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Lens Reviews

Nikkor AF 80-200mm/2.8D Review

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)

Keywords: nikkor, nikon, 80_200mm, f5, film

This lens and its predators have become legends in the Nikkor series. These short tele zooms are all extremely sharp with great color rendering. Most people say this is a must have lens if you're into Nikon - I think they're right. Only problem with it is its weight: At 1,3kg it makes an F5 setup weigh short off 3,0kg.

Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8

This is the new version with separate rings for focus and zoom plus integrated, rotating tripod collar. My first impressions:

1. Solidly built, not feeling plastic (eventhough some parts are made out of plastic). The metal parts are all painted with "shrink" paint, making the lens look good.

2. The manual focus ring doesn't have a very smooth touch to it. From this class of lens I think one might expect a bit more "smooth feeling" - eventhough it's an AF lens, targeting foremost people who don't like manual focus.

3. The 77mm opening is lovely, this piece of glas is really a turn on to look at :-)

4. The fixing screw for the 290 deg revolving tripod collar is precise, just some more than a quarter of a turn and the collar is locked in the desired position. The rotation of the collar has the feeling I would like to experience with the manual focus ring.

5. A slide switch at the front part of the lens limits the focus range (stops at 3,0m) - really a good feature if one is not into using the lens for macro, since it improves focus speed. With no limit, the macro range is on, capable of focusing objects at a distance of minimum 1,5 m. Oh yes, you can either use the limit slide switch for limiting the focus to stay beloiw 3,0m or to stay above 3,0m.

August 1999. Some of the folks at living systems AG. Nikon F5, Nikkor AF 80-200mm/2.8 D at close to 200mm.
Click on image for larger version

6. It is quite a large lens for 80-200. I once had a cheap Nikkor AF 70-210 (I think it was 210), and this one is way heavier (1300g) and bigger over all, though still is nice to hold. It balances good in the hands with the F5 attached.

7. The focus range limit slide switch, the manual focus ring, the selector ring for AF or manual and the zoom ring can all be operated with merely no movement of the hand.

8. AF is quite fast though the F5 must often make minor corrections after the rough focus has been achieved. The speed seems to be really OK for my endevours, but I guess it eats up the F5 batteries quite fast.

9. It came with a black, lens carrying "cylinder" (CL-43A) which seems quite well isolated. As I am intending to keep the lens on the F5 for a while, I'm not sure if I'll need it that much. I currently misuse the CL-43A for carrying around the 20mm (when I switch the two, I drop the 80-200 in the cylinder for a short while).

10. I feel it was a good buy. I first thought of the AF-S (Silent Wave) version, but its price tag of some 3.400 DM made me choose this one instead. The S version has a faster (and close to noiseless) AF since it comes with built-in ultrasonic-driven motors. With the normal AF version, the F5 must drive the glas. The S version is also said to have an edge of better optics (eventhough the optics of this legendary lens is really high quality), due to its five ED glas pieces compared to three ED's of this lens.

11. This is the first zoom lens that I own which doesn't change the length of the tube while you zoom - I think this is really a plus compared to outer zoom lenses: The weight balance of this lens doesn't traverse much of anything as you zoom and if you're not into letting photo objects (people) know if you are shooting them with 80 or 200, this feature is another plus. The front lens moves inside the tube as you zoom - in the AF-S version one of the inner pieces move, so I don't guess you really can call this an "inner zoom" lens, yet, I like it.

Side note: It's interesting to see that Pentax' comparable lens, also a 80-200/2,8, is listed at 3.200 DM - with comparable features. This is likely due to that Pentax are forced to manufacture smaller series than Nikon and Canon.

External links:

Phil Greenspuns great review on the 80-200
As always, Phil has included a whole bunch of great pictures - this time around taken with the original (one touch) Nikkor 80-200.

Nikon USA's short product info on the 80-200
Not much, but it's from the manufacturer.


(2 Votes )

Originally written on January 25, 2002

Last updated on June 12, 2016