AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED
BLACKIE . . .
I named it Blackie...easier to call and remember than the long SCIENTIFIC name of Nikon...
Superb Telephoto Zoom for Sports and Portraits
High-performance, high-speed, telephoto zoom lens
Holds its fast f/2.8 maximum aperture over the entire range of focal lengths
ED glass elements for high-resolution and high-contrast images even at maximum aperture
Rotating zoom ring for precise zoom operation
(As Advertised by Nikon)
This has been my dream lens for quite some times...and finally...another D
RE AM comes true!
I got this lens on the 10th November 2001. I bought it 2nd hand...from a Singapore working Malaysian. I have been dreaming for this lens for a "long" time...but I can't afford it new. I have actually plan to buy this lens new next year...after I have saved enough money. I have missed this lens many times in the 2nd hand market. Mostly sell at S$1100~S$1250. Still, if the lens is in mint condition...it will consider a good buy for me as new lens is selling at S$1580+-. However, in most of the 2nd hand lens cases that I have met...the lens is not as mint as most seller claimed...and I feel reluctant to spend my hard saving money on something which I am not satisfied. One of the reason that discourages me most from buying 2nd hand is because this BIG zoom lens is a heavy air sucker...thus tends to have some if not much dust inside. On a 2nd hand sample that I checked, the amount of dust inside really worried me...and I can't be sure if they are dust or early sign of fungus/mold. Seeking confirmation for other Nikon users, they said that minor dust in Nikkor lenses are normal...in fact, there is no Nikkor lens that is without dust.
Why 2nd Hand?Now...why I change my mind and buy a 2nd hand AF Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED lens again? This is a rare case...I saw the advertisement in the internet...and it was offered at an very attractive price! I start thinking...and planning...and finally...this lens is in my hand! I really feel thankful to be able to get this lens at a very good price...as usually I am too late or slow in buying lens/camera from Singapore sellers. This sample is quite old according to the warranty card. It might be a year 1998 lens...bought in Japan (as stated in the warranty card). However, this doesn't matter as the condition of the lens is very MINT!!! I would at least grade it MINT -. The glass is perfect...and the barrel only show very slight sign of usage. As such a low price...I am totally satisfied with it.
In the 2nd hand sample that I bought, it comes with the original Nikon gold box, black cylinder case, Nikon HB-7 hood (an optional accessory from Nikon), front and rear lens caps, a Hoya 77mm Skylight 1B filter, and some papers (warranty card, address...). The black cylinder case is very new, but the top cover is MELTING! Yes...the skin is melting...it just doesn't stick to the case...and can be moved around or took apart from the case easily. I have removed the skin...and there are lots of glue underneath to be clean. Ha...it is a pain or headache in doing so...and I haven actually finish cleaning it. Under the skin, the case still look good in black colour.
There are too many review or testing of this lens in the internet...so I would go over it again. In fact...I am not good in testing lens...and I don't have the money and film to waste. Nikon maintains the same optical formula in this lens for more than 4 variations (from the very early push pull...to the current AFD New) simply speaks for the quality of this lens. Do note that the new AFS optic design is different from this lens.
Variations of Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8
For the push pull version, one can add a tripod mounting bracket to it.
Now...the built quality of this lens is first class! It is heavy...but this heavy lens feels solid in my hands. I like the heavy solid feel...and it gives me the feeling that my money spent is worth for the WEIGHT. Ha...will you want to spend $$$ for a plastic lens or a metal lens? I will choose the later...The crinkle finishing of the lens is nice too! This crinkle finishing is very durable...and scratch resistance. A smooth plastic or metal can get scratch and show scratch easily...but the crinkle finishing simply high those imperfection very well. Nikon only gives crinkle finishing to high end lenses...and this lens definitely deserved to be one of them.
The tripod collar of the lens is very solid, definitely wouldn't bend. The tripod collar is a non-removable type. It has rotation angle of 10 degree anti-clockwise or 290 degree clock wise. The screw on the tripod collar is nice too, as I have seen some lenses with very thin/small screw to secure a big tripod collar...which feel lousy, cheap, and easy to break.
