Thursday, December 15, 2016

Nikon 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6D Lens Review

Image Copyright Midwest Photo Exchange (www.mpex.com)


Background

Another lens in the rounding out of the Nikon kit.  This one fits in the everyday carry line of lenses.  Previously, I wanted something wide, so got the Tamron 20-40mm/2.7-3.5  (review on that lens coming soon)

This one covers the long telephoto end.  I heard about this lens from some online blogs.  Specifically that this lens was used by Galen Rowell when he wanted something longer but weight was a factor.  They state that it is a very specific use type of lens and that it performs well when used to its strengths.  Fair enough.

This find was even cheaper than the Tamron 20-40mm.   At $44, I can't think of a losing scenario other than the optics were damaged or the focus was so off as to not be able to be corrected.   Into the review we go!

Handling/Weight/Size

This is a very light lens.  The mount is plastic as is the lens body.  The zoom ring is very easy to turn and does so smoothly.  The focus ring is very small and quite fiddly to try and use.  The lens is not really that big either for an FX coverage lens.  This is great as it is almost an afterthought to throw into my every day carry bag.  When carrying the Nikon Df, I usually have the Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8 attached and the 80-200/4.5-5.6 in the bag.

Image Quality

Lots of reports stated that the lens wide open was on the verge of unusable.   While not as sharp as f/8 or f/11, they are definitely usable.  The strength of the lens is definitely in it being stopped down.  In one article I read by Galen Rowell, he stated that the lens provides "publishable" image quality.    For $44, the images I am getting out of this lens are good enough.

This is definitely a lens you want to use in decent light given your aperture range.  However, I found that at 86mm and f/4.8 - the image quality is definitely more than usable.  Check out the leaf image below.

Nikon Df, 1/500, f/4.8, ISO 400 @ 86mm

Nikon Df, 1/500, f/11, ISO 720 @ 200mm


Auto Focus

This is not a fast focusing lens.   Again, we are in the adequate range of speeds here, but for shooting street, landscapes and the like it will do just fine in most situations.

Bottom Line:
This is a decent find and I can see why Galen Rowell appreciated the qualities that this lens provided.  It is a good companion lens to an everyday carry kit where small and light are a priority.

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