the price is nowhere near what it once was. The ED (for extra-low dispersion) optics in this lens are now being rolled out into Nikon's more budget offerings, and the street price of this lens has dropped to make way for the new flagship 70-200 VR lens.
The other difficulties are still with us, though - this lens is heavy, and it's enormous. And with a 77mm screw thread, any filters you need to buy will be costly too. What's more, unless you already have a very large camera bag, you'll need to replace it just to be able to get this lens in. This isn't helped by the fact that the relevant hood adds about another 5 cm onto the front - and don't think of shooting without the hood, or you'll suffer from unacceptable flaring from hot lights.
On the other hand, all the things that matter have been sorted out. Unlike budget zooms, this lens keeps its aperture constant throughout its travel. At f2.8 it's fast enough for fairly low light conditions, and, fully open, gives magnificent differential focus. There's a nicely designed Auto-Manual switch on the lens, which is much handier than the one on the camera. There's a useful macro end to the zoom, which is true macro rather than the pseudo-macro found on many cheap zoom lenses. It takes bright, sharp pictures which seem to drip with lucid light.
The lens focusses quickly enough, especially if you curtail its zoom, for which there is a slide-switch. Use with a tripod is perhaps this lens's achilles heel. The current version has its own tripod collar, but colleagues and contacts suggest that it really isn't very good. I don't use it with a tripod myself so I can't comment. However, an improvement is available from Kirk, albeit at a price.
So who is the lens aimed at? It's a professional lens, and the target market is and always has been photo-journalists, press and sports photographers. It makes a fantastic lens for outdoor portraits, though of course you wouldn't even consider using it in the studio. Wildlife photographers will find it a little short, even when used on a digital camera which gives a 1.5x magnification factor, effectively making it 103-300 mm.
To cap it all, using this lens with a D100, D1, D2, F100 or F5 allows you to register with Nikon as a 'professional' and gives you access to their fast-track servicing.
Sorry, didn't I mention that? If you invest in a lens like this, you will need to have it serviced from time to time to keep it in premium condition. If you make your living from pictures, you will find it money well spent.
55 comments| 89 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 July 2010
I have just picked up one of these from my local camera shop. The 70-200 VR's were way out of my price range and so it was this or the 70-300 vr. I have a D90 with the 18-105 kit lens and the 50mm 1.8. I picked this due to its high maximum aperture and seemingly fast focus on the D90. I am just an enthusiast, not a pro but the images off this lens on a cloudy day at 7pm are as sharp as I have ever produced and they have a mix of colours and a look I have not achieved with my other lenses except in bright conditions. It is heavy, I am a big guy but I invested in a monopod at the time of purchase and think I will use it with this lens.

If you value image quality 1st and are looking for pin sharp images this lens will produce. VR would be great but at nearly £1000 extra unless you are a pro or using the lens everyday just buy a monopod.

Also remember this will not auto focus on any Nikon below the D90 in the current Nikon range.
11 comment| 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 July 2010
DO NOT buy the 70-200 vr Nikon lens at 1700gbp when this lens kicks its ass for half that. I had both on my D700 and this is sharper with better colours.
0Comment| 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 December 2013
Just received my copy of this lens, it is by far the sharpest lens I have. I was getting mixed results on the D7100 and was wondering if I needed to set up the lens using the fine focus tuning available on the D7100, turned out it was the spot focusing where the issues were giving mixed results, switched to multi (51) point and the images are so sharp you could cut yourself on them :)

Only drawback for some might be the weight as it is built like a tank, if you can handle the weight then don't think twice about getting it, especially when the image results are as good as the 70-200mm VR and the focusing faster.

