This Nikkor AF 80-200mm f2.8D ED is actually n user item in my arsenal but its significant historical background makes me consider it as part of my collection. Confusing to many non-Nikonholic, Nikon has a total 5 different versions of 80-200mm f2.8 (excluding the two 70-2oomm f2.8 VR’s). The first one, unknown to a lot of people, is a super heavy (almost 2kg) manual focus zoom with a very large filter size of 96mm! From what I read on the Internet, it is an uncommon item and also the start of the production of fast/pro-quality zooms.
The lens above is the forth 80-200 f2.8 from Nikon and the third one with auto-focus (hence MK III). Before that, there are two (MK I and II) AF 80-200 f2.8’s with push-pull zoom action. The main difference between these two is the MK II has updated electronics that send distance information for the new 3D matrix-metering. The MK III above on the other hand, is a larger upgrade with a more convenient (for me at least) rotating zoom action and most important, a tripod collar! This is important because although not as heavy as the original manual focus 80-200mm f2.8, the MK III still weights about 1.3 kg. Finally, the last generation 80-200 f2.8 has built-in focus-motor added and became the AF-S 80-200 f2.8D ED. The last generation has a better tripod collar and I believe in some domestic markets, there is also an eye-catching white-color version.
While the last generation 80-200mm f2.8 was replaced by the AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G VR, the forth generation (the AF MK III) stays in production as of today (mid-2011). This is a production span of 15 years which is amazingly long in an age of rapid improvements on both optical and electronic technologies. I believe it is because there is a large price gap between the AF 80-200mm f2.8D MK III (MRSP $1149.95CAD) and the AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G VR (MRSP $2399.95, VR II). For those who don’t mind to shoot without the aid of VR and slightly inferior image quality than the 70-200mm VR II, the AF 80-200mm MK III is for sure a very good choice. People who shoot with APS-C sensors can even complete their kit with the AF-S DX 12-24mm f4G using the difference between the prices of the two f2.8 telephoto zooms!
I like this lens a lot because even without the AF-S motor, it is still pretty fast when drived with a high-torque in-body motor (like the one on my D300) and with the aperture ring, I can use this lens on my F-801 film body which requires AI-indexing for aperture-priority and manual exposure. The only thing I don’t like, beside the weight which is expected for a telephoto zoom of this class, is its “hood-unfriendly” lens cap (see photo above). It is because whenever I remove/attach the lens cap with hood on the lens, I need to remove the hood first. Purchasing a “modern” 77mm lens cap (the LC-77) would solve the problem but it will be an additional $16-20CAD.
Well, below are some sample photos shot with the lens:
Status: In Collection