The AF/MF switch on the lens is really what I want in ALL Nikon lens. Although A/M switch on the AFS lens would be better...but I just can't afford S lens. Changing focus mode on the camera is something painful to do...as the button on Nikon camera is very hard to access and my left hand is usually handholding/balancing the lens. For this lens, the camera can be set to AF mode all the time...and changing to MF mode can be done on the lens itself. In AF mode, the focus ring will not and cannot be turned. In MF mode, the focus feel is ok...not as good as the Nikkor AF 60mm f/2.8D micro lens that I owned, but is better than most other Nikkor AF lenses.
The aperture ring of the lens clicks perfectly! It clicks and stops precisely from f/2.8 to f/22. This is not the case of my 60mm micro lens...which has indefinitely feel to change aperture on the lens through aperture ring. However, in most modern AF cameras of Nikon (F60, F65, F80, F100, F5), the aperture is set through the body rather than the lens itself. One must set the lens at minimum aperture in order to use the camera.
This is a heavy lens. It weights 1300 grams for the lens alone. With hood and filter...it can be as heavy as 1.5kg. Attached it to my F60D, I am now holding a more than 2kg setup in my hands. Ha...this sure is a muscle building tools. When using this lens with my F60D, my camera feels very light in comparison. All the weight are mostly at the front part of the setup...which my left hand has to absorb most of the weight. Now...what am I worry is if my F60D can support the weight of the lens. I know F60D is meant for beginner...and most probably Nikon has presumed beginner at this stage will not buy this heavy lens. Thus...the camera mount might not be as tough as in other Nikon cameras. Ha...I have tried holding the lens from the camera alone for a few seconds...(mount the lens on my F60D, let go my left hand...and hold the setup by just my right hand holding to the camera), the camera and lens are both fine...ha...I dare not to push the limit...as this is my only useable camera at this moment.
FAST! Even on my F60D, it is still fast! The turn of the focus ring is very little, about 45 degree from minimum 1.5m to infinity. There is a focus limiter on the lens itself to give even faster focus when hunting, but I doubt it is useful as the lens is fast enough already. I heard the older versions of Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lenses are slow...I am not sure...but I am very satisfied with the speed of this lens.
This lens is not an internal focus lens...which means the front element will rotate during focusing. However, the length of the lens remains the same. Nikon did a smart design by having the lens barrel longer than the front most element, thus even when the front element moves forward and backward during focusing, the size of the lens still remains the same. By mounting a filter (77mm) on front, the lens acts and performs just like a TRUE IF LENS! For me, a filter to protect this lens is very essential...and one shouldn't save little money by buying a cheap filter (would you want a junk glass to spoilt the pro quality of the lens??? If yes...you might as well just buy a cheap lens...). I would prefer either original Nikon filter (VERY EXPENSIVE!!!) or the B+W German brand filter (very solid built at reasonable price!). My lens comes with Hoya non-HMC filter...thus I will get a REAL filter for it soon...
I have seriously thought of buying the Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 lens before I got my Darkie. I have tried the Tokina AT-X 828 AF, and when holding it...the feel is really no comparison to the Darkie. The Tokina version doesn't has crinkle finishing...the lens is thinner...and focus feel is loosely...and it doesn't has the AF/MF switch on the lens itself. The new Tokina AT-X 828 AF PRO has improved design with crinkle finishing, AF/MF switch, and better built quality and handling than the previous version. However, one very important aspect that pull me back from buying this lens (yes...I have been offered at S$550 for this lens in mint condition...) is the troublesome AF/MF switch of the lens. Let me explain easier in table format:
Lens Camera Results AF AF AF (focus ring wouldn't move) AF MF Will not focus MF MF MF MF AF AF (with focus ring moving)
You can see that no matter the setting on the lens, the AF/MF function is mainly depends on the camera setting. I wonder the usefulness of the AF/MF mode on the lens itself. Tokina new AT-X 828 AF PRO lens is having improved design to control AF/MF on the lens itself, and the camera can be set to AF mode all the time. I do hope that Tokina or Tokina can modify the existing 828 lens, so that it can have true AF/MF control on the lens and not from the camera body. Note that both versions are two touch zoom, which are not the same as Tokina older push pull design.
AT-X 828AF PRO AT-X 828AF
I will post some photos of the lens itself and photos taken by the lens soon...
If you are a Nikon user and want a lens in 80-200mm focal length, buy Darkie. The optic performance of some third party lens makers might be as good as Nikon, but I doubt their lens can last as long as Nikkor. The AFS lens is nice too...but at almost twice the price of this lens...you decide.
Updated 2nd Dec 2001:
These are some photos of my sample: