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Thread: The Love of my Life

  1. #1
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    The Love of my Life

    Around 10 years ago, I was visiting a camera shop in Bangkok well known for its good selection of used lenses. I was looking for a good telephoto lens to supplement the Tamron 24-135mm and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 that were the lenses I owned for the relatively recently acquired Fuji S3, my first DSLR after 30+ years with an Olympus OM-1.

    The lens that first caught my attention was a nice Nikkor 300mm f/4 priced at around $600, more or less the maximum amount I could afford at the time. But there were more lenses to choose from, and soon, I noticed two copies of the 80-200 AF-S, one in mint condition and one that seemed to have a lot of "experience". Having been using Olympus SLR cameras for decades, large zoom lenses was rather unknown territory to me, but the friendly guy at the shop indicated strongly that these were very good lenses. So, after cleaning out the tiniest little spec of dust from the deeps of my wallet, I managed to gather the $900 that was the asking price for the giant metal tube thing, the cheapest of the two obviously.

    10 years and 7 camera bodies later, it looks more banged up than ever, the hood is attached by velcro tape that is peeling off and the repair shop refuses to service it for fear that it won't work after re-assembly. I don't know how many photos that I've taken with this lens, but it's easily a seven digit number. It's been to car races, air shows, festivals etc. and travelled to most of the countries that I've been to during these years. I use it as a walk-around street lens frequently, and it balances so perfectly on the D810 that I often walk with the camera and lens hanging from two fingers only. At f/4, it's totally sharp, corner to corner, at all focal lengths. Other apertures are mostly for emergencies. It focuses like a steam train charging through the Siberian tundra and works flawlessly on any F-mount body I have ever used.

    I've considered changing it for the newer, lighter and in most respects better 70-200 f/4, I bought a 180mm f/2.8 earlier this year to use when I think I don't need the zoom, I have two 70-300 plastic things but, but... I mostly come back to this marvel of a lens. Even if it doesn't really make sense, I consider buying another 80-200 AF-S, one in mint condition, which is probably cheaper than re-building the old one when it finally gives up. I don't know how the old banger would feel about that though, so it's on hold for the time being.

    When used for street photography, it works as a statement, scary to some, flattering to others, but in any case, nobody doubt that I'm taking their photo. Stealthy, it's not. Here, from General Santos City last Sunday, locals waiting for the big parade:

    D810 with 80-200 AF-S @ 200mm and f/4

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Re: The Love of my Life

    Jorgen, I had much the same relationship with the original AF 80-200mm f2.8 - a monster of a lens - without a tripod collar!

    It did a stirling job, until the aperture diaphragm packed up, at which point it was time to move onto the new 70-200mm.

    Although the latter is a great lens, I never really bonded with it to the same extent as my old 80-200mm......

  3. #3
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Los Altos, CA
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    Re: The Love of my Life

    Interesting thread! I never have taken to any particular 70/80-200 zoom from any manufacturer. The f2.8 ones I liked the imaging character of a few but not the weight; the f4 models loved the weight and convenience, but the vanilla IQ left me yawning. Moreover, I almost used them at either end, almost never in the middle.

    So anyway, that's a long way around as an explanation for why I re-bought the 180/2.8 AF --- several years back I had the manual version and loved the imaging character, the weight was totally manageable and the look wide open was magic to me, at least at that time. I find the "new" AF-D version delivers much of that same quality. It isn't the sharpest lens in my bag, but it is one of those that can deliver a nostalgic look and hence it's a keeper for me.

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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