You will need to buy a lens hood for this lens, there are flare issues if the sun is forward of you, make sure you buy the genuine ones as the fitting is bayonet cap and I have heard of non-Nikon copies being a poor loose fit, worth the extra expense to buy the real thing.
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on 21 December 2013
A beautifully built and wonderful to use lens which produces staggering results. I tested this lens against the Nikon 70-300mm lens which I previously owned (and loved) and a Nikon newer 28-300mm which I bought for versatility. When shooting at 200mm and cropping to 300mm afterwards produces a superior image than both the 70-300mm and 28-300mm lenses at 300mm. As a result I have ditched these two lenses and bought the Nikon 28-70mm lens (which you can only get second hand) to compliment the 80-200mm. This lens is worth the £850 it is currently on sale for and I'd grab one whilst you still can. I absolutely love this lens. I use it mainly to shoot aircraft and the focusing is plenty fast enough. A marvelous piece of kit.
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on 29 March 2013
There's a lot of detailed reviews of this lens, so I'll keep it short (unlike the lens!) The build quality has to be mentioned as I don't imagine a better built lens ever being made. This does make it heavy though, and especially with the lens hood, very large and bulky, more so than the 70-200vr 1&2 even. I mean you could get away with using it as a hammer for example, and it would probably still last 50 years, probably... But enough of that, if your buying this I'm sure your aware its no dainty bit o' kit, what you get in return is excellent image quality through-out the zoom range, yes f2.8 is slightly less sharp than f4 but not by much, and the bokeh it produces is one of the best out there. The 70-200vrII is a tad sharper IMO, not much in it though, And at 1/2 the price of the 70-200vrII - I love it.
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on 26 October 2013
This s a remarkable lens .. and for the size, weight and price I would have to give 5 stars.

Image quality is excellent and build is professional.

Size and weight as well as price are excellent compared to its big brothers the 70-200 VR lenses.

What is doesn't have; no weather sealing at base, no AF-S and no VR.

As it doesn't have a motor it can only be used with a more professional body, and although the focusing is fast and accurate it is not as smooth as the AF-S, and of course no full-time manual focusing. VR does make a difference to keepers, but not if you are shooting a moving object and using a high shutter speed anyway.

I would recommend if you are after quality pictures and don't have the money for the more expensive 70-200mm's, yet want something better than the 70-300 VR.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 June 2013
This lens is a beauty, it is super fast, super sharp and is built to last forever. I put it to use on the same day that I got one, am well impressed with the quality of images (I have posted the first couple of handheld shots in the customer images section, JPEGs straight from the camera without any post processing). Compared to low-mid end zooms with the same range that I have used so far, this is by far the best in terms of focusing speed and accuracy. With the focus limit switch it works even faster. Apart from the plastic aperture ring and filter thread, I believe everything is made of metal and it does feel very solid, probably better built than my nikkor 24-70 2.8. Soft case is made in China, but everything else including the lens cap, box and even the printed manuals come from Japan and the quality definitely shows. I don't think the lack of VR (compared to 70-200 2.8 VR II) is a deal breaker, especially when you can get this fantastic lens at half the price of a brand new VR II. Excellent addition to my lens family.
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on 23 February 2015
This is a must have lens. It's big, it's heavy, it's beautifully built. This lens has absolutely nothing to do with all the modern 'Made in China' lenses. I have plenty of those so I'm not knocking them but it's like comparing an old Mini Metro to a new Mercedes S Class.
Superbly sharp even wide open with a stunning bokeh. If you're an FX user then portrait between 80-120mm is more then acceptable, although clearly you'd use prime for studio work.
I find the auto focus nice and quick on all my cameras (D300/D600/D3) but obviously I'd like it faster!
Very importantly, shop around. You can buy a brand new lens with a 3 year guarantee for £600, an immaculate used for £375-400 and a heavily used for £275-300. Go for the middle.
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on 24 October 2015
As mentioned by others, little heavy, but definitely built to last! Well mostly; anyway, known problem with the af ring splitting (which was broken on the 2nd hand one i got upon arrival) but i made a repair for now, it working fine for time being...

But onto the import stuff, the photos taken with this lens are simply sublime... I use mainly for portrait or sports and love... The bokeh is superb...

I am using on a D750 and have not noticed any back focus issues as mentioned by others...

In summery if you are considering and cant afford the upgraded 70-200's then get this, lovely
33 comments| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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