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Nikon Pro-level Lens Dilemma  
User currently onlineyerbol From Kazakhstan, joined Feb 2010, 286 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4609 times:

Dear spotters,
Time is getting closer to my birthday and I want to get a pro-level lens for myself as a gift.
I want to bring my photography to the better level and invest in good lens.
Apart from aviation photography this lens will be used for family photos in parks and streets, exhibitions, zoo, sport events.
I have two options, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR[latest version] and Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 with AF-S.
I may consider buying converter in the future.
What would you chose and why?


With best regards from Almaty
5 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinedarreno1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 224 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4595 times:

Personally, I'd save and go right for the 80-400 AF-S given the great performance, and overall reach when mated to a DX body. However, if you need a quicker lens for lower-light photography and fast action, the 70-200 f 2.8 will be the better choice. It's also a lot cheaper.

Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
User currently offlinemegatop412 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 341 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4568 times:

The 70-200mmVR is the only 'pro' level lens of the two. The 80-400mmVR is considered a consumer lens

User currently offlinederekf From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 920 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 4547 times:

Don't get caught up in the snobbery of "pro" or "consumer". Get the lens that suits your budget and needs.

User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 15373 posts, RR: 45
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4527 times:
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Quoting megatop412 (Reply 2):
The 70-200mmVR is the only 'pro' level lens of the two. The 80-400mmVR is considered a consumer lens

In my view, the 80-400mm falls between those stools, but closer to the pro one. At £2,000 in the UK, it's price certainly wouldn't put it in the 'consumer' category. I hate the word, but I'd see it as a 'prosumer' lens - a lens for the pretty serious amateur.

Quoting derekf (Reply 3):
Don't get caught up in the snobbery of "pro" or "consumer". Get the lens that suits your budget and needs.


I've been very fortunate and been able to buy a pretty good collection of lenses, but I started off with low-end bodies and light, plastic consumer lenses. I was still perfectly able to produce shots good enough for this site.

I have the older generation of the 70-200mm and it's been carted all over the World for the last seven years. It's taken a beating and is looking a little tatty around the edges, but is still one of my two favourite lenses.

I also have the original 80-400mm and it's not a great lens. Don't get me wrong, it can produce very good results but AF is painfully slow and in low light it's not a great performer. At the time, it was the one Nikon lens that gave great range and for a long time was one of only two lenses I used. Ironically, having replaced it, I now carry four lenses to cover the range that two used to. They also weigh about five times as much as the old lenses. While undoubtedly optically superior, I'm not sure it's progress.   

If I was in the market now, I'd probably go for the 80-400mm. Doubly so if it can use the 1.4TC.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlinegunone From United States of America, joined Apr 2013, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4378 times:

I recently went through this dilemma. I am a DX shooter, the 7100 produces very large images, see no need to go FX.

My trusted 70-300 VR dust pump produced 40,000 photo's. now full of mold and dust it was beyond repair. I also looked closely at both lenses. What made my decision, I rented both and shot every type of photo. The conclusion was simple. A F/2.8 lens allows me absolute control of the foreground and background. Since my photos are about capturing not only the object but the environment around the object I can produce dramatic composition, not just photo's. For me it is not the hardware that wow's other photographers but the final results.

I will share one example. I was at North Las Vegas Airport, listening on the scanner for the next approaching aircraft. In front of me a bird landed on the top of the perimeter fence. It was a very colorful photo and decided to capture it as it left it's perch. Behind the bird was a shopping center and a mountain range. I set the camera for max bookah. As the bird left it's perch I captured it at 1/1600 , F/4, ISO 200. I only got one shot. I was stunning, only the bird in focus, wings up, mouth opened, and the image background totally blurred. I is the best birding photo I have ever taken. Why do I shoot birds and insects flying? I you can master these shots, aircraft is no problem!

I now shoot with a 24-75mm F/2.8 and a 70-200mm F/2.8 and use a 1.7 teleconverter for smaller aircraft or longer reach. Pro lenses, who cares, expensive, who cares, it is all about results. This is the last glass I will ever need to buy and your worst photo will blow away anything you see on this site. That is if you have the skills.

Good Luck